The Bend confirmed as NDRC season opener

The dragway at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia

In a joint announcement between The Bend Motorsport Park, the NDRC and the South Australian State Government, The Dragway at The Bend has been confirmed as the opening round of the newly formed National Drag Racing Championship.

The calendar for the first season under the NDRC was unveiled at The Dragway at The Bend this morning, attended by South Australian Treasurer Stephen Mullighan MP, The Bend CEO Alistair MacDonald, and representatives from the NDRC on hand to confirm the dates.

“South Australians have missed out on top-class drag racing for too long, and this new facility at The Bend Motorsport Park will fuel our passionate motorsport community,” said Mullighan.

“Motorsport events have proven to be an essential part of our economy, attracting visitors from interstate and overseas, and providing a boost to SA hotels, restaurants and regions. We cannot understate how excited we are for the fans of Drag Racing and the people of South Australia to have a new home for the sport right here at The Bend.

The Bend Motorsport Park CEO Alistair MacDonald added: “To see the $35 million investment by the Shahin family through the Peregrine Corporation supported by the key stakeholders in Drag Racing and the government is fantastic for the state and the region. We look forward to seeing you all at The Bend in October.”

The drag complex was originally scheduled to open in late 2022, however construction delays saw the opening events (originally scheduled to be the 400 Thunder Series) pushed back twice. It will now open on October 21-22, 2023, hosting the opening round of the NDRC for 2023-24.

The opening event will feature championship rounds for Top Fuel Dragsters, Top Fuel Motorcycle, Top Doorslammer and Pro Stock Motorcycle, and sportsman racing as part of the Western Conference. The pre-event festivities will kick off with a street party in Tailem Bend on October 20.

The NDRC was announced in early May, effectively uniting the 400 Thunder Series and the Australian Top Fuel Championship under the leadership of co-promoters Andy Lopez and Nathan Prendergast.

For the first time in almost three decades, the sport will see two nitro fuelled categories sharing headline billing with Top Fuel Dragsters and Nitro Funny Cars alternating events across the events at the Perth Motorplex, Sydney Dragway, The Dragway at the Bend and Willowbank Raceway.

Representatives of the NDRC have confirmed that a dedicated Sportsman Series calendar will be released in two weeks, and is expected to include regional tracks, though it is yet to be confirmed how the series will operate under differing rules and regulations between ANDRA sanctioned race tracks and IHRA Australia Sanctioned tracks, with the majority of differences predominantly affecting sportsman racers.

Limited grandstand and corporate tickets for the opening event will go on sale today at 11:00 ACST/11:30 AEST with General Admission tickets available in July.

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