Rapisarda Autosport teammates Wayne Newby and Damien Harris will face off to decide the winner of the 2023-2024 NDRC Top Fuel championship following the last-minute withdrawal of their nearest rival Phil Lamattina from the final round at Willowbank Raceway, June 6-9

“The decision to not race follows the sudden passing of ‘Uncle Tony,’ a beloved uncle and integral supporter of the team,” said team owner-driver Lamattina. “‘Uncle Tony’ was not only a cherished family member but also a cornerstone of our support system. His passing has left a significant void, and our immediate focus is on family and honoring his memory; the Lamattina family appreciates the understanding and support from fans, sponsors, and the racing community during this challenging time.”


Harris will enter the final round with a slender 39-point advantage over Newby. Lamattina was 66 points away in third and 48 in front of the in-form Peter Xiberras.


“There will be no team orders when Wayne and Damien go head-to-head for the championship,” according to team owner Santo Rapisarda. “We’ve been in this situation before and accept that one side of the garage will win and the other side won’t. That’s the price you pay when you are a two-car team. There is a healthy sense of competition between both teams, that’s a normal human situation. The absence of the Lamattina team is a real blow to what was shaping up as an exciting finish to the season, and our thoughts and best wishes are with Phil, the Lamattina family, and their friends.”


Xiberras and veteran Phil Read will be major players in deciding which Rapisarda car will win the championship. 


The last time owner-driver Xiberras raced at Willowbank, he won the event, claimed his first Top Fuel title, and set the quickest pass in Australian drag racing history over the 1000ft distance. 

Xiberras is in superb form after crushing his rivals at the Nitro Champs last month to become the only two-time winner this season. 

“With two straight wins behind us, we are full of confidence and ready to do battle, said Xiberras. “A third championship may be out of reach for us this season, but we would still like to end the season on the highest note possible. 


Mid-season, Read, after winning the Perth Westernats, looked on track to claim his first Fuel title since 2008 but has since fallen away due to mechanical woes and a hefty dose of bad luck. He will be looking to add yet another Winters crown to his illustrious career.  

“It has been a long season for us, with a lot of highs and a lot of lows, and hopefully, the Winternats can provide a perfect end on a high for us for the 2023/2024 season, said Read.


‘Pommie Steve Reed, a two-time Fuel champ with RAI in 2001 and 2002, who last raced with his own team in 2016, has relicensed and is a welcome addition to the depleted entry list.








The two standouts of the season, Justin Walshe and Morice McMillin, will go down to the wire in deciding the winner of the 2023-2024 championship.


Walshe leads McMillin by 28 points, and whoever advances the furthest on the final day will most likely be crowned the inaugural NDRC Funny Car champion.


With three wins from four starts this season, including the recent Nitro champs, Justin Walshe will start as a red-hot favorite to land his maiden Nitro Funny Car title. McMillin, a driving force behind the revival of Funny Car in Australia, is chasing his second win of the season. He has the experience and talent to take the challenge up to Walshe and claim the title. 

Brandon Gosbell began the season in scintillating form with a win over team boss Morice McMillin and has gone on to top qualify four times but has yet to replicate that form on race day.


Budget privateers Adam Murrihy and Anthony Begley will be looking to finish the season on a high note after a season best forgotten. Low moments for the popular Murrihy have included a crash and oil pump issues at the last round, while the ‘Beggs highlight reel includes a trip to the gravel trap and a series of 20-cent part failures.  



DOORSLAMMER - Russell Taylor will attempt to become the first person since the legendary Victor Bray in 1996 to win a Doorslammer title in his rookie season. The Western Australian heads into the Winters with a 24-point lead over Zappia with young gun Ronnie Palumbo 92 points off the pace in third place. The absence of the Gregorini team is a significant blow. The Western Australian outfit, led by Daniel, who won the Nitro champs at Sydney Dragway last month, and Lisa, the only woman in Group One, occupied fourth and fifth place and were more than capable of spoiling Zappia and Taylor’s championship aspirations.  
TOP ALCOHOL - Russell Mills has already won the 2023-24 Pro Alcohol title. The genial 71-year-old and his Alky roadster have developed a cult with race fans and holds an unassailable 138 points lead over rising star Daniel Reed, who has swapped the family Funny Car for a dragster.







PRO STOCK - There will be two finals for the category—one from the last round at Sydney, which was postponed due to the weather, and the final round of their championship. Rob Dekert heads the point chase despite missing race day at Sydney after top qualifying.


PRO MOD - Craig Burns, one of the country’s premier car builders’ manufacturers, is undefeated after three rounds and leads fellow Sydneysider Joe Gauci by 77 points. The Winters will also feature finals held over from the Sydney Nitro champs last month. 


TOP BIKE - Ben Steven has already won the championship courtesy of four wins and a second from five starts. 


PRO BIKE - With two wins from three starts, Luke Crowley holds an unassailable 191-point lead over Tony Frost.


Willowbank Raceway, Queensland, has not hosted racing since the 2023 Winternationals, with the track undergoing a major refurbishment and updates to spectator facilities.


Touted as the most significant event on the Aussie drag calendar, the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals will see all eight Group One categories come together for the first and only time this season.