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Larry Dixon to race for Rapisarda Autosport International at Winternationals.

 RAI1

Three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon will return to Australia to race for Rapisarda Autosport International at the Willowbank Winternationals on June 9-12.

Dixon, who finished fourth on the NHRA Mello Yello series in 2015, will be joined by legendary tuner, Lee Beard.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to be invited by Santo and the Rapisarda family to race again in Australia,” said Dixon. “I got a call from the Rapisarda boys – Santino and Santo Jr – and we had a chat about coming back to race in Australia. They are really keen to run the first 4.40 sec pass in Australia and wanted me to be part of it.

“Back in 1999 I ran the first pass under the 4.50 barrier in America with a 4.86 at Houston and if I have the opportunity to be the first in Australia to go under 4.50 at Willowbank that would be great and would look good in the resume.

“Given a well prepped track with an air temperature around 15- 20 degrees and track surface of 20-26 degrees, I’m confident Lee can dial in a tune up to take the record.”

While Dixon will be the star attraction at the meeting, the battle for Winternationals glory and bragging right as winner of the inaugural 400 Thunder Top Fuel title will be fought out between RAI team-mates Damien Harris and Wayne Newby. Harris leads Newby by 26 points heading into the final round.

“Having Larry race at the Winters adds an intriguing mix to the championship battle,” according to series leader Harris. “The Larry and Lee combination will be a formidable pairing but I’m confident that Santo junior tuning my car and Santino on Wayne’s car will step up to the mark and make sure an ‘Aussie’ takes out the Winternationals’ title and create history in running the first pass under 4.50 sec barrier.”