Caruso Family Racing Are Headed To The World Series Of Pro Mod!
The Rodfather Comes To The Mountain
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (August 2, 2018): Three generations of the New York-based Caruso family are headed to the WSOPM on the mountain in Denver (August 10 & 11) with only one thing on their minds. Winning!
Family Patriarch Joe will watch over his son Marc and granddaughter Camrie when the family racing team head to the Bandimere Speedway Denver CO this month.
Marc has recently stepped up his Pro Mod program in the PDRA Pro Boost category with the purchase of an Ex-Todd Tutterow '69 Camaro, and the fitment of an Al Billes' fed Noonan 4.9. The switch to Billes Superchargers & Fuel Systems and the revolutionary 4.9 Noonan Race Engineering Hemi came about after the Noonan brains-trust assisted with getting both of the family's hotrods to the PDRA Firecracker Nationals PDRA race in June.
"Noonan Race Engineering, Renee & Jamie Noonan and Lee White went above and beyond to assist our team to get back on track for the VMP round of PDRA. With Jamie and Lee working on both cars at the track, their service and assistance is second-to-none, both on and off the race track. They truly are good people."
The presence of Al at the races was also a determining factor in the switch to a Billes Blower and Fuel System. "Al is a great guy and very knowledgeable. Working with this awesome group is what we believe we need to do to move to the front-of-the-pack in the very competitive world of PDRA Pro Boost." explains Marc. "The ability for our long time crew-chief Angelo Aceto to bounce ideas off him in real time face to face is a win win for us moving forward."
Taking on the Bandimere Speedway 1/4 Mile and the Mountain for the first time is not something that Marc and the team decided upon lightly. As much as Marc has confidence in his ability to mix it with the best Pro Mod drivers in the world, he hasn't been to the mountain nor driven a Pro Mod over the 1/4 mile. "Lee White's confidence in our ability to go there and make an impact was a key determining factor in us accepting Wes Buck's invitation to come and represent not only ourselves, but the PDRA Pro Boost Fraternity at The Biggest, Richest Pro Mod Drag Race in the History of the Known Universe!"
When asked what the approach to this event will be Marc explained, "We will take advantage of the test sessions available Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday to get a baseline tune and build on that. We've never been to the Mountain so we will be feeling our way early. The fact that we were invited to come and race with the best 1/4 Mile Pro Mods and Drivers in the world made it an easy decision when Wes called. We are headed to Bandimere with the intentions to have fun. But make no mistake we are coming to represent ourselves and PDRA at the highest level possible. Considering the company we will be rubbing shoulders with, it will be a tough deal, but we aren't hauling out to Colorado with the plan to come second!"
Caruso Family Racing race with support from- Hoosier, Lucas Oil, DRE Engine Diapers, VP Fuels & Simpson.
AUS RECORD HOLDER TO DEBUT NEW CAR AT JAMBOREE
Australian record holder Steve Barnett will begin his pursuit for a world record by debuting a new car at the upcoming Honeywell Garrett Jamboree, presented by Link ECU and Tuners Edge (August 25 and 26, Willowbank Raceway).
After becoming the first in the country to run a ‘six second’ 13B-turbo-powered pass in 2016 in his RX3 Coupe, Barnett has taken the Pac Performance Billet 13B engine from his RX3 and put together a never-before-seen combination in a re-born Pac Performance Mazda 6.
“We had a lot of success with the RX3 but at the end of the day it had probably reached its limit. I had built it to run a six second pass and we did that, so to try and get it to go faster we would have had to do some pretty drastic changes to it and it seemed a shame to rip it apart after having so much success with it,” explained Barnett, who is no stranger to high-achievement on and off the track, having claimed a bronze medal in diving at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
“The RX3 was basically a ’72 Mazda road car which we had converted to go racing, and now we are moving to something that is purpose-built for what we are trying to achieve.
“I have purchased a well-known Mazda 6 which was previously owned and raced by Pac Performance. The car was crashed by Rocky Rehayem a few years back and then sold to someone else who had started rebuilding it but ran out of motivation. I have been slowly working away on it and over the past six months we have really stepped up the build.
“We have taken the Pac Performance Billet engine from my RX3 and combined that with some new technology with a Quick Drive Transmission – this is something that has never been done before, combining this kind of engine with this kind of transmission. With this combination you don’t have a clutch, you have a stall converter like what you have with an automatic-style gearbox but my gearbox is manually shifted,” explained Barnett, who thanks Microtech for the supply of his ECU as well as Pac Performance for all of their support.
So what exactly does Barnett expect from his new car’s debut at what is Australia’s premier sport compact racing and car culture event, which is also the site of his 2016 record?
“I am really enthusiastic about what we are doing and really keen to see it all come together but you have to be realistic as well. It is a brand new car with a brand new set-up and brand new everything really. We are really hopeful about how we are going to go out there, but we are probably going to have a lot of bugs to sort out as well,” Barnett said.
“It is safe to say we aren’t expecting to set the world on fire with ETs or speeds or anything. At the end of the day the technology in this car is through the roof and no one has put this transmission with this kind of engine before, so what we are doing is really a brand new thing.
“I can say for sure that I expect it to be very, very fast, and a world record is definitely what we will be focusing on in the future.
“In the meantime, I don’t think a win at Brisbane Jamboree is out of the question – we would certainly like to win, this event is probably the biggest sport compact even of the year and I always look forward to it with its big fields and the best cars in Australia all turning out.”
SADEK STEPS UP IN THE GODFATHER’S CHARIOT
After eclipsing the previous ‘PB’ of the 20B-powered Sadek Motor Group BOSS RX3 Coupe of his dad, Sam ‘The Godfather’ Sadek, 20-year-old Jay Sadek is getting ready to race the car for the first time at the upcoming Honeywell Garrett Brisbane Jamboree presented by Link ECU and Tuners Edge.
In his first-ever full-track pass in his dad’s car, Sadek Junior set a 6.938s pass at 310km (193 mph) – besting his dad’s personal best in the car of 7.03 seconds at 312kph (194mph). It is believed that by setting this pass, Jay is quite possibly the youngest ever in the world to run a ‘six second’ quarter-mile ET in a rotary-powered car.
With testing now complete, the Camden-based racer is getting ready to step up to the Pro Turbo category of what is Australia’s premier sport compact drag racing and car culture event, being held at Willowbank Raceway across August 25-26.
“It was really different stepping into dad’s car for the first time – it is so different to what I used to race, you are on the other side of the car, it has a bigger engine, everything happens a lot quicker, you have to really be on-point,” Jay explained.
“It was really exciting as well – I wasn’t really feeling any pressure, I more just wanted to really push myself to beat his time. I didn’t expect to do it on my first full pass though!
“I was pretty thrilled when I got out of the car – I didn’t believe it until I saw the actual printed time card, I thought everyone was lying to me when they told me I had run a ‘six’.”
When the son eclipses the father, some would assume the father might feel put-out. But that is far from the case when it comes to the Sadeks, a very well-respected racing family in Australia’s sport compact scene.
“When I saw the numbers come up on the timing boards it was just a feeling of ‘wow’. I was watching him closely making sure he was slowing down and that the parachutes opened, and once they did, what he had done hit me like a tonne of bricks – all I could think was that I don’t know of any 20-year-old that has ever run a time like that in a rotary,” Sam explained.
With the first test completed so successfully, the competitive debut for Jay in this car is hotly anticipated. However, Jay says he and the Pac Performance team won’t be looking to ‘rotate the earth’ straight out of the gate.
“We won’t be in a rush for world records at this stage, we will just be taking things one step at a time,” Jay explained.
“Bit by bit we will add boost. We are on base power at the moment, but as I get more comfortable in the car we will add more boost and go from there.
“We will be happy if the car is reliable on the day. Aside from that we don’t have any expectations – to be honest I go to Jamboree to enjoy myself. If you go there thinking like a winner, if you lose you come home disappointed, that is how I think of it anyway.”
While he might not be eyeing off an event victory, Jay certainly has winning form under the Jamboree format.
“In 2017 I won in the modified compact class at both the Sydney Jamboree and the Brisbane Jamboree, where I also took out the Best Wheelie Award! We were certainly happy with those results,” Jay said.
“We will be stepping up to the Pro Turbo class this year which is exciting. As a kid I watched these bigger classes and always dreamed of racing in them. I am really looking forward to racing the bigger cars and pushing myself to see how good of a driver I am against the rest of the Pro Turbo guys.
“No matter what happens, it should be a great event. I have to say a big thank you to Pac Performance and the crew for building a beast of a car and for always supporting me – I have known them since I was born and they are not just my mechanics, they always have my back.
“I have to say the biggest thank you to my dad for giving me the opportunities I have had – not many kids my age get to do what I do and I am very thankful for all he has done for me.”
The Honeywell Garrett Brisbane Jamboree presented by Link ECU and Tuners Edge is Australia’s premier sport compact drag racing and car culture event. It will hit Willowbank Raceway across August 25-26 with hundreds of incredible vehicles on display and competing for the most coveted award in sport compact drag racing, the fabled ‘Billet J’ trophy. Across both days there will be action aplenty both on and off the track, with not only plenty of intense racing taking place across the quarter-mile but also plenty to see and do around the venue including a Shannons Show-N-Shine, Sound Off, Dyno and Drift Exhibitions, Babe and Bikini Comps, Trader Stalls, Kids’ rides and lots more.
The Brisbane Jamboree is proudly supported by the following Partners – Honeywell Garrett, Link ECU, Tuners Edge, Oceania College of Technology, Microtech Engine Management Systems, Shannons, PWR Performance Products, Precision Turbo & Engine, MTQ Engine Systems Australia, RCE Performance Warehouse, McKern, Pro Maz Racing, Freight Management Australia, NAPA Auto Super Store, Turbosmart, Castrol EDGE, Fuel Tech Engine Management Systems, Mainline Dyno, Haltech Engine Management Systems, EXEDY Clutches, Speedflow, Drag News Magazine. & Rotary Compression Tester.com
For more information, visit www.jamboree.com.au
WINTERNATS WIN FOR TEAM BRAY RACING
Ben Bray has taken the Factory Xtreme victory at the Gulf Western Oil 51st Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway this weekend while his father and drag racing legend Victor Bray made a very popular comeback.
TBR principal Victor made his return to Pro Slammer racing this weekend after a 13 month absence following a courageous battle against an aggressive form of skin cancer.
The six-time national champion joined with his son Ben and TBR team-mate Frankie Taylor to mount a three-strong attack on the Pro Slammer competition at this weekend’s event, and while a record bump-stop (5.804s) saw only Ben (5.777s) make it through to race day, the smiles could not be wiped off the faces of all at the Gulf Western Oil-supported team following Victor’s triumphant return.
The capacity crowd were just as happy, welcoming Victor’s first foray on-track – which included a three-quarter track burnout in the second qualifier – with a foot-stamping standing ovation.
“That moment was really good,” Victor said. “I was a bit nervous on Friday, I felt much better on Saturday. I love the fans and I really enjoyed being back signing autographs and chatting to everyone – I really didn’t want anyone to miss out!
“Then while working on the car to get it ready, I was feeling a bit crook. I felt really comfortable though when it was time to get in the car – it didn’t bother me that we didn’t make it out for the earlier session, when I finally got in the car, strapped my belts and settled in, I felt right at home again. It is just what we do as racers.
“A big thanks has to go to Ben for working lots of late nights to get my car ready, and to David ‘Sully’ Sullivan, our crew chief of 20 years. A big thanks to the fans too for all of their unwavering support, they sure made a lot of noise for me and it was really greatly appreciated.”
From the sidelines on Sunday, Victor and the rest of Gulf Western Oil TBR watched on as Ben took on eventual semi-final winner Paul Mouhayet in the first round of Pro Slammer, before taking on Rod Harvey for the win in the first round of the Factory Xtreme eliminations. He would then impress in the semi-final with a new personal best of 6.639s at 209.39mph to see his Gulf Western Oil Toyota Solara now the quickest 1FZ powered car in the country. From there, the Factory Xtreme final called with the three-time national champion taking on and defeating Gina Bullians for the event victory in cold conditions, despite a very slippery top end.
“What a weekend – to take the victory in Factory Xtreme is brilliant but how good is it to see dad back where he belongs, in the seat of his Gulf Western Oil Pro Slammer,” grinned Ben.
“A Gulf Western Oil Winternationals win, a new PB and Australian record, and dad back in black: this is a weekend all at TBR will remember for a long time!
“We also saw Kelly Bettes win her Top Fuel semi-final and take out the Top Fuel championship, making her the first female ever to win a professional drag racing category in Australia and only the third female in the world to win a Top Fuel championship. Our congratulations go to Kelly on her massive achievement this weekend.
“And I have to mention the crowd – what a crowd we had this weekend! The place was bursting, we were overwhelmed all weekend with well-wishers, and there just aren’t words to properly describe the noise and the atmosphere after dad’s burnout on that first pass. They sure were happy to see him back and made no secret of it!”
Team Bray Racing will next be on-track for the upcoming Nitro Up North event, to be held at Hidden Valley Drag Strip across July 13-14, the first round of the 2018/2019 400 Thunder Championship.
To keep up to date with all of the latest news from TBR, visit www.teambrayracing.com, follow the team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teambrayracing, or interact with them on instagram (#teambrayracing).
RAPISARDA AUTOSPORT INTERNATIONAL PART OF HISTORY
Rapisarda Autosport International were part of history when Queenslander Kelly Bettes became the first women in Australia to win a Top Fuel championship. The 33 year old Queenslander won the title by a minuscule 2 points over RAI star Damien Harris.
There was redemption for RAI when Harris won the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals, the most prestigious event on the domestic calendar, plus setting a new Australian record for the1000 foot race distance along with strong performances from his team mates Wayne Newby and Ashley Sanford.
In Qualifying Harris headed the field with a world class run of 3.78//524 km/h to earn a first round bye then faced off against Sanford who earlier in the day had easily defeated Victorian racer Rachelle Splatt.
There were no team orders from within the RAI camp with Harris, needing to defeat Sanford to keep his title hopes alive.
Both cars stepped off the line in unison. Harris edged to the front and hung on to with a new Oz record of 3.78/526 km/h to Sanford’s 3.89/509 km/h.
In the other semi -final Bettes needed victory to secure her championship while Newby was on a mission to win and give team mate Harris the chance to win his second 400 Thunder title. Both cars launched hard and set sail to the end zone. Bettes prevailed and took the win in a photo finish to claim the 400T title.
The T/F final was a brutal affair. Harris nailed the green light and with a full candle pass of 3.77/527 km/h defeated Bettes smashing his Australian record and grabbing the prized Winternationals championship much to the delight of the near capacity crowd.
“In the final we went for broke. Junior gave the car a bit of a tickle and it went straight down the track. It was a great result for our team and for Santo who was the backbone of the series this season running three cars.” Damien Harris.
“In the lead up to the meeting I wasn’t happy with the consistency of the car and I decided to change the clutch program a little bit. Dad also gave us a rev up because we weren’t doing as well as we should. That helped as well.” Santo Rapisarda Jnr.
“Running my fastest time ever in Australia, a 3.83 was a great way to end the season with the Rapisarda family. When we went up against Damien in the semi final we were out to win. We gave it all we had and he deserved the win. Then for him and Santo junior to win the Winters and set again a new Australian record was a great result for all the Rapisarda teams.” Ashley Sanford.
“This is a very humbling sport and earlier in the weekend we had electrical issues. Just when your down, you go out there and suddenly it all comes together and we ran a 3.83 That’s very satisfying and gives the team the confidence that your on the right track.” Rob Cavagnino, tuner of the Ashley Sanford car.
“There was a lot of pressure across all the cars in the Rapisarda team. Santino and his crew gave me an awesome car and we gave it our best shot. Santo put three cars on the track and speaking to fans over the weekend they really appreciate what he has done for the sport this season.” Wayne Newby.
“We may have missed out on winning the Winternationals but I think we can be proud of how we performed over the weekend. Our crew gave 100 percent and for a Rapisarda car to walk away with another Winternationals win and Australian record is something we can all build on in the off season.” Santino Rapisarda.
THE FINAL WORD.
“Congratulations to Kelly Bettes and the Lamattina boys on winning the championship. To see a women win a Top Fuel championship is a real milestone for the sport. I’ve very proud of my boys. When we struggled a few rounds ago they never gave up. They put their heads down, went to work and bounced back over this weekend. A Winternationals win is always special and too see a 3.77 run is something I don’t expect to see this season. Maybe in a couple of years time but not this year.” Santo Rapisarda. END