Three-time NHRA champion Larry Dixon will race for Rapisarda Autosport International alongside Aussie teammates Damien Harris, Wayne Newby, and Shane Olive at the Australia Day Nationals at Sydney Dragway, January 26 - 27.

The decision by the legendary team owner to run four cars is a significant boost to the event that will see a capacity field of eight for the first time in recent memory. 

The last time the family team ran four cars was at the East Coast Nationals in November 2015, where Newby and Harris were joined by NHRA stars, Cory McClenathan and Dom Lagana. Cory Mac defeated local Darren Morgan in the final after downing Lagana in the semifinal.

 At the 2023 Nitro Champs, RAI rolled out a third car and Dixon defeated local Phil Lamattina in the final.

“We had originally planned to run three cars for Damien, Wayne and Shane at the Christmas meeting in Sydney,” said Rapisarda. 

“Unfortunately, the meeting was canceled. At the start of the season, it was our intention, at some stage to run four cars and the most likely time was at the January meeting. That’s how it’s worked out. Running two cars is a challenge, three cars is a handful and when you get to four cars, that’s a massive undertaking.”

“I spoke to the boys, Santino and Santo junior and they said, “Let’s go for it.” In drag racing, you need to set goals and push the limits. That’s what it was all about when we decided to run four cars.”

Dixon made his debut with RAI in 2013 and, since then, has become a regular visitor down under and a popular identity with Aussie fans.

“I’m very appreciative of the opportunity from Santo and the Rapisarda family to race again in Australia,” said Dixon. “What Santo has done for not just the sport of Top Fuel in Australia but also for drag racing over such a long period has been remarkable. To put four cars on the track is unbelievable.”

“The Rapisarda family gives me great equipment and a great crew to work with on the car. I enjoy working with Rob Cavagnino, who tunes the car. We won the last time we worked together, so we hope to repeat that success. I hope the fans turn out to see what will be some amazing racing.”

Sydneysider Shane Olive will finally get to race with RAI after his debut scheduled for December was canceled due to weather. 

Olive had previously raced with Lamattina Top Fuel Racing until this season, when the team cut back to a single entry.

“When Santo rang and asked if I was interested in driving the third car, I thought about it for all of maybe a millisecond,” said Olive. “I couldn’t believe my luck. It will be strange to maybe line up and look across the lane and race against my old boss, Phil.”

“There’s a lot on the agenda for the team over the weekend. Damien is looking to score back-to-back wins, Shane is making his debut and will want to make his mark, Wayne is chasing his first win of the season and Larry will be looking to take a trophy back home to Indianapolis,” said Rapisarda.