New track surface proves fast at Santa Pod

Fil Papafilippou 


The European FIA/FIM-E drag racing series kicked off for the bulk of the four car and five bike pro classes at Santa Pod, England, over the course of the weekend. With the first hit for many competitors on the new concrete track that had been installed over the winter, there was perhaps more anticipation for this season than many that preceded it.


As it turned out the meet had something for everyone and, unusually for these event snippets for the Agent ahead of their full report, DRO’s European correspondents Ivan Sansom and Rose Hughes say they will just have to lead with the winner and runner up in the FIM-E Top Fuel Bike class. Greek national Fil Papafilippou took the event win after stunning the troops with an astounding 5.782/236.16mph to top qualifying and become the fourth quickest rider in the history of the sport on only his second pass on a nitro burning bike.

Last season's champion Rikard Gustafsson also grabbed a big slice of the action with a phenomenal pair of 250-mph passes to vault the Swede into third spot on the all-time fuel bike fast list and smash his own European speed record in the bargain. 


Other FIM-E winners included Hans Olav Olstad (Super Twin), Maurice Bertrand (Pro Stock Bike), Steve Venables (Super Street Bike) and Liam Holgate (Junior Dragbike)

Stig Neergaard


FIA Top Fuel Dragster had dramas of its own with a slew of three-second runners somehow, and we're pretty sure even the Dane isn't too sure how he managed it, defeated by Stig Neergaard who suffered from a series of traction problems over the course of the event but held it all together when it mattered to defeat Finland's Anita Makela in the final.


Micke Gullqvist (Pro Mod), Stefan Ernryd (Pro Stock) and Timo Habermann (Top Methanol) joined Neergaard in the FIA winners circle.


“We'll bring you a full report in the next few days, but this one was really something special,” teases Sansom.  

McClanahan gets two big checks at West Coast Classic

Ryan McClanahan put on a dominating performance at the 4th Annual Silver State West Coast Classic May 25-26 at Auto Club Dragway, going to three Super Pro final rounds and winning twice!


See all the results at here

Zizzo readies for hometown competition with sponsor extension

TJ Zizzo doesn’t run the entire NHRA schedule, but one that is most important is near his Chicago homebase: The Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, IL.


Two years in a row, he qualified 16th and two years in a row, he put the Top Fuel top qualifiers (Spencer Massey and Tony Schumacher) out of the race in the first round. Last year, facing event pole winner and eventual season class champion Brittany Force in the quarterfinals, he ended her day early with a powerful pass of 3.787 seconds. And his Rust-Oleum Rocket crew is coming to the track this week loaded for bear.


“We did very well at Chicago last year, but we've also had some time off, which is a little bit of a challenge,” Zizzo said. “We'll take one run at a time. We're going to the event with more parts and pieces than we've ever owned.”


Zizzo kicks off Race Week at his home track with a new long-term partnership deal with Rust-Oleum, putting him in the cockpit of the Rust-Oleum Rocket through 2021. 

Jason McCulloch joins Scott Palmer team

Crew chief Jason McCulloch, who together with tuner Brian Husen helped Brittany Force win the 2017 world title, joins Scott Palmer Racing this week at Joliet. The addition comes through the team's existing relationship with Torrence Racing and their crew chief Richard Hogan.


"Adding Jason to the mix shows we're serious about what we're doing,” Palmer said. “He knows how to go fast and since we basically run a slightly more conservative version of Steve (Torrence's) tune-up, which Jason already knows from all his time with Richard and Alan Johnson over the years, we're very hopeful this is going to enhance our program."


After recording the first final-round appearance of his career earlier this year in Phoenix, Palmer is quick to credit team sponsor Tommy Thompson for his rise to contender status. Thompson, a drag boat racer from Oklahoma, owns CatSpot Organic Litter, an all-natural, environmentally-friendly, biodegradable cat litter made entirely from coconut. CatSpot Organic Litter recently announced title sponsorship of the Seattle race.   



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