The opening round of the Australian Top Doorslammer Championship (ATDC) will take place this weekend at the Spring Nationals, the first major event at the brand new Dragway at The Bend.

As part of the new National Drag Racing Championship series, the ATDC has attracted 12 entries to the first event of the season, and among them are several new names to the class.

Ronnie Palumbo (NSW), Russell Taylor (WA), Scott Ferguson (SA) and Adam Tassone (SA) will all be making their class debuts. For Palumbo, it’s a seat in Maurice Fabietti’s ACDelco Holden Monaro that will make the longtime sportsman racer a championship threat despite his lack of experience in the 3000hp Top Doorslammer.

“There’s no way to explain how to drive these beasts, it is incredible,” Palumbo said. “Maurice has told me to stay safe and go at my own pace, making sure I am comfortable. That is a goal, but we also want to bring home a trophy and put on the best show for the crowd and our sponsors.”

It was an unexpected but welcome call from Fabietti that introduced Palumbo to the idea of driving for his team, which this season races in memory of their team driver Sam Fenech.

“I first thought it was just a social call to catch up,” Palumbo said. “We spoke about the team, and dealing with the loss of our friend Sam. He said he was looking for a driver, I had no idea he was about to ask me to drive. As much as most jump at the opportunity, I took my time to make a decision I can only hope Sam and my father Frank would be happy with. I went up to see Maurice a few weeks later with my answer and the rest is history.”

So began the learning experience for Palumbo, who has run a number of five-second passes in testing as he gets seat time.

“The first time the car took off and the first five-second pass we put down were very emotional for all,” he said. “However the atmosphere has been very supportive from the team, fans and family — it’s incredibly overwhelming.”

Palumbo and the rest of the ACDelco team got a sneak peek at the Dragway at The Bend early this year during a promotional event. The brand new venue with state-of-the-art technology throughout has everyone excited about what is to come for drag racing in South Australia and the nation as a whole.

“The place is amazing. The whole team is very excited to see what the facility has to offer. We plan to be at all eight rounds of the ATDC this season and to win as a rookie would be unbelievable.”

The ATDC will launch with qualifying on Saturday, October 21 and racing on Sunday, October 22, in front of sold-out grandstands. Fans can still purchase general admission tickets and they can also watch live on 7Plus around the country. For more information, check out thebend.com.au and nationaldragracing.com.au