Ronnie Palumbo has admitted he's nervous heading into this weekend's grand opening event at The Bend Dragway.
For the Sydney rookie, the event marks a full circle in his drag racing career as he prepares for his debut in Doorslammer this weekend.
“I'd love to say it's just excitement, but there are definitely nerves there now that there will be a car alongside me,” he said.
“The nerves will all go away once the car fires up though.”
Palumbo is an experienced sportsman racer, rising from the ranks of Junior Dragster through to top sportsman, but the difference is “Chalk and Cheese” compared to the Doorslammer.
“The burnout is okay, but it's the top end where you really notice the difference – this thing is screaming, it's unbelievable,” he said.
Palumbo has already checked off a milestone with his first five-second pass in pre-event testing at Sydney Dragway.
“We ran a 5.98 at 238mph, but it was really de-tuned quite significantly, but now we are fully licenced and ready to rock and roll.”
He admits there the return to the track of the ACDelco Pro Slammer owned by Maurice Fabietti will be an emotional one this weekend, but is determined to put on a show that would make the late Sam Fenech proud.
“One hundred percent it is weighing on my mind, Sam and his family – it's a constant thought in my head.
“Bet we are going to go out there and do the best we can for him, keep the car safe and hopefully bring home a trophy at the end of the weekend.
“It's my first event, and as much as I'd love to go out there and set the world on fire, my main goal is to keep it off the walls and bring it home safe for Chevy, ACDelco and really say thanks to the crowd for the support.
“Driving for a guy like Fab, it's incredible.
“When I was a kid, I looked up to the Doorslammer drivers and thought to myself ‘that's awesome'- to now I'm walking around the pits as one of them.”
One thing admits needs some work on is his autograph skills.
“It still looks like bad handwriting from school- I really have to work on it,” he added.
The Springnationals at the Dragway at the Bend gets underway today, with racing across the weekend as part of round one of the NDRC series.