The diminutive mother of five made her Top Fuel racing debut way back in 1992 and quickly turned the category on its head as she powered past the established teams to reset both the speed and ET records. That success, along with winning the Calder Park Nationals in 1993, got noticed in the US where Rachelle scored a drive with the Luxor Casino Top Fuel team.
It was with the Luxor team that Rachelle would become the first woman to run 300mph in a Top Fuel dragster, and the last person to score a spot in the Slick 50 300mph Club. Rachelle is the only woman and only Australian on the Slick 50 300mph list, which features the likes of Scott and Connie Kalitta, Eddie Hill, Kenny Bernstein and Don Prudhomme.
A clash with the team’s owner saw Rachelle return to Australia before she had finished the 1994 NHRA season, and she set up her own Top Fuel team here; Rachelle continued to race with plenty of success in Australian Top Fuel until 2000, when she had the first of her five children.
Rachelle did return to racing in 2005 for a while, but elected to concentrate on raising her young family instead. These days Rachelle and her husband Wayne run a successful custom hot rod and bike building business north of Melbourne, and they’ve bought Phil Lamattina’s old championship car with a view to being competitive in Top Fuel again.
You can see Rachelle in person at Motorex Melbourne where the team will be firing up their new dragster, and they plan to hit the track later in the year. We had a chance to talk to Rachelle about her plan to return to drag racing’s pinnacle bracket, and some of her achievements over the past 20+ years.