TODD Foley’s VH Commodore mastered the Tuff Mounts 235 Blown class for Drag Challenge 2019, with a 34.787sec cumulative ET – nearly half a second over his nearest class rival Dominic Pelle. Todd made the win look easy, but it was the result of experience as much as good prep. The VH runs a supercharged, nitrous-huffing 403ci LS built by Todd’s brother (and Haltech Radial Blown third-placegetter) Luke. Each day during Drag Challenge, Todd changed his rear springs (a 10-minute task) because of the weight his Commodore was carrying – yep, Todd was a ‘no trailer’ participant for extra legend points!
Dominic Pelle kept Todd honest though, nipping at his heels all week in his E85-fed turbo LS-powered ’79 Sigma, which he drove down from Sydney (and home again). Dom was a hair’s breadth in front of the class after Monday’s racing, and remained at the pointy end all week, despite having limited ability to tweak his car. He finished the week with a very respectable 35.26sec cumulative time.
After working hard to overcome the three-pronged challenge of a peaky turbo motor and small tyre under a full-weight car (his famous L33-powered POR440 VG Valiant), Mark Arblaster then had the face-slap of a turbo problem later in the week. A replacement turbo was air-freighted from Sydney to Portland – but was the wrong one. Bummer! In the end, the old hairdryer survived long enough to secure Mark a third-place spot in Tuff Mounts 235 Blown, with a cumulative time of 36.862sec.
Just missing out on a podium spot was Dan Barbary, who put up a good battle all week in his Chrysler Centura, finishing with a 37.219sec combined ET. Largely self-built (Dan machined the hubs for the Falcon front disc conversion, made the turbo manifold and soldered his MegaSquirt EFI) he arrived this year with the Centura ’caged, teched and ticked for single-digit numbers. That was achieved, but the meth-burning turbo LS-powered ride wasn’t quite as fast or as quick as the top three, something Dan will no doubt work on for next year!
Stephen Micallef has attended Drag Challenge three times in a tough nine-second aspirated Holden One Tonner, but this white HT Monaro was new for the 2019 event. The Monaro boogies down the quarter thanks to an LS V8 transplant – yes, another one! – lifted from a dead VY Commodore. It’s boosted by a cheapie turbo, and Stephen gave the engine a new cam and gapped the original rings to suit the boost. “I reuse the bearing shells,” he laughed of his quickie rebuild. It twists a Shift Right-built TH350 and Truetrac-filled nine-inch diff. Stephen finished the week ninth in class.
Twelfth-placed Matt Carpenter’s tasty black XP Falcon is powered by a 347ci stroker Windsor small-block. The carb-fed, alloy-headed and nitrous-assisted strip regular has around 315hp at its Gazzard mono leaf-suspended rear axle. “If I can survive the week I will be stoked!” Matt said on Monday. Sure enough, he made it back to Calder in one piece on Friday. “I’ll definitely be back!” Matt said after completing his first Drag Challenge event. “It was awesome! And the blokes who were with me want to run something next year, too.”
TUFF MOUNTS 235 BLOWN