WITH a touch over half of the 80-strong Street Machine Drag Challenge field choosing to race the Turbosmart Dial-Your-Own bracket, both drivers and their cars need to be bringing their A games to be even a chance of placing high by Sunday. Previous DC events have seen the winning margin as tight as 0.003 of a second!
The DYO class at Drag Challenge works thusly: racers nominate an elapsed timme at the end of day one, then try to match that ET for days two and three. The racer that gets closest is the winner!
By noon it was clear that the competition was going to be hot - DYO stalwart Alysha Teale, drove from Sydney to attend in her black HQ sedan and reeled off a string of 11.30-second passes; a little off her best of 11.11-seconds at 120mph, but super consistent - which is where it counts.
Hot on Alysha’s heels is young-gun Jamie Spiller in his LS1-powered Sigma wagon who ran back to back 12.266s at 114mph. If the 24-year old can keep running that style of freakish passes, it will make him near-impossible to beat by final runs on Sunday.
The run to Warwick was mostly trouble-free for the Turbosmart DYO crowd, however Steve Nightingale has called it quits with a broken transmission in his orange 427ci XA Falcon.
Luke Cullen in his ’68 Camaro is out after he shat a fuel pump. Husband and wife racers Karen and Phil Bawden also struck fuel pump problems in Karen’s big block VF Valiant Hardtop, however Rahim & Kim in their Outlaw Aspirated EVL434 black XD ute stopped to lend a hand and the big Val made it safely to Warwick. Drag Challenge camaraderie runs deep!The couple towed down from Townsville for the event, so we reckon they are due some good karma! In their ten years of ownership the car has progressed from slant six power to a 383 big block stroked to 476 cubes and backed by a 727 Torqueflite and Dana 60 diff running 3.5 gears. “It’s our first Drag Challenge but have raced for many years at the old Townsville strip and Palmyra,” Karen says. “Our best run today was an 11.3-seconds at 117mph, which is a little slower than its usual PB. Now that Palmyra’s been shortened to an eighth-mile strip, we’ve had the chance to race both distances there - which will hopefully help us lock down a suitable dial-in that takes into account both the 1.555 timing adjustment and how we run the car at Warwick for day two."
The variety of cars in DYO is mind-blowing. Witness: this beautifully finished XY Falcon is owned by Matt Britnell. Under the ’66 Mustang bonnet scoop resides a Dart-headed 5.7 LS1 that’s good for 420rwhp and is backed by a Tremec six-speed. With only a handful of runs under Matt’s belt with the car, he is hoping to eventually improve on his first day 12.32 at 113mph best, but a niggly oil pressure switch leak is first on the agenda before hitting Warwick for day two.
Darrin Miller from Toowoomba owns and operates Miller Engines & Mechanical in the Garden City and brought his R32 Skyline out of a four-year slumber especially for DC. “Our business has been really busy lately and this weekend was just the motivation I needed to pull the covers off and test out its latest combo,” Darrin says. “It’s an RB30-26 that runs a forged bottom end and cranked out 850hp at the rear hubs. It’s the first time at the track with this engine and I hope to eventually better its previous RB26 engine that ran an 11.0 at 138mph. An 11.80-second pass best for day one was a great starting point, with a quick detour to the pits to sort a loose centre cartridge on the turbo handled before hitting the road to Warwick. Darrin’s son Lachlan and mates Brad Swales, Brett Jeffreys and Nigel Ryan were all on hand to provide both useful and totally irrelelvent assistance!