Clinton Kelly’s eight-second HT Holden Premier primed for Drag Challenge

We have a quick chat to Drag Challenge returnee Clinton Kelly about how he plans to tackle this year's event in his eight-second HT Premier


Clinton Kelly is lining up for his second crack at Street Machine Drag Challenge in October in his ballsy HT Premier, so we caught up with him to find out more about the angry Holden and his goals for this year’s event.

Have you always been a Holden man?

Yeah, pretty well. I had an EH as my first car. I then started messing around with V6 Commodores, and I had both a supercharged L67 and a turbo V6 in my VR ute at different stages. I grew up around building cars; Dad and I have been doing it since I was young.

How did the HT come about?

It was a six-cylinder car we heard about through a friend of a friend, and I was starting to think about doing Drag Challenge, so we went and grabbed it. I got it on the road and engineered it with a basic LS, and then we put the Dart package in it that it has now.

It looks pretty serious!

It’s a 427 with a Callies crank, Oliver rods and all the good stuff. It’s running a pair of Precision turbos and Holley Dominator ECU. I don’t know what power it makes; we’ve actually never had it on a dyno, but it’s already run an 8.5 PB on only 19psi, so it’s plenty.

What’s the rest of the driveline?

It’s got a Powerglide and a sheet-metal nine-inch diff. We tubbed the car at home with help from some good mates, so it’s running a 275 radial. We built most of the car at home; I wired the whole lot myself. It took around five years to get it ready for Drag Challenge with the current set-up.

How did last year’s event go for you?

Pretty good overall, It was our first Drag Challenge. We did hit some trouble when both of our front-runner wheels shattered on the drive up to Mildura. We luckily managed to get some replacements to continue the week, but I’m running a fresh set of Billet Specialties wheels this time so we don’t have that issue again!

Whereabouts did you finish at the end of the week?

We got sixth in our class (Haltech Radial Blown) and eleventh overall, so it was a pretty cool result for a first attempt.

What’s your plans for this year’s event?

We’ve got flex-fuel for this year, because doing the whole lot last year on just E85 was a bit of a struggle. We’ve entered the new 8.50 index class, so we’ll be aiming to get as close to that [as possible] throughout the week. The car is probably capable of getting into the sevens eventually, but I can only go as quick as 8.0 with the bolt-in sections of ’cage it has right now, so the 8.50 class will suit it perfectly.

And finally, did you choose the paint colour on the car?

No actually, it came in that colour when I got it. It’s apparently a Holden Poison Ivy colour. It’s good enough where the car looks half-decent, but not so much that I can’t use it for things like Drag Challenge.