Daniel Szabolics’s BOLICS twin-turbo big-block HQ Monaro has done it again, running a scorching 6.654-second pass at 214mph at Sydney Dragway.
The crew had a scary moment in the deep end, with the chutes failing to deploy, putting the car into the sand trap and pulling up just meters out from the catch fence.
The new PB was done in Drag Challenge-spec as usual and cements the HQ’s spot as the hot favourite going into Drag Challenge 2022/23.
The story to here:
October 2022: The Szabolics-Marchese racing outfit has fired an ominous warning shot to the rest of the Drag Challenge competition, with Daniel Szabolics piloting his HQ Monaro to an eye-watering PB of 6.78 seconds at 202mph during Kenda testing at Willowbank last night – in Drag Challenge trim on a 275 radial.
With Drag Challenge just a few weeks away, Frank Marchese from Dandy Engines says the test at Kenda was one last chance to dial in the big Quey before the five-day drag-and-drive event. “Ideally, we’d be testing at one of the Drag Challenge tracks [Heathcote and Mildura], but with time running out, we came up here to get a few hits in before the event,” he says.
The biggest difference to the HQ since the last time we profiled it is the powerplant. The old twin-turbo, 632ci big-block Chev is gone, replaced with a fresh 540ci Brodix unit.
“After Drag Challenge 2019, someone wanted to buy the 632 engine,” says Frank. “It was also a lot to manage on a small-tyre car with standard-geometry suspension, so we sold it off and built this 540-cube engine for the car.” The FuelTech FT600 ECU and 94mm turbos were carried over from the previous combo.
The 6.78-second pass is a further improvement on the 6.98@204mph the car ran in Sydney last year, and the scary part is that there’s still a fair bit left on the table.
“On that 6.7 pass, we can see in the datalog that Daniel let off at around the 1000-foot mark, so he didn’t run it out the back door,” Frank says. “The whole point of the test was to get the injectors right for the sparkplug health, because that wasn’t something I wanted to be chasing at Drag Challenge.”
It’s not the only six-second car that will lining up for Drag Challenge though, as Mark Drew’s ‘Crusty’ LH Torana ran a 6.98 at Sydney back in July. Frank’s own XW has a six-second timeslip to its credit as well. Rest assured, there’ll be plenty of hot pace at the top end of the field this year.
You can see all three cars in action at Drag Challenge in just a few weeks, 25-29 October in Victoria.
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October 2020: Daniel Szabolics’s epic twin-turbo big-block HQ Monaro broke the Street Machine Drag Challenge ET and MPH records twice on Day One of DC 2019, knocking out two epic 7.35@197mph passes to pip the previous record set by Frank Marchese at Swan Hill in 2018.
“That was unreal; I’m still shaking a bit,” said Daniel back in the pits after his first pass. “I had to steer it through the top end, as the track was a bit challenging today at 197mph. I think I actually pedalled it, so Frank will probably yell at me once he sees the log.”
Powered by a Dandy Engines-built Dart Big M 632ci tall-deck big-block, the HQ uses twin 94mm Precision Pro Mod turbos to make over 2500hp at the hubs on 28psi, controlled by a FuelTech ECU. Sucking methanol at the track and pump fuel on the street, the 3800lb monster is all steel apart from the fibreglass reverse-cowl bonnet, and retains a full interior.
“I’ve lifted a couple of times today, as the car feels like it’s just going to let loose,” said Daniel. “We have so much more in it, but we just have to take it as it comes.”
The 275 radials out back meant Daniel found himself leading the ultra-competitive Haltech Radial Blown class at the end of Day One, before the long drive to Mildura via Swan Hill rounded out the first day of competition.
Day Two and Three’s Sunset Strip in Mildura and Day Four’s South Coast Raceway in Portland proved to be less fertile hunting grounds for the big silver coupe, with its set-up favouring full-length quarter-mile tracks rather than the half-distance eighth-miles. Still, Daniel put on a hell of a show, running 5.29@134mph on Day Two, 5.17@139mph on Day Three, and 5.58@130mph on Day Four to stay in the lead of Haltech Radial Blown.
Sitting third Overall coming into Day Five at Calder Park, Daniel was keen to push hard and try to overtake Brendan Cherry for second outright. “The weather was just against us, really,” he sighed on Friday. “We’d get the car into stage ready to make a pass; then it would rain and we’d have to wait. That gets the ’box and converter hot, which isn’t a way to run fast times.” The 7.48@189mph he eventually ran was blisteringly quick, but wasn’t quite enough on a day where most blown cars set PB times.
Still, at his first attempt, Daniel finished DC 2019 third Overall and on top of Haltech Radial Blown, scored a Seven-Second Club red hat, took the Quickest ET and Fastest MPH trophies, and got one of the most coveted awards: the Spirit Of Drag Challenge. Giving up a rocker arm to a guy who could ultimately beat you isn’t a ticket to winning many events, but it is a great way to win everyone’s respect, and Daniel gifting Harry Haig a rocker so he could stay in the game shows what a killer event DC is.
“That was unreal,” said Daniel after racing finished on Friday night. “The car has been near-faultless over the week and it has been an amazing time.”
WINNER – HALTECH RADIAL BLOWN
SPIRIT OF DRAG CHALLENGE
1971 HOLDEN HQ MONARO
Class: Haltech Radial Blown
Engine: Dart 632ci big-block
Turbos: Precision 94mm Pro Mod
Transmission: M&M TH400
Converter: M&M bolt-together
Diff: 9in, 3.23:1 gears
Previous PB: 7.37@194mph
Best DC 2019 Pass: 7.35@197mph