GT’s Top 10 – Drag Challenge Weekend 2020

Glenn Torrens picks 10 favourites from Drag Challenge Weekend so far


LONG-serving Street Machine journo Glenn Torrens loves nothing more than sussing out the coolest cars at events like Summernats and Drag Challenge, and he’s come up with another crop of gold from DCW 2020. Here are 10 of his faves, drawn mostly from the wonderfully varied Carnage Dial Your Own class.


Class: Carnage Dial Your Own

DANNY Gathercole’s big-bertha Holden GTS sedan is pure 1970s Australiana, but it moves thanks to a stroked 406ci Dart-based Chevy small-block with twin intercooled Precision 6466 turbos.

Danny reckons the HZ wasn’t built to race and that it’s just a quick street car, with a PB of 9.14 seconds. It started Drag Challenge Weekend with a 9.95@145mph at Willowbank and followed that up with a 6.39@114mph at Warwick.


Class: Carnage Dial Your Own

THERE has been a good scattering of old Australian monsters at Drag Challenges past, and Stewart Walsh’s HK carries on that excellence.

Packing old-school tech with a 450rwhp, Holley-fed 355ci Chev, driver Dan Case put the cool green machine down the Willowbank quarter with a 12.17@111mph, and got fairly close to his dial-in with a 7.81@88mph at Warwick on Saturday.


Class: Carnage Dial Your Own

IPSWICH local Brett McIlveen has been a regular at Queensland events in the past, but hasn’t done much racing in the past two years, which might be why he was so happy this weekend to be piloting his Chev-powered HQ GTS. “Damn, this is fun!” he beamed on Saturday. And that was despite having a tyre blowout on the way to Warwick. The 383/TH400/nine-inch combo has been in the car seven years and produced a 12.67@106mph at Willowbank and 8.11@85mph at Warwick.


Class: Carnage Dial Your Own

JASON Meares is making up for lost time. Last year his freshly-built Barra-powered Commodore was out on the first day when it munched a motor.

This year’s SWC Automotive-built Barra has 500hp at the hubs and has run a best of 10.0 in testing, but no ’cage means the Haltech-managed wagon runs a set-and-forget soft tune at DCW for 12.04@108mph at Willowbank and 7.74@98mph at Warwick.


Class: Carnage Dial Your Own

YOU can’t help but smile at Brendon Burnett’s bug. The tatty exterior is the result of a couple of decades in a shed on a New South Wales farm, but a stretched, Weber carby-fed, 2332cc flat-four VW motor and close-ratio gearbox run this thing down the Willowbank quarter in 12.23@108mph.

Brendon clocked a 7.85@87mph on the Warwick eighth-mile to be within 0.0153sec of his dial-in time.


Class: Carnage Dial Your Own

JOSEPH Freire bought this ’85 Cressida in 1997, and very quickly an ex-Supra engine was installed to create a fun street/track car. There has been lots of development since then, but the present ‘1.5J’ combination of a 2J 3.0-litre bottom end and 1J head, decent Precision turbo, transbraked A340 Toyota auto and ex-Nissan 300ZX diff had it running 11.2 on Day One.

One of his brand-new billet stub axles broke on the second pass at Warwick’s eighth, but Joseph managed to fit a stocko spare and get back to Willowbank.


Class: Tuff Mounts 235 Aspirated

“IS THERE a class for an all-Holden driveline?” asked Peter Gibbs as he eagerly lifted the bonnet of his time-warp VK Holden Berlina. The 383 Holden mill runs a set of Dash 9 alloy heads, a Harrop high-rise intake and a Pro Systems carby.

A Victory Transmissions-built Trimatic and a Truetrac-ed, VK-spec BorgWarner round out the driveline. Peter had a 355 in the car for DC 2018, but his new and largely untested 383 combo carded at 10.87@122mph at Willowbank and 6.96@100mph over the Warwick eighth.


Class: Carnage Dial Your Own

MIKE McMullen bought this gorgeous Valiant last year as an almost completed streeter and installed a Kevin Kent Racing-built, Scat 408-stroked 360 with alloy Indy heads and a Ray Edwards carb. Backed by a 727 Torqueflite and 3.55-cogged nine-inch, it puts out around 400hp at the wheels.

Mike started DCW 2020 with an 11.32@120mph at Willowbank, followed by a 7.36@95mph on Warwick’s eighth-mile.


Class: Carnage Dial Your Own

AFTER spectating at Drag Challenge 2018 in Victoria, Nathan Gardner was hooked and bought this bright orange HG ute. Nathan did a top-end overhaul on the 383 Chev-powered streeter and drove away from Day One at Willowbank with a 12.11@111mph.

On Warwick’s shorter strip, he laid down a 7.86, which was a little away from his dial-in, but, as he said: “We’re here having fun and that’s all that matters!”


Class: Carnage Dial Your Own

ALYSHA Teale is the only person to have participated in every Drag Challenge and DC Weekend event, and she’s having a blinder so far at DCW 2020.

On Friday at Willowbank she dialled in an 11.31, and after posting a 7.27 at Warwick, she arrived back at Willowbank in second place in the hotly contested DYO class, which is won or lost by thousandths of a second.