Kai McPhee’s turbo LS-powered VC Commodore – Drag Challenge profile

Kai's 5.3-powered VC went toe-to-toe with the big blocks and came away with runner-up spot in Haltech Radial Blown and a place in the 7-second club at Drag Challenge 2019

Photographers: Shaun Tanner, Luke Hunter, Chris Thorogood

KAI ‘Creswick Sausage’ McPhee may well have been down on power compared to the big-inch turbo fat-blocks, but at Drag Challenge 2019 he proved the old adage about the size of the fight in the dog being more important than the size of the dog in the fight.

On Day One he came achingly close to a seven with an 8.08@174mph, but the evening of Day Two Kai really turned on a show. He had the spectators jumping at the fence at Mildura on Tuesday night as he laid down the quickest passes of the day on the rural eighth-mile track. Kai’s Haltech Radial Blown-class turbo 5.3L LS VC Commodore managed to rail a 5.115sec pass to best Brendan Cherry’s big-block, big-tyre Turbosmart Outlaw Blown VL Calais by 0.002sec.

Drag Challenge has been good so far this year,” Kai said at the time. “We’ve done that much testing so we knew it was good on the eighth-mile. We give away a lot of power on the quarter-mile, so the shorter strips suited us better and we made the passes stick.”

The built 5.3 truck LS cops 1185rwhp worth of hurt from a Garrett GTX50 snail, which normally runs 33psi through a Holley EFI set-up, but had a spicier tune in it for Day Two. “We had 37psi in it to get the job done,” Kai said.

With an MDT-built TH400 auto and nine-inch out back running 3.5 gears, Kai has a solid platform to run hard with. He has the times on the board, too, with a 7.91@173mph at Swan Hill along with a 7.97 run at Grudge Kings in Sydney earlier in the year.

“We are looking for fours in Portland if the track is there,” Kai said before Day Four’s racing. “We’d have liked to run a seven at Calder, but I am not sure if we’ll be able to get it done there.”

A 5.274 at Portland was the day’s quickest time of the Radial Blown class, but Kai was stoked to nail a 7.89@175mph on Friday night at Calder Park. This meant the Creswick Sausage finished Drag Challenge 2019 fourth overall, came second in Haltech Radial Blown, and won the Quickest LS-Powered award and a Seven-Second Club red hat.

“I couldn’t have done this without help from a bunch of absolute legends,” said Kai after the awards were handed out. “We had problems lifting heads before Grudge Kings this year, but once we got that sorted we’ve pushed on and made progress.

“We’ve had a lot of help, with Drewy and Shane from Marshall Speed Shop, plus Jeff from Streetbuilt has been helping with our tunes, too. This isn’t a big-dollar or big-power build, but I’ve got that good a team behind me that we have the car sorted and are getting every per cent out of it.”


Class: Haltech Radial Blown

Engine: 5.3L LS
Turbo: Garrett GTX5020R
Transmission: MDT TH400
Converter: PTC billet
Diff: 9in, 3.5:1 gears
Power: 1185rwhp
Previous PB: 7.91@173mph
Best DC 2019 Pass: 7.89@175mph