Mark Busscher – Drag Challenge profile

Mark ‘Bushy’ Busscher landed his first win in the Carnage Outlaw Aspirated class at Drag Challenge 2019 behind the wheel of his matte-black HQ One Tonner, edging out Daniel Cassar’s ’33 Ford coupe

Photographers: Shaun Tanner, Luke Hunter, Chris Thorogood

Bushy made his first tilt at Drag Challenge back in 2016, campaigning an 11-second Adventra with problematic AWD gear. The Holden’s eccentric cross-track system proved to be more trouble than it was worth, spontaneously applying brakes and retarding timing when it detected wheelspin.

After several mangled transfer cases and worn rotors, Bushy yanked the Adventra’s 416ci LS3-based donk and transplanted it into the Tonner.

Slashing the Adventra’s best ET by a whole two seconds, the change proved enough for Bushy to take runner-up spot in Outlaw Aspirated behind Daniel Cassar in 2018. This time around, he turned the tables, taking the class win by under a second.

The Tonner’s Bushy-built powerplant is fed by a five-circuit Ray Edwards carb, sitting atop CID’s smallest available manifold. Bushy has stuck with factory heads, ported in-house. Since last year’s Drag Challenge, he’s dropped in some new pistons and upped compression to 15.9:1. ETS race fuel is the engine’s tipple of choice.

In a field of cars with massive cubes, a 416ci LS is almost diminutive. However, the sheer reliability of the Tonner’s overbuilt drivetrain shone through on the endurance side of Drag Challenge.

Best described as bulletproof, the transmission is a top-of-the-line Rossler Pro-Mod TH400. A “hamburger with the lot”, according to Bushy, it will comfortably take up to 5500 horses. Built by Mark Williams, the diff features 40-spline axles, 4.22 gears and a diff pump. With 746hp dynoed at the wheels, the Tonner is a safe bet, with Bushy barely taking a spanner to it over the entire gruelling week.

“I was really worried about fuel consumption going in, but we worked out a really good tune for the road,” he said. “It got 18 litres to the hundred, which is better than my bloody tow car!”

‘To finish first, you must first finish’ is a lesson learnt the hard way by many Drag Challenge racers. Sensibly, Bushy and his team didn’t go crazy chasing PBs, though he did crank things up later in the week. “On Wednesday we decided we wanted to try and win by a second; we ended up with a 0.955sec margin, so that was pretty good.”

An endurance-engine builder by trade, Bushy is still considering dropping his ‘good’ motor into the car. “It’s all been built to take 1500hp,” he said.

“But I’ve achieved what I wanted, which was to win Outlaw Aspirated, so if I come back I might do a nitrous one.”


Class: Carnage Outlaw Aspirated

Engine: 416ci LS3
Intake: RayJE carb, CID intake
Trans: Rossler Pro-Mod TH400
Diff: Competition Engineering, 4.22:1 gears
Power: 746hp
Previous PB: 9.73@136mph
Best DC 2019 Pass: 9.79@133mph