Paul Turner – Drag Challenge profile

Paul Turner takes out the super-competitive DYO class with his 11-second HQ - on his first attempt

Photographers: Chris Thorogood, Luke Hunter

THE K&N Dial Your Own class saw a sensationally close finale this year, with the top contenders having to wait until presentations to find out who was the class winner for Drag Challenge 2019. With a mere 0.05228sec split off his 11.396sec dial-in by week’s end, it was ex-competition drag racer Paul Turner in his crisp white LS1-powered HQ sedan who ended up with top billing.

“It feels great to have won,” Paul said. “I was so relieved to get that final run in, and then to find out that we’d won was unbelievable. My kids’ mum passed away 10 years ago on Thursday [Day Four], so that was in the back of my mind to try and get it done for her.”

Paul was talked into his first Drag Challenge outing by son and crew member, Jamie. He was sensibly hesitant as to how things were panning out when we first chatted with him at Mildura on Day Two: “We’ll find out if it’s consistent,” he said at the time. “The formula to eighth-mile doesn’t quite work out, so I’ll be short-shifting it to slow it down.”

And as Paul’s name began to climb further up the DYO list each day, it became evident he was one to watch. On Day Four Paul lapped a whopping 10 passes at Portland, which solidified a third placing coming into Day Five. Not that the pressure got to him, with Paul and Jamie casually crewing on the Calder Park tractor before racing kicked off.

He went out and reeled off a tight 11.373@118mph. “It’s right in the middle of my spread,” Paul enthused Friday evening. Yet he had to wait until trophy time before his class win was confirmed.

Certainly Paul’s racing background helped him tame his HQ into being a consistency monster, yet when it comes to this crazy event, your ride must also be up to the task of chewing up the long road stretches before heading back out on the track to behave exactly as it did on Day One.

“The car is nothing too crazy,” Paul said. “We bought it as-is – on the same weekend that Drag Challenge 2018 started. I’ve since added the TH400.”

The Quey runs a Higgins-headed LS1 fed by ETS Z85 race fuels – top sponsor of his daughter Jess Turner’s dragster. Behind the Mexican Chevy is the aforementioned TH400 with a 3500rpm Dominator stall and a Supa Trik nine-inch packing 3.75s and a full spool. “It was a 12.2sec car before we got it, and our best was 11.25@120mph a few weeks ago, with 4.11 gears. It’s just a baby motor, as I’m reluctant to add a ’cage.

“We had no real issues,” Paul said of the gruelling five-day event. “And we already can’t wait for the next one. Though 12 months is a long time, we have a VK Commodore that we’re building for Jamie with a little tub and ’cage that might run NOS or a twin-turbo LS – who knows?”


Class: K&N Dial Your Own

Engine: LS1
Transmission: TH400
Converter: 3500rpm Dominator
Diff: 9in, full spool, 3.75:1 gears
Power: 405rwhp
Previous PB: 11.25@120mph
Best DC 2019 Pass: 11.37@118mph