Simo’s super seven – Drag Challenge Weekend 2020

Our Queensland correspondent Simon Major selects seven of his faves from the many and varied rides at DCW 2020



Class: Haltech Radial Blown

MOPAR in body and GM in soul, Daniel Ward’s budget-built VG Valiant sedan packs a cast-iron LM7 5.3-litre LS for power, backed by a Powerglide trans and 3.5-geared Ford Explorer diff. “It’s a stock bottom end with a cam-and-springs change to suit the turbo set-up,” said Murwillumbah-based Daniel.

“It ran its first ever nine on Friday with a 9.91@139mph, but the boost limiter cut in at half-track, which dropped it back from 25psi to only 8psi. It felt like a snatch strap had been tied to the back of it,” Daniel laughed. Smoking the tyres at the 60 on the Warwick eighth kept times to a 6.49@115mph best, but the Day Three full-quarter 9.51@145mph is the Val’s best to date.


Class: Carnage Dial Your Own

HEAVY hauling was the order of the weekend for Todd Jones and his beautiful Candy Apple Red ’64 Bel Air. Tipping the scales at 3880lb, the Chev has the grunt to match, with 632 cubes of PULP 98 big-block power matched to a Powerglide and 3.7-geared, full-floating nine-inch.

A fuel pump-impaired 11.27@103mph set the tone for Todd on Friday, who backed that up with a 7.40 at Warwick before rounding out the weekend with an 11.50@125mph on Sunday.

“The ’64 was built as a small block-powered show car by my father-in-law, Peter Guthrie, 20 years ago, and has morphed into being the perfect street-and-strip runner for my family and me,” Todd said. “I had a flat tyre when we left Willowbank on Friday, but apart from that it’s been trouble-free. An awesome adventure!”


Class: Carnage Dial Your Own

MARYBOROUGH’S Jye Core was the last man standing of a four-car DCW Mopar crew, and was keen to lay down a solid number in his VG Safari wagon. “It has been a serious last-minute thrash to get the car here,” Jye said. “We left for Willowbank at 4am on Monday and still had a list of jobs to do here at the track.”

The 540-cube Mopar big-block pushed the wagon to a tentative 10.80@127mph on Friday and a 6.97@100mph for the Warwick eighth, while Jye wrapped up his official proceedings back at Willowbank with a 10.94@116mph.

“There’s a 150-shot in the wings, and the current 727 Torqueflite and Gazzard-equipped nine-inch has been built to suit,” Jai said. “I’ve been pretty conscious of its lack of tech, but I’m keen to get that sorted and really see what it can do. The car ran faultlessly all weekend, and even with any of our mates’ car dramas, it’s been an awesome weekend; we supported the back-road Queensland pubs all the way!”


Class: Carnage Dial Your Own

SECOND-generation Camaros – like Bruce Tranent’s gorgeous red example – cut an awesome profile both on the street and the track. The current twin-turbo 350 is the third small-block incarnation in Bruce’s 13 years of ownership, and DCW was the Camaro’s first outing since being back on the road.

“It’s been a serious learning curve for both the road and race sides of the event,” Bruce said. “I ran a 12.15@122mph on Friday with the converter limiting available boost off the line, while a 7.72@100mph was its best over the eighth. Sunday it struggled with a 12.47@123mph, so we’ll head back home to Rocky and sort it, so hopefully there’s still more to come.

“We’ll definitely be back, but next time I will be towing a trailer for sure – the suspension in this thing is way too soft to be loaded to the hilt for the road legs.”


Class: Pacemaker Radial Aspirated

GOOD looks and a great personality are the best descriptors for Tom Hastings’s ’55 Cusso, which packs 572 cubes of stroker 460 Ford big-block. A C6 with a 4500 stall and 3.7-geared nine-inch pushed the 4200lb beast to a 11.07@124mph best in the Pacemaker Radial Aspirated class on Friday, backed up with a single-pass 7.49@76mph Warwick eighth on Saturday and a heat-soaked 11.32@107mph back at Willowbank for Sunday.

“I’ll be happy just to get a 10.99 under its belt at some stage.” Tom said.

“The street miles were a cinch, as it’s well sorted and has great street manners – in fact it normally has the kids’ seats in the back!”


Class: Haltech Radial Blown

BOUGHT as a project car back in 2003, Rowan Ellem’s appropriately named ‘Grimace’ purple 1967 Coronet has developed into an all-Mopar 440 big-block, 727 Torqueflite and 3.7-geared 8.75-inch combo.

Running in the Haltech Radial Blown class, Rowan was kneecapped by nitrous solenoid issues, but he continued to enjoy his weekend by pushing the big Dodge to consistent 11.22s on the Willowbank quarter and a 7.19@96mph best at Warwick on Saturday.

“The road drives are half the fun and made up for any track disappointment,” Rowan said. “It drove mint at 105km/h with the temp steady on 170 degrees; you can’t ask for more than that.”


Class: Carnage Dial Your Own

BRISBANE’S Malcolm McIntosh was back for another DCW attempt, keen to get some consistency out of his 408-cube stroker small-block VE Valiant Safari in the Carnage DYO class.

Low 11s at Willowbank and a 7.19@95mph for Warwick were a little off the car’s normal high-10-second pace for the full quarter, but the black wagon cruised the road stretches with ease, only battling with the heat at the track.

“I’ve been playing with underbonnet sealing and improved ventilation, so I’ll keep tinkering and try and find its happy place,” Mal said.