Video: Drag Challenge Weekend Victoria 2022 Tech Day

All the highlights from the sign-in and test day for our first Victorian edition of Drag Challenge Weekend

Photographers: Chris Thorogood, Shaun Tanner
Videographers: Mark Boxer

For 2022 our shortened Drag Challenge Weekend event hits Victoria for the first time, kicking off with the sign-in and scrutineering day on Thursday at Heathcote Park Raceway.

We’ve got 150 entrants lining up in eight classes, with the SpeedPro Six Cylinder and Vibrant Performance DYO classes showing the biggest populations.

Benny Neal from Benny’s Custom Works also organised a small test day for DCW competitors looking to give their cars once last hit down the track before the real deal competition kicks off back at Heathcote this morning from 9am.

Here’s a quick slice of some of the cars that caught our eye as they came through scrutineering yesterday, and we can’t wait to see them all hit the track in anger today.

Joe Ordon’s epic 2400hp EVIL GQ Patrol sailed through its safety checks on Day Zero before its big debut on Day One in Turbosmart Outlaw Blown. “Drag and drive was always the goal for the car from the very outset, but I’m from an off-road racing background so I’ve not only never raced the GQ, I’ve never raced at a track before!” laughs Joe. “If I do a 12 I’ll be stoked, I have zero expectations.”

This ’71 LC was a three-year labour of love for Anthony Fortunato, who built it at home in his garage. Running a 220ci Red six the street combo rocks a J.Zed cylinder head and EFI, Trimatic and nine-inch. The GTR tribute will be running in Vibrant Performance DYO this weekend.

One of the neatest Barra-swapped 90s Falcons we spied in scrutineering was Peter Dabelic’s EL, running in the Speed Pro Six Cylinder class. With a 72mm Borgey, Haltech Pro Plug-in ECU and a four-litre Barra spinning upgraded pistons and rods the Fairmont Ghia has run a PB of 11.6 @133mph but now sports an upgraded ZF ‘box and diff, as Peter aims for the nines.

We last saw Gino Aiello at Drag Challenge in his epic blown LSX454-powered 1970 Chevelle SS, but for 2022 he’s brought his Magnuson 2650-blown 2019 Camaro along. Having already run a PB of 9.70 @146mph the Gen V LT1 wears upgraded heads and cam, Interchiller, a tuned 10-speed auto, chromoly tailshaft and 15-inch drag wheels and tyres. Gino is gunning for the eights, eventually.

Benny Neal brought his eight-second Toyota Cresta along with Ben Paganoni’s Barra-powered Fox body Mustang, and spent the afternoon of Day Zero on the strip running laps. He was chasing some set-up info having swapped his 3.2 gears for a set of 3.5s to help his convertor, and was happy with how the car was going ahead of defending his Speed Pro Six Cylinder class win from DCW 2020.

Drag Challenge veteran John Kerr wasn’t going to enter DCW22, but had a change of heart when he saw the merch for the event featured his awesome ’64 Mercury Comet. “I would never have expected that because it isn’t as well-known as a Holden or Ford!” said John

As we mentioned action kicks off at Heathcote from 9am today, with spectator tickets just $25 and kids 14 and under free. If you can’t make it out today then we’ll be back at Heathcote again on Sunday for the final day, but not before a roadtrip to Mildura’s eighth-mile Sunset Strip tonight for some ripper half track racing tomorrow. See you there!