Tough street cars at South Coast Raceway

Tough street cars flock to South Coast Raceway as Victoria’s drag racing drought finally breaks

Photographers: Shaun Tanner

2020 WAS a tough year for Aussie drag racing fans, with many big events being cancelled and few opportunities for racers to even test their cars let alone race them. So far, 2021 is serving up a mixed bag, and will mostly likely continue to do so until a COVID vaccine is successfully rolled out across the country.

In Queensland, Willowbank Raceway was forced to cancel its New Year’s Shootout event due to the three-day lockdown in that state – a bitter blow for a track that has been doing it tough.

Warwick Dragway had much more positive news, with the announcement of a $1.9 million grant to help fund an extensive upgrade. The eight-mile track will be extended to a full quarter, timing boards will be installed, as well as other improvements. Work is set to start this month and is expected to be completed by mid-year.

Photos: Shaun Tanner

In Victoria, 2021 is already looking up, with South Coast Raceway running a well-subscribed test ‘n’ tune last weekend. An array of toughies turned up to have a crack, including a bunch of Drag Challenge veterans and some killer Street Machine feature cars.

The next meeting at Portland will be another test ‘n’ tune on 22 January, followed by the South Coast 660, 23-24 January – and we’ll be there with the Carnage Trolvo! This will be our first opportunity to race the turbo 1JZ-powered Volvo, which recently received a TH400 gearbox upgrade. With 289kW at the wheels and stock suspension, it should be a lot of fun!

portland south coastThings are also cranking up at Heathcote Park Raceway, with new owner Lance Warren booking in a stack of street-style events, including No Excuses on 21 February, King of the Streets from 6-7 March, Holden Nationals on 27 March and Buznats on 10 April.

Hot conditions in Portland prevented the radial racing crew from putting down representative times at last weekend’s test ‘n’ tune, but most were just happy to be racing again and having some fun. Here are a few that caught our eye:

Terry Pyle’s stunning ’34 coupe is featured in the January issue of SM. Powered by a Tim Holmyard-built 427-cube LS7, the rod has plenty of stonk and ran a best of 6.7 seconds at 107mph. With some more traction and the nitrous switched on, the ’34 will be a weapon!

Red CentreNATS 2019 Grand Champion Brent Murray says he blew the tyres off his EVL68 Dodge Dart, but enjoyed getting his car out for some action. His PB so far from the blown 440-powered coupe is 6.0 seconds at 117mph.

The fastest radial car on the day was Luke Foley’s VH Commodore, with a best of 5.6 seconds at 124mph. Luke’s current PBs are 5.1 seconds over the eighth-mile and 7.92@176mph over the quarter – set at Drag Challenge 2019. Since then the VH has copped new front suspension and bigger turbos.

Mark Drew had the Crusty Torana out for a run, fresh from making a stomping 1865hp at the hubs at 41psi with its new Dandy Engines-built 400ci LS running on methanol.

Jason Winnen’s stick-shift, Procharged big-block powered ’63 Impala set a new PB to the tune of 6.3-seconds.