Video: Drag Challenge day two

A killer day two Drag Challenge video from Mildura's Sunset Strip


The second day of Street Machine Drag Challenge 2023 finds us at the lovely Sunset Strip just outside Mildura on a balmy 30-plus degree day, with the pace on track just as hot as the weather.

Leading the pack once again was Mark Drew’s crusty LH Torana. For the first time in Drag Challenge history, his car has run a consecutive pair of four second passes. The best of those was a 4.92@95mph, retaining his lead in both Haltech Radial Blown and overall.

Mark Whitla in the Tassie Capri had another interesting day to the least. The big-block machine fought the crew with wastegate issues, a dead injector and then a fire in the boot on the return road. They’re still in the the hunt though, being the only other car to run a four with an 4.93@148mph to stay on top in Turbosmart Outlaw blown and second overall.

Brandon Zito in the LC Torana was on a mission for a Four Second Club hat. He didn’t quite get there, coming around long after many of the top dogs had left, but forced to hand in a best of 5.16@141mph after battling traction issues later in the day. He’s third overall and second in Haltech Radial Blown.

Another green Torana that scored a low five was Chris Kaarsberg’s LX sedan, stopping the clocks with a 5.1-second pass – side-by-side with fellow Queenslander Shane Baker. Surely one of the fastest side-by-side passes in DC history!

Alon Vella added more authority to his lead of the Pacemaker Radial Aspirated class, sticking down a 5.29@97mph before hitting the road. Second place in class still belongs to Tony Di Biagio and the TDR Engines XY Fairmont, who handed in an 6.11@110mph

The battle in 235 Aspirated is still a bloody close one, Donnie Zurcas in the Mk1 Capri narrowly leading Louis Younis’s black LX Torana. A 6.15 from Donnie beat a 6.21 from Louis, leaving just 0.048 between the two cars heading into Day Three.

Emanuel Debrincat’s RB-powered VL Calais leads the Speed Pro Six Cylinder class, turning in a 5.49@133mph today. In second place is Warick Meldrum’s Barra-powered VF Valiant, sitting 0.58 behind the VL after Day Two.

After just one day of drag and drive action, the casualty list had already taken some big name victims. One of those was top runner Luke Foley, who found himself with a rattly motor on the road from Tailem Bend to Mildura.

A quick look with the borescope found pitting in the cylinder, so Luke opted to call it on his week to save hurting the engine further.

Trent Blainey’s WALKE VL was another big out overnight, the car suffering from a transmission pump seal drama. Trent opted out of official competition to get the car towed to Melbourne, but plans to have it fixed and back to run at Heathcote tomorrow.

Matt Murphy and his orange HQ could be in early contention for the Hard Luck award. After breaking his back getting a new aspo big-block combo into the big ‘Q and ready for DC, the transmission grenaded itself before he could even get into the staging lanes at Tailem Bend yesterday.

Chris Imlach’s turbo-LS Chevy Nova found itself in trouble today as well. While he got a pass in, the torque converter was hurt before he hit the road to Heathcote. Adding to that pain was a turbo failure, but word is Chris has made it down south and is working on a solution for a new hairdryer.

Jason Waye’s Barra-swapped Foxbody Mustang caused he and the MPW Performance crew some grief. A bad batch of fuel caused lead to a dead injector, and once that was fixed the car then killed two rockers at the track. the MPW crew managed to sort one from local shop CSV in Mildura, getting a 6.02.

We’ll be back racing this time at Heathcote Park Raceway from 9am tomorrow, with three more days of drag ‘n’ drive torture still to come.