Drag Week hits the halfway mark, and the competition is heating up

Photographers: Povi Pullinen, Nathan Jacobs

WE’RE now just past the midway point of Hot Rod Drag Week 2016, and competition on Day Three at US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan was as full-on as ever. ETs were pushed lower than they’ve ever been and over 2000 punters came down to watch the quarter-mile fury.

Jeff Lutz Camaro Drag WeekRipper track facilities, a spot of cool air in the morning and a monster effort from a lot of heavy-hitters set up the Drag Week hump day to be more of a winner than a binner. Our Aussie battlers must’ve had an extra Weet-Bix in the morning, as all remaining teams from Down Under came out of the day with a good result.

Chevelle Aussie Drag Week 2After pulling apart the diff and wrenching late into the night in Ohio yesterday, the Aussie Chevelle boys clawed back a couple of hours’ sleep before hitting the track. Their first pass was an 11.54, but only because Harry Haig shallow-staged the car, which rocked back out of the beams when he hit the transbrake and broke the beam to start the timer. The ECU datalogger showed a pass of 8.70, according to tuning master Terry Seng.

Chevelle Aussie Drag Week 1Not to be defeated, they worked in a second pass at 8.90@158mph, officially recognised this time. This means Stevo the SS Chevelle has a high-eight-second average after three days of competition – not bad for a field car! The lads are currently in fifth position, and only 0.4sec away from the top spot in Street Race Big Block Power Adder. Tomorrow will be crucial for the Chevelle to keep the top competitors sweating.

HQ Monaro Drag Week 2Greg Trapnell and crew continue to improve with the Monaro. The purple Quey carried the front left wheel over 200ft when Greg clocked a 9.22@152mph, which shows that their constant tinkering with the injector-fed nitrous system is paying off. The alternator crapped out at the track, but the team managed to source a new one with help from fellow Aussie Brian Jensen.

Holden LX Torana Hatch Drag Week 2Brian and wife Dianne are now out of contention for the year after spinning a bearing in their Torana yesterday, and but are still going to follow the action until the finish before sending the car home to be fixed once they’re back on Aussie soil.

Holden LX Torana Hatch Drag Week 1Brian had his day made when Aussie expat Wes Gates stopped by in – believe it or not – another LX Torana. He’s a Michigan local now, and heard there was a bunch of Australian teams racing at US 131 for Drag Week, so he took the day off work and drove down to say g’day. Wes has a whole stable of homegrown cars, including an HQ Monaro and an EH Holden Special. The locals were definitely scratching their heads at this pair of Torries!

John Faraone did not have a wink of sleep last night after pulling a head and replacing a torched gasket at Summit Motorsports Park yesterday arvo. He reckons the ECU had a faulty injector driver, so that too was swapped out for a freshie. He was one of the last into the staging lanes today, and took the option of a safe pass to break the beam and stay in the competition rather than go for a banzai run. He’ll give the car a solid look-over before resting up for racing at Lucas Oil Raceway tomorrow in Indianapolis. John went well at Indy last year, so things could be looking up for the hard-working Drag Week vet.

Chevy Camaro Drag Week 1Brenton Gault proved that his ’69 Camaro is a well-oiled machine by making another mid-nine, with a 9.75@138mph. The ultra-consistent Gault team even managed a sliver of air under the front wheels on the pass, and they were one-and-done again, setting off on the road course well before stumps.

Jeff Lutz Camaro Drag Week 1In other news, Jeff Lutz is charging harder than ever. After losing a strut, brake and wheel assembly on the highway, the front of the Pro Mod Camaro was looking to be immovable, however a bit of mismatched kit was bolted up and on he carried to make it to US 131. Working on the car all day, he nearly got his tail caught in the door as the staging crew prepared to shut the lanes for the day, but with the pressure on to make his one and only pass, he sent everyone reeling rather than playing it safe. A stonking 6.10@243mph meant he’d hit the quickest-ever pass recorded in Drag Week! Lutz’s performance could only mean one thing – he’s chasing that five.