Paul Drew’s LS2-powered 1971 Toyota HJ45 Land Cruiser

Geelong auto wrecker Paul Drew grew up with Speedway in his blood and is one of the founders of #keepitoffthestreets Sunday skid comp at the family-owned Avalon Raceway


PAUL Drew owns Garden City Auto Wreckers in the Geelong suburb of Norlane. His family has owned and run Avalon Raceway since 1976, so Paul pretty much grew up at the speedway track, and for the past 10 years he has raced wingless open-wheel sprintcars throughout Victoria.

He’s also into burnouts. Along with Aaron Mackley, he is one of the founders/promoters of Tread Cemetery and the Sunday skid comp #keepitoffthestreets held at Avalon Raceway. #keepitoffthestreets is more an informal Sunday get-together than a burnout comp. Open to anybody, the idea is to give young people an off-street venue to smash a few tyres, rather than on public roads.

Being a wrecker, you must have some cool old steel.

I sold most of my old steel cars! The last one was an HT wagon, which went last year. I do have a couple of Humber Super Snipes [laughs]. One is going to receive a turbo Barra motor and the other project will be a gasser, which we’ll use to go racing with Damien Kemp.

You have a cool burnout car!

I found the Land Cruiser through work down in Anglesea. It’s a 1971 HJ45 Cruiser sitting on a HQ One Tonner chassis and powered by a six-litre LS2 with tunnel ram, Powerglide and Dominator converter.

Does having a family who owns a speedway track makes the process of running a comp easier?

In the end, Aaron and I hire the venue. For the comps, we organise all our staff, our own insurance and the medics – they are 100 per cent us. The family has been good for advice; I can go to my uncles and ask how do you do this or is there a specific way to do that. They’re always willing to chip in and help. They have so much experience from running the speedway.

What do they think of burnouts?

The family are more into speedway. Last week I had an issue with my burnout car, so my cousin and I went out to the speedway to give it a bit of a test run. He isn’t into burnouts, but after driving my car he could appreciate why the guys are into it. He was impressed with how much power it has. His mindset was back in the old days where you just took out your Commodore or Falcon and just gave it a go. These new cars have easily over 500hp.

What is the future for Tread Cemetery and #keepitoffthestreets?

Where we are now with #keepitoffthestreets is perfect – nice casual Sundays where everyone hangs out. You have the opportunity to get off six or seven sets of tyres; eight sets in a Sunday session is the best so far. Tread Cemetery last year was our best to date. We had 100 cars for the last comp in Sydney; it doesn’t get much better than that. The next level is a Powercruise or Summernats-level event. We also go to other events to see how they are run, and from there we can make our events better. Each pad is different. It’s not just ‘turn up, put your foot down and go’. There’s a lot of skill to getting the car onto the pad and driving.

What do you like about both speedway and burnouts?

Sprintcars are a high-speed pure adrenaline rush. There is a similar rush during a burnout – full noise, top gear and wide open. It’s fantastic.