565ci big block-powered 1983 Chevy Malibu at Hot Rod Drag Week

Aussie teenager Corty Haig gets ready to campaign an ’83 Chevy Malibu at Drag Week

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

SIXTEEN-year-old Corty Haig is as ready as he’ll ever be to take on Hot Rod Drag Week. The keen teenager will take the wheel of the ’83 Chevy Malibu station wagon owned by his dad, Harry, and raced at last year’s event by Robby Abbott. While Corty has completed three Street Machine Drag Challenges as a passenger in Harry’s Shonky HQ, this is his first time at Drag Week.

“It’s my first time in America; I’ll be driving the wagon with Robby,” said Corty during Sunday’s registration day at Virginia Motorsports Park. “Robby will do most of the street driving I think, and we’ll alternate with the track driving. I just want to finish, have fun, and make some memories.”

Harry bought the wagon a few years ago, and always had the intention of letting Corty have a steer one day. “I said to Robby: ‘You build the engine, I’ll buy the rest of it, and you and Corty can drive it,’” said Harry of the car they call ‘Malibu Stacy’. “I thought it was a good car to buy because, firstly, it was up for auction to raise money for Scotty Taylor from Street Machine’s son, so I thought it was a good thing to do. And secondly, it’s got six seats, so if anyone we know wants to come over and experience Drag Week, they can ride in that.”

The Malibu has been upgraded slightly since last year, when it was powered by a thrown-together combo as the motor the team had intended to use got caught up in a US customs debacle and didn’t make it off the docks in time. Now, that 565ci big-block with a set of Pro2 heads is in the wagon, and expectations are that there might be a mid-10 in it.

Of his pending ‘Father Of The Year’ award, Harry said: “I’m over the moon. I couldn’t wait to bring Corty to Drag Week, but his mum wouldn’t let him until he got older. So we’ve built him a little Corolla back home and he’s been practising. He’s worked pretty hard to get here; he’s earned it. We told him if his schoolwork wasn’t all As he wouldn’t be going anywhere, so he’s been pretty onto it

“To be honest, I care more about seeing him drive and just to experience the event than I do about how fast my car goes. If he can do some runs and experience what we all experience when we come here, that’ll be cool.”

Harry himself will be in the famed twin-turbo ‘Aussie Chevelle’ for the fifth straight year. He finished last year’s Drag Week with an eight-second average and is hoping for similar this time. “It might go a little bit quicker, because we’ve switched the rear gearing to account for the taller tyres we put on last year,” he said. “But I’ll just be happy to be here on Friday and get on the beers.”

STOP PRESS: On day one, the Malibu ran a 10.295-second pass up against Harry in the Chevelle, which ran a 8.687-seconds. This was the team’s one and only run of the day, opting to hit the road.

Sunday was registration and tech day for drivers and vehicles, before racing starts at 8am Monday US time. Stay tuned to the Street Machine website for updates.