In Drag RacingFebruary 14, 20239 Minutes

Street Machine Drag Challenge with DC Tuning – Day 1

By dan

Talk about a long wait.

When Dan from DC Tuning asked me back in July 2022 to join his team for Drag Challenge, I was excited.  His words were “VIC, 5 tracks, 5 days camping at the tracks. We have 5 cars, all dialled in at 8.5 or faster, plenty of piss, good food, it will be an awesome week”  My response was “All of the words you’ve just said are my favourite things”.  They were, but then adding photography into this mix, I couldn’t wait.

But wait we did.

In early October, Victoria was hit by an unprecedented volume of rain.  Roads were flooded, houses were lost, towns were evacuated and some of the tracks on the Drag Challenge schedule were damaged beyond an ability to recover for the event and it had to be indefinitely postponed.

Christmas. was. cancelled.

But then... in November came the news that we were back on.  Track lineup had some tweaks and we were looking at racing now in January 2023.

Fast forward >>

2023 came around in no time.  Christmas and New Years were quick to appear, and go… then the next thing on my mental excitement calendar was Drag Challenge.

Chatter on the Messenger group started back up and I could see the team getting their cars prepped.  Testing at Eastern Creek seemed to be a regular event, as did breaking different parts of cars.  Thats ok, weak points identified and replaced: cars now less likely to break?  Maybe

As we got very close to D-Day, Reece’s HJ decided it didn’t want it’s head gasket anymore so TWO DAYS prior to our planned departure date it was out of the car and off to be decked, then re-assembled.  This happened, it started.  Good to go.

Finally, the day had come...

Well, really it was the night before and I was having photographer problems, probably mixed with some mild OCD tendencies.  “What lenses should I bring?  Will I need a monopod?  a tripod? what about a fluid head mount in case I want to do some video?”  What I really should have been asking myself was “The weather is not the same as here, should I bring a jumper?” The answer that that was yes, and to most of the other questions…. no.  In my defence, Mildura was at one point tipped to reach 40 degrees. Luckily, or unluckily that forecast changed significantly before we were to leave.  I’ll explain that a little more later.

Lets Go.

I arrived at Reece's place to see the HJ with it's newly reassembled engine waiting to go on the trailer.  I hadn't seen any of our cars in person before, but I took an instant liking to this one.  I expect that it started as a low budget way to get into drag racing, but that budget quickly went out the window.  All of that budget is in, and under the car leaving the outside really original.

Dan and Reece were running around, going through the Roadkill style to-do list, written on the windscreen.  Their conversation was less about which tripod to bring, and more around spare head gaskets and other "consumable" items that the HJ liked to eat.

Reece's 1974 HJ Kingswood

I asked each of the guys to tell me a little bit about the history of their cars.  They all have a unique story and I love finding out how they came to exist as 1300hp monsters.  Was this always the plan?  Or like me, do you start with “this’ll be enough” and then just not be able to help yourself…

The Kingswood was acquired from West Queensland.  Reece tells me that he was helping a mate’s Dad do up a HJ GTS, who in passing mentioned having another HJ on the farm. Not to let this opportunity pass by, Reece asked how much he wanted for the farm car.  The answer? “Buy me a 1000 horsepower tailshaft, and its yours”

So, Reece did exactly that.

Initially the idea was to make it a budget build pub runner.  Beers + power skids.  Things escalate quickly and next minute it has a roll cage and is tubbed, you know, just in case it is fast.

On its very first pass it ran an 8.50 @ 160mph.  The budget Chinese intercooler was letting the team down, so it was replaced with a water to air setup and twin G42 turbos.

Off to Drag Challenge!


The shopping list:

LS 6.0L

Cast iron block

Twin G42 1450 Turbos

1450 Haltech elite 2500t

Reid Case

Power Glide

9inch diff with 3.5 gears

Time for some travellin'

Back to the trip.

The HJ started.  Good sign!  It was louder than I expected it to be.  Reece drove it up onto the car trailer, attached to Dan’s Navara.  Mitch arrived while this was all happening, introductions were had and we all piled into the Nav which would be our closely confined quarters for the next 10 or so hours… on and off.

Next stop Pheasants Nest to meet up with Whit and Jake.  They should be easy to spot in the old rusty tipper truck towing a silver VT Commodore.  They were.  We found them and continued on our way.  The aforementioned tipper rarely kept to the speed limit, so Whit and Jake eventually dissappeared behind us until we all made it to Albury.

It was raining.  Remember this for later.

Steve from Shiftright was there with his black Maloo ute, along with the extended Sydney crew.

After sorting our rooms and grabbing some dinner we thought it’d be a good idea to scratch off a couple more “to-do’s” on the not quite ready HJ. Lets get the headlights working!  Quick and easy? No.

We spent the remaining daylight hours, and a bunch of the dark ones as well trying to get the headlights working.  Wiring was.... unfinished, which made this endeavor a little harder than it should have been.

Eventually, as the rain continued to pour in we got the lights sorted and all working via the Haltech control panel.  Scrutineering was tomorrow at Heathcote, and we had a long trip ahead so we all retired for the night

Trip Stats:Travelled (approx) - 650kmHours driving - 7Mental state - Excited