BRIGHT LIGHTS

LIGHTS OUT 3 AT SYDNEY DRAGWAY OFFERED GRUDGE RACING AT ITS FINEST

MARK ARBLASTER

URBAN WARFARE

POWERCRUISE 71 at Sydney Motorsport Park went off, as the event usually does. But in addition to thePaction at Powercruise proper, therewas also a great Friday night of racing on offer across the road at Sydney Dragway, in the form of Lights Out.

With a crazy-cheap entry price of just $10 for competitors and spectators (and free for Powercruise ticket holders), Lights Out was bound to attract a decent turnout, and I can’t recall a meeting in recent times that was so reminiscent of the good old days of racing in Australia.

Unlike any other style of drag racing, Lights Out allows spectators to stand on the track behind the cars as they leave the line, and it made for a killer atmosphere. There was an awesome mix of cars, ranging from Lamborghinis with billet Sainty three-valve fuel engines to blown and injected 308 VK Commodores and Hemipowered Pro Streeters. It was grudge racing at its best: turbo versus blower, rotary versus V8, Ford versus Holden.

In addition to the eighth-mile, heads-up protree racing, there was also quarter-mile action, with a wide range of classes to suit every combination.

There was a classic match-up between Craig Hewitt’s Westend Performance-built blown and injected Hemi-powered Monaro and Greg Tsakiridis’s ex-Moits turbo Pro Line-powered Mustang. One of the quickest cars in Australia, the ’Stang has run into the 6.50 zone in the USA. Hewitt took the win in the first round, but Greg managed two more passes, a 4.00 and a 4.09, at 199mph over the eighth!

The event also saw a great battle between two Sydney Toranas, with Johnny Habib’s nitrous-fed, 632ci big-block Chev-powered LH (which has run a 7.6@184mph with nearstock suspension) serving it to the six-second LC of Mark Hayes, also a nitrous big-block deal. In the first round Hayes blew the tyres off the 763-cube monster, handing Habib the win, but he had plenty of tuning and horsepower left in the tank for later rounds. It’d been some time since the LC had seen some racing action, but with a lot of power dialled back on the two nitrous kits, Hayes’s Torry produced a personal best later in the night against Hewitt by running a solid 162mph to half-track.

One of the more promising grudge match-ups of the night was the Hewitt Monaro against Dale Heiler’s Castle Hill Performance twin-turbo big block-powered Commodore. Heiler had been testing all day at the track, getting a better handle on the tune-up with the new Haltech software. But the three-second staging rule was in play, meaning once one car has activated both stage lights the other car only has three seconds to engage both lights. That’s often a challenge when trying to bump in a turbo car, and so it proved for Heiler, who staged before the Commodore was up on boost and could not bump in on time.

I CAN’T RECALL A MEETING IN RECENT TIMES THAT WAS SO REMINISCENT OF THE GOOD OLD DAYS OF RACING IN AUSTRALIA

> ARBY CHAT

HOLDEN HERO

WHILE the LS motor seems to be a strong favourite for cheap horsepower, we were pretty impressed with a 377ci Holden motor built by SCM Race Engines & Performance for Perth racer Matt Gullotto’s VL Commodore. The motor still uses the 355 crank but employs Torque Power’s Little Paw block, Yella Terra Dash 9 heads and Torque Power manifold. It made a stunning 804hp and 560ft-lb on the C&R Motorsport Developments dyno – pretty stout for a Holden motor!

WORKSHOP WARS

SYDNEY Dragway is introducing a great new series called Workshop Wars. One Wednesday a month, the workshops that enter will race five cars each for three rounds of racing, and there are no ET limits. The match-ups on the day will be selected randomly and run to a heads-up format. Racing is set to start in April and may run through to September. If your shop would like to be involved, give the track a holler.

SIX-SECOND SENGS

ANITA and Terry Seng of Queensland’s Paramount Performance really have their turbo LS game together. Nothing is done by halves in their shop or at the track, so when Terry let slip he was building a car for Hot Rod Drag Week, we knew it was going to be killer. They have been building a VH Commodore fitted with the new billet Noonan LS engine weighing in at 387ci, with 6Boost manifolds, Holley EFI and twin Precision 76/75 turbos. The car will run on a 315 radial in the Unlimited class and is being built to run in the six-second zone. We will keep you posted on this one.

NEW CHALLENGER

CAROLYN O’Brien and Mark Hayes are pooling their talents to build a super-tough LH Torana for Carolyn to take on SM Drag Challenge. At this stage they have everything rear of the firewall finished: mini-tubs, chassis connectors, rollcage, adjustable rear arms, anti-roll bar and tow bar/’chute mount. At the time of writing they were working on an engine bay tidy-up, pipes, engine plates and front end stuff, before the nitrous-capable 415 small-block Chev and Powerglide are slipped in. The car should be able to run an 8.80 with a hydraulic-roller cam and be ready for this year’s Drag Challenge. Hot Rod Drag Week is also on the agenda for 2020!

It wasn’t all bad news for the Haltech flagship though, with Heiler running a solid 7.0@207mph over the quarter in testing.

With turbo and EFI hardware seeming to dominate so many race cars today, it was refreshing to see a number of blown and injected rides running together. One of the nicest was the blue VH Commodore of Chris Barter. The Westend-built 355-cube Holden motor is running a COME crank, solid-roller cam, Yella Terra Dash 3 heads and Bain custom intake manifold. The combination makes around 1000hp at the flywheel and has run a best of 8.9.

One of the coolest rigs of the night was Brett Gillespie’s absolutely stunning 1934 Chev. Powered by a blown Hemi, this car has been a real handful from day one and has recently had the chassis overhauled by John Willard. It was pretty ambitious of Brett to bring the car out on a track with average prep, but it sure was cool to see it making up the numbers.

Another Lights Out toughie was Adam Attard’s old Popeye Torana. The 615ci big-block Chevy combination has plenty of good gear, with an all-alloy Brodix block and Big Chief heads, and is punching out just on 1150hp aspirated. The car has had a ton of owners over the years, but Adam has been working on the ETs for a good while now and has the car running consistently in the 8.20s at 169mph.

There were no official winners for the night, but a mix of tough cars, good weather and a solid crowd was a win for the sport, racers and spectators alike. Last-minute politics that almost prevented the meeting from going ahead meant there was little promotion of it prior, hence the 125-car field. The 2019 event is bound to be bigger and better. s

LIGHTS OUT ALLOWS SPECTATORS TO STAND ON THE TRACK BEHIND THE CARS AS THEY LEAVE THE LINE, AND IT MADE FOR A KILLER ATMOSPHERE

> CALENDAR

WILLOWBANK

24 MAR Qld Drag Racing Championships 30 MAR Santo’s Super Thunder 2018 06 APR Friday Night Lights 07 APR Street Series 2018 13 APR Drag Challenge & Test ’n’ Tune 14 APR Jet Car Thunder 2018 15 APR Drag Challenge 18 APR Race Ya Mate www.willowbankraceway.com.au

SYDNEY DRAGWAY

22 MAR Smoke ’n’ Skidz 24 MAR NSW Drag Racing Championships 28 MAR Race 4 Real 30 MAR Good Fryday Burnouts 04 APR Race 4 Real 06 APR Full Throttle Friday 11 APR Race 4 Real 14 APR NSW Drag Racing Championships 18 APR Race 4 Real 19 APR Smoke ’n’ Skidz www.sydneydragway.com.au

CALDER PARK

31 MAR Fast Friday 22 APR Sunday Funday www.calderpark.com.au

HEATHCOTE RACEWAY

01 APR Test & Tune 15 APR Test & Tune 29 APR Test & Tune www.heathcoteraceway.com.au

SOUTH COAST RACEWAY

07 APR South Coast Powernats www.southcoastraceway.com.au

WARWICK DRAGWAY

14 APR Drag Challenge

www.warwickdragway.com

APSA TOP 10 LISTS

TO GET on the Australian Pro Street Association Top 10 lists fax your time card to Hayley Turns on 0402 087 149. See www.austprostassc.com.au.

PRO STREET BLOWN

Craig Hewitt Glen Forster Steve Athans Tristan Ockers Tomi Raikko Karl Wicht Craig Munro Michael McGrath Andrew Milford J Cutajar/T McPhan

6.85/206.10 6.95/211.59 6.96/190.08 7.09/200.26 7.09/197.36 7.26/189.55 7.37/190 7.55/182.01 7.67/177.93 7.68/156.83

511ci Hemi B Monaro 632ci Ford T Mustang 572ci Chev T Mustang Ford Capri 400ci Chev T LJ Torana 555ci Chev B LX Torana 632ci TT VT Clubsport 555ci Chev N LJ Torana 452ci Chev N LC Torana 540ci Chev B Camaro

PRO STREET UNBLOWN

David Hellyer Tony Nicolaci J Somma/T Papadopoulos Geoff Campbell-Brown Andrew Milford N Dalipi/C Brewer Chris Stevermuer Daryl Dando Darren Edwards

7.60/178.14 7.74/178 7.93/168.24 8.04/169.21 8.25/163.41 8.30/162.65 8.48/158.91 8.55/157.56 8.72/152.92

632ci Chev LH Torana 602ci Chev LX Torana 440ci Ford Cortina 434ci LH Torana 452ci Chev LC Torana 632ci Chev Mustang 598ci Chev LJ Torana 618ci Ford XT Falcon 540ci Chev HT Monaro

MODIFIED STREET BLOWN

Michael Arnold Matt McCarthy Johnny Habib Paul Cibotto Brett Benz Craig Lewis Scott Cortina Guy Hall Ash Mason Peter Vallis

7.43/188.49 7.46/195.08 7.63/181.59 7.64/188.96 7.64/179.95 7.66/179.33 7.70/173.52 8.21/167 8.33/163.31 8.58/149.05

378ci Chev B HT ute 400ci Chev T Bluebird 632ci N Torana 347ci Ford T Mustang 400ci Chev T VL Calais 363ci Ford T Cortina 565ci Chev N Holden 427ci Merc B 365ci Chev T Mazda RX-7 SB Chev B Capri

MODIFIED STREET UNBLOWN

Danny Sharban Tony Cusolito Mick Brody Logan Muir Kon Michaloudakis John Habib Mark Drew Wayne Lear Andrew Halstead Peter Alexander

7.67/179.64 7.71/181.20 7.86/172.39 8.08/154.99 8.28/163.28 8.47/160.73 8.47/160.65 8.54/157.30 8.55/163.55 8.74/155.88

632ci Chev Capri 638ci Chev Capri 622ci Chev LX Torana BB Chev HQ Monaro 632ci Chev Capri 632ci Chev Torana 622ci Chev LX Torana 582ci Chev LX Torana 622ci Chev HQ Monaro 598ci Chev Camaro

TRUE STREET

Anthony O’Connor Dean McMahon Andrew Searle Anthony Visintin Janelle Scott Jason Benz David Wright Greg Brooks Marcus Cripps Dean Goodingham

8.53/157.63 8.60/158.33 8.70/156.35 8.91/151.91 8.96/150.68 9.12/148.72 9.26/145.36 9.27/147.57 9.27/144.27 9.31/143.84

412ci Ford XD Falcon 440ci Ford XF Falcon 427ci Ford XE Falcon 447ci Ford XE Falcon 420ci Chev LX Torana 427ci Chev VL Calais 434ci Chev Torana 426ci Chev LX Torana 463ci Ford XD Falcon 400ci Ford XB Falcon ute

RADIAL OUTLAW

Daniel Nunziante Dom Luppino Perry Bullivant Marc Leake Tim Cross Michael Kalaitzakis Steve Bezzina Danny Busbidge James Horan

6.58/221.74 6.60/228.73 6.67/217.70 6.70/218 6.80/214.96 7.09/210.67 7.28/203.58 7.28/191 7.43/190.35

632ci Ford T Cortina 670ci Ford T Mustang 440ci Chev T Camaro 622ci Chev T LX Torana 450ci Ford T Cortina 526ci Chev T Toyota Supra 435ci Ford T XW Fairmont 400ci TT LJ Torana 240ci Toyota T Hilux

10.5 OUTLAW

Paul Mouhayet Frank Mamone Michelle Davies Danny Makdessi Jeremy Callaghan

6.08/244.52 6.38/229.47 6.45/219.33 6.49/216 6.52/227.57

526ci Ford T Mustang 471ci Hemi B Nova 521ci Hemi B Torana 521ci B VC Valiant BB Chev TT Camaro