NO MERCY and its sister meeting, Lights Out, are the Super Bowl of radial-tyre drag racing in the USA. Promoted by Donald ‘Duck’ Long, the are held at South Georgia Motorsports Park and attract epic fields of competitors to race over the eighth-mile.
This year we had a bumper crop of Aussie racers competing, with Wade Wagstaff and Jeremy ‘Jet’ Martin both sending cars across the pond, while Harry Haig scored an invite to participate after Drag Week and Jarrod Wood copped a guest steer of a US-based car. Expat Aussie Milos Pavlovic rounded out the contingent in the AAP Mustang.
Jet and his VB Commodore were the stars of the show. He’d won the Grudge Kings at Sydney Dragway a couple of months beforehand and immediately stuck the 4000hp Pro Line-powered racer on a ship to America to take on No Mercy. Over the weekend the team worked on tuning the car to suit the hot weather and radial tyres – as opposed to the big slicks Jet is used to racing on. Despite struggling in the heat, they achieved their goal of qualifying for the headlining Radial vs. The World class.
Jet took a comfortable win in his first-round race and drew radial-tyre world-record-holder Mark Micke in the second round of eliminations. The Aussie was definitely the underdog, but managed to claim the win and move through to round three, where he met NHRA Pro Stock driver Alex Laughlin and his blown Corvette.
The VB put down an epic PB of 3.90@204mph, but it wasn’t enough to run down Laughlin, who ran a 3.78 and went to the final against winner Jeff Naiser.
Jarrod Wood recently ran Australia’s first three-second radial eighth-mile pass, piloting the Kevin Mullins-built 1997 Mustang (see Urban Warfare, page 126), and plans to bring the Muzzy back to the US in 2019 to compete at Duck’s events.
In the meantime, Jarrod was invited to take Kevin’s place behind the wheel of Bill Schurr’s crazy X275 Jeep for No Mercy. Jarrod made it through to the second elimination round for his class against some stiff competition. The Jeep lifted the front wheels off the startline, forcing Jarrod off the gas and out of contention.
Wade Wagstaff’s ’57 Chev roller was only cleared by US customs a week out from No Mercy and the car had to be built in two days. Wade qualified for Radial vs. The World – no mean feat – but was eliminated in the first round after spinning on the startline and stripping a blower belt, which took out a fuel line. He ran a best of 3.90@193mph.
Harry Haig also made it through to the second round in the 6.0 Index class, while Milos’s Mustang copped some mechanical gremlins and didn’t qualify.
To see how it all went down, check out our youtube.com.au/STREETMACHINE. series of epic videos from each day online s at youtube.com.au/STREETMACHINE.
THE project to restore Pat Fay’s famous FJ Holden hearse (below) has begun, with the gurus from the Canberra Institute of Technology starting with some much-needed rust repairs. To keep up to date with the progress, check out Pat Fay’s FJ Hearse on Facebook. You can also kick the tin of the GoFundMe campaign if you’re suitably inspired.
NOT the engine, the podcast! The Thongslappers are the team of SM scribe Simon Major and SM super-fan Redmond. Billed as Australia’s only dedicated street car podcast, the pair talk shit, talk cars and all things Gen-X. If you have an iPhone, you can find them by doing a search on the podcast app. Otherwise search for them on Stitcher or visit their Instagram page for links.
IN THE December issue, we reveal the winner of the $20,000 Valvoline Street Machine Of The Year. We take you on a ride through Hot Rod Drag Week 2018, and check out one of the sweetest 1968 Camaros on the planet, built right here in Oz. The mag goes on sale 15 November. In the meantime, keep your mojo wire locked on whichcar.com.au/streetmachine for daily updates.