POWER PLAYERS

THE FORD-POWERED NATIONALS SAW PLENTY OF DRAG CHALLENGE 2018 ENTRANTS ON SHOW

A GOOD number of Blue Ovally-inclined Street Machine Drag Challenge competitors took the opportunity to limber up for DC 2018 inaugural Ford-Powered Nationals. The Heathcote event was run by Todd ‘Axle’ Foley, who’d identified an opportunity to apply the proven formula he developed for the Holden-Powered Nationals to an event for the Ford set. And some big-hitters turned up.

Frank Marchese from Dandy Engines fronted with the XW Fairmont he owns with Dandy boss Lou Iudica, and while the track wasn’t up to the flat-seven-second pace that recently earned it the mantle of Australia’s quickest street car [as Arby discusses in Urban Warfare, page 126], it ran super-consistently all day, with two 7.97s and a 7.96 straight off the trailer. Frank then finished up the event with a quickest ET of 7.84, the next hurdle being to get the car ready for Drag Challenge.

“The only change we’ll make to the car is a bigger fuel tank to cater for the distance,” he said. “Other than that the car will remain the same. It’s not like we haven’t driven it on the street before. With 3.5 diff gears and 275s it cruises at 2200-2500rpm on the highway.”

PHIL EDMONDSON’S XB COUPE STRUGGLED WITH TRACTION FOR A LOT OF THE DAY, BUT STILL MANAGED TO RUN IN THE EIGHTS

Frank’s mission is to prove the XW to be a decent street car. “It would be a dream come true to do a 6.99 at Drag Challenge and drive it to the next track, and anything’s possible at Swan Hill,” he says. “I’ve got my tune-up sorted, and if the track will hold I ain’t gunna be scared to do it.”

Paul Hamilton also brought his monster twin-turbo 600ci XA Falcon out to play. During Friday-night testing Paul struggled to lay down a full hit. “I took it easy on the first pass because I hadn’t raced at Heathcote before, so I was figuring it all out in the dark,” he said. “The second run it was all over shop; it just didn’t want to hook up.”

The next day Paul was off to a good start with an 8.60 straight off the bat. Then he ran into more traction issues. Since he hasn’t had a lot of test time with the car, the suspension isn’t really set up for the power he’s trying to put down. Even though he runs a big slick tyre, the car battles to cope with the massive power of the twin-turbo engine.

Paul is set to have a lot more competition on his hands at Drag Challenge this year, as the Turbosmart Outlaw Blown class has doubled in size since 2017.

South Australian Phil Edmondson has made a host of changes to his bottom-eight-second XB coupe ahead of Drag Challenge, so he was at the Ford-Powered Nationals to shake it down. He struggled with traction for a lot of the day, but still managed to run in the eights. He’ll need to work on finding the right setting for his new shocks, as well as the right combination of launch boost and rpm to work with the new converter. It’s a fine balance.

Jarrod Wood’s ultra-clean XT Falcon was hooking and booking, running tantalisingly close to the nine-second zone with a 10.07@131mph – no joke from an all-motor, small-block street car. The engine remains untouched after 8000km and 240 passes, with some extra neddies now coming courtesy of a new intake maniold, carb spacer and extractors.

MATT HOHENHAUS’S XM FALCON SEDAN WAS ON A TEAR AT THE NATIONALS, WITH A STONKING 9.30@143MPH HIT, COURTESY OF TOYOTA 1JZ SIX-POT POWER

The VS Commodore ute of Craig Tropeano is Ford-powered, so it fitted in at the Ford-Powered Nationals a treat. Formerly owned by Muscle Garage/Tuff Mounts frontman and Drag Challenge sponsor Jason Waye, both Trop and Jase had a steer of the car at Heathcote, yielding a best pass of 10.6@134mph and a personal-best trap speed of 137mph. The Commodore recently copped a fresh FG turbo motor with the usual upgrades, and Adam at MPW retuned it on E85. Trop is aiming to fetch bottom 10s out of it on Drag Challenge this year. The engine is capable of more, but the BTR automatic transmission remains the weak point for now.

Matt Hohenhaus’s stealthy XM Falcon sedan was on a tear at the Nationals, PBing with a 9.301@143mph hit, courtesy of Toyota 1JZ six-pot power. Matt is entered in Haltech one Radial of the Blown coolest at DC cars again on the this entry year, list. and s it’s one of the coolest cars on the entry list.