Race report from Sydney Dragway’s nostalgic private track day
As the clouds loomed dark over Western Sydney, fears of another rainout eclipsed the minds of racers on the 22nd of May. Lining up at the gates of Sydney Dragway in the cold early morning fears were allayed as the gates opened and the darkest clouds dissipated. Day Of The Drags 2010 was set to go for its fifth year of Do-It-Yourself grass roots drag racing for Hot Rods, HAMBsters, Classics and other early cars.
A first for this year was the inclusion of the Sidevalve Shooutout. A challenge to find Australia’s fastest flathead powered hotrods. The rules are simple: full bodied pre ‘49, no centre steer, no dragster chassis and a sidevalve engine blown or naturally aspirated. Win it and take home a share of two grand prize money!
Keeping to the proven and much liked format, the day would begin with continuous rounds from the morning to lunch. Following lunch would be eliminations and a Chicago Shootout format for the Sidevalve Shootout. In between rounds, eliminated racers could still compete in grudge racing.
This format ensures that all entrants can run as many passes as they can fit in to the day.
The first of over 220 laps of racing began with Damien Watson (350 Chev powered 1939 Ford Pick Up) and Neville McClelland (1948 Ford Anglia with a Ford 307) warming up the track with a 106mph pass. Just twelve minutes into racing saw Louise McNiff in the ‘Scrap Metal’ Cortina get out of the groove at about 60 feet sliding to the right then taking a hard left into the wall, with the throttle jammed open from the collision she rocketed across the track slamming hard into the right hand wall. We all wish Louise well and wait to see her back at the track.
Racing resumed with Lenny Hoskins’ 1967 HR Ute against Debbie Rodriquez’s HAMBster, with Lenny taking the win with an 11.141 @ 118mph. Eric Worner, making his first ever pass on a dragstrip in the 295ci Ford flathead powered 1947 SoCal Special pulled a perfect 0.000sec reaction time, taking out the Road Runner Models trophy for Best Reaction Time. The trophy is awarded to the best reaction time, or in the case of a draw, the driver who did it first.
Coral Dyer made use of the day by starting her licensing in her new A/MD dragster. Coral Stepped up from her HAMBster into the alcohol dragster to perform a few launches, a stout burnout and her first full pass. It was somewhat of a treat for competitors and spectators to see the dragster at the Day Of The Drags.
Eliminations, the Sidevalve Shootout and grudge racing kicked off after lunch.
Andy Minas in the blown 286ci 1932 Ford Coupe battled Nathan Cowie in his force fed 300ci 1932 Roadster. Nathan took the first round 14.714 @ 86.14mph to Andy’s 16.858 @ 83.23mph. Cowie made it two from two with a 13.610 @ 92.95mph and Minas running 16.711 @ 77.24mph.
Round 1: Wes Griffiths getting the red lights out of the way on a bye run with a 20.903 @ 61.99mph in his 4 banger Model A Roadster Pick Up with possible the skinniest rear tyres ever seen on a dragstrip. Paul Contos took his 1928 Ford Roadster for 17.309 @ 78.03mph for the win over George Livas in the 1927 Ford Coupe with an 18.273 @ 72.87mph. Eric Worner in the SoCal special took the win with a 14..006 @ 95.49mph over Ashley Swift’s
1928 Ford Tourer who ran a 17.255 @ 78.74mph.
Round 2: Eric Worner took the 2nd round win with a 14.143 @ 95.69mph over Livas’ 18.133 @ 73.05mph. Paul Contos running a 16.684 @ 80.42mph overcame Griffiths’ 20.861 @ 61.53mph for his 2nd win of the competition. Ashley Swift got the bye round and ran a 16.691 @ 78.49mph.
Round 3: Eric Worner made his first mistake of the day pulling up the red light, luckily he had a bye and still saw the points with a 15.958 @ 72.35mph. George Livas took the win a 18.155 @ 73.06mph over Griffiths with a 20.251 @ 62.74mph. A 16.085 @ 82.00mph gave Paul Contos the win over Ashley Swift with a 17.052 @ 77.95mph.
The final saw Eric Worner against Paul Contos with 3 wins each. Contos tripped the lights first with a 0.406 light against Worner’s 0.616, but the SoCal Special crossed the line with a 14.127 @ 94.84mph ahead of Contos with 16.574 @ 79.92mph.
All in Eliminations
Round 3 of eliminations saw the field down to 9 cars. John Kerr (1964 Mercury Comet, 302 Windsor) got the bye running 12.945 @ 104.11mph. Next up were Nick Koroneos (1970 Ford XY, Cleveland 351) with a 11.758 @ 115.53mph over Matthew Black (1970 Torana, 202ci) on a 13.759 @ 89.74mph.
Michael Circi (1968 Holden HK, 383 Chev) took the win with a 11.629 @ 104.20mph over Tom Fittler’s (1967 HR Ute, Holden 202ci) 13.470 @ 84.92mph. Finally Henry Spicak (1956 VW Beetle, 138ci) ran a 12.358 @ 106.82mph to take the win from Craig Dixon (1971 Holden Monaro, 383ci
Chev) with a 11.581 @ 115.06mph.
The Semi Finals saw Kerr take the win with a 13.040 @ 100.93mph while Circi broke out with a 11.467 @ 118.49 on a 11.51 dial in. Spicak defeated Koroneos with a 12.554 @ 106.29mph and 11.741 @ 115.69mph respectively.
John Kerr took the win from the start line in the final running the Comet to a 12.951 @ 99.61mph when Henry Spicak lifted the VWs wheels out of the traps 0.020sec before the green, finishing the pass with a 12.700 @ 99.38mph.
The winners of the Sidevalve Shootout classes took home $750 each and the runners up $250 along with the winners holding the perpetual trophies until the Day Of The Drags 2011. The trophies are sidevalve heads, the aspirated class being a Kong head donated by Mike Davidson and the supercharged class being a head from Warren Goodall’s blown ‘32 Tudor.
John Kerr scored himself $500 cash courtesy of Shannons Insurance along with the win for eliminations and Henry Spicak took home the bucket of gold coins for runner up. All winners received trophies donated and fabricated by Daniel & Michelle Ind from Plastix.
The Redneck Scroungers (Qld) also awarded a trophy to the competitor of their choice. They awarded it to Damien Kemp who brought up the Funderbolt gasser, a 1964 Ford Compact Fairlane, all the way from Victoria. And who could miss it? Damien was on the track more than off, running consistent low 11s.
Thanks to Sydney Dragway and its staff, in particular John Henman. To sponsors and supporters: Tony Martin of Road Runner Models, Jim Broadley of Diablo Motors, Shannons insurance, Aussie Desert Coolers, Fisher Blowers, Andy’s Restorations, Antique Tyres, the A.S.R.F., Snap-On (John Dyer), Mike Davidson Flatattack), Cruzin Magazine, Plastix and to Rusty for his excellent commentary. Idlewild for again keeping everyone fed.
Finally, many thanks to Joseph & Debbie Rodriquez without whom this day couldn’t happen and to Andrew Parish (Drewfus Designs) and Matthew Sherwood (hotrodmattimages.com) for their assistance.
Report by Matt Sherwood
Photos be www.cacklingpipes.com
Day Of The Drags Photo Showcase