Kenda Drag Radial racer told to ‘send it’ for Melbourne

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The Kenda Drag Radial Series is the premier radial event in Australia, with more excitement, wheel standing action and the fastest radial cars on the 1/8th mile than any other event in Australia. The event is the brainchild of drag racers Justin Simpson and Scott Harker, and is a radial only style event with the divider being radial tyres not conventional slicks. The event is based on heads up racing where racers can pretty much race any type of car as long as it has radial tyres.

With 2020 being a disruptive year not as many Kenda events have been able to successfully run, but Radial Redemption in September promises to be the event to be at for radial racing in 2020. Although the entrants are limited to states not currently restricted from Queensland due to COVID-19, this has not stopped the legendary twin turbo Mustang of RPM Melbourne from making an appearance.

In 2019, Jarrod Wood ran a 3.99 1/8th mile pass in the twin turbo Mustang, becoming the first racer to run a three second pass on a radial tyre in Australia. Since then the car has switched hands and is now in the possession of John Ricca from Race Parts Melbourne.

Ricca explains that while crewing for Wood in the U.S, “If a car pops up, reasonably priced, I wouldn’t mind buying it.” he said.

With Wood replying, ‘Why don’t you buy this?’ Ricca was thinking of something a bit slower, but nevertheless a deal was done to by the Mustang off Wood.

“We went back to the States in October of last year where I raced the car at No Mercy before running our first Kenda event in February of this year at Sydney Dragway,” said Ricca.

“We ended up coming runner up at the event, we were out in front and probably would have won the finals but we didn’t notice the fuel cap hadn’t been put back on and the car literally blew up in a ball of flames just before the finish line. It blew the windows out, the car was on fire, everything was burnt, it was crazy.

“Thankfully I hit the fire system and put the fire out pretty quickly, there was no major damage, it was mainly cosmetic.”

Since then, the car has been fitted with a fully built engine from TKM Performance in the States, hasn’t since been tested after putting it back together, leaving Ricca keen to get it back on the track. However, with current restrictions in Melbourne he is unable to travel in Queensland, so he has sent up the car for Wood to once again jump behind the wheel and see what he can do with a car.

“Wood knows the car better than me, he has done more laps in it than me, he knows the car inside and out so I am sure he will just jump in and be right at home,” said Ricca.

“Last time he drove the car in Australia he ran a 3.99, it is now lighter and has had some major upgrades. So once we dial in the 330 we are just going to run it out the back door and see what it does.”

Wood is grateful for the opportunity to be able to run his old car at the premier radial event – The Kenda Radial Redemption 2020, “It is always a good day of racing with plenty of fun and action. It will be good to get back behind the wheel of one of the baddest steel roof radial cars on the planet,” he said.

“It is a great opportunity for us as a team to get some more testing under our belt and to keep me in driver mode for when we can get back to racing our Corvette in the States. We just basically have to make the best of a bad situation and I can’t thank Ricca and the Race Parts Melbourne crew enough for letting me run the Mustang again.”

Event promoter Scott Harker said, “We are excited to get the local radial scene back on track in a race format, and even better to be able to have spectators back at the events. The Queensland radial scene is where it all began and we hope to see over 80 cars enter for this event, making it exciting for everyone involved.”

“We want to thank the racers, fans and sponsors for their continued support through these tricky times and can’t wait till the end of September to arrive!”

Radial Redemption hits Willowbank Raceway on September 26, with two days of testing prior. For more information, race day schedule and tickets visit willowbankraceway.com.au and make sure you are at Radial Redemption to see Wood set some new records in the RPM Mustang.

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