Those radial tyre weapons were back at Sydney Dragway to put on a show for another round of the 2023 Kenda Tires 660 Drag Radial Series.
After two days of testing which you can read about below;
Sunny skies again greeted racers on race day, however over night rain left the track wet and the morning was consumed drying out the racing surface, this resulted in a lost of a qualifying run for all brackets.
A change in traction compound had thrown a curveball to competitors, with the heavy hitters struggling for the big numbers in testing we usually see at Sydney Dragway, race day would be about dialling back their ambitions to tackle the trickier surface.
Nevertheless it was almost an all three second field in Outlaw Radial with just the two qualifiers. Andrew Zada in the ‘Boogeyman’ Procharged Camaro was on point with a 3.72 at 202MPH, edging out nemesis Wade Wagstaff in his blown ‘Grinch’ 57 Chev.
Into racing and it was all Wagstaff, the ’57 went low ET of each round with the win lights – 3.71, 3.69 and 3.70 to punch his way into the final against quiet achiever Paul Merry. The twin turbo Nova of Merry has been chipping away at ETs and consistency and it paid off with a 3.80 win against Johnny Ricca in round three to pair himself with Wagstaff in the final. Unfortunately it quickly became apparent the final would be a one-horse race with Merry pushed to the start line, the Nova wounded. In the now cold night time conditions Wagstaff picked the wheels and zinged the tyres hard before lifting and rolling to the event win.
Geoff Campbell-Brown’s menacing black Chevelle claimed pole in Outlaw 275.
It was a Queensland versus West Aussie battle all event, with Connor Begley upsetting fellow sandgroper Lorenzo Gullotto in round three to fight for the final win against Campbell-Brown. The nitrous big-block Chevelle bombed the tyres on the hit in final and the Begley Torana drove through for the win.
The smaller tyre Outlaw 235 was hard fought, we had the young Seng brothers now mixing it up in a pair for tough LS powered Commodores, and we know what Paramount Performance can achieve with an LS. Plus Cam Riley setting 235 tyre bench marks over the quarter with his VK Commodore, and throw in quick west Aussie Steve Lundy and experienced radial gun Scott Cortina who both fought out the small tyre Smackdown Shootout final the night before, and the winner could be anyone.
First blood went to Jaidyn Seng in qualifying with the VH out gunning Riley by a few hundredths. The VK was turned up and hooked up in racing though, ripping quicker and quicker laps to meet Lundy in the final. A side by side battle ensued, with a Riley trumping by a few thou with a record setting 4.49.
Into the OG classes for the more stock appearing muscle, and in OG315 and it was all that black ute of James Horan.
The ‘FKNBLKUTE’ tussled with Clint Hepburn’s big block turbo Gemini in qualifying, coming out in front by three thou, the pair carried their quick form to meet in the final where Hepburn had to pedalled and picked the wheels up, by then Horan was gone, running his first three second pass for the victory.
A well populated OG275 field had another ute on top after qualifying, Victorian Matt Turnbull turned up the boost for the twin huffers and was on point with a 4.61.
Turnbull was looking good for the final before he was involved in a double disqualification in round three when he and his opponent left before the tree. This opened the door for Peter Faulkner to sneak into the final against Barney Lindner, Faulkner’s 5.25 on a paired solo was enough on countback to put the VH into the money round. Faulkner then dropped a .008 light on Lindner, but the beautiful Nova’s big block had the horses to snatch the win.
Onto the fixed index classes and first up in Radial Renegade that compete on a 5.50 index, Aris Kontoleon did the business in final with his sweet Camaro, dropping a 5.56 on the index hold off Jason Seng’s 5.62. It was an all LJ Torana final in Radial Ruckus, racing on a 5.80 index, Ryan Durant cleaned up with a holeshot 5.94 to 5.85 against Ronnie Hope’s monster wheelstanding GTR. Radial Rumble rock a 6.40 index, and it was another final win that came down to a holeshot. Chris Patterson’s XF Falcon nailing Rohan Hutson’s big 55 Chev Belair to the tree and crossing the stripe first with a slower 6.56 to 6.44 run. The 7.00 Radial Rebels is the last of the index classes, and taking home the Kenda cash was Scott De Groot with a perfect 7.000 run in his XD Falcon at the stripe against Paul Thoms.
The next round of the Kenda 660 Drag Radial Series heads north, all the way north to Palmyra Dragway on October 13 and 14 for Karnage in the Kane Fields.
NEWS & NOTES
WA Invasion: A whole 7 car posse of WA radial racers made the enormous trek across our great land to mix it up with the best on the East Coast. After breaking a gearbox in testing Connor Begley in the Blackout Torana Hatchback thrashed to make race day with the help of fellow racers and Als Race Glides and went on to win Outlaw 275, at the expense of defeating fellow West Aussie Lorenzo Gullotto in round three.
Steve Lundy went so close to a double WA win in the Outlaw tyre ranks, just falling short of taking down Cam Riley in the Outlaw 235 final. Lundy was a substitute inclusion in the small tyre 5k Smackdown Shootout during testing the night before as well and nearly stole the cash in that as well against the experienced Scott Cortina.
Tony Mazzitelli ticked off all his goals, the big hemi powered Holden Ute weighs in at a hefty 3610lbs and still struggles to keep the front runners on the deck. Killer on the tree, Mazzitelli went .003, .007, and a perfect .000 in round three would have upset eventual OG315 winner James Horan, if it weren’t for an unfortunate pedal to prevent another wheelstand. Still the team went home with PBs of 4.35 and 181mph.
The event was the debut of WA’s newest radial ride, Nathan Jehu’s twin turbo Torana. Teething problems saw the car lose the use of the transbrake, but they were still happy with 5.4/139mph passes without being able to dial in more power.
Gone in three seconds: The ‘FKNBLKUTE’ with James Horan as pilot after another power wheelstand, the hard work paid off with his first three second ET in the OG315 final. Only downside is now the ute has to front up in Outlaw Radial as per Kenda rules.
The small tyre that could: Cam Riley smashed 235 tyre records at the event. On his way to the win in Outlaw 235, Riley’s turbo LS VK pumped out 4.55, 4.55, 4.50 then 4.49/166mph in the final – the first 4.4 second pass in Australia on a 235 tyre.
After moving weight around on the test days to combat the trickier track, before trying to combat wheelstands as the track came around. Riley loaded it up for the $5k Smackdown shootout but blew the burst panel on the intake sending him out in round one.
“The final rolled around and we got it done,” said Riley “The win was bloody cool but we wanted that .40 and to do it in a final where people sometimes get conservative shows the tuning ability of Kon Michaloudakis.”
New kids on the block: The young Seng Brothers are making noise in Outlaw 235 with a two pronged attack. Jaidyn’s VH Commdore looked a like it had gone rounds with Mike Tyson after a transporter accident, and Caleb who just recently debuted the VX Commdore, but looks do not matter when you have Paramount Performance LS power on tap. With just a handful of passes down track in the car Caleb started testing with a 4.83 PB, which he lowered to 4.72 by race day, while Jaidyn who has more a lot more seat time had a new converter and was trying to rotate the Earth in the VH, and still ended up dropping a 4.65PB after pulling out a heap of power.
The boys stepped it up again in qualifying, Jaidyn taking the number one with a 4.60 PB and Caleb in at four with yet another PB too on a 4.70. Race day didn’t fall their way though, Caleb peaked with a round one win against Scott Cortina with a PB again at 4.69, yet it was far more than they expected from a stock block and head LS. Jaidyn was chasing a .50 but could not get on top of the new converter. Still after a 4.60 win in round one, Jaidyn was paired with his brother in round two, unfortunately in a repeat of their Winternationals match up, a oil leak shut down the VX, Jaidyn still dropped at 4.62 with a perfect light on the solo. With two wins Jaidyn swung for the fences in round three for a shot in the final, but spun the tyre for a 4.68 yet still ran 163mph PB.
The boys put together great Youtube channel content as well, check out their event prep here.
Traction limited: For Australia’s quickest radial tyre car, the event was a challenge based around a change in traction compound for the event. Andrew Zada had been testing hard in the procharged ‘Boogeyman’ Camaro bombing the Australian record repeatedly down to a 3.540. But the traction curveball at this event saw not just Zada, but all the Outlaw Radial teams struggle to adapt.
“Was a challenging weekend trying to get the car to play ball with the boys not having the right traction compound. As a team, we took a lot away from it and learnt new things about the car and setup. We will come back strong next season,” said Zada. “On the flip side, we were top qualifiers and also managed to run the quickest time at the event – 3.67 at 202mph.
Challenging times: The theme continued across the Outlaw Radial pits, Victorian Johnny Ricca arrived with a sleek new look for the RPM Race Parts Camaro, but testing was a struggle with the team unable to get past the sixty.
Race day proved just as painful, a dropped valve in the burnout for Q1 saw the team having to strip the engine and repair a damaged cylinder head and piston in a thrash to make round one. Then only to find a piece of piston had gone through the turbo, damaging it, which they still had to run in round one. A new turbo was sourced for round two and the team raced to the stripe with a 3.79, but it wasn’t quick enough to down Wade Wagstaff. With nothing to lose they threw the kitchen sink at the tune for round three, and the run was on song for 1.5 seconds before the Camaro struck the tyres and Ricca pedalled to a 4.20.
Sydney debut: Jarryd Duggan loved his first trip to Sydney Dragway, his nitrous snorting little 366ci LS2 Torana left with a 1/8th mile PB. After knocking the tyres off it a few times, some suspension adjustments yielded a 5.62 after the first day of testing. Coming back the next day they had found two broken pushrod which were replaced and a few check out passes were made before upping the jets and the extra snort of nitrous levelled a 5.53/121MPH PB.
Ready for race day the team fired the car only to hear a noised they shouldn’t have, after an inspection, the heads were pulled off and it was decided to park up for the event a not risk any potential damage.
Small gains: Paul Merry and the PST Performance team have been chipping away at the performance of their Outlaw Radial Nova, the team were rewarded with a 3.80 at new speed PB of 211MPH and event runner up. Unfortunately a pesky converter failure in the previous round left the Nova with no drive, the team tore out the gearbox and patched the converter for the final, but elected to err on the side of safety and just stage the car.
It is still the best leaving car in Outlaw Radial, check out the powerwheelstands!
Casper the not-so friendly ghost: Clint Hepburn’s twin turbo big block Gemini wasn’t very kind to competitors at Kenda, dropping PB after PB, eventually reeling off a 4.06 at 198mph on his way to the OG315 final. The team have the gear to run three seconds, and threw it at the track in the final – which ironically saw Horan run his first three in the other lane – but couldn’t quite stick the landing this time.
Nitrous car to the front: You will be hard pressed to find a better presented car than Barney Lindner’s nitrous Nova, not only does it look fast, it goes fast. Keeping all its factory lines allows Lindner to race in OG275 with a nitrous sucking 588ci big block making the noise. After taming the tune to prevent anymore underwear changing wheelstands from testing, Lindner ran a string of low fives to score three round wins and a final shot, which he won as well after powering past a holeshot.
Hard Luck: With almost sleeper looks, Matt Turnbull’s potent VS twin turbo small block ute almost clean swept OG275. Firstly keen for two days of testing with new turbochargers bolted on Turnbull had the ute dialled back initially – though still ran a PB for speed off the trailer – the personal bests still continued run after run, until the 3435lb beast started to reach for the sky.
That initiated some suspension adjustments and testing closed with a 4.55 at 158mph – another PB. The testing paid off with Turnbull the quickest of anyone after qualifying on a 4.614, and then earned back to back wins in the first two rounds of racing. Round three was where things came unstuck for Turnbull, a win would almost certainly see a final round birth, but knowing he had race on his hands with Jason Cowen’s LC – who also was sitting on two wins – both racers outfoxed each other leaving before the tree came down. After discussions between officials lead to a double disqualification, their night was over.
Wheelie good time: We can’t have a Kenda Tires 660 Drag Radial Series event with out an epic wheelstand or two.
Birthday surprise: All Reece Carkeet wanted for his birthday was a four second timeslip at Kenda, well he got three of them. The cool EH that fits an turbo LS clocked a 4.95 quickest for the event and will now be heading to the shop for some upgrades and looking for new goals.
More PBs: The Spot-On Performance VL Calais out performed again with a new PB for Danny Lansdowne, the 2JZ powering to a 4.54 at 163mph ahead of Jambo.
All teams have racing goals no matter their level of competition, and for the Fuelin’ Around Racing team, they had their turbo 351ci XY ute with John Huysman out for a play with the aim to run a four second pass, which they conquered in round one with a 4.95.
Proflo Performance were feeling a bit Norty, with their stunning blown Capri leaving the Kenda event with a new 5.09/137MPH PB timeslip in their pocket.
Go the Valiant! Fox Cullen achieved what he set out to do and smashed his PB with a 4.48 at 161MPH. The ol’ Val packs a blown conventional headed 509ci big block Chev and weighs in at a meaty 3200lbs. Unfortunately they hurt a cylinder during qualifying and sat the rest of the event out.
Broken rocker aside, Nathan Rose’s Vacationer was on no Sunday cruise. Resetting personal bests on nearly every lap, before finishing the event with a 4.46 at 161mph and a dead thrust bearing preventing him from running round three. Rose buoyant the countries toughest conventional headed small block Chev has not yet peaked and will be ready and firing ahead of the final Kenda round in Mackay.
Yet another Fox Body Mustang? Definitely not!. Nick Baxter turns heads when he fires up his 3RZ powered Muzzie, pulls giant wheelstands and rips a 5.15/134mph personal best.
Well done to all other racers who knocked out personal bests on the day and now check out our race day gallery.