Noonan Engines Run Riot in Australian Radial Tire Drag Racing

A record breaking weekend of radial tire drag racing in Australia saw two Noonan Race Engineering-powered vehicles smash barriers and dominate the Kenda Tires Radial Riot at Willowbank Raceway.

Wade Wagstaff's 57 Chev, equipped with a supercharged Noonan 4.8 Hemi, drove to the quickest ever time for a radial tire car in Australia on Saturday, a 3.828 at 197mph. Wagstaff was also part of the first side-by-side three second radial race down under on Friday, where he went 3.859 against Terry Seng's 3.965. Wagstaff then went on to take victory in Friday night's $5000-to-win top eight shootout. 

Seng was driving Kyle Hopf's stunning 6boost Camaro, powered by a twin-turbocharged Noonan 4.9 Hemi. The pair proved a winning combination as they earned Saturday's Unlimited Radial class victory.

No matter what kind of boost was being supplied, Noonan Race Equipment was up to the task. Wagstaff, who shipped his car back to Australia after competing at several USA radial events, said the Noonan 4.8 did not miss a beat.

“The only spanner we put on the car was for checking lash in between rounds,” he said. “We checked the bearings on Friday night and they were perfect; the car performed awesome all round.”

Wagstaff uses a 521 cube short deck motor equipped with Noonan cylinder heads and a D-rotor PSI supercharger.

“We make the power early and we can apply it early. I think we'd get to 200mph if we had a lock-up convertor as we still have some slip at the top end. But that would be a big change for us and I don't know if it would make us that much quicker. We might look at a C-rotor PSI instead.”

Hopf had a similarly smooth event with a car he admits is still in the early stages of its development curve. The Noonan 4.9 Hemi between the chassis rails was one of the first used in a turbocharged application anywhere in the world.

“The Noonan Hemi has been pretty much faultless since it went in the car,” he said. “We have never really done a single thing to it, we are at the stage now where we only check the lash every couple of passes.

“We've done around 30 passes including dyno work, and the valve springs were still within spec and the lash has never changed. We recently put new conrods in the motor and new valve springs to freshen it up for this meeting, because we were doing a considerable amount of work with testing and racing. All the springs came out relatively even and there hasn't really been anything to look at.”

Hopf's friend and driver Seng went close to recording the first 200mph pass on radials in Australia with a 199.58mph blast. But for the strategic Hopf, 200mph will be just a blip on the radar.

“Our long term goal is to be running 3.7s at over 210mph. We are trying to make the chassis happy so it can take considerably more power.

“The potential of the car and the engine is almost mind blowing. Since the first day we finished the Camaro we haven't added one pound of boost or one degree of timing. There is still about 1000hp in the tune up on the same boost, then we have another 30psi we can add on top of that.”

There was more success for Noonan Race Engineering customers around the world over the weekend, with John Stanley top qualified in the family's awesome CTSV Pro Mod with a 3.725 run at the NMCA World Street Finals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.

Congratulations from the team at Noonan Race Engineering to all of our customers who have enjoyed winning or personal best performances recently. If you are using Noonan products and seeing the awesome results possible, please send an email to Renee Noonan and let us know – we'd love to feature you!