Street Machine - - K&n Dial Your Own Top 10 -

IN RAC­ING, as in many ar­eas of life, con­sis­tency is the key. And it was the ra­zor-sharp thou­sandths-of-asec­ond con­sis­tency of Dar­ren Parker, driv­ing his VFII Com­modore SS-V Redline Sport­wagon, that earned him the K&N Dial Your Own win­ner’s tro­phy at Drag Chal­lenge 2018.

With times­lips in the 11s, his Com­modore daily ob­vi­ously isn’t stan­dard un­der the bon­net. Be­ing one of the last built, his SS-V Sport­wagon has a 6.2-litre mill from the fac­tory, which Dar­ren has up­graded with a Cnc-ported heads-and-cam kit. The trans and ex­haust have been tweaked, too, and the diff gears dropped. The re­sult is 470hp at the wheels. The rear sus­pen­sion – in­de­pen­dent in all Com­modores for the past two decades – has been set­tled down with a bunch of bits im­ported from the US and in­tended for a Ca­maro.

But there was more to Dar­ren’s ef­fort and suc­cess than sim­ply putting his car in D and floor­ing it. He has been run­ning cars down the quar­ter for a long time – he’s a past AN­DRA Na­tional Su­per Stock champ – so he used brains as well as brawn to beat the other 68 fin­ish­ers in Dial Your Own.

“I’ve done a few quar­ter-miles; I’m very com­pet­i­tive!” he told us on Day Four when we asked him about knock­ing the sim­i­larly en­thu­si­as­tic and ex­pe­ri­enced Alysha Teale from her Top 10 po­si­tion (she bounced back on Fri­day to fin­ish ninth in class).

As with most win­ners, Dar­ren’s process was more about man­age­ment of the sit­u­a­tion than she’ll-beright. A close look at his pit kit re­veals a minia­ture por­ta­ble weather sta­tion job­bie, and, like many other bracket rac­ers, he used tac­tics such as load­ing his spare wheel back into the car to slow it slightly and keep his tar­get times ‘in the spread’. “I slowed the car down at Calder on Day One to keep some­thing up my sleeve,” he ex­plained on Day Four. “It’s eas­ier to slow down than to speed up. This is a great fun event, but I’m here to win!”

Mis­sion ac­com­plished!


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