Street Machine

RAY ROSS & JODY WENTWORTH

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VJ VALIANT CHARGER & ’72 DODGE CHARGER

RAY Ross and Jody Wentworth are a down-to-earth drag racing duo with more than 50 years of racing experience between them. Mopar Sunday is one of the couple’s favourite events, offering a pleasant break from competitiv­e racing for this Chargermad pair. On the day, Ray struggled for grip in his low-10sec ’73 VJ Valiant Charger, but Jody set a PB of 13.12@102mph in her ’72 Dodge Charger.

How long have you been drag racing, Ray?

I’ve raced for 40 years now, but I didn’t grow up around it. For me it started with cruising, then some of the guys started drag racing and I thought I’d give it a go. I now chase the IHRA Super Street class around Australia. I got second this year, third the year before, and fifth the one before that. One more to go and I should get a win!

Tell us a little about your Charger.

It’s a ’73 VJ Valiant Charger I’ve had for 25 years. It’s had many engines, but it’s always looked

much the same. It’s got a 360ci V8 that Kevin Kent built and stroked to 408ci, and he built a manually shifted 727 gearbox to go with it. It’s got ladderbar suspension and a 9in, running drag radials. This current set-up is for the Super Street class, because you can’t run quicker than 10.00. I’ve run a 10.008, so it’s really set up to run consistent 10.1s. Today I ran a 10.12@132mph with grip issues, so not far off.

What about Jody’s car? Got to love the American Chargers!

We’ve had that one for 15 years and she’s won five championsh­ips with it. She currently runs it in the Willowbank Street Series in the Powder Puff class. We’re an all-mopar family, so when we were looking for a car for her to race with, we found this one and drove down to Adelaide to bring it back to the Gold Coast. It runs a Dodge 383ci bigblock, 727 Torqueflit­e and a 9in. It ran well today because the lower-power cars had no issues with grip and the weather was good for it!

Even your transporte­r is Mopar-themed! Tell us about that.

It’s a Daimlerchr­ysler Atego we run around Australia in for racing. It’s not just the transporte­r though; we’ve got a ’75 Valiant Charger for the street and my daily is a Chrysler 300C – we’re all Mopar. Even our cat is called Mopar!

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