Road registered 3,900lb four-door running small-block, stock suspension & with 57psi boost records 6.96sec at 211mph quarter mile.

Road registered 3,900lb four-door running small-block, stock suspension & with 57psi boost records 6.96sec at 211mph quarter mile.

Action in last summer’s Australian Drag Challenge peaked on the Thursday, the penultimate day of their annual five-day contest, when Frank Marchese took the lead, recording 7.36sec at 192mph. On the following day, he won the event, which is similar to the US Hot Rod Drag Week. It was his first attempt.   Son of a Melbourne farmer, the forty-three year old is hardly famous in the US, but in Australia, Marchese (pronounced Mar-chej-zee) is notable in the 275 class, a class restricted in use to 10.5in wide drag radial tires. Three years earlier, his notoriety came about when photographs emerged on social media of three engine blocks, all blown to bits. One of them, an aluminum style, shattered from top to bottom after five racing passes. The outer halves of the cylinders parted from the core of the block and wrecked everything in its path, including the bellhousing and converter. Alarming for most race engine devotees, it was the greatest catastrophic failure they had seen, and the replacement cost of Aus$35,000 was no less daunting for Marchese. Yet, his racing efforts descended into further chaos when the remaining two cast iron units fractured from the cam tunnel downwards. All were US made. The tumult was so financially destructive it cast him out of racing for two years. “At that time,” said Marchese, “I was aiming for only 2,000hp. If I’d had the slightest hint that those racing blocks were unfit for purpose—and in one case, the disreputable behavior by a company head—I would never have risked my racing capital.” Yet, it turned out that these successive tragedies could...