coverage presented by
July 15, 2017
The story from this reporter starts with the first qualifying session
of the evening, scheduled to start at 6:00.
Just ten minutes before the scheduled start of the pro show, the anthem
singer came running in to the tower, apologizing profusely for her late
appearance, but ready to get the show started in traditional fashion.
Following the usual introductions and the anthems, the Pro 6.90 Funny
Cars led off and got things going in fine fashion. Before they finished
their qualifying session, the adjusted altitude was announced at a performance-sapping
4400 ft. under a full hot sun
One of the Pro 6.90 cars failed to show, as Courtney Mageau's "Girl
Trouble" T-bird remained in the pits, up on the jack stands, with
the engine scattered around their pit area. The report was that the
shift light didn't work during her Friday night qualifier, and before
she could shift into high gear, the engine suffered some terrible terminal
Only one small glitch developed during the session with the "Mad
Viking" of Ron Stennes losing fire at half track at the end of
his burnout. Thankfully it only took a few minutes to clear the car
from the track and resume the action.
Pro Fuel (Drag Bikes)
As was the case with Friday's qualifying session, the Pro Fuel bikes
followed the funny cars, and the disparity between the top and bottom
qualifiers played out once again. As the session ended, the gap between
number one and eight qualifiers was slightly more than one second, and
only two bikes were in the 7-second zone.
Leading off the Top Fuel bikes was track record holder Jay Turner (at
6.30 seconds) who had trouble in his first qualifier on Friday, but
came back to post a so-so 6.95 in the first pairing. In the second,
and last, pair of the round, Andy "The Joker" Beauchemin was
in trouble right from the launch and finally drifted over into the 330'
cone, before getting the bike back into the groove and coasting down
to the finish line. And that was it, as just four bikes showed for what
was planned to be an 8-bike field. It was a disappointing turnout from
The Pro Mods of the WDRL followed the bikes and there were improvements
aplenty as many of the cars began to come to grips with the track (pun
only slightly intended) and the mediocre atmospheric conditions. During
Friday night's lone qualifying session very few cars carded 6-second
elapsed times, and no one came within a (quarter)-mile of threatening
Joe Delehay's 5-second track record during Friday night's session. But
it was a different story during the early evening session tonight.
Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars followed the Pro Mods and despite their minimal
numbers (only five cars entered), put on a show for the fans with the
sounds, aromas, and visuals combining into a true sensory experience.
Topping the charts on excitement was Nathan Sitko's wild ride that saw
him dancing near the wall at half track before throwing in the towel
and shutting off. And in a complete reversal from his Friday night effort,
Jay Mageau's "Prospector" kept the wheelie bar down, the fuel
pump on the "high side" before staging, and thundered to a
Top Alcohol Dragster
Continuing with the all (or almost all) nitro theme, the Top "Alcohol"
Dragsters were next up and kept the same pairings as their previous
appearance on Friday, with Serge Dion vs Don St. Arnaud, while Shelby
Sereda faced off with Gord Gingles. The results were as expected, with
Dion leaving slowly and dropping cylinders almost immediately, while
St. Arnaud marched his Eh/Fuel car to an easy win.
The Gingles vs Sereda match went off more smoothly than their first
go-round on Friday, with Sereda handling the staging procedure better.
And the Doucette team saved their run when a crewman realized that Gingles
was left sitting at the 200 ft mark unable to reverse after the burnout
because the air bottle to arm the clutch was turned off. Quick thinking
and action by the crewman saved the day.
Amping up the volume were the AA/Fuel Altereds and they continued to
surprise with their completely unpredictable antics. The first pair
out, "Nanook" vs the "Rat Trap" saw both cars run
straight, true and quickly to the finish line as both drivers improved
on their earlier effort. And the other match saw Tom Padilla's "Red
Dragon" fail to match (or god forbid, better) his Friday night
6.00 pass, as he slowed to "only" a 6.22, while Randy Bradford
dropped cylinders on the top end and slowed to a 7-second clocking.
Until half track, both cars appeared to be on very strong passes, and
all four cars displayed none of their normally wayward handling characteristics.
Top Fuel and Funny Car
With only a few cars remaining in the staging lanes, one might expect
the show to wind down slowly, but the cars waiting to run were the fastest
and loudest on the grounds. First up were Bruce Litton and Gary Densham
and they both fared better than Friday, making nearly full passes and
putting up 5-second numbers on the scoreboards. Finishing out the serious
running of this first session of the evening, were Calgary's David Fedorowich,
who surprised almost everyone with a strong leave, a decent 217 mph
at half track, and a big bang shortly thereafter. The bonus was a lack
of oil and/or parts on the top end of the track. Running alongside him,
or at least in the other lane, was Jason Duchene and his Fuel Altered
(converted from his Funny Car) who gave up the chase early.
Similar to Friday night's pro show, the entire session took just 90
minutes (before the wheelstander and jet cars) and the downtime could
be counted in minutes on one hand. That left the track announcers struggling
to "fill" the gap until the next session started, or scheduled
to start, at 9:00 pm. Before that could happen, the sportsman finals
were still to be run plus a few exhibition passes by the local police
racing team and the two-seater dragster.
the sun slowly heading towards the horizon and the air cooling off,
the second session of the evening, and the final qualifying session
of the event, got going earlier than anticipated. So much so that as
I sat in the media centre typing this report, the first pair of 6.90
Pro Funny Cars fired up right underneath the tower and jolted me into
action. It was another fast paced session with more improvements by
many of the racers and a serious tightening of the qualifying ladder
as positions changed with almost every pair down the track. Cal Tebb
went 6.94 in the final round to dial in his raceday tune-up, Shane Rykdal
did not improve, Troy Sitko, in only his second run in the 'Canadian
White Trash" Duster jumped up to #3 with a great 6.95/192. Norm
Kolwich's 6.99 was good enough for a top four spot in the field. Sherri
Bodnarchuk was the best of the IBAA group going 7.001. Corey Kincaid
improved, going 7.001 as well. Joey Steckler bumped into the top half,
also running 7.002. Ron Stennes best was a 7.029 rounding ou the top
half. Mike Reynolds in the altered went 7.043. Jimmy Fersch's best lap
was a 7.063 to round out the top 10. By the end of qualifying and heading
into round one COurtney Mageau, Cody Anstead, Shane Reykdal, Rick Yamada
and Mark Vennance would be unable to make first round due to carnage.
Pro 6.90 qualifying
all the carnage in qualifying........ there were only three
actual side by sides. A couple of the singles turned into pairings that
would see both drivers advance as their actual opponent could not make
the call. The Stennes/Reynold pairing took place and Rod Stennnes will
be ekicking himself. He got a big holeshot and had the race well at
hand but he did not ease off the gas near the stripe and broke out by
3/100ths on the 6.90 index. The Altered advanced. Joey Steckler and
Jimmy Fersch had a great side by side battle of buddies. Jimmy got the
holeshot and took the win with a great 6.91 (6.90 index). Steckler was
right beside him but he went 6.85 trying to catch Jimmy after being
left at the starting line. Troy Sitko got a break against Darrell Webb
when Webb was tined out. Sitko had a troubled run but would advance.
Bodnarchuk raced Tebb and Kincaid raced Kolwich. All four were atual
winners but in their battles it was Tebb going 6.97 for the bragging
rights and Kincaid ran 6.97 to Kolwich's too quick 6.85 for their 'friendly'.
Fuel and Nitro Harley
The bikes followed and after a pair of side-by-side 7-second passes
to open their final qualifier, the pace slowed as 8-second times followed
and the "junior fuellers" finished with three bikes in the
7's and the balance of the field well into the 8-second zone.
Pro Dragster Motocycle qualifying
were followed by their bigger, badder brothers, with Jay Turner out
first and cranking out his first solid run of the weekend, a 6.43 to
take over the top spot from Kevin Boyer. In the other, and final pair
of the round, Andy Beauchemin's "Joker" ran into more trouble
as he spun the tire on the launch, then recovered enough to ring up
a 201-mph speed on the boards, paired with an 8.01 e.t.
Top Fuel Harley qualifying
elimination's before the rain came, Turner defeated (6.89) an out of
shape Gagnon (7 something at 198) and Boyer ran his best of the weekend,
a 6.501 to defeat a cone hitting Beauchimin.
Mod saw more changes on the ladder as a number of racers moved up and
some good side-by-side pairings kept things moving smartly. Best of
the session were side-by-side 6.20's by Mike Gondziola and Gary Urlacher
to hold down the #2 and #3 spots in the 8-car field. Most of the teams
struggled with their hot hot weather tune-up on a 130 degree track and
also dealing with the new transition at 800 feet where they laid down
new pavement. Ray Leyton broke in session two and did not make the final
round and Garry Weslosky had a troubled run going a soft 7.0 and both
of those two would be outside the top eight heading into Sunday.
Pro Mod qualifying
one got underway and two pairs ran before the weather turned. Jay Syvertsen
has the task of taking on the quickest nitrous car in Canada driven
by Mike Gondziola. Both cars had troubled starts but Gonzi recovered
the quickest and won with a 6.9 at 215. The other race was a pretty
good one between Dan VOgt and Gary Urlacher for the first half and then
Urlacher`s tune-up kicked in and he went low et for the weekend with
a great 6.10 at 229,to take out a 6.45 at 207
Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car.......
followed and the five cars became three as Jay Mageau was a no-show,
and after a short delay while they gave Steven Densham time to deal
with a problem at the head of the staging lanes, the team headed back
to the pits without attempting to fire the car. All three cars that
ran did make some serious passes with Boychuk (5.91) and Sitko (6.06)
both carding representative times and Hodgson solidifying his hold on
the top qualifying position with a 5.77.
Top Alcohol Dragster
With the sun almost down, the conditions were playing right into the
hands of the tuners and as expected, the injected nitro cars responded
with some very good passes. Serge Dion and Don St. Arnaud led off again,
and this time the underdog Dion gave St. Arnaud a race as he stayed
close for a while but came up two tenths of a second short as his 5.79
- 260.87 was eclipsed by the 5.57 - 258.47 of the national (and track)
record holder. In the other match, young Shelby Sereda over staged,
but managed to save the situation and got a time on the board with a
6.22 at 242 mph, while Gingles rang up low e.t. of the weekend (so far)
with a very strong 5.43 at 258.62. It is to be noted that Sereda's run
was actually much quicker than the 6.22 that showed up on the scoreboards,
to the tune of probably four tenths of a second, due to his rolling
the lights during the staging process.
"awful awfuls" really put on a classic show as in the first
match, Randy Bradford launched hard, pulled the wheels up early and
when they came down just before half track, saw the car bounce so violently
that the rear wheels came off the ground briefly. He gave up on the
run at that point and coasted to a 7.90 clocking that was still enough
to cross the finish line ahead of Ron Hope's troubled 8.10 pass. That
gave Hope a score of zero for three as he failed to get down a solid
run in any of the qualifying sessions. Closing out the session was "Nanook"
vs the "Red Dragon" with Padilla's string of great runs running
out (at least temporarily) as he shut off to a 7.34, while Vince Generaolo
in "Nanook" laid down a very good 6.54 time.
Altered's best runs
Top Fuel and Funny Car
With the sun fully down, the big show cars of Litton and Densham pulled
to the line, ready to put on an exciting show under the lights for the
packed grandstands. And they didn't disappoint as a pair of strong leaves
saw them both running strong to the 1000 ft mark, before lifting and
coasting to the 1/4-mile stripe.
As expected, Litton posted the superior numbers - but not by much -
as his 5.07 at 270 mph just edged out Densham's closer but faster 5.17
at 272 mph. It was a truly entertaining way to end the serious aspect
of the show, with wing-high flames from Litton's car and Densham's flopper
putting his flames well over the roof.
The other pair of "big show" fuellers became one, as Federowich's
half track bang in the earlier session proved terminal and Jason Duchene
was rewarded with a single that was somewhat less than awe-inspiring
after seeing Litton and Densham run so well just minutes before.
Closing the show, as always, were the Ed Jones wheelstander and the
jet dragsters of Ihor Tanasiuk and Rick Kopp, and they filled the air
with flames and kerosene as the fans enjoyed the pyrotechnics as much
as they did in previous sessions. With the show over just after 10:30,
day two of the Rocky Mountain Nationals went into the books.
July 15, 2017
opening day at the Rocky Mountain Nationals
single qualifying session was on the agenda for the first day of the
Rocky Mountain Nationals, scheduled to start at a fan-friendly 7:00.
Due to a very nasty oildown by a sportsman car near the end of the time
trials in the late afternoon - one that required a 45-minute cleanup
evening show started a little late, getting underway around 7:15.
a short, but spirited session of the ever-popular 6.90-indexed Rocky
Mountain Nostalgia Funny Cars, the two classes of nitro-fuelled
bikes revved things up and filled the early evening air with the intoxicating
aroma of burning nitromethane. First out were the Pro Dragster
bikes, smaller-engined brothers of the Top Fuel Harley class. A handful
of mid 7-second runs graced the scoreboards before the three Top Fuel
bikes finished out the two-wheel segment of the show. Leading the way
was local hero, Kevin Boyer, with a good opening pass of 6.64 - 209
In a bit of a shock, world champion Jay Turner, all the way up from
North California, struggled with an 8-second pass.
Western Drag Racing League Pro Mods put on their show, the main event(s)
started with the five Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars laying down
some very good passes in two cases, some so-so runs in two others, and
a 10-second stroll for the final car of the quintet. From that point
until the wheelstander and jets came out at the end of the evening,
it was almost non-stop nitro for the next hour.
pro classes struggled a bit Friday in round one. The track was re-paved
a couple weeks ago, and there is a lack of rubber from just past half
track on. Mike Gondziola was the quickest but he had a major pedal a
couple time. The Accutime Scoreboard laid down a 6.304@ 218. 'Gonzi'
stated that even with more track 'downtrack' a low teen or high '0'
is likely all we will see with this hot weather.
Sjostrom is getting his BAE screw blown 57 Chevy sorted out but even
he was off pace in the middle part of the track. His run was a 6.35/226.
Jeff Doyle ran top speed of round one with a very loose 6.36/244. Garrett
Richards, the winner of two races already this year, was strong to half
track, but he was crazy legs from 600 feet on. He actually went through
a pedal before half track, but he was way off the gas early, with a
6.88/153. His half track number was a 4.0.
cars made the trek to Edmonton and actually only one from out of town
is competing, and he made a long trek North. Steven Densham along with
hiis dad Gary and the big show car came from Bellflower California.
Steven ran the quickest in round one ijn NFC, a solid 5.86/240 to sit
#1. Local big name player Ryan Hodgson is #2 with a pedal job guard
railing hugging scoreboard run of a 5.92/249. Tim Boychuk had the chuites
deploy at 600 feet and he still went 6.34/189 ahead of a troubled 6.58
by Nathan Sitko. Rounding out the five in attendance was a new look
Jay Mageau with a slowing 10 second coaster.
field of six AA/Fuel Altereds dwindled down to four running cars, but
all of them upheld the tradition of noisy, smoky, squirrelly
runs to bring the fans to the edge of their seats. The first pair, Randy
Bradford in the family Fiat, and Vince Generaolo in the Hough family
"Nanook", eventually got to the finish line by taking a long,
twisting path to the 1320 stripe. The scoreboards weren't overly kind
to the pair,
with Generaolo's 7.81 - 179 getting past a slowing Bradford who posted
an 8.05 at just 128 mph.
pair saw a complete reversal as the low-slung "Red Dragon"
T-bodied beast of hard-luck Tom Padilla pulled the wheels up on the
and thundered down the track in a dead-straight pass that rocked everyone
with an incredible 6.002 at more than 231 mph. Trailing badly was Ron
Hope in the high-riding, narrow tracked "Rat Trap" at an early
shutoff 7.23 at 149 mph.
is that the officially unofficial "self-imposed" 6.00 e.t.
minimum came within literally nanoseconds of being breached by Padilla's
We're certain there were some "animated" discussions in the
pits following that blast. And it goes without saying that the new track
Fuel Altered is firmly in Padilla's hands.
Top Fuel Nitro
Funny Car and Transformer fuel altered
show wound down, the volume (both of noise out of the pipes and fuel
into the engine) took a sharp upward curve, as two NHRA "big show"
cars, the funny of Gary Densham and the dragster of Bruce Litton, faced
off in a matchup not seen since the Winston Challenge shows of the 1990's.
While Densham hadn't run the full quarter-mile for quite a few years,
Litton has appeared only sporadically at NHRA events over the past decade
and was ready to take it all the way to the stripe.
quickly expired in a ball of fire, and a few broken parts as Litton
bombed the blower as he launched, coasting to a stop at the 300 foot
mark, leaving a trail of fuel in his wake. Densham left with at least
one cylinder out and was soon smoking the tires before he shut off at
track. After the quick cleanup of the spilled nitro on Litton's side
of the track, the final pair of nitro-burners came out and it had some
local nitro campaigners Jason Duchene in his "Trial n' Error"
big show-style fuel altered, faced off against fellow veteran David
in the "Dark Side" dragster in a battle of serious underdogs.
Unlike last year's appearance at this event, where Fedorowich fireballed
before passing the 60-ft clocks, he kept the engine together long enough
to get to the finish line cleanly. His .892 60-ft time was not that
off a respectable number for a competitive Top Fuel car, but a couple
of wet cylinders slowed his progress and led to an early shutoff. In
lane, Duchene likewise laid down a clean pass, but was off the loud
pedal before the 330 clocks and trailed badly at the finish line.
a tradition for a number of the local Top Alcohol Dragsters and Funny
Cars to appear in round-robin exhibition style at the Rocky Nats.
This year was no exception, as a lone blown alky dragster faced off
against three injected nitro cars in a jack vs. the giant match times
Rookie pilot Shelby Sereda in dad Greg's "Canadian Tire" entry
went up against the highly-polished Doug Doucette team out of Winnipeg.
the driving this weekend in place of regular pilot Alan Bradshaw, was
fellow Winnipegger, Gord Gingles.
appeared unnerved at the prospect of running at a perennial NHRA national
contender and had trouble staging and keeping the rpms
up, but finally bumped into the beams and managed to leave on Gingles
before being train-lengthed as the race played out. Sereda gave up the
early with a 6.48 at 176, as Gingles ran away with a 5.43 at 261 mph.
pairing saw two Edmonton racers facing off and this had the makings
of another one-sided match as NHRA national record holder, Don St.
Arnaud, lined up against Serge Dion and his seldom-seen A/Fuel car.
Dion gave it a good effort, with a 5.86 at 249 mph, but St. Arnaud's
leaving 5.59 at 263 took the winlight by a comfortable margin. Then
it was on to a much shorter wheelbased bunch of nitro racers as the
Altereds took centre stage.
minutes elapsed from start to finish for the pro qualifying session
and to give the fans some added value, the wheelstanding stagecoach
Ed "The Outlaw" Jones, in the Jolly Rancher "car"
put on his usual entertaining show. That was followed in close succession
by a pair of jets. First
up was the "Twisted Mister" conventional jet dragster of local
racer Ihor Tanasiuk. Finishing out the show was Ontario's Rick "Hollywood"
his "Pyro" International Harvester jet truck. After a series
of booming burner pops, Koop thundered to the finish line with the afterburners
was it for day one of the 15th annual MOPAR Rocky Mountain Nationals.
It might be hoping for too much to see that type of show repeated
twice on day two, but we can only hope for a smooth running, great performing,
evening of racing on Saturday night.
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Bob 'Northern Thunder' Wilson
JULY 14, 2017
quite a variety of classes and eliminators on tap at this year's MOPAR
Rocky Mountain Nationals. Ranging all the way from Gary Densham's "big
show" 3-second (in 1000 ft) nitro funny car, and Bruce Litton's
similarly capable Top Fuel dragster, down through the ranks to the littlest
of them all: the several iterations of junior dragster.
feature racing will commence at 7:00 pm, opening with the ever-entertaining
Rocky Mountain Nostalgia Funny Car group of nostalgia-bodied blown alcohol
floppers. Then the action gets louder and bolder with the nitro-fueled
Pro Bikes, and their bigger and badder brothers, the Top Fuel Harleys,
in back to back qualifying sessions.
their burnout tracks will be the Western Drag Racing League Pro Mods,
fresh off their second event of the season two weeks ago at Mission
Raceway's "Door Warz V". With at least a dozen of the completely
unpredictable supercharged or nitrous-aided monsters in the pits, the
show should be spectacular.
action kicks it up another gear, with a quintet of nitro nostalgia Funny
Cars, followed by four NHRA-legal Top Alcohol dragsters (three injected
nitro, one blown alcohol). Keeping the action at a full boil, and then
some, are the four (down from what was hoped to be eight) "awful
awfuls" (AA/Fuel Altereds) that do their utmost to keep the traditions
of the early days of drag racing relevant to audiences in 2017.
if you can, an insanely over-powered, short wheelbase, high centre of
gravity, totally UN-aerodynamic bodied car attempting to work their
way down the 1320 without impacting the guardwalls, or each other, while
entertaining the race fans in an unparalleled fashion. When the tire
(and sometimes engine) smoke clears after their battles, the "big
show" Top Fuel dragsters (two in the pits), the Funny Car (one),
and finally, to close the show, the "Pyro" jet truck of Rick
Kopp from Ontario.
that isn't enough, they're all coming back and doing it twice more on
Saturday night, and again until the final racers are standing on Sunday
afternoon. Even with a few dropouts and some short fields, the quality
of the cars in attendance is outstanding and the support classes of
Top Sportsman and Top Dragsters will keep the fans in the stands until
the last echo of a supercharged engine crossing the finish line fades
into the Prairie breeze.
the legends of the Fuel Altered racing
Bradford (Bradford's Fiat)
Hope (Rat Trap)
"Getting There is Not Always Half the Fun" department:
visit to Tam Padilla's "Red Dragon" Fuel Altered pit area
resulted in the telling of a very shocking, but ultimately encouraging
tale of serious woe. Yesterday evening, Tom and crew were in the final
stretch of their 16-hour drive from the suburbs of Seattle to Castrol
Raceway when they were innocently involved in a nearly catastrophic
motored along, a disabled vehicle on the shoulder of the highway prompted
them to move over and give the driver a margin of safety, but when they
attempted to move back into their lane, an out-of-control speeding driver
came up on them from the shoulder side of the road, lost control, swerved
into the median, came out of the median at a 90-degree angle to Padilla's
truck and trailer and nailed the rear of the cabin of their crewcab,
sending it on a wild ride that saw it nearly rolling over on the busy
highway. Luckily, the trailer remained attached to the truck and prevented
the nasty accident from becoming much worse.
was that Tom's wife, in the rear seat of the truck, escaped injury and
the entire crew suffered nothing more than a serious shaking and a few
bruises. Damage to the truck was severe enough, that considering its
age (2003 model), it has to be considered a "write-off". In
addition, the trailer sustained some undiagnosed damage that saw some
serious leaks develop when the rains came later in the evening. The
good news segment of this story is that a woman following them on the
road cared enough to stop, call the police, give statements to them,
and towed Padilla's trailer the balance of the way into the pits at
the racetrack. Then, to complete her incredibly generous actions, drove
Tom to the nearest truck rental facility so that they could have transportation
for the weekend.
all the help from this anonymous angel, Padilla still faces the propsect
of getting his damaged trailer and (fortunately) undamaged race car
back to Seattle after the race on Sunday night. Tom's insurance company
has been less than helpful to this point and don't want to get involved
in what they deem to be an international incident/accident.
We'll hope that the situation can be resolved without much delay or
further damage to the race team's fortunes.
now, in Tom's words, "We're here to race for the next three days,
and we'll worry about the truck and trailer on Sunday night. Let's mix
some fuel, pack the 'chutes, and get ready to make a good lap this evening."
Gary Beck, Gordie Bonin, Ron Hodgson, Terry Capp, NHRA's very own second
in command, Graham Light, Les Davenport, Rob Flynn ( crew chief for
JR Todd of Kalitta Motorsports), Ray Peets, George Sitko, Bob Mageau,
Roger Bateman, Bob Reynolds and Geoff Goodwin are just some of the names
who have made a mark in Drag Racing's history.
All those guys are who's who in the sport and all got their start racing
in the province of Alberta.
2. The fans in Alberta remember the past and are a part of the history,
and they are the legacy that keeps Edmonton a hot bed for the sport
When The Rocky Mountain Nationals started 14 years ago the IHRA gave
Castrol Raceway (Budweiser Motorsport Park at that time), an offer they
could not refuse, and for over a decade that race was THE race in the
IHRA eyes, even if a number of East Coast racers did not like the travel
aspect. The fans kept on coming.
Millican and Bruce Litton were regulars and both put on fantastic
shows. Local Terry Capp, a legend from back in the 70's even returned
to the sport, and ran 320 mph here a dozen years ago.
Cannon even made an appearance to the Rocky's.
But with all the changes the IHRA has undergone in the last five
to seven years it was apparent that the second largest sanctioning
was on life support 'big show' wise. The loss of corporate sponsors,
the Evan Knoll debacle have all lead to the restructuring of the
Through all the turmoil Castrol Raceway had maintained their spot as
the "top event". I have said many times that the Rocky Mountain
Nationals could survive without any association sanction because of
the passion the fans up here have. Plus it helps to have an owner who
is willing to take risks and literally do it "his way".
Now under the NHRA sanctioning, Mr. Reeves continues to run this race
the way he wants to.
My guess is, the success will continue and in all likelihood will be
even better. There are no less than seven feature classes this year
starting with big show Nitro. While there will not be any full time
NHRA big show cars competing, long time veteran Bruce Litton will make
his 15th appearance,
will be bring his 4 second Fuel coupe (would love to see a four second
Funny Car pass, but he likely is in test mode for Sonoma and Seattle
so it might be 1000 foot shots). David Fedorowich a veteran of Top Fuel
racing for a couple decades will bring his car to compete against Litton.
Fuel Harley's will be out in Force. Many of the full time NHRA
Top Fuel competitors will be here including National event winners
Jay Turner and Mike Scott. Locals like Andy Beauchemin will also
challenge for the large purse. There should be close to a dozen
six Nostalgia Fuel Altered's will be here as well. Cars include the
Hough family 'Nanook', Ron Hope's 'Rat Trap', Randy Bradford's 'Fiat',
Nick Davies and 'Havoc' (all the way from England), Tom Padilla's 'Dragon'
and Mike Hilasbeck's 'Arizona Thunder' . Likely a couple Alberta big
'pump' Fuel Altered's will also attend.
Nostalgia Nitro Coupes will compete as well with five confirmed
including four local cars including NHRA record holder Ryan Hodgson,
Multi time IHRA and NHRA heritage winner Tim Boychuk (shown),
Heritage winner Steven Densham, Local favourites Nathan Sitko
and Jay Mageau (with a new look).
The complete contingent of 6.90 Funny Cars from the Rocky Mountain
floppers and the IBAA will start off each professional session
(one session Friday evening and two sessions Saturday evening).
regulars like Joey Steckler, Norm Kolwich (shown), Cal Tebb, Jimmy
Fersch, Coutney Mageau, and Darrell Webb
Also expected are a couple NHRA A/Fuel dragsters including the
NHRA National speed record holder Don St Arnaud (shown), and a
couple Manitoba competitors Gord Gingles and Doug Doucette.
will also likely compete. One car missing this year is the Geoff Goodwin
TAFC. Geoff after years competing sold his car and has retired from
competitive racing. One of SpeedZone Magazine's favourite classes are
the Pro Mods.
WDRL will be at Castrol with a dozen or more fast door-cars competing
in an 8 car field. Canadian nitrous and overall record holder
(5.796) Mike 'Gonzi' Gondziola headlines the group along with
multi event winner Garrett Richards from Washington, '5' second
Alberta performer Paul Glandon Twin Turbo Camaro, Rick Distefano
and his new 1970 Twin Turbo Camaro are just a few of the guys
set to do battle.
Of course every night will close with Jet cars and this year Rick Kopp
with his Jet truck will put on a show. Wheelstanders will likely be
there as well.
an NHRA National Open all the sportsman classes including Stock,
Super Stock, Super Comp, Gas, Street, Top Dragster and Top Sportsman
as well as the bracket classes including Super Pro, Sportsman, Pro
and Bike/Sled will chase the NHRA National Open points.
three different classes and Jr. Street will round out the NHRA Summit
Bracket classes. The National Open series has events at three Canadian
tracks including Castrol, Medicine Hat and Mission Raceway as well as
a handful of North West Division Six tracks in Washington, Montana and
Looking at the feature cars alone, it is no wonder the place is packed
for all three days.
SpeedZone Magazine.com will have daily coverage and photos all weekend
long as well as their facebook page. We will have no less than three
reporters/photographers on site to bring you all the news. No other
racing web site will come close to the coverage we will offer.
We want to thank the Top Eliminator Series and Ebert's Racing for their
sponsorship of our coverage throughout the weekend.