Both participation and anticipation is really ramping up for fans of Eastern Canada’s USDRS this season….
For 2016, the Ultimate Showdowns Drag Racing Series’ Pro Modified class category is trending towards the inclusion of an interesting 2-car effort which features both a wily veteran racer and a promising newcomer (both based from the Hamilton Ontario area).
Bruce Boland, who’s name has been known synonymously with Pro Mod cars in the East for decades (winning the PMRA championship title X3) will be back at it again in 2016. This time for Boland it is arguably his most potent combination yet. But an added dimension to the team equation is a new driver, Roger Jongerden, who was and is a long time crew member for Bruce Boland. Alongside Boland, Jongerden will debut a brand new race car for the USDRS circuit. Both of the machines are supercharged alcohol-burning Chevy Camaros.
For Boland, after finishing 2nd in final points for the USDRS inaugural season last year, during the off season the popular racer sold off his familiar Willys Coupe and then purchased the complete racing operation of another former PMRA Champion, Rocky Delicce (from Mississauga). Boland picked up that race car basically turn key and with it is optimistic again about his season chances.
“After sitting out all of last year and due to business demands, Rocky decided to sell off his racing operation,” said Boland. “I caught wind of that and I knew this was a good car (formally raced in NHRA by Ray Commisso). It’s a 1967 model Camaro Tim McAmis car with the very best stuff including one of Al Billes motors and supercharger programs. After we picked it up – we took it all apart to familiarize ourself with it.”
Boland reports that this is automatic car which is something he will need to adjust too – throughout his long Pro Mod career he has raced exclusively with a clutch in the class.
“That’s going to be a bit of an adjustment for me,” Bruce added. “It’s going to be my first car with a torque converter. When Rocky ran this car it ran in the 5.9’s and that’s my performance goal too for this season. For sure this is the most advanced car I’ve ever raced with the best parts.”
Boland’s major focus is to be chasing the USDRS points title in 2016. He may also venture out to a couple of North East Pro Mod Association and PDRA 1/8th mile races too at some point this season.
Racing in conjunction with Bruce this season will be Jongerden, who has worked with Bruce Boland as a crewman and clutch specialist for many seasons. Roger will hit the track with a truly impressive new machine, a 1970 1/2 Camaro built by LJ Race Cars (Smithville ON) and Boland will help with his development as a driver.
“I had been toying with the idea of going Pro Mod racing myself for a few seasons,” Roger revealed. “This car is the end of about a two year project. Lionel (at LJ) did the chassis and mounted the body and after that we did all the assembly and plumbing.”
Roger debuted his new race car to a very appreciative public during last winter’s Motorama Car Show in Toronto where it collected a fistful of awards (8 in total!)
But now Jongerden will focus his efforts from transforming all those initial car show positive impressions to some expertise at the drag strip.
He will run a 526 CID Billet TFX motor program which Roger self assembled after it was purchased from Dave McGee. That has a Roots PSI 14-71 supercharger that has been modified by another Canadian Pro Mod stalwart – Carl “Big Dog” Spiering. Roger’s car will be clutch car using a 3-speed Lenco and Boninfante disc system.
Roger admits that he looks forward to receiving guidance from both Bruce and Carl as he enters into the Pro Mod class fray this season.
“As I driver I feel a bit green right now but that being said — I’ve been around Pro Mod class cars a lot,” he added. “But I feel fortunate to have both Bruce and Carl as mentors. We are going to start out as a 2-car team. We do have a lot of experience on our side already.”
Like Boland, Jongerden will also fund his new race car largely as an independent from his own Roger’s Auto Repairs shop which he has owned and operated for 25 years. His crew will consist of good friend Tim Hoffman and his 25-year old son Roger Jr.
Eastern Canadian racing fans can get their first peeks at these machines in action later this month. Both Bruce and Roger plan to test their cars during an upcoming group track rental at TMP Cayuga Dragway in a couple weeks. Roger will commence to upgrade his current Advanced ET licence for the Pro Mod class and Bruce will make his initial hits with his new machine.
If all that goes well fans can anticipate seeing both of the cars (which will each be receiving associate support from Leggett Chevrolet – Burlington Ontario) entered for the USDRS season opener – also at Toronto Motorsports Park – May 21-22nd.
Post and photos by Bruce Biegler