In a bold move for a series still in relative infancy – Ontario’s Napa/AutoPro USDS – has embraced an important class addition for the coming season….
The circuit which is in 2017 poised to enter it’s third year of existence, has now confirmed that the Alcohol Funny Car category will be introduced as a new full class member this season. The development came to fruition during the series’ recent pre-season meetings held in Niagara Falls on March 25th.
The addition of AFC racing is seen as a positive at a number of levels including adding even more fan entertainment and momentum for the circuit while at the same time giving these class racers a solid and positive new place to go and compete. This is a migration from the former NDRA Alcohol Funny Car circuit, which was a group that was originally founded a few seasons ago by the late Dale Boeru, and which since then had run some limited in success independent events. This is in effect a passing of that baton and deemed to help improve the class’s future in this area of Canada and the North East.
Alcohol Funny Cars will be feature part of all of the USDS race regimes going forward, beginning at the season opening Victoria Day Weekend feature at Cayuga Dragway (May 20-21). Like the USDS’ Pro Mod class, it will be 8-car qualified fields.
“At our meetings in Niagara Falls we presented our concept to the existing competitors in this class, after a few weeks of review and further discussion, those teams unanimously supported joining Ultimate,” stated Steve Martin the Series’ Director. “During this process we were in constant communication with our racetrack partners. Especially Uli Bieri from Toronto Motorsports Park — he has been one of the biggest advocates for this class and we can’t thank him enough for his support. I also want to recognize Lyle and MaryAnn Williams who have been particularly helpful in making this happen. We are both humbled and pleased about the decision made to join our series.”
“Our racing group has chosen to evolve forward,” confirmed Lyle Williams, driver of the “Shock Therapy” car. “Our focus is growth and this will provide us that opportunity. We have a good foundation to work with and fans can expect to see initially 8-10 entries at each of our events this year.”
Within the USDS format, area Alcohol Funny Car class racers are afforded a solid foundation to go and race within. That will include competition at two drag strips instead of one, a season points structure and a year end grand champion. There will be a presenting season sponsor for the AFC class too — however details on that will come at a later date.
“In recent years this particular class has wained,” Martin continued. “But we see an opportunity for our series by bringing these great and dedicated racers under our USDS banner. We know the enthusiasm still exists and we are going to do our part to reach out to class racers all over the North East and point out that there is now a very structured place up here in Ontario Canada that they can come to race. These racers can compete in a safe environment, in front of big crowds and also be assured they will receive the prize money they are promised.”
From a Alcohol Funny Car rules perspective — Martin admits that for the USDS 2017 season — it will be a test mode of sorts.
“It will be an open concept for the class this season – anyone and everyone is welcome,” Steve added. “As long as the car is up to standard with regard to NHRA safety certification and the driver’s license is valid – they will be good to go. We won’t be concerned about specification combinations this year for example. Ultimately we will be ensuring parity for the class – but for us to get to that point we need to get a season under our belts first.”
Alcohol Funny Cars will compete at all five of the Napa/Autopro USDS race weekends this summer however it should be noted that for the events scheduled over the Labour Day Weekend — there will be a split. Due to previous track commitments, the USDS Funny Cars will race that weekend separately during Cayuga’s “Canadian Funny Car Championships” race while the rest of the USDS circuit cars will be featured at Grand Bend Motorplex’s “Thunder by the Beach” event.
DragRaceCanada will provide details on some additional and important USDS circuit news developments — coming soon.
Post and photos by Bruce Biegler