Edmonton-based Hodgson Racing delivered big time and more during yesterdays conclusion for the California Hot Rod Reunion® at Bakersfield….
Racing the rather revolutionary and cutting edge new Troy Lee Designs Chevy Camaro which debuted only last summer, rookie Nitro FC class racer Ryan Hodgson’s first win really was an enormous one.
Simply put, the effort put forward at Bakersfield by that talented and visionary Canadian team this weekend was both “top shelf” and dominating. They ran the tables at the race – qualifying #1 at 5.642 secs (low ET) and setting top speed of the event at 262.28 mph (the only 260+ mph FC at the race).
In the championship finals, Ryan defeated Jason Rupert (the recently crowned IHRA World Champ) with a 5.722 seconds at 255.63 mph capper which beat the 5.817 at 249.21 run posted by Rupert in the feared “Black Plague” Chevy Camaro.
“You go out there knowing it is running so good and you just get in your groove and keep on, keeping on and race,” Hodgson said. “My team is everything and I’m just the smallest part of this thing and I get it down the track. These guys bend over backwards. Every time we race, these guys are real important to everything.”
Prior to the final round, the race team which co-sponsored by Castrol Canada, Ron Hodgson Chevrolet-Buick-GMC and Ace Manufacturing, overseen by Ryan’s father Ron Hodgson and includes key partners Harold Parfett (from Alberta) and wily tuner Bob Papirnik (from BC), had defeated the machines campaigned by Danny Gerber, James Day and Mark Sanders.
Ryan’s win came over the quickest assembly of Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars in NHRA history with the bump spot being a 5.898 secs. 33 cars were entered for the class.
The event also declared the 2015 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Funny Car points championship, Steven Densham was able to outlast the competition to claim his first crown. The second-generation racer secured the title during the course of competition on Sunday.
“It’s an amazing feeling and we have had a pretty good year all year long,” Densham said. “We ended winning the championship and I’m super excited it happened.”
Steven is the son of long time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car driver Gary Densham who is the team owner of the championship-winning car.
“He has done very well throughout his career and you can’t take anything away from him,” Steven said of his father who has won eight NHRA national events in his career. “How hard he has worked and well he has done with the very little money he had with the big car. It is always great to have my dad as a big part of that. He is the one that makes the car run so well.”
In Top Fuel, Bill Dunlap of Capitola, Calif., raced to the victory when he bested Denver Schultz. In the finals, Dunlap powered to a winning run of 5.695 at 255.58 to the losing run 5.838 at 255.58. Dunlap defeated Brendan Murray, Dave Hirata, and Rick White top advance to the finals. This is the second win of the season for Dunlap at a Hot Rod Reunion event as he won in Bowling Green.
“I was lucky enough to win the inaugural event here in ’92,” Dunlap said. “It is the crew that gets me there. I’m just the lucky guy who gets to push the pedals. The crew that we put together for this race is amazing. I have to blame it all on the crew.”
Winners were also crowned in nine other categories. Jeremy Sullivan won in Fuel Altered, Scott Parks took the Jr. Fuel title, A/Fuel was captured by Drew Austin, Nostalgia Pro Mod was Andrew Berry, AA/Supercharged was Howard Anderson, 7.0 Pro was DeWayne Sanders, Dale Shubert won Nostalgia Eliminator 1, Brendan Fyre won A/Gas and Steve Whitemore won A/FX.
(Posted with files by Bruce Biegler & NHRA Communications)