Canucks Come Close at Chi-Town  

Canadian racers Jeff Arend and Jason Kenny both ran extremely well during last weekend’s NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Chicagoland – both taking a respective runner-up class placing…

Jeff Arend wheeled the vastly improving Kalitta Racing/DHL Toyota Funny Car to its second final round of the 2011 season.  Jeff qualified the car 11th (4.199 secs) before facing a series of highly formidable opponents during Sunday’s extremely hot (track & atmospheric) conditions.

Arend used and showed all of the expert driving skills in his arsenal on Sunday as track conditions were very conducive to tire smoke.  Arend out drove John Force, Ron Capps and Tony Pedregon to advance to the final round against #1 qualifier Mike Neff.

Jeff Arend was runner-up in Fuel FC at Chicago yesterday

 Neff’s machine, which was the quickest and fastest of all fuel Funny Cars at Chicago this weekend, ultimately did roll to a winning 4.246 secs at 293.22 mph.  Arend’s crew, who knew they had to push the performance envelope in order to potentially beat Neff, ultimately saw their car spin the tires not far from the starting line, which slowed Jeff to a losing 5.168 secs at 186.54 mph.

The strong runner-up finish, which came in Jeff’s 8th career NHRA final round, has pushed the former resident of Toronto to a 6th place standing within NHRA’s points tally as the 2011 season hit it’s midway point.

Jason Kenny (in near lane) in Jeg's All-Stars Super Gas final

Jason Kenny, from Kingston Ontario, raced to his second consecutive final round within the highly prestigious Jegs All-Stars competition which was held on Saturday during the Route 66 Nationals.

Kenny, who was the defending 2010 event champion, raced Rusty Cook in the Super Gas final round which featured a battle of very similar “topless” late model Corvette roadsters.

Cook (who is from Kentucky) jumped to a slight starting line advantage and recorded a winning 9.917 secs at 171.21 mph while Jason went took quick on the 9.90 index at 9.887 secs 153.23 mph.

Kenny had defeated stalwart class racers David Tatum III (the defending NHRA Lucas Oil World Champ) and David Miller during earlier competition.

Jason Kenny and his father Al also raced in Super Comp (8.90) Jegs All-Stars competition, but both lost in the first round in that category.

(Bruce Biegler Photos)