Some truly interesting Canadian participation and results from the JEGS All-stars event held at NHRA Joliet last weekend!…

The 33rd annual version, which coagulates the most elite of NHRA’s Lucas Oil Divisional and Regional Sportsman drag racers in head-to-head competition for both geographical and personal bragging rights as well as significant prize money, featured a number of first time Canadian drag racers on that entry list.

And the race-within-a-race which was held during Saturday’s event schedule for the 20th annual Route 66 Nationals did see a talented Canadian driver emerge on top.

Calgary’s Ken Mostowich, who has been an impact player for many years racing in both Super Gas and Super Comp eliminators with his Chevy-cars won the prestigious JEGS All-stars Super Gas 9.90 title racing his Corvette.

For Mostowich, who has numerous NHRA national and divisional event wins to his career credit – this first ever trip to race in Chicago proved to be a charm.

Calgary’s Ken Mostowich made the very best of his first ever JEGS All-Stars event appearance!

The talented driver defeated Mike Sawyer, Bill Cawsey and Dave Kelly during the 3 rounds of class competition to take the win.

“I can’t believe how really big a deal this was,” said Ken post race. “I’ve been to many big events before but until you actually get here and see it — you don’t know what to expect.”

“To win this in my first ever appearance feels pretty good — it was a rewarding experience,” Ken continued. “You are facing off against the very best of eight in the sport – there are no ducks here!”

Ken was quick to thank again his right hand man Charlie Marsh who plays such an intricate part in his racing ventures – maintaining and transporting his race cars. He was also thrilled with the NHRA’s innovative “all access” on-line event coverage the JEGS All-Stars event did receive.

“That was pretty cool because my wife (Laurie) back home in Calgary along with my daughters were able to watch everything live,” he added. “Also my brother who lives in Mississauga ( who had a party with a bunch of friends) could see it too. That made this experience special too.”

The event also included for the first time race cars owned by Bill and Sandy Cawsey, Tom Nolan and Rick McKinney.

Bill Cawsey, who is from Saskatchewan, qualified and raced his 2008 Ford Mustang in Super Gas. He narrowly lost out to Mostowich in a very close double break out “all Canada” 2nd round – 9.896 secs to 9.886 secs.

For Cawsey, who is a diesel tech at Bennett-Dunlop Ford in Regina, he too was thrilled to have the opportunity to compete at such a high level within NHRA.

Regina-based Ford brand proponent Bill Cawsey had a very nice effort during the JEGS All-Stars event. He was edged out by Ken Mostowich in the super close second round confrontation.

“I finished 2nd in Divisional points last season and qualified to be a blocker here,” Bill revealed. “This JEGS deal is pretty impressive — I tried not to let myself get too wound up but to be honest the spectacle here did make that hard.”

Bill’s wife Sandy was also entered for the Route 66 Nationals Super Street completion racing her cool ’66 Ford Fairlane. Sandy in fact just missed qualifying herself for the 2017 JEGS event with her car after finishing high in her Division last season.

For Alberta’s Tom Nolan the JEGS All-Stars event included his pride and joy project – his awesome 1964 Ford Thunderbolt A/SA. That car which Tom hand-built and which has been racing since it’s debut in 2012 is driven by super skilled Tibor Kadar from Phoenix Arizona. Tom and Tibor did go to the JEGS Stock eliminator championship final round before losing out in a double break out affair to Andrew Hill’s Chevy Camaro.

The Can-Am classic car team owned by Tom Nolan and driven by Tibor Kadar went to the Stock elimination championship final round.

“This was our first time here,” Nolan confirmed. “After Tibor did such a nice job winning in Division 7 last year he earned this and we just had to come out.”

“We enjoyed the opportunity to mix it up with our vintage car against some of the late model stuff,” added Tom, (who is the owner of Winners Choice Racing – Lacombe AB). “We’ve proven ourselves to be a top contender in the A/SA class and that we can run with the best of them.”

Tom’s Thunderbolt is a runaway fan favourite in the Stock class category. It features an original 427 CID “high riser” motor built by Blair Patrick.

Representing Canada in the Super Stock class was Richmond BC’s Rick McKinney. Rick was entered for the first time in the JEGs All-Stars event with his ultra reliable SS/LA ’84 Olds Cutlass. Rick did lose out in round one however falling to defending 2016 JEGS champion – Slate Cummings.

“It was 2100 miles — one way haul — just to get here, but well worth it,” Rick revealed. “I finished third in points in Division Six last year but when this opportunity presented itself – I threw my hand up. It’s not often that a racer can come and compete against the very best of the best – so we jumped on that chance. I want to thank everyone at JEGS for the awesome experience.”

Left Coast based racer Rick McKinney towed in from BC to Chicago to race his reliable Olds Cutlass in Super Stock

McKinney confirmed that his has been racing this very same Oldsmobile, which was originally built by Al Wiebe for 15 seasons now. “I’ve stuck with the same combo pretty much the whole time – but with some refinements along the way,” he said.

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler

To view additional JEGS All-Stars event racer images – visit our Route 66 Nationals photo gallery: HERE