One of the most successful community orientated drag racing events in all of Canada played out at Grand Bend Motorplex last weekend……
The event which featured an interesting mix of local talents in a variety of exhibition match races was also the venue of the 2nd ever event effort for the aspiring new NAPA AUTOPRO ULIMATE SHOWDOWN DRAG RACING SERIES.
In the NAPA AUTOPRO ULTIMATE SHOWDOWN DRAG RACING SERIES it was London Ontario’s Rob Atchison repeating his winning ways in Pro Modified. While Marc Gervais from Sudbury, Ontario captured the $10,000 Showdown title in the Top Dragster / Top Sportsman run-off.
Atchison was able to qualify his 1963 Corvette Pro Modified entry in the field in the number 3 position, then work his way past Chris Brohman’s Camaro in round one, and a sidelined Derek Hawker to move into the final round against many time Pro Mod winner Bruce Boland. Boland ended up the number one qualifier, at 5.926 seconds at over 242. mph. He worked his way around Bob Nagy in round one, then defeated Al Martorino’s Mustang in the semi-finals.
In the Pro Mod final Boland’s 1941 Willys experienced clutch problems not far off the starting line, causing him to slow to a 6.30 elapsed time on the run. Rob Atchison was able to repeat his earlier consistent performance, with a solid 5.97 at 238. mph for his second consecutive win in the Ultimate Showdown Drag Racing Series.
The Atchison Machine Service, Mattress Depot and West Coast Transportation sponsored Corvette, now has increased it’s points lead in Pro Modified , with one more race to go this season. Rob was obviously happy with his second straight win in the USDS Series, and celebrated in the winners circle with his Dad Bob and crew members Kyle, Tim, Fraser, and Mike.
In the NAPA AUTOPRO Ultimate Showdown Top Dragster side of the 32 car class, qualifying was once again led by Lyle Williams, in the Williams Racing, Supercharged Chrysler Hemi powered rear engined Racetech dragster. Lyle laid down a stout 6.076 elapsed time at 227.96 mph to lead the field into eliminations. The Top Dragster bump spot was a 6.788, held by Jim Rubino fro Buffalo, NY.
During eliminations, it was number two qualifier Glen Vardy out of Burlington, Ontario, who worked his way into the T/D final after eliminating Sydnie Hyde, Tom Orr, and Jim Rubino, to set up his match with the 1932 Austin Bantam altered of Kyle Harris, from Burford. Harris not only worked his way into the final round of T/D, with his supercharged altered, but was also doing double duty, working as a full-time crew member on Rob Atchison’s Pro Mod winning Corvette! Harris had defeated Bill Moloughney in the first round, then got around the altered of James Lichty in round two.
That set up the final between the Procharger equipped dragster of Vardy, and the supercharged Chevy powered entry of Harris. In that race Vardy didn’t leave much at the tree with a .001 reaction time to Harris’ .037 light. Glen Vardy was able to chase down the Kyle Harris wheeled altered for a 6.33 (6.29) victory over an early shut-off 6.78 (6.47).
On the Top Sportsman side of the ladder, the number one qualifier was the twin turbocharged 2008 Chevy Cobalt of Fred DeJonge. Fred laid down a 6.350 elapsed time at 239.80 mph. The bump spot on the Top Sportsman side was 7.219, held by Mike Beska.
The Top Sportsman eliminations unfolded with number 3 qualifier Marc Gervais in his 1968 big block powered Camaro, defeating Dave Bell in round one, before eliminating “MotorCity” Mike Sowards in round two. Gervais edged out Rob Gray in round three, and was headed to the T/S final against Wes Goddard in his twin turbo powered 1958 Nash Metropolitan. Goddard had qualified 4th with his twin turbo Nash, and defeated Phil Sampson, Bob Bauer Jr, and Darrin Grubb to earn his way into the final.
In the Top Sportsman final, there was only a tenth of a second difference in dial-ins, between Goddard (6.85), and Gervais (6.75). At the green, Goddard’s Nash instantly broke loose, losing traction, while Gervais went .011 at the tree and laid down a 6.80 at 206 mph for the win.
That set up the NAPA AUTOPRO Ultimate Showdown final race for $10,000. to win, between Glen Vardy, and Marc Gervais. In that race, Vardy dialed his dragster in at 6.29, while Gervais also kept his dial-in the same at 6.75.
Gervais’ Camaro left on green, but Vardy left just 9 thousandths too early (-.009) to hand the win to Gervais, at 6.776 at 199.37 mph.
The next and final race in the NAPA AUTOPRO ULTIMATE SHOWDOWNS SERIES, takes place on Labour Day Weekend, September 4-6 at Grand Bend Motorplex.
Attending fans were also treated to a series of match races which was highlighted by a Nostalgia Funny Car battle between Todd Paton (driving Doug Cadman’s Chi-Town Hustler replica) versus Gary Kraus’s awesome “Pony Up” Mustang as well as a TAFC clash featuring the hard running NHRA circuit cars driven by Paul Noakes (Meritor Mustang) and Tyler Scott (Napier/Kardiac Kids Chevrolet).
The event’s added attraction “Stratford Family Showdown” feature paired off some local drag racing legends for bragging rights with Jack Hyde racing Rich Culliton and Joey Hishon versus Bob Zimmer.
To view DragRaceCanada’s extensive event photo gallery – click: HERE
Photos by: Bruce Biegler & Brennan Shortall