Story & Photos by:  Gerry Frechette

Incredible Conditions at Mission — Produce Flurry of Personal Bests!

There were many story lines at the West Coast Pro Mod Challenge at Mission Raceway Park, but who would have thought that the racing conditions being almost too good would be one of them?

 That could have been the case at Mission on Sunday, as most of the cars either ran personal bests, or struggled with breakage or set-ups, with track and weather conditions described as unbelievably good. The forecast had called for some clearing Sunday, but it (and, miraculously, the rain) didn’t happen, and the racers were left with cool (15C), rich air the likes of which even the veterans hadn’t ever seen, and few knew how to tune a car for. The altimeters registered between 100 and 200 feet all day.

Joe Delehay was top qualifying Canadian PM

With that factor as a backdrop, Joe Delehay of Calgary led the five qualified Canadians into eliminations with a track record and personal best 6.01-second blast in qualifying (backed by a 6.05) that was almost half-a-second ahead of everyone else except for top American Tommy Johans of Colorado at 6.19. It was clearly Delehay’s race to lose, and he ended up doing just that.

 Keith Korecki of Kelowna ran personal bests of 6.55 and 6.49 in his nitrous Shelby Mustang, as did Duane Grosart of Chilliwack with a 6.57 to qualify 5th in his blown ’55 Chevy, but he broke the car later and couldn’t make the first round. Dan Vogt ran 6.46 twice, Perry Thyr got in with a 6.91 but also broke, and the last qualifier was Rick DiStefano, with a personal best of sorts for the new Camaro, a 6.92 under mostly full power, at least until the car made a big move to the right at 1,000 feet.

Chilliwack's Duane Grosart ran a personal best

 So, obviously, two of the issues were breakage and the wide disparity in times, and that would continue on Sunday. The Round One clash between Delehay and DiStefano should have been a five-second Clash of the Titans between two of the top Canadians ever in the class, but Rickie D. had his usual   traction problems and slowed, while Delehay, openly admitting that he was going for a “five” in the best conditions he’d ever seen, actually was not tuned aggressively enough and could not get up enough wheel speed, and paid for it with a 1,340-foot 7.60 run. Can you imagine that? 

 Meanwhile, Johans improved to a personal best 6.10 in victory serving notice, Vogt lost on a holeshot but ran 6.44, and Korecki won a very close 6.54-6.57 race.

Colorado's Tommy Johans

 In the semis, Johans stayed consistent at 6.12, but Delehay cooked his goose with a less-than-perfect 6.17 punctuated by a dropped valve at the finish line that necessitated an engine change. That didn’t go so well either, as there were problems with the installation, and Delehay had to miss the final.

 Johans singled to the win with a shut-off 8.80, kind of an anticlimactic ending for the fans, that left everyone wondering just what might have happened with the two quickest cars lining up. Nevertheless, Johans and his Colorado crew were full value, as they had the combination for conditions that were much cooler and 1,000s of feet lower than they had likely ever seen!

In the end, the perfect conditions yielded several personal bests and some good races, but were as much of a challenge as they were a benefit.

 In Pro Street, a ridiculously sparse field of five cars (given how many are in the region) saw Trevor Lowe of Agassiz totally dominate in his familiar Pro Mod ’57 Chevy he was running for the first time in the class, as he was the only one in the six-second zone and ran as quick as 6.27. He easily beat Surrey’s Dale Moznik in the final, 6.40-8.23. The usual questions arise after watching Pro Street run. We doubt any of the five cars have ever been driven legally on the street, so what is the point of this class? And, what is the attraction and suspense for fans in watching a 6.20 car dominate a bunch of 7-second cars in heads-up racing? I don’t get it.

Pro Street Final Round

 In Canada West Doorslammers for the “junior” Pro Mods, Mission’s Zak Clarke had another good day in his Chevy Beretta, winning his third race of the year by cutting better lights than all his opponents, and running consistently just above his dial-in in each round. He beat Black Creek BC’s Randy Arlitt in the final, as Arlitt left himself little chance with a slower light and then a breakout run.

Zak Clarke won in Canada West Doorslammer