There is a Canadian team in the mix and making waves within an alternate universe of drag racing….

Originally a rather fringe phenomena — but now with some 15 years of history behind it — the once sub-culture of HOT ROD Drag Week continues a steady and sure merge into the main stream.

This unique annual competition boasts a motto of “Drive it Fast – Make it Last” — which truly is a spot on and very effective self-description.

The basic rules are — that competitors in each class much be in 100% fully street legal cars. Then during a very tell tale select week each summer – each entry must transpire over a 1,000 mile distance to make specified runs on specified days at specific drag strip locales. Then the average elapsed time from each of those runs is calculated and the winners are then determined.

Driving on public roads and unassisted by support vehicles — champions are crowned within vehicles with various levels of modifications. However the one car with the lowest aggregate average elapsed time over the week does earn a now very coveted title and annual bragging rite – HOT ROD’s Fastest Street Car in America.

Representing Canada — it is Mississauga Ontario-based David Schroeder who has emerged as one of the most prominent racers. Schroeder, who is a real estate developer in the GTA, owns and drives a very cool “road race look” 1966 Corvette, which actually is based from and maintained in Winnipeg MB.

David Schroeder is Canada’s top rated participant within HOT ROD Drag Week competition.

David began entering HOT ROD Drag Week back in 2010 (with a ’55 Chevy).  He first entered the Corvette in 2012, and since has had both ups and downs during subsequent seasons before winning it all in 2017.  He also placed 2nd in the competition during 2018.

“Our first actual finish came in 2014,” Schroeder revealed. “We did that with a 598 CID nitrous injected engine – which proved a lot of people wrong. The next couple seasons we evolved our motor program to a used Pro Mod motor from Reher-Morrison. We got to half way only in 2015 and in 2016 tagged the wall at the first race in Ohio and had to withdraw.”

“But in 2017 (using a Reher Morrison 872 CID) — it all came together for us,” he continued. “Our best pass was a 6.57 secs at 217 mph and our overall average for the week was 6.81 secs.  That was a 5.3 bore space motor combination with Holley engine management and a Monte Smith plumbed 4-stage NOS system.  We used a Rossler 400 trans and Gear Vendors overdrive. The Gear Vendors is actually a very key part of surviving the week because most importantly — it drops the revs for the street drive.”

Schroeder revealed that this effort certainly does contain a lot of Canadian content and expertise. The Corvette itself is housed, maintained and overseen by his cousin (John Ens) in Winnipeg.   Between the frame rails and chassis work by Vito Antonicelli (Buffalo NY) the motor program features engine Dyno work by John Ventresca — from the Toronto area.  David also has a secret weapon of sorts within his camp — with non other than Manitoba’s drag racing legend Ken Murray himself – being part of his team’s portfolio.

“I’ve know Ken Murray forever,” he added. “He’s been our go to machinist since day one and this car has a ton of his custom machining and fabrication work in it.”

“In this class it’s a real challenge to make a car and combination that will be street worthy, durable and fast — all at the same time. That has some very thin lines and you need great people behind you for it to happen at all.”

During 2019 – David Schroeder’s team did receive a very special invitation too when they were asked by NHRA to make some exhibition demonstration runs during the world’s largest annual drag racing event — the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis. Unfortunately, because of some inclement weather over that Labour Day weekend, they were limited to only one run — but that was turned in at an impressive 6.57 secs.

During the 2019 NHRA Chevrolet Performance US Nationals – David Schroeder hit a 6.57 secs during an exhibition run in his Canadian based Corvette.

“I was very honoured to have received that invite,” David affirmed. “It was an elite field of four very fast and proven HOT ROD Drag Week cars – all trying to run for the record. It really was too bad the weather didn’t co-operate.”

Shortly after the appearance at Indy — David did move on to the 2019 version HOT ROD Drag Week event itself which was run this year between drag strips located in Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. But as fate would have it and in just yet another example of just how tough and finicky this circuit is — after running a career quick 6.54 secs — he was forced to withdrawn from completion due to mechanical issues.

Posted by Bruce Biegler
Photos by Bruce Biegler & Steve Embling