NHRA Divisional level racing was welcomed back to Cayuga Dragway at Toronto Motorsports Park last weekend for the first time in a very long time….
The track hosted their first ever NHRA Northeast Division National Open (presented by PC Richard.com) and a good swath of Canadian and American racers went head-to-head in competition under pretty much ideal weather conditions.
There is no denying that the weekend’s marquee and top attraction was a much touted and lucrative Stock/Super Stock Shootout – which was presented by Montreal’s John Scotti and his Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame ventures. John’s innovative drag racing initiative attracted the largest field of Stock and Super Stock cars seen in Canada in a very long time – with some 80 teams being pre-entered – and 71 different cars making qualifying runs.
The John Scotti Stock/Super Stock Shootout was in fact two separate races – one event each on Saturday and Sunday. That produced wins by both a very wily Canadian racer (Chuck Nagy) and a national champion caliber racer (Dan Fletcher) who both pocketed the majority of the $10,000 prize money offered each day.
On Saturday, it was Niagara Falls area racer Nagy who prevailed over a fierce field – winning seven gruelling rounds driving his GT/TA Chevy S-10 truck. For Nagy, who is the defending 2015 Can-Am Stock/Super Stock series champion for the area, it was a most rewarding win right in his own back yard.
In the final round he took out the Super Stock Pontiac Grand-Am raced by Indiana’s Scotty Stillings – which marked the first time in his racing career he had beaten that U.S. class heavyweight racer head on and with the win light, Nagy collected about $5800 of the day’s purse.
“It’s pretty nice to win the inaugural Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame Shootout,” said Nagy. “For whatever reason when I’m amongst tough competition that seems to bring the best out of me. I needed a really good light (.004) in the semi finals to get by Guy Desjardins and when I beat Stillings in the final – that felt great because I’ve never been able to do that before – despite racing him many times.”
Chuck was also very appreciate of the overall effort that NHRA Division One, Cayuga Dragway and particularly John Scotti’s people put into presenting this racing event.
“I know I speak for all the class racers when I say we appreciate it,” he added. “This took a ton of work to organize and finalize – and it was pretty successful as you could see. Having two separate days of competition for lucrative purses is pretty much a racers dream at our level. I think that now once the word gets out – the next race will be an even larger one. I can see 100+ cars being entered.”
Sunday’s win went to Dan Fletcher, who lives about 90 minutes away from Cayuga at his hometown in Western NY state (Churchville). Racing his FS/F late model COPO which features sponsorship from PEAK, Fletcher too had to run through 7 hard rounds to take the win. In that final round he topped the GT/GA Camaro raced by Pennsylvania’s Bryan Worner who had a foul start.
The NHRA indexed class cars (Super Street – Super Gas – Super Comp) were combined into a single eliminator for each day of racing. On Saturday it was Brad Redford (Colborne ON) winning in his S/ST Nova over Tom Coonley’s S/ST Nova. On Sunday it was the S/C dragster raced by Ed McCleaft (from PA) topping the S/ST Monte Carlo of Chris Vanbaalen for the title.
The Race Cayuga Series was also in full action mode over the weekend. Competition there in those ET racing categories was highlighted by a strong “double up” event effort by K.C. Kovacs (Windham Center ON) driving his great looking Cubex-sponsored dragster which won in Quick Sportsman both days.
Saturdays other winners were Shawn Booth (Modified), Pete Stewart (Pro Bike/Sled), Chris “Buster” VanBaalen (Super Pro), Darrel Fraser (Street) and Drew Greschuck (Junior Dragster).
On Sunday wins went to Ian Stirk (Super Pro), John Chittendon (Modified), Brad Talbot (Street), Pete Stewart (Bike/Sled) and Ryan Pettit (Junior).
(Editors Note: DragRaceCanada will be post a more in-depth feature on John Scotti’s Eastern Canadian drag racing involvements + a photo extra from the NHRA Divisional National Open – both coming soon.)
Posted with files by Bruce Biegler and Rob Potter
All photos by Bruce Biegler