IHRA River Cree Rocky Mountain Nationals
June 25-27th, 2010
Edmonton, Alberta

Class Winner E.T. MPH
Nitro Jam Top Fuel (Sat) Spencer Massey 6.063 158.46
Nitro Jam Prostalgia FC (Sat) Tim Boychuk 5.850 243.72
Nitro Jam Pro Fuel (Sat) Ashley Bart 16.35 44.89
Nitro Jam Top Fuel (Sun) Bobby Lagana Jr. 4.951 278.81
Nitro Jam Prostalgia FC (Sun) Tim Boychuk 5.810 247.38
Nitro Jam Pro Fuel (Sun) Jeff Hamelink 5.811 254.76
Nitro Bike Jason Arkinstall 6.672 204.54
Pro Mod Bike Tony Clizbe 7.364 190.81
West Coast Pro Mod Tommy Johanns 6.334 222.99
Alcohol Funny Car John Evanchuk 5.846 243.46
Pro Nostalgia  (6.99) Ron Sekura 6.994 183.92
Pro Nostalgia  (7.20) Darrell Webb 7.303 179.71
Elite 8 Top Dragster Rick Ball 6.875 199.76
Elite 8 Top Sportsman Dean Branham 7.066 209.69
Top Dragster Dave Anderson 7.894 172.76
Top Sportsman Shawn Tracy 8.343 159.21
Quick Rod (9.10) Mike Shannon 9.106 157.41
Super Rod (10.10) Tim Richards 10.09 152.69
Hot Rod (11.10) Carey Boychuk 11.10 129.43
Super Stock Art Congdon 9.867 134.40
Stock Norm Lapointe 12.93 102.60
ET Bracket Wayne Plester 11.35 117.74
Junior Dragster Kelly Admiraal 8.081 75.65
Mod ET Wayne Plester 11.51 96.39
Top ET Courtney Mageau 8.047 165.23

Edmonton Embraces New Event Format 

By:  Bruce Biegler

The IHRA brought its new Nitro Jam event format to Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway for the first time ever and that played out to a jam-packed audience over three days.

While the IHRA Pro class car portion of the program was downscaled compared to previous years, the event was once again supplemented aggressively by Castrol Raceway management and the end result of the combined efforts was a rather entertaining weekend of racing.

Canadian drivers starred at pretty well every front.   The biggest event newsmakers were arguably local Funny Car drivers Tim Boychuk and John Evanchuk who both earned well deserved and hard fought event titles.

Boychuk, driver of the Edmonton-based Troy Lee Designs sponsored ‘77 Pontiac Firebird, dominated the IHRA’s Nitro Jam Prostalgia Nitro FC category from the get-go.  

In fact Tim won both days of competition and set both track and IHRA records with a super swift 5.810 secs and 247.38 mph best.   Tim beat St. Albert’s Todd Lesenko in the Saturday evening finale and topped Sherwood Park’s Andy Beauchemin for Sunday afternoon’s title.

“With the Funny Car we seemed to do everything well this weekend,” said Boychuk.  “Roland and Bob had a great tune-up in it and the car was near perfect to drive.  We tried to run “fives” every time because we felt the track would hold it.  To do that well at my home track is humbling – going into this race it was something I felt I just had to do.”

Hometown Hero - Tim Boychuk

Tim’s busy weekend also included running in Top Fuel as his group leased the Paton Racing dragster for the weekend too.   Driving that, Tim did make the Saturday TF final but lost a close 6.063 to 6.075 decision to Spencer Massey.

John Evanchuk’s win in Alcohol Funny Car was the first IHRA win for the veteran Canadian racer.    Driving his Big Eagle-sponsored Red Wolf Racing Pontiac Firebird, Evanchuk ambushed the pre-race favorites to win the title.

John ran a final round time of 5.846 secs at 243.46 mph to upset defending event champion Roger Bateman, who was driving Brian Friesen’s Y-Not Racing Mustang.  Evanchuk had earlier taken the measure of Scott McVey and Ken Webster after qualifying 3rd for the 8-car field.

“It’s nice to beat such a great racer as Roger (Bateman),” said Evanchuk.  “We’ve both been at this a long time.  I’ve had a lot of bridesmaid finishes here – so it’s nice to finally emerge the winner.”

John Evanchuk Won in AFC

The event included a myriad of other Canadian drag racing highlights and stories, including strong event efforts by other Alberta-based drivers.

Calgary’s Ashley Bart made IHRA history when she won the Saturday evening Nitro Jam Pro Fuel class – becoming the first female, first Canadian and first supercharged TAD driver to accomplish that.  She almost duplicated the feat on Sunday afternoon.  After building huge starting line advantage she had a mechanical failure which handed the win to her opponent, Minnesota’s Jeff Hamelink.

Calgary’s Ricky Distefano placed runner-up in Pro Modified driving his awesome new 1970 Chevy Camaro.  It was Distefano’s 3rd career final round appearance at the Rocky Mountain Naitonals.

Dean Branham (from Ardrossan AB) thrilled the overflow crowd by winning the Top Sportsman Elite 8 Shootout driving his ultra-cool turbocharged ’69 Barracuda.   Branham ran a career best ET (6.944 secs) and speed (209.69 mph) while doing that.

Just how cool is Dean Branham's Cuda?

Northern Nitro Jam Summary                                                             (By:  Larry Crum)

It was a great day for Canadian race fans and an even better day for Canadian racers during championship Sunday at the River Cree Resort and Casino Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals presented by MOPAR and E3 Spark Plugs at Castrol Raceway.

Canadian racers from across the country walked away with IHRA hardware during the final day of Canada’s biggest and most exciting race as nearly two dozen drivers came away winners, 16 of which were from provinces of Canada.

Headlining the list of winners from championship Sunday was Edmonton native Tim Boychuk who took home two Ironman trophies in front of a second straight packed house at Castrol Raceway. Adding to his big win Saturday night Boychuk walked away from his home track with an incredible two victories, two world records and nearly every track record spread over the Top Fuel and Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car categories.

“Two out of three is just wonderful. It was a fun and very cool weekend,” Boychuk said. “It would have been nice to do it with the other car, but we just weren’t able to pull it off. Still, what a weekend and what a year so far for this group.”

Boychuk produced one of the most captivating weekends of racing ever recorded at Edmonton’s crown jewel. In addition to setting numerous track and Nitro Jam records Boychuk was carted from car to car with only minutes between rounds and still came away victorious in two of three finals.

“There are just so many people to thank working on both cars. Two different crews, two different cars, to get to three finals in one weekend is fantastic,” Boychuk added.

In addition to Boychuk’s victory, Jeff Hamelink claimed his first Ironman of the season in the Pro Fuel category over 21-year-old sensation Ashley Bart and Bobby Lagana Jr. doubled up in Top Fuel.

Lagana (Scarsdale, N.Y.) also doubled up over the weekend in Top Fuel, ending Boychuk’s hopes of winning in two separate categories with his third straight victory.

In the final Lagana ran a surprising 4.951 E.T. at 278.81 mph to get around Boychuk who went up in smoke near halftrack. With the win Lagana takes over the Top Fuel championship lead with an impressive three victories in four finals during Nitro Jam’s “Western Swing.”

“There is a lot of luck involved in this sport and the last few races we have been mixing a lot of luck with some incredible tuning,” Lagana said. “What a job my dad, my brother, Bob Z, Wesley and the whole gang have done. It is very cool.”

“For the fans, that last run was for them. That was a little bit better than expected and to run that and make all these fans happy made my day,” Lagana said. “Overall the car is performing awesome and I have to give some of that credit to this awesome paint job, so Brian Olsen you better read this.”

In Pro Fuel Hamelink (Minneapolis, Minn.) brought home a well-deserved Ironman over Saturday night winner Ashley Bart. Hamelink, the only driver to compete in all five Nitro Jam events so far this season, picked up his first win in 10 tries this season.

“This is a really long time coming. This is event number five and it is the last day, so that is 10 races without a win. You would think somewhere in there we would come out on top,” Hamelink said. “And man it feels good to finally get it done. It wasn’t a pretty pass, but we will take it.”

Hamelink ran a 5.811/254.76 in the final to overtake Bart.

“We just can’t seem to hook to any of these tracks. Now we have it figured down to aerodynamics so we are going to make some changes before Grand Bend and see if we can get it to stick,” Hamelink said. “We have all kinds of power, we just haven’t been able to get it to the track.”

Hamelink is one of only two Americans to come away victorious in Edmonton, towing all the way from Minnesota to be a part of Canada’s biggest race.

In the first round Bart ran a session best 5.608 elapsed time at 258.71 miles-per-hour to get around Sereda and make her second straight final while Hamelink (6.101/243.41) defeated Falconer to set up the Canada versus U.S. Pro Fuel final.

Ashley Bart carved out some IHRA history!

Pro Modified returned to Nitro Jam competition in glorious fashion over the weekend and in that return Tommy Johanns will go down as the big winner. Johanns went three rounds on Sunday in the eight car qualified field, eventually meeting up with and eliminating Rick Distefano in the final.

Johanns, who qualified sixth on Saturday, ran a 6.334/222.99 in an easy win over Distefano who ran into trouble and was forced to shut if off early. Johanns also took down Dan Vogt and Yvonne Lucas to claim the Ironman in one of Nitro Jam’s oldest and most prestigious categories.

In Pro Nostalgia, the alcohol burning cousins to Prostalgia, two separate divisions were on hand competing in index racing.

In the Pro Nostalgia A category, running on a 6.90 index, Ron Sekura and his merry band of renegades claimed the victory with a near spot-on 6.994 elapsed time defeating Joey Steckler (6.946) in the final.

In the Pro Nostalgia B category, with a little slower 7.20 index, class veteran Darrell Webb (7.303) took home the Ironman by defeating Cody Anstead (7.243).

Two bike classes were also a part of Sunday’s championship action as Jason Arkinstall won in the nitro-powered Nitro Bike final over Ken Kent and Tony Clizbe defeated Gary Christopher to win the Pro Modified Bike category. Arkinstall ran a 6.672/204.54 in the Nitro Bike win and Clizbe put down a quick 7.364/190.81.

 IHRA - Edmonton
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