The Napa Ultimate Showdowns awarded some “big time iron” last weekend during the Mopar Canadian Nationals….

During that marquee annual Canadian drag racing event, fans witnessed series competitor involvement in two separate racing events.

Saturday’s schedule included the remaining concluding final rounds for the previously rained out Stratford Spectacular while on Sunday fans were treated to Race #4 for the 2017 season series.

“Worth the wait” was for sure a common denominator for winning drivers on Saturday evening when multiple racers won for the first time within Napa Ultimate Showdowns Series history. Racing in Samson Top Dragster, Wiseco Top Sportsman and Billy Briggs/Bullseye Power Outlaw 10.5 classes produced breakthrough wins for Scott McCann, Paul Coull and Glen Vardy, respectively.

Racing his very cool military aircraft themed and Fraser Paving-sponsored Dragster, Stratford-based McCann defeated Sudbury’s Gary Basdroba in the final with a winning 6.675 secs at 181.78 mph.

Scott McCann won in Samson TD with his great looking machine

“Waiting three weeks was pretty weird,” admitted Scott. “It was tough because this (final) was on my mind a lot – I just wanted to get it over with. This is our first win ever with the car and it feels pretty awesome.”

Another first time winner was Paul Coull, from Drumbo ON, who is new to the Top Sportsman class this season racing his supercharged ’99 Monte Carlo. Paul was able to hold off the awesome G-Force Race Cars late model Chevy Camaro raced by Travis Gueguen for that win by a 7.112 secs 193.96 mph to 7.034 secs 194.38 mph margin.

“That’s mine!” said Paul Coull after his first Wiseco TS class score!

“Three weeks ago we were really on a roll so the delay kind of knocked us off that,” said Paul. “But this is a pretty big accomplishment for our new team, coming in our first year out in the class and in the first race we had actually qualified. I have to thank my sponsor (London Rust Check), my crew and crew chief (Phil Sampson) and also Wes Goddard who played an important part in getting us here.”

Glen Vardy, who is from Burlington ON, and also new to the Outlaw 10.5 category, upset Oakville’s Tony Presto in the Stratford Spectacular event final round winning that 1/8th mile dash by a 4.22 secs 167.35 mph to 5.32 secs 169.30 mph margin.

Vardy, who is the owner and operator of a successful alcohol beverage delivery company (Dial-A-Bottle) raced what used to be Mark Nielsen’s Pro Mod class Camaro to victory.

Outlaw 10.5 class newcomer Glen Vardy won the Stratford Spectular’s Outlaw 10.5 event – beating Tony Presto’s Chevy II in the final.

“It’s been a big transition for us because we took the entire engine combination from our Top Dragster and put it in this door car,” Glen said. “We have more than enough power to work with so we had to take a lot out of the car to get it to run down the track. We had some good luck too — but the bottom line is that we got our first win in our first year – and that’s pretty inspiring for our race team.”

The deferred Stratford Spectacular Pennzoil Pro Mod class final round was “a doozie”. That featured a head-to-head confrontation between arguably the Napa USDS’ two “top tier” class racers, Rob Atchison and Derek Hawker, in yet another very points consequential final round.

This time it was Hawker taking the win light when he used a hole shot to score a 5.990 secs 233.28 mph to 5.983 secs 239.68 mph victory.

For Hawker, who is the defending 2016 USDS points champion – it was his 3rd win in series history.

“The people that are helping me this year, all my crew which now includes Kirk Silbermann (Ajax Racing Engines) are just top notch,” said Derek. “This car is now not as prone to breakage as it once was and because of that it makes my job as a driver easier.”

Derek Hawker used a holeshot to upset Rob Atchison in the rain deferred Stratford Spectacular Pennzoil Pro Mod Final (held Saturday night)

Sunday’s event schedule was effectively a new dawn for the Napa Ulimate Showdown racers as they participated in the penultimate round for the 2017 season.

And racing on the day produced some additional first time circuit winners – with the biggest being Caledonia’s Terry Brown who ambushed the Pennzoil Pro Mod field racing Sean Lilly’s wild looking turbocharged Chevy Cobalt.

The biggest unexpected development at GBM was a huge win by Terry Brown  in Pro Mod racing Sean Lilly’s turbocharged Chevy Cobalt.

Brown and Lilly, who also use the seasoned drag racing expertise of tuner Fred Speight in their team equation, upset the class applecart using both good driving and race day consistency.

After qualifying 4th (6.106 secs) Brown raced past Spencer Hyde and Al Martorino in rounds one and two with laps of 6.151 secs and 6.113 secs. They did get a gift in the final when scheduled opponent Rob Atchison did not make the call to the lanes in time which resulted in Brown skipping to an uncontested 6.097 secs at 245.96 secs single (top speed of the meet).

Atchison, was considered a favourite going into that race because in the semi-finals he had just exacted some revenge for his final round loss to Derek Hawker the previous evening.  Rob beat Hawker (via a huge hole shot) by a 6.009 secs 231.36 mph to 5.940 secs 234.17 mph margin.

The victory was for sure rewarding for Lilly’s fast developing new team – which is based out of Mississauga.

“Our team has the tech, a very good driver in Terry Brown and we’ve added some street smarts with Fred Speight,” said car owner Lilly. “We all put our heads together for this race and got some good success.”

Pennzoil Pro Mod class racing highlights from the Mopar Canadian Nationals did include a career best performance from Coburg’s Al Martorino whose supercharged Ford Mustang continues it’s improved ways. Al charged to a very rewarding 5.923 secs to take the pole for the class – his quickest run to date.

Pennzoil Pro Mod class highlights included a career quick run for Al Martorino’s Ford Mustang

Samson Top Dragster racing was highlighted by a popular victory from what was the quickest car (and we would argue the coolest too) on the premises – Kyle Harris’s KHR Racing ’32 Austin.

Harris, (from Burford) has assumed the overall series points lead with the win racing what is a chassis and motor program formally campaigned  by Rob Atchison in the Alcohol Funny Car class. Kyle ran a final round 6.092 secs at 214.69 mph (6.05 secs dial in) to beat Gary Basdroba’s dragster, which made it’s second consecutive TD final round appearance. Basdroba ended his chances with a foul start in the final round driving his VP Racing Fuels sponsored entry.

Kyle Harris moved into a commanding points lead in Samson TD racing with a very convincing victory.

After a round one single, Harris topped Sam Gauci and Austin VanDerGeld in earlier competition.

“We actually found that because of the great conditions here — we were making too much HP,” Kyle said. “We were afraid the car could run quicker than the mandated 6.00 (secs) limit which means an automatic loss – so we had to back things off. I’m very proud for my great family orientated crew and especially too that we were able to deliver a nice victory for our brand new team partner – Charles Jones Industrial Ltd. That’s a great way to kick off that new sponsorship association.”

The Billy Briggs/Bullseye Power Outlaw 10.5 title went to wily veteran driver Tony “the Barber” Pontieri. Pontieri (from Bolton) along with his long time racing partner Amo Paone, massaged their Chevy Cobalt to that win when they beat Tony Presto’s Chevy II in the final; 4.300 secs 160.54 mph to 4.347 secs 186.07 mph (1/8th mile).

Wily Tony Pontieri tamed his Chevy Cavalier down enough to score in Billy Briggs/Bullseye Power Outlaw 10.5

“This is our second win in the class – and winning never gets old,” Pontieri winked. “Our team is focused on making a former Pro Stock car with a big cube engine run fast on a small tire. That’s always a challenge and always a lot of fun for us.”

Wiseco Top Sportsman class racing produced another victory for the regional class powerhouse racing combo of Bill Wilson & Rob Grey — whose Chevy Cavalier landing in victory lane has become quite commonplace. For Ingersoll-based driver Rob Grey, who qualified 2nd, he defeated 21 other cars entered in that class, including low qualifier Kevin Wicke in the final round.

Rob ran a 6.866 secs (6.84 dial) at 197.67 mph in his nitrous assisted machine while Wicke (from Stratford) had a red-light foul start racing his K&K Racing Dodge Stratus.

Bill Wilson & Rob Grey continued their winning ways in Southern Ontario TS class car racing.

London’s Paul Noakes produced a second consecutive event win at Grand Bend Motorplex in the Austin Apparel Alcohol Funny Car division. Noakes who won the Napa Ultimate Showdowns Stratford Spectacular race last month (before the rain came), was on repeat all this weekend.

In the championship round his Tim Rice-tuned Ford Mustang clocked a winning 5.744 secs at 251.25 mph which handled Lyle and Mary Anne Williams’ “Shock Therapy” Firebird — which was making it’s first ever final round appearance.

“It’s rewarding for us to win at our home track in front of family and friends,” Paul conceded. “Both the USDS and Grand Bend Motorplex deserve a lot of credit for providing us with a great surface that was both safe and fast.”

Paul Noakes has won both the Napa USDS events held at Grand Bend Motorplex this season.

The Mopar Canadian Nationals was rounded out by winners in Corriveau Pro Sportsman and in the Magical Dream Journey’s Junior Dragster classes.

After damaging his car in a collision at Cayuga last May -Dave Burchell won the Corriveau Concrete Pro Sportsman class at GBM

Guelph’s Dave Burchell bounced back nicely after his big accident at Cayuga last May. He scored with his Chevy II in the consolation Pro Sportsman class, while young lady drivers Metzelen Morse and Sienna Wildgust won in the Mennonite Mafia Elite and Royal Purple Pro Junior classes respectively.

Royal Purple Junior Elite Winner – Sienna Wildgust

Metzelen Morse (near lane) won the Mennonite Mafia Elite Junior Dragster class

The Napa Ultimate Showdown Series will crown it’s season champions during it’s 5th and final race of the season – coming over this Labour Day Weekend – back at Grand Bend Motorplex.

Post by Bruce Biegler
Photos by Bruce Biegler – Brennan Shortall – John Marechal and Darwin Kent.

To view more photos from this event – click on the LoudMusicLoudCars photo gallery : HERE