It was certainly both “ying and yang” last weekend during the Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals….

Expectations were high and momentum was building towards an exciting conclusion for the 15th annual Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals, presented by JB Power Centre, held at Castrol Raceway just south of Edmonton.

The highly anticipated annual event – which after a 14 year tenure under IHRA sanctioning was for the first time presented under NHRA — was rolling along very nicely following back to back chamber of commerce perfect days of weather on Friday and Saturday. Those conditions brought out yet another capacity crowd who witnessed the event’s traditional very cool mixture of classes and race cars. As teams got a handle on the surface over those two days, both tension and drama was building as drivers set themselves up for event championship runs on Sunday.

But regrettably a rather finicky Alberta permanent resident (Mother Nature) had other plans and when she presented her own program in the form of a major rain storm intervention early Sunday afternoon – the remainder of the event was forced to be cancelled.

While we thus have no Professional class results from Sunday to report on – we can also safely say that any disappointment for that cancellation was tempered somewhat for race fans who witnessed some outstanding qualifying and racing over the previous two days.

A capacity crowd was treated to yet another interesting meld of men (and women) and machines as Track Managers Rob & Kim Reeves once again booked in a field that featured both local strengths, invited touring stars and exhibition machines. That program was supplemented nicely with an official NHRA Northwest Division National Open race – the first ever for the facility – hosted by NHRA Pacific Northwest Division Director Matt Levonas.

An appearance by So-Cal’s Gary Densham and his fuel FC was a big event attraction at the 2017 Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals.

Driving a car owned by Doug Doucette – Manitoba’s Gord Gingles was the quickest in TAD class qualifying at 5.429 secs.

Racing fans did get a serious dose of Nitro at the event with that show including an appearance by Gary Densham’s So-Cal based Ford Mustang, Top Fuel dragsters, Nostalgia nitro funny cars, injected-nitro dragsters, AA/fuel altereds as well as two classes of nitro burning motorcycles. The WDRL’s cool brand of Pro Mod cars were presented as was the ever popular 6.90 indexed Rocky Mountain Funny Car class.

Edmonton’s own – Ryan Hodgson – qualified #1 for the Nostalgia FC program at a swift 5.736 secs at 253.52 mph in the potent Pacemaker Camaro.

Mike Gondziola’s show-stopping C7 was just one of the many quality WDRL Pro Mod circuit cars on hand.

Racing on Saturday did include the first of two scheduled full eliminators for the NHRA National Open program and that was completed. Winners of the first ever NHRA Wallys presented at Edmonton were Mike Ferstl (Calgary) in Top Dragster, Gary Miserva (Sherwood Park) Top Sportsman, Sheldon Erfle (Saskatoon) Super Stock, Brian Gable (Stock), Greg McLellan (Super Gas), Randy White (Super Comp) and Warren Neitsch in Super Street. Saturday’s ET Bracket racing titles went to Chris Melnyk (Super Pro), Dan Coss (Pro), Devin Burden (Bike/Sled) Ryan O’Connor (Junior Lightning) & Karsen Connelly (Junior Thunder).

Saturday evening’s Super Stock final went to Sheldon Erfle’s Oldsmobile over the vintage Mopar raced by Darcy Clarke.

History will record that the first ever Edmonton race NHRA National Open TD winners were Mike and Tracy Ferstl (from Calgary)

You can check out many more images from the 2017 Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals on our all photo gallery site: HERE

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler