Hodgson Legacy Continuum
The name Ron Hodgson is synonymous with Canadian drag racing. The highly successful Edmonton-based businessman has for many years remained at the forefront of the sport while funding and supporting numerous famous Canadian drag racers. This 2013 racing season has opened yet another chapter – but this time including some direct family involvement….
Ron’s son, 39-year old Ryan, who is also highly successful in business as well as an accomplished Sprint Car racer, is primed to carry forth the great Hodgson legacy in Canadian drag racing. This past summer Ryan completed his Funny Car licensing process and jumped into his own Alcohol Funny Car for the first time.
Ryan has begun his drag racing career behind the wheel of at Victory-chassis Pontiac Firebird which for now is targeting Western Canada’s 6.9 secs indexed Nostalgia FC circuit. With a vast supporting cast which includes key crew members from Tim Boychuk’s Nitro Nostalgia FC team and others, Ryan’s car, which was formally a TAFC, features a nitro engine converted to alcohol.
“With my Dad, I’ve been around drag racing basically since day one and it’s in my DNA,” Ryan explained. “I was fortunate to grow up with some legends – like Gordie Bonin and Terry Capp. I’ve been on various pit crews and got to work with a lot of really experienced people over the years. I did race Sprint cars and Late Model stock cars for a time — but I’ve always had a real passion for drag racing. I’m old enough now where things have jelled for me from both a family and business perspective — so the timing was right for me to start driving.”
Prior to completing his licensing runs earlier this summer — surprisingly — Ryan had never been down the drag strip in any other race car.
“Getting my licence was actually a pretty smooth process and I credit all the people around me for that,” Ryan explained. “The car handles and runs very well and that credit has to go to Wes Bauer, Bevin George, Bob Papernick and Wally & Ryan Protz — all of who have been involved.”
Ryan’s venture into drag racing also includes a very extensive family involvement, in addition to the close circle of racing friends.
“The real tipping point for me involves a couple of things,” Ryan added. “I was at Bakersfield last March and when I watched Tim Boychuk (who is a real mentor to me) win — that pretty much changed my life. I think this cowboy became the drag racer right then and there! Then of course there is all the guidance and support of my father Ron. We are 50/50 partners with this car and simply put I would not be doing this without him.”
Ryan’s drag racing program has also received a kickstart from some valued associate sponsors. In addition to Ron Hodgson Pontiac; Castrol Canada, Pyro Guard and Landau Signs have all stepped in to provide initial support.
“Those sponsors helping us get started is really appreciated,” he affirmed. “Our focus is in 6.90 racing right now — and I’m very happy doing that. But who knows what the future will bring? I want to build up some experience and I think at some point a step into a TAFC might make sense if business will allow it. But right now — I’m in a very good place to start.”
Posting & Photos by Bruce Biegler