Canada’s drag racing scene did include the emergence of two independent and new Pro Mod series’ in 2015…..
While the jury might be still out — the evidence is certainly in for two new drag racing circuits which were unveiled during the just past 2015 season.
In the Eastern Canadian based Napa-sponsored Ultimate Showdown Drag Racing Series (USDRS), former 3X IHRA Alcohol Funny Car World Champion Robbie Atchison emerged on top driving a Tim McAmis-built supercharged ’63 Corvette. Atchison, who first began to dabble in Pro Mod class car racing three years ago, was dominating in the series.
After winning the first two events of the season consecutively — he basically never looked back. Using a supercharged AJ configuration motor program which is self built maintained by Rob and his father Bob (at Atchison Machine Services) the team was rewarded too with a career quick elapsed time of 5.93 secs.
“The series came out of the gate with a truly awesome event during the Canadian Nitro Nationals (at Cayuga),” said Atchison. “After we won the first two races all we had to do was pretty much qualify at the third event — and we did that — #1.”
“This season was really the end result of about a four year journey into Pro Mod racing,” Rob added. “To be the points champion in the inaugural season for the series is something that can never be taken away. I think it’s a nice addition to my career record in racing and we’re proud of that accomplishment.”
The emerging USDRS was in somewhat of a “test mode” in 2015 with only three events presented for it’s initial season – two at Grand Bend Motorplex and one at Cayuga Dragway. Overall the series played out well however which is fuelling some optimism for the future including possible expansion.
“The races had good car counts and solid fan response,” Rob added. “Our team was pretty excited to be part of it. We like the local aspect of the series which fits perfectly into our overall priorities.”
The “top five” finishers in final USDRS points behind Atchison were Bruce Boland (who won the season finale), followed by Derek Hawker, Jeff Roth and Al Martorino. In total over the three events 16 different Pro Mod teams entered for USDRS class competition last season.
USDRS Pro Mod class racing was complimented all season by some high dollar payout competition for regional Top Sportsman and Top Dragsters. Michigan’s Mike Sowards won that overall points championship for those well attended classes, racing his nitrous-injected Chevy Camaro.
In Western Canada, the Western Drag Racing League (WDRL) made it’s debut with a circuit which focuses on drag strips within British Columbia and Alberta. That overall series title was claimed by a very unique machine raced by Dale Pederson (from Dawson Creek BC). Pederson campaigns a Jerry Bickel-built 1999 model Chevy Monte Carlo, which is technically more of a Pro Street car configuration that features a 448 CID small block Chevrolet motor program equipped with twin GTX 5588 turbochargers by Garrett.
“We decided to enter our car into the WDRL circuit because it does feature rules that do accommodate more non-mainstream combinations,” said Pederson.
“Season One” for the WDRL was however not without complications. Regrettably poor weather did play a part, plaguing two of there five schedued Pro Mod events with the end result being no winners produced for those races.
But Pederson using both regular attendance and regular performance, claimed the overall points title for the WDRL’s featured Pro Boost class.
“It was great that the WDRL introduced and attempted a new 5-race series for Western Canada,” Pederson emphasized. “Although our car was not one of the fastest out there – we were able to qualify in the middle of the field every time and we won this by showing up, going down the track consistently and not breaking parts.”
“Our best race came at Mission’s “Doorwarz” event,” Dale added. “We ran our quickest time at 6.17 secs and placed runner-up to Mike Gonziola. That great start helped to set up our season. I had the points lead going into the final event of the year (at Edmonton) and when the rain cancelled out that race – I had the championship.”
Peterson prevailed in final points over heavy pre-season favourite Joe Delehay (from Calgary), with Jeff Doyle, Glen Kerunsky and Paul Glandon finishing 3rd through 5th in final points. Overall in total the WDRL had 17 different teams enter it’s Pro Boost class category last season.
The WDRL also attempted inclusion of 5 other fast door slammer classes within it’s inaugural season objectives. That included Pro N2O for nitrous-injected Pro Mod cars which in the end was won by Saskatchewan’s Mike Gondziola (after a weather abbreviated 2-event season).
Pat McNalley was declared the WDRL Top Sportsman points champion and season ending titles also went to Farren Callihoo (Extreme Street), Mark Campbell (Outlaw 8.5) and Mark Bold (Open Comp).
Post and photos by Bruce Biegler