Lesenko Fuels Canadian Racing Patriotism

Last weekend at NHRA’s season opening event at Pomona California, Todd Lesenko delivered something very special for Canadian drag racing…..

For the first time in a very long time Canadian fans attending a NHRA national event or viewing it on- line or on television around the world had a bona-fide Canadian themed Professional class car to directly cheer for. 

Liz & Todd Lesenko have delivered something very special for Canadian drag racing fans

Liz & Todd Lesenko have delivered something very special for Canadian drag racing fans

Following that up-and-down campaign last year with Jim Dunn Racing, Lesenko (who is from Edmonton) hit the reset button during the off-season and rekindled a racing association with Worsham Racing.  After a lot of work in a very short period of time, he and his team unveiled a spectacular looking Dodge Charger Funny Car with current primary sponsorship from Uni-Select as well as a long list of valued associates.

At the Winternationals, Todd Lesenko and Chuck Worsham’s first race back together did produce exactly the impression they hoped for.

The team’s debut of the Canadian fan tribute car raised a lot of attention for sure with both the media and the paying public.  But it might have been the team’s solid on track performance that was the most impressive factor overall.

When Todd made the qualifying run on Thursday – it was in fact the first time he had ever driven this race car.  So what happened after that has to be impressive in anyone’s books.

After aborting three straight qualifying rounds due to various factors – Todd and Chuck Worsham’s talented team delivered a truly dramatic final round qualifying effort on Saturday afternoon – a 4.250 secs at 302.69 mph to get into the program #15.

Then in Sunday’s opening round of eliminations, Todd beat out defending NHRA World Champion and DSR team racer Jack Beckman in a super exciting battle that saw both drivers battle tire spin.  Todd showed his driving talent for sure by winning that match by a 5.023 secs to 5.457 secs margin.

In round two, Lesenko then faced off against another DSR team car – the spectacular looking Dodge Charger driven by New Mexico’s Johnny Gray.   Todd was off the starting line first by a wide margin with a .047 RT and ran a career best 4.202 secs at 307.30 mph.   That great effort was however not quite quick enough to hold off Gray’s come-from-behind and winning 4.038 secs.

Todd's first venture out in "Canada's Dodge Charger" produced a career best speed and ET

Todd’s first venture out in “Canada’s Dodge Charger” produced a career best speed and ET

Despite that loss – Todd Lesenko and his entire racing team felt very gratified.

“The truth is that this car is quite a bit different than anything I’ve driven before,” said Lesenko.  “It is a solid tube car that steers differently and which also reacts very quickly to horsepower.  That along with the tremendous increase in power took a bit of getting used to.  So we were very calculated over the first couple of runs but we also learned a lot quickly.  Going into that last qualifier I felt confident we were going to qualify – and that’s exactly what we did.”

“Overall for our new team to qualify at it’s very first race and go to round two is a very gratifying start to our season,” Todd continued.  “Our crew lead by Chuck Worsham and Grant Downing did a tremendous job.  We had really no issues with parts all weekend – and that tells you something about just how good this tune-up is.”

Chuck Worsham and Todd Lesenko have formed a very potential ridden team for the future.

Chuck Worsham and Todd Lesenko have formed a very potential ridden team for the future.

The team will look to continue that momentum and improve on their initial finish this coming weekend when they enter the 2nd NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event of the year at Phoenix’s Firebird Raceway.

Expectations are that the many Canadian Snowbirds in and around the Phoenix area will be in attendance.

For more information and updates on Todd Lesenko visit his official website:  www.NitroFCCanada.com

Photos and posting by:  Bruce Biegler