Meheden Pro Mod Keeps on Ticking!

The evolution of vehicles within the sport of drag racing is always interesting to watch and the ultra cool nitrous-injected Pro Mod Chevy Beretta campaigned by Calgary’s Tom and Cathy Meheden is a perfect example….

The very popular husband and wife racing team, who are regulars within the West Coast Pro Modified Association, have come a very long way with their machine.  17 years ago they first acquired their Chevy Beretta and have morphed the car ever since.

The car was originally built for Pro Stock (by Brad Hadman) but it never did run in that category.  After a couple of seasons in Super Comp racing that included some NHRA Divisional and National events, the Meheden’s found that index class racing was not the direction they wanted to head. 

Tom & Cathy Meheden's nitrous assisted Chevy Beretta is a popular fixture on the WCPMA circuit

“Originally we were contacted and invited to run within a newly formed class out of Mission, BC called the Canada West Door Slammers,” revealed Tom Meheden.  “After one rather problematic season (frequent trans breakage) we still managed to finish a half round out of first place in points.  After that we decided to revamp the car completely and set it up to run in the West Coast Pro Mod Association circuit.”

Over the next fifteen seasons upgrades were made yearly as the class evolved.  The Meheden’s are still part of that great association of Canadian and American racers which features race venues in both Canada and the USA.

Their current car configuration features a nitrous-injected 801 CID Buck engine program.   With only a mild tune up so far the car still has some 6.5 secs elapsed times to its credit.   For 2012 Tom & Cathy plan to step on things a bit more with their goal being to reach performance levels in the 6.20 secs range – which is competitive at the many high altitude Western tracks they compete at.

Cathy & Tom Meheden

“In 2011 the car responded positively to every tuning change we applied,” Tom continued.  “We hope to carry that momentum forward into the 2012 season.”

The team which is known as “Dusty’s Racing” and which has won numerous awards (including Best Engineering) is a small one to be sure with the crew consisting of only Tom and Cathy.  Cathy is very hands on, doing everything from helping to rebuild engines, running the computer, filling NOS bottles and staging the car.  All of the team’s engine and drive train maintenance (excluding machining) is done in-house.

Over the years highly reputed Canadian car crafters Bob and Val Davenport (Davenport Custom Race Cars), Derrick Roschak and Ryan Hinrichsen (RH Racecars) have all been involved with doing various upgrades to the race car.

“We’ve always liked the Beretta lines and the way it tests in the wind tunnel, so we have stayed with the style,” Tom added.  “We have also always had a one color car and everyone on the West Coast knows us instantly for the orange paint.”

Tom and Cathy reside in Calgary and have owned Bushmaster Ltd and Germanic Auto Specialties since 1984.  This is an automotive parts and repair shop specializing in German produced automobiles and it provides 100% of the funding for the team’s drag racing endeavors.   

“We cannot thank our staff enough for the great support which allows us to get away and race,” added Cathy Meheden. 

The Meheden’s were also quick to cite the ongoing support of many individuals who have contributed to their success and longevity over the years;  Ross and Cory Hogenson, Mike Thorpe, Charlie and Robin Buck and their staff (Buck Racing Engines), Craig McCaughey (Coan) , Ryan Hinrichsen and staff (RH Racecars) as well as many family, friends and fans.

Post and Photos by:  Bruce Biegler