Alberta’s Legendary “Pacemaker Racing” reveal Nathan Sitko as new Driver for the “Bubble Up” Nitro Funny Car…..

The Pacemaker Bubble Up Funny Car has been a premier Funny Car and competitor since the 1970’s. Over the years we have had the privilege of working with some of the best. Recognizing our past Crew Chiefs: the late Gordon Jenner from Calgary, the late Dan Ferguson from California, the late Jerry Verheul from Seattle; Bob Papernik of British Columbia, Roland Leong from Hawaii, and our current Crew Chief Jim Basko in Arizona.

Ryan has chosen to migrate over to focus on another passion of his – Tuning Funny Cars. Ryan will now be working closely with Jim Basko. We are very proud of Ryan’s accomplishments during the past 10 years he has been driving the car. Ryan was licensed in the summer of 2013. We are looking forward to supporting him in furthering his passion of tuning and his continuation as a valued member of the Team.

Ryan has set low track ET records and MPH records, time after time at almost every track he ran at. Numerous times #1 qualifier, he has won The Hot Rod Reunion and The March Meet in Bakersfield, cleaned up the field at Boise, won Edmonton’s Rocky Mountain Nationals several times, holds both ends of the Firebird Raceway track record at 5.56 ET at 260.94 MPH. He also became one of 6 members of the 260 Club – setting the record at Bakersfield at 262.28 MPH.

Ryan, in 2017 won the NHRA AA/FC World Championship – the first Canadian driver to do so.

“We are pleased to hand the reins over to Nathan Sitko and are proud to continue our long-standing relationship with the Sitko family, one that has endured since the 1970’s when George Sitko headed up a division of Pacemaker Automotive,” the team stated.

Nathan joins a stellar list of Bubble Up Funny Car drivers. Past drivers, starting in 1972 with the late Gordie Bonin, who drove the car from 1972 to the 1981 where we won 6 National Events, set multiple speed records; Tom Hoover (Show Time Funny Car); Ed “the Ace” McCulloch; Kenny Achs; Terry Capp (Wheeler Dealer Top Fuel Dragster); Tim Boychuk (Happy Hour Funny Car); and Ryan Hodgson (2017 NHRA World Champion).

Nathan is a 3rd generation drag racer who has been deeply involved in the sport since he was 8 years old beginning in NHRA’s Jr Dragster class. Nathan advanced to Top Alcohol Dragster in 2002, then moved to Top Alcohol Funny Car in 2004- 2024 marking the start of his 20th season driving Funny Cars. He has been campaigning the Sitko family’s Nitro Funny Car teams on a limited schedule since 2011 and is excited about his future and joining the Pacemaker Bubble Up Funny Car team.

“Nathan has proven he can drive with the best out there; he has the right attitude and mindset to help propel us forward to more race wins,” the team added. “We believe we have chosen one of the top drivers of Legends Nitro Funny Cars — time will tell!”

Nathan Sitko

Nathan says, “I am incredibly grateful for the chance to hop into the seat for Ryan and Ron. Their car has amazing potential and their team has proven they can win, I’m really excited for this new chapter in my racing career.”

Nathan ran the Bubble Up car in October 2022, running a best of 5.653 seconds at 251 MPH in Bakersfield. Along with his quick reaction times, he brings a wealth of mechanical knowledge which will enable him to get the most out of the car on race day.

The Pacemaker Racing Bubble Up Funny Car aims to be a major contender and return to the winner’s circle in 2024, beginning at the 2024 March Meet in Bakersfield, CA.

Posted by Ryan and Ron Hodgson

DragRaceCanada file photos by Louren Sansregret & Dyan Lover