For the 13th time, arguably the IHRA’s most successful single season event, the Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals, played out at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway….
Featuring an interesting mix of some IHRA circuit touring cars supplemented by regional racing circuits and competitors – last weekend’s running was an entertaining presentation for sure.
After losing 100% of Friday’s schedule due to the elements — it was “throttle up” from that point on for both Saturday and Sunday.
Within the event’s professional class racing level – three Canadian drivers shined – all winning in convincing fashion.
Alberta’s Glen Kerunsky, a long time Pro Mod class veteran who has however raced only sporadically over the past couple seasons, did make a pretty big impact statement about possible more class involvement for the future. Driving his supercharged ’53 Corvette (based from Priddis AB) Kerunsky raced to victory within the event’s WDRL* presented (Western Drag Racing League) Pro Mod program. (*DragRaceCanada will post more details on this circuit’s initiatives in the near future).
After qualifying #2 for the field that drew in 15 entries — Kerunsky was for sure the most consistent and quickest car throughout eliminations. He put together consecutive laps of 6.112 secs, 6.151 secs and then 6.105 secs while advancing through the first three rounds to make the final.
Then in the all Alberta-based championship round he took the measure of Ross Hogenson’s nitrous injected Corvette (from Lethbridge) winning a 6.189 secs 233.89 mph to 6.275 secs 230.65 mph dash.
With that win — Kerunsky not only came away with a couple of new trophies for his career collection, he also added in some renewed inspiration.
“It was a good win — that was a credit to the whole team because of the consistency,” Kerunsky said. “We stepped on the car when we needed too and we had the power to do that. I’ve come close to winning at Edmonton before — but this is our first win here – so it feels fabulous. I’ve got trophies from NHRA, IHRA, WCMPA – so it’s nice to add in this new one from the WDRL.”
“The win was inspiring for us because we’ve been debating about the future and getting more deeply involved (in Pro Mod racing) again,” Glen added. “This for sure fuels that notion – especially because of the way the car and the team performed.”
The IHRA/WDRL Pro Mod program at Edmonton did include a couple other Canadian racer performance highlights of note from the high altitude facility. Saskatoon’s Mike Gondziola qualified #1 and set low ET at 6.028 secs driving his ever improving Camaro and newcomer Jeff Doyle (from Fort St. John BC) continued to make an early impact with his awesome RH Race Cars turbo Firebird – running top speed of the race at 243.77 mph.
The Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals also included a very entertaining program from the local Rocky Mountain Nostalgia FC Association who ran in the event’s Pro 6.90 Index category.
Edmonton’s Cal Tebb, who is the 3X and defending series champion for that racing genre, once again showed his stuff driving his spectacular 1969 GTO-boded machine. Tebb faced off versus another series powerhouse Joey Steckler in the final round and by using a superior reaction time and another consistent run – won the event.
Tebb combined a .058 RT with a run of 7.019 secs at 191.82 mph to beat Steckler’s show quality Corvette who’s 6.984 secs at 197.72 mph broke out.
Tebb had entered eliminations as the #1 qualifier (6.913 secs) and beat out Mark Venance and Troy Sitko in earlier competition.
Edmonton-based local racer Kevin Boyer took home the IHRA’s “IronMan” in the Nitro Harley class.
Driving his Team Ace Racing machine, Boyer’s first IHRA event entry of this season was paid off by consistency. He posted a 6.53, 6.59 and 6.60 E.T.’s in his three elimination rounds and went up against another Alberta racer Craig Pelrine in the final round. Boyer had a .089 reaction, 6.605 second run at 199.91 mph against Pelrine’s.114 reaction, 6.698 second run at 203.44.
Craig Perline had been the events’ low qualifier — running a 6.534 secs to pace the 11-bike field and that math held up for low ET of the event.
The Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals presented by Good Vibrations also included a rousing victory within the AMSOIL Funny Car division for California’s Jason Rupert.
Rupert, the IHRA’s defending World Champ, went up against points leader Mike McIntire Jr. in the final round and landed in the winner’s circle with a holeshot win. Rupert posted a .049 reaction time, 5.704 seconds at 253.38 mph against McIntire’s .089, 5.698 second at 255.39 mph in the final round battle of Chevy Camaro-bodied cars.
This marked only the second time Rupert had gone up against McIntire in the finals this year. Their first encounter was at the season-opener in Tucson when Rupert fouled at the line and McIntire took the win. Rupert’s latest victory came just last weekend when he won against Kris Krabill at Spokane County Raceway.
The FC class drew in a total of 9 cars – including the much anticipated public debut of the new Troy Lee Designs ’69 Camaro raced by Edmonton’s own Ryan Hodgson and tuned by Bob Papirnick.
While Ryan was unable to actually compete in the FC eliminator, his highly touted machine was very fast out to the box during the mandatory licensing runs. Those runs including laps of 5.86 secs 254.52 mph and 5.81 secs 253.66 mph – making his future in the class look very bright.
Kat Moller won her second IronMan trophy of the year at Castrol Raceway. She went up against Elaine Larson in the final Jet Dragster round. Moller ran the top E.T. and speed of the weekend on the final run with a .121 reaction, 5.95 at 270.27 mph. Larsen posted a .281 reaction time at 6.02 seconds, 265.49 mph.
Some special exhibition classes were also featured throughout the Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals event weekend. Three Top Fuel Dragsters: Bruce Litton, Jenna Haddock and David Fedorwich along with the Manitoba-based injected nitro car driven by Gord Gingles, raced in a supplemental show with Indiana’s Bruce Litton walking away victorious. In the final using a slight holeshot Bruce posted a 5.05 second run at 286.08 mph against Jenna Haddock’s quicker 5.03 at 248.21 mph.
Another exhibition included two NHRA classed cars, a TAD versus TAFC match race which paired up Greg Hunter (driving Geoff Goodwin’s Synoil Fluids) Chevy versus the Canadian Tire-sponsored TAD raced by Greg Sereda. Sereda swept that feature with a series of impressive and consistent runs.
As it does every year the Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals race featured ferocious and well attended Sportsman racing action, including a “double header” event for the Summit Pro-Am Series. Those races were highlighted by numerous Canadian winners – not the least of who was Clarence Bidniak driving his awesome B/SA 1970 Roadrunner. The Edmonton-base driver, who had participated in the highly prestigious Jegs All Stars event the weekend before (at NHRA Joliet) shined for event sponsor Mopar by winning Stock eliminator during both Saturday and Sunday’s Summit programs.
Other winners (on Saturday) included Mark Faul (Super Stock) Elton Hagen (Hot Rod), Eddy Plazier (Super Rod), Randy White (Quick Rod), Scott Hearn (Top Dragster) and Kurt Lanz (Top Sportsman). ET eliminators were won by James Bast and Mark Bold while the Junior Dragster titles went to young lady racers Shenna Okrainetz and Faith Perrill.
On Sunday eliminator winners were Don Thomas (Super Stock), Jeff Brooks (Super Rod) Carey Burchuk (Hot Rod), Eric Goulden (Quick Rod), Travis Ringguth (Top Dragster) and Jason Miller (Top Sportsman). ET titles went to Kalim Menzel and Jason Hopkins and Junior Dragster wins to Cole Litwiski and Mikayla Fedderly.
Posted with files by Bruce Biegler and Shayna Keller
All photos by: Bruce Biegler & Don Meleshko
To view DragRaceCanada’s extensive photo gallery from the Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals – click : HERE