Mother nature played havoc with the 14th edition IHRA Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals at Castrol Raceway last weekend…
The highly anticipated annual event was unfortunately weather affected abbreviating scheduled action for both Friday and Sunday.
But while the weather delays did test the resolve for racers, officials and spectators alike – the event will be most remembered for a couple things. That being it’s enormous and enthuisastic record setting crowd that attended Saturday and also for the amazing persistence shown by all which was cumulated by the event’s final rounds concluding at near 2 AM Monday morning (Yikes!)
The event was highlighted by Pro wins in the nitro categories by North Carolina’s Jay Turner and Michigan’s Shawn Bowen who prevailed in Nitro Motorcycle and Nostalgia Nitro Funny Car.
Jay Turner raced to his third victory of the season when he captured the AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car title at Castrol Raceway despite the 5 1/2 hour delay to start of eliminations.
Turner raced to his second-straight win taking the Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals title in Parts Canada Nitro Motorcycle. He defeated Frank Capone, Nate Gagnon and Tracy Kile on the way to the winner’s circle. Turner entered the race with a 70-point lead over Jake Stordeur in the Nitro Motorcycle point standings; Stordeur was eliminated in the first round. With Turner’s No. 1 qualifier, his victory and just one race remaining in the season, the four-time IHRA Nitro Motorcycle Champion’s points lead could now be insurmountable.
“We started out slow; I underestimated the track significantly based on previous times here,” Turner said. “This weekend, the track was phenomenal; the grip was awesome. Hats off to the IHRA crew for giving us a great racing surface here in Edmonton. I think (the win) probably wrapped it (IHRA Nitro Motorcycle World Championship) up as long as the truck doesn’t break down going to Michigan.”
Bowen raced to his second win of the season; he defeated Tim Boychuk, Mike McIntire and No. 1 qualifier Jason Rupert on his way to the winner’s circle. The top-five drivers in the AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car point standings, Rupert, McIntire, Mark Sanders, Bowen and Boychuk, entered the Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals presented by Good Vibrations separated by just 60 points. After Boychuk went out in the first round, the top-four drivers did battle in the semifinals with Rupert and Bowen advancing to the final round. Rupert retained the AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car points lead, but with his win, Bowen jumped from fourth to second in the standings with one race remaining. McIntire is now third while Sanders is fourth.
“We moved up to second in points, and it all comes down to Martin (Mich.),” Bowen said. “It’s gonna be a battle between us, Rupert, McIntire and Sanders. It’s anybody’s game now. Whoever doesn’t make a mistake is gonna win the deal. I live two and a half hours from Martin so I like racing there.”
Indiana’s Bruce Litton and Calgary’s David Fedorowich was featured in Top Fuel with Litton’s 5.111 secs being the best time recorded between those two racers.
Due to the weather issues, the event’s other two scheduled Pro categories – WDRL-sanctioned Pro Mod and the Pro 6.95 index will be completed later in the year at Castrol Raceway.
The Pro 6.95 class completed two rounds at the Rocky Mountain Nationals presented by Good Vibrations, but the remaining four drivers, Darrell Webb, Mark Venance, Troy Sitko and Joey Steckler, will complete their race at a previously-scheduled event Aug. 13-14 at Castrol Raceway.
The entire Pro Mod competition completed qualifying but a decision was then made to move the eliminations portion to the next previously scheduled Castrol Raceway event – coming over the Labour Day weekend in September. That class (which drew 11 entries) was paced by Gary Urlacher’s Southern Alberta based nitrous injected Corvette which ran low ET so far at 6.003 secs.
The 2016 Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals featured two separate IHRA Pro-Am event for Sportsman competitors – one each on Saturday and Sunday.
Canadian drivers won all the Saturday IHRA titles — Travis Ringurth (Top Dragster), Robin DeRose (Top Sportsman) Darrell Dietz (Super Stock), Darcy Clarke (Stock), James Pahl (Hot Rod), Mike Pople (Quick Rod) and Jeff Crooks (Super Rod).
Saturday’s ET winners were John Melnyk (Box & ET Final) & Raymond Peck (No Box). The three Junior Dragster class title wins went to Landon Scott, Connor Scott and Ethan Ochitwa.
Canadian drivers also dominated Sunday’s Sportsman racing. IHRA Pro-Am Tournament wins went to recent NHRA Jegs All Stars participant Trevor Ritchie (Top Dragster) and James Bast’s Camaro in Top Sportsman. Also scoring wins were Don Thomas (Super Stock), Ed Matiejewski (Stock), Eddy Plaizier (Super Rod), Eric Goulden (Quick Rod) and Warren Neitsch (Hot Rod).
The ET title winners on Sunday were Kalim Menzel (No Box) and Mark Simmons (Box). Junior Dragster wins went to Karson Connelly, Rhiannon Allisont and McKenna Bold.
- Note: DragRaceCanada will also post a Canadian event photo extra — coming soon!
Posted with files by Rob Goodman & Bruce Biegler
Photos by Bruce Biegler and Don Meleshko