PMRA Product Progression                                     

By:       Bruce Biegler

 Let there be no doubt, Eastern Canada’s Pro Modified Racing Association (PMRA) has, as the saying goes — got it going.   That very notion was there for everyone to see last weekend during a rather rousing event held at Cayuga Dragway, Toronto Motorsports Park, that circuit’s first racing event of the 2010 season.

 The PMRA has come a long way since its inception back in 2005, and the product, the quantity and the quality of racing continues to progress nicely.  While there may still be an absence of regular 5-secs elapsed times and bigger name PM drivers, the circuit is busy carving out its own niche and that is just fine with the Canadian paying public.

 Last weekend’s Victoria Day Feature event got off to a rather troubled start when rain frustrated both racers and fans all day Saturday.  Not a wheel turned.   Thus Sunday’s modified and compacted schedule included two qualifiers for the Pro Mod cars and for their Quick 32 supporting staff, before heading straight into eliminations.   All that kept things at a rather feverish pitch.  For those patient fans who attended, the end result was one of the most entertaining single days in the history of drag racing in Ontario.  

Fast improving driver Eric Latino was a winner in Pro Mod

 Eric Latino, who began to show vast improvement last year, (including winning the PM feature during the CSCN in August) was impressive again while winning.

 The racer, who is based from Port Perry Ontario, drives one of the coolest cars anywhere, a supercharged ’38 Chevy Coupe, which has migrated and evolved from some previous owners.

 Latino qualified 5th, over a field of 18 hopefuls and then mowed down the field using consistency.  His final round run of 6.471 secs at 206.48 mph beat out class new comer Derek Hawker who enjoyed a great PMRA debut driving his ’63 Vette.  Hawker’s “fairly tale” event effort came up just short with a losing 6.519 secs in the final.

 “We had a good day,” said Latino, who is closely associated with Tony Pontieri’s NHRA PM racing program. “We played it safe — we were consistent, and the car went down the track every single pass.”

 Low ET of the event went to New York’s Mike Stawicki who ran his all new ADRL targeted Firebird to a 6.175 secs to pace the field.   Canada’s Jeff Roth set top speed of the race at 235.84 mph while taking his immaculate ’41 Willys to the semi final round.

Derek Hawker '63 Vette Ran Well

 In total there were 18 Pro Mod cars that attempted qualifying runs for the 8 available elimination slots.  However it’s important to note that in fact there were 21 cars on site, some for testing an licensing.   That total is a great measure of the overall health of the PMRA and holds well for future events.

 The event did include some thrills and oddities too.  Ike Maier clipped the top end wall during his first qualifier and badly damaged the potent ’63 Corvette he runs in conjunction with Kirk Silberman.  Maier was not injured in that incident thankfully.   The event’s DNQ list also included names like Bruce Boland (3X and reigning PMRA champion) as well as the usually hard running cars campaigned by Canadian’s Mark Nielsen and Gary Irving.

 The event’s Quick 32 Sportsman Series, which is presented by NAPA Auto Parts for 2010, saw Paolo Guist best a large field.   Guist first won in Top Dragster and then covered Top Sportsman class winner Steve Corriveau for the overall Q32 title.

In that race, both Guist and Corriveau had identical reaction times (.036) but Guist, who is from Osgoode, ON, ran closer to his dial in at 7.019 secs 184.75 mph.

Mike Stawicki set Low ET and top speed...

 To view DragRaceCanada Photo Gallery from this race click: HERE

 (Bruce Biegler Photos)