A very notable name from Canadian drag racing history strategises path back….

Just prior to and then during the 2023 season, and somewhat under the radar, Victoria BC’s Stan Sipos hit the reset button for his racing career. That decision, which would mark the end of a 30+ year hiatus away from the sport, is welcome news from the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame member (one of 2015’s inaugural inductees).

Sipos, whose prior accomplishments racing within NHRA’s TAFC class category includes winning four NHRA national event titles (1st at Englshtown 1990) and becoming the only Canadian member to that classes once highly prestigious Castrol GTX 5-Second Club, is charting a comeback within the very same class for which he is famous for.

Sipos, an accomplished and highly successful business person within British Columbia (President of Cielo Properties) reunited with his former ”right hand man” and Canadian drag racing tuning genius Les Davenport (from Calgary AB). The team then proceeded to acquire a race car operation (originally Ruckman Racing — Johny Lindberg chassis) and components though BAE and Advanced Power Systems (Randy Anderson).

Stan Sipos’ new Camaro TAFC — has run as quick as 5.491 secs so far (at last weekend’s NHRA Lucas Oil Regional event at Indy)!

Two of Canada’s most iconic names for drag racing (Stan Sipos & Les Davenport) have reunited for a major and creative TAFC class effort return.

After re-assembly and numerous upgrades were made, Stan then made license renewal runs successfully at the Texas Motorplex mid summer 2023. But it was then soon after that – fate dealt a major hurdle which derailed plans for the rest of last year.

While enroute to the NHRA Lucas Oil Regional Race at Woodburn OR last summer, the team’s rig suffered a highway incident out in West Texas.   As consequence of a blown tire, a major fire erupted causing extensive and expensive damage. While the truck and trailer were insured – the contents, race car and components were not.

Not so good – in West Texas!

Fast forward to and past the most recent off-season months, a time frame that included a lot of hard work, reassessment and renewed dedication — which allowed the team to rebound.  Stan Sipos was then able to return to his intended path — the NHRA racing scene – when he entered for Gainesville’s Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals (last March) — during which he recorded some career best 5.5 secs elapsed times and qualified #6.

And with that effort now banked, Sipos & Davenport Racing were poised to now become a louder part of the Canadian drag racing spectrum again — for 2024.

As to the reasons for his comeback decisions — Stan Sipos was rather/very philosophical about things.

“To be honest I never followed racing or went to a race for 31 years,” admitted Stan Sipos surprsingly. “My first experience in fact was at Dallas last year getting my license reset.”

“Obviously a lot happened over three decades (family – life – business),” he continued. “I could ramble on a bit about that — probably due to how old I find myself — it is certainly hard to fathom turning 70 last September.  But physically I am fortunate to be in great health — I worked out and looked after myself my whole adult life.”

During his first TAFC class phase – Stan Sipos collected 4 NHRA national event title wins.

Stan Sipos’ first TAFC class car was this sleek Firebird acquired from the Don Gay Racing Team.

“I managed to put myself into a position to be privileged to be able to do such a thing (go racing) especially with the cost of this sport today,” he continued. “I have been attracted to cars and speed my entire waking life – they are some of my farthest memories. It seems the universe allowed me to grow and succeed — so I’m very fortunate in many ways. The common link to all it seems is my love of cars and speed but while also accepting the harsh reality “no dough no go”.  But I seem to have re discovered how much of a catalyst racing was to my personal growth.”

The Sipos/Davenport race team’s plans for going forward in 2024 include an aggressive month of May schedule at some NHRA Lucas Oil Regional races and then targeting NHRA national event stops at Norwalk, Brainerd and Indianapolis. Events beyond that would be TBA.

“We are using 2-step clutch set up, which is different and difficult for me to get used to,” Stan added. “But Les thinks it will allow us to be faster. Hopefully during these early regionals we can find our stride and have some good results. As to how long this could all last — we think 2-3 years if we can get sponsors onboard.”

An added very interesting dimension to the Stan Sipos comeback story effort is that “it could” all be contained within a new TV reality series. That is being spearheaded by Stan’s son Johnathon with the concept being (according to Stan) “old guy used to be good — quits at the top of his game. — but then in his ALMOST twilight years decides to make a comeback to see if he can compete with the young guns”.

Filming for that concept has been and is presently on-going though a Montana-based company Warm Springs Productions.

“Life is like a flash & maybe the most important point is anything is possible,” was Stan’s closing advice. “It’s hard work and both failure and success at the end of the day is how to measure ones life. In the big picture I’m just a guy in love with cars and speed and the thrill of competing. My love for racing has brought me personal happiness, lifelong friendships, and peace of mind.  What a privilege to be part of such a great community.   Right now the feeling is I’m at bat in the 9th inning for a home run that wins a World Series. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Posted by Bruce Biegler
Photos by Dave DeAngelis – Courtesy Sipos/Davenport Racing – DragRaceCanada Archives