Things were heating up nicely for some dramatic conclusions at Mission Raceway last weekend — before Mother Nature interveened..
It was a tale of two very different days at Mission Raceway Park the last weekend of August. The SMS Equipment Smoke Fire & Thunder event began with a highly entertaining program on Saturday evening in front of the biggest crowd in years, with four jet cars, two wheelstanders, the WDRL Unique Concrete Pro Mods, Nitro Harleys, and much more.
Friday night saw Round One of Pro Mod qualifying during Mission’s regular Street Legal program. Garrett Richards led that session with a good 5.98 from his blown Mustang on a very hot track. Unfortunately, Mike Gondziola’s nitrous Corvette got out of shape and tagged the wall, putting him out of action for the weekend, and leaving 11 cars on the grounds.
The weather Saturday was cooler (low 20s C) than it had been for weeks before, with conditions much more conducive to quick times, and with three rounds including one late in the evening, the Pro Mods put down some good numbers. The 5.88 turned in by Glen Kerunsky looked plausible at first, as the run was straight and strong, but looking at the numbers (amazing 60-foot, implausibly slow reaction time), it was apparent that the beam was only broken after the Corvette’s fluid-containment diaper had passed over it. With that time disallowed, Joe Delehay took over the top spot with a 5.99, happy to be back running his proven combination from last year.
Everyone improved in the cooler early evening session, and Richards grabbed back the lead with a 5.95, with Delehay and Kerunsky close behind at 5.98 and 6.03. Kerunsky ran a 5.99 in the last session after dark, with Delehay at 6.01, so these three cars were clearly the most consistently quick heading into Sunday elims.
Sunday began cooler yet with overcast, so it was a good day for the few hundred fans to see a race, and Round One saw eight of the 12 qualifiers make the call, so it would be a four-round race with bye runs. When Kerunsky won but a 5.59 came up on the scoreboard, it was obviously the same issue as before, and then Delehay got loose and close to the centre line in losing to Keith Korecki’s nitrous Shelby Mustang. The round ended with Paul Glandon shutting off early, giving him a good view of Richards thundering downtrack to a 5.84 at 246 mph, the new WDRL Pro Mod ET record, and what some would consider the Mission track record, if you don’t count the 5.82 run by Mike Maggio in 2012, in what was a totally “unlimited” outlaw car that also went 261 mph.
Anyway, just as the Pro Mods were called to the lanes for Round Two, a bracket car emptied its engine in the shutdown area, necessitating a lengthy clean-up. With that complete, and a few classes in the lanes running their races, the Pro Mods were next up. Except, it started sprinkling rain, and when all was said and done, that was the end of racing for the day.
So, this leaves the WDRL with three races to run this weekend in Edmonton, including the rain-cancelled IHRA race. And the weekend weather forecast is not good there, either (?) They haven’t had much luck with Mother Nature, but when the Pro Mods have run, they have put on a great show.
Posted by Gerry Frechette
Photos by Gerry Flechette & Bruce Biegler