Respect is the word that comes to mind following the recent efforts of John Scotti and the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame ….
Fans will recall that for the first time in many seasons some NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional level drag racers were in attendance at Cayuga Dragway for a three-day feature in mid June. The highlight component for that event was a very significant effort by John Scotti and his Montreal-based Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame venture group who hosted a pair of (very lucrative for the racers) Stock/Super Stock Shootout events. That effort was extremely well received and attended while attracting some premium machines to Cayuga from both sides of the border.
But a few things do stand out in our minds. Beyond the very high caliber race itself it was the very genuine nature of the event as well as some special attention and respect that Scotti paid personally to the racers. For me, it’s hard to recall a time when drag racers (at this Sportsman level) might have felt more welcome.
John Scotti is a self-admitted gear head whose first passion is for drag racing at the Stock and Super Stock class configuration.
“I love drag racing in general – but my forte is for Stock and Super Stock because that’s where I learned my trade and began my career,” John revealed. “I can trace my passion back to drag racing with John Dingman and Alban Gauthier and it goes back 47 years.”
One of the Cayuga event’s major highlights was something I can’t recall seeing – a pre-race parade down the drag strip for all of the Shootout participants (71 cars if my total is correct). That came under the direction from John and then on the return road he took the time to meet and shake each and every racer’s hand – thanking them personally for supporting his event.
“Initially NHRA was against that (parade) because of some factors,” Scotti explained. “But I felt it was important to pay my respect to everyone in a special way — and in the end that was great in a crazy sort of way!”
While this Stock/Super Stock Shootout was new for Cayuga Dragway – that is not the case for the Shootout itself. This idea actually began a few years ago at Quebec’s Napierville Dragway where it has taken place in various highly successful versions over the past eight seasons. That was a lead up to the expansion this year.
“When I started this all at Napierville Dragway it was just a dream I had,” John continued. “But over time that race became the biggest thing for Napierville each season and something everyone looks forward to. All along I’ve had some very good friends that helped to move it all along. I’m the idea guy – but I had to surround myself with the right people that have the same passion as me for it to all to become reality.”
“Now because of CDRHF being the presenting event sponsors it made more sense for us to expand things further west,” John added. “We wanted to help broaden participation from both Canada and the USA and this allowed us to include more Division One and Division Three NHRA racers. It was also great working with both David Mohn at NHRA’s Northeast Division and track owner Uli Bieri at Cayuga Dragway to help make this happen.”
John, and his right hand man (CDRHF Director) Bob Aubertin, were both buoyed by the success of the initial Cayuga Dragway race date and that holds well for the future.
“Next year we will make some changes and do some things a bit different — but it will go again,” Scotti smiled. “I think we’ve built a good foundation for the future that we can grow more from. Our CDRHF is here to stay and our objective is to continue to use these events to help to get the word out.”
For more information on the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame click: HERE
Post and Photos by Bruce Biegler