The 2019 campaign ending NHRA Auto Club Finals — did include some interesting & extra Canadian TAD class tidbits….

While West Coast powerhouse Shawn Cowie was off winning his 5th NHRA nationals title of the season — (See Lucas Oil Hotzone details: HERE) — that wasn’t the whole class story at Pomona.   Three other Canadian native drivers did make event statements.

Winnipeg’s Gord Gingles filed entry for the event — but not in his regular ride from this season (for Doug Doucette’s team).  Instead Gord was in the cockpit for Larry Miersch’s California-based injected nitro car.  “Larry was planning to enter & drive the car himself,” Gord revealed.  “I was going to take a few days off & help him run the car & hang out in warm SoCal.  But we got to talking on Sunday before the race & Larry suggested I bring my gear & drive the car — and the rest is history.” Gord wheeled the car to a 5.388 secs qualifier (#13) and then ran extremely well during eliminations — beating Daniel Mercier (a .009 RT!) and Garrett Bateman to advance to the “final four” before losing out to Chris Demke. Gord’s driving stint came for a team which has a very deep 30 year history.  Miersch is a former multi-time BMX Racing national and world champion who then threw his hat into drag racing.  Besides Larry — this car’s crew does include some legends in the sport — Rick Cameron, Donnie Hendricks, Ben Chaltraw, Kelly Fitzgerald, Victor Garcia, Roy Miersch, Jimmy Scott and Jim Rizzoli.

Quebec’s Daniel Mercier rounded out his aggressive season schedule for 2019 by making the long trek from the Montreal area to Pomona to run his ADF-Diesel sponsored TAD.  Mercier, who had clocked in Canada’s all time quickest TAD ET (5.120 secs) last October — did continue that fast momentum at Pomona with a superb 5.227 secs lap to qualify #4 — the quickest Canadian qualifier. Daniel’s trip west did however end in the first round – narrowly — when Gingles’ brilliant RT outran Daniel’s quicker ET in a super narrow 5.307 secs to 5.290 secs decision.

It was very cool (+ rather unexpected) to see Chris McNicol enter his first career NHRA race ever as a driver in the TAD class.  Chris, who is a native of Vancouver BC (but who now resides in the Palm Springs area) got a well-earned first opportunity to drive in a car that is owned by California’s Al and Johnny Ahten. “I first got my license in Anthony Dicero’s car in Charlotte,” Chris confirmed.  “But this was my first race in competition.”  Chris’s best run came in qualifying when he hit at 5.546 secs at 260.51 mph to nail down the #15 position.  McNicol, not only a very accomplished Super Comp 8.90 dragster driver  —  is also a very skilled and in demand crew member.  He has been involved with many prominent Top Fuel and Funny Car teams throughout his career – dating all the way back to Ed McCulloch in 1987…..Look for Chris to make some more TAD appearances in 2020!

Posted by Bruce Biegler

Photos by Bob Johnson