Canada’s Top Dragster category includes multiple global class players — but this Alberta team is floating stardom…

The husband and wife racing team of Trevor and Kelly Ritchie (Sherwood Park) have in a relatively short period of time made an impressive impact.   This very popular and personable team, who do trace their roots to the dynamic drag racing scene at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway, first dove into the mix — as racers themselves — in 2012.

Trevor & Kelly Ritchie have evolved to the forefront for Canadian TD class car racing.

It was that year when Trevor, who used to be the co-owner and co-founder of AFD Petroleum (a large petroleum distribution company in Edmonton) sold off his company portion and let his love and dedication for the sport escalate.

“With (AFD) we had been sponsors for racers and racing events dating back into the 1990’s,” Trevor revealed.  “I’d always had an interest in motorsports and I did get opportunities to drive sprint cars and shifter carts.  But when we sold the business in 2012 — the decision was made to get even more involved in drag racing.  We ended up getting licensed and buying our own car — and we jumped in with both feet into the Top Dragster category.”

Trevor and Kelly started that off by buying the late Scott Taylor’s 2008 TNT dragster, and their first ever race out was at Boise Idaho in May 2012 during a NHRA Division 6 race. Following that, there was a strong focus on gaining seat time and experience which included racing locally at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway within that track’s very dynamic and educating Top Eliminator Club.  During that period, they also did very well while participating within the now defunct IHRA circuit – including a big win at the 2013 version Rocky Mountain Nationals, a IHRA divisional points championship and a runner-up placing at the IHRA World Finals (in Memphis) that same season.

The team’s present day race car features — simply put — some of the best tech and components out there.  It is a TNT Supercars build 255” dragster which is powered by a 540 CID Stinnett motor.  They did in fact have a rather amazing debut with that race car – back in 2015.  

The Ritchie Racing T/D features the latest tech (and some experimental parts) from industry leading TNT Supercars

“We ran the car for the first time in competition at the NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix,”  Trevor continued.  “We struggled initially with the new combination but worked tirelessly — and the end result was we ended up winning the event!”

That national event win for sure vaulted this team forward — as later on in the year they also won a NHRA divisional race in Montana.  All season they consistently racked up points at event’s attended and by season’s end finished 6th in world for NHRA’s brutally competitive top dragster category. 

Impressive racing accomplishments have continued — including qualifying for the very high profile 2016 Jegs All Stars event in Chicago, and 2nd and 3rd place points finishes in NHRA’s Pacific Northwest Division 6 (2015 and 2017) respectively.  

Kelly and Trevor proudly represented their NHRA Northwest division (and Canada) during the 2016 Jegs All Stars event in Chicago

This fully independent and self-funded team is very hands on including Kelly who knows all aspect to the race car from stem to stern. 

Kelly is also responsible for the team dragster’s finishing touch look paint scheme.  For that she worked with Brando Custom Paint (San Antonio Texas) to design and apply that striking and colourful combination. 

“We do have friends and family that like to come to the track and support us,” said Kelly.  “Our long time friends Mark and Jane Whidney have supported us for many years and we also get help from Bruce and Jeff at Impact Coatings.  Our racing events are always fun affairs and the comradery is amazing.  We are consistently humbled by our fellow racers who never hesitate to help out in times of need.”

The team’s mascot and jokester is their dog Brutus who has also become a very popular team fixture all at the races they attend. “If you happen to throw the ball for him — he is your friend for life,” added Kelly. 

Currently, in addition to a number of business community ventures and charitable work with Sports Central, Trevor and Kelly also have a partnership with Mark Simmons (Medicine Hat) at TNT Supercars.  Together they took over that company in 2016. Now relocated in Phoenix – they continue to evolve that investment while building industry leading cutting edge dragsters and selling a full range of parts. 

“TR” will have another busy racing season in 2019.  In addition to a focus on NHRA Lucas Oil Division 7, attending many “west-side” national and divisional races, they confirm they will also be in the chase for the 10-event Top Eliminator Club races at Edmonton. 

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler