After enduring a major setback during 2013, Alberta-based Top Sportsman racer Rod Hymas choreographed a truly impressive comeback during 2014….
Driving his flashy looking RJ Race Cars and Sonny’s powered 1969 Camaro, Hymas emerged on the very top of the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Sportsman class points ledger for NHRA Division Six last season.
By combining numerous and consistent season late round event placings (including a win from the Acton MT event) Hymas set himself up for the potential Divisional Championship going into the final event of the season held at Las Vegas. At that race he entered as the points leader but still needed some good fortune to claim the title – which would be the first of his career.
“At the final race of the year there were 3 guys that could catch me,” Rod revealed. “I drew one of them (Rod Andreas) but the other 2 went out in the first round. My car had been deadly in qualifying and I was very confident I would win the round and subsequently the championship — but I went .005 red and opened the door. Andreas would still have to win the race over a very tough 64 car field to win the divisional championship. But this was Las Vegas and as you know — strange things happen in Las Vegas!”
“On Sunday Rod won his second and third rounds and the reality that I could actually lose this thing started to set in. It was nerve wracking to watch and my palms got sweaty. I kept thinking back that if I had just taken care of my own business in round 1 – none of this would be happening. But as it turned out Rod Andreas (who is one of the nicest guys at the track) lost in the fourth round and that handed the championship to me. I would like to think I would never cheer because someone lost a race — I still believe I cheered because I won. But it was a huge relief!”
Hymas’ championship trek marked a major and very gutsy turnaround for the racer – who farms for a living near Standard AB. In a flashback to four races into the 2013 season he endured a major high speed accident which racing in Spokane – crashing his car at over 200 mph.
“I was unhurt in that but the car was a mess,” Rod reflected. “A month later I took the car to RJ Race Cars to have it fixed — but at the time I was still unsure if I would ever race again. In the 5 months it took to repair it, I went through every range of emotion you could imagine and even had it up for sale a few times. Then it was fixed, we went to Illinois, loaded it up and headed for Vegas. It was a very good car before I crashed — but amazingly was even better after the repairs. Right off the trailer, we went to the final round in the Las Vegas TS shootout Saturday night and then won the Jeg’s SportsNationals TS event on Sunday — so I was sure glad I didn’t sell it!”
That late season success seemed to set a tone and Rod entered the just past 2014 season campaign with a lot of confidence and with the idea and objective of winning the NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional title — which he ultimately did do.
“We run unsponsored — but get a lot of valued support,” Rod affirmed. “I would like to thank RJ Race Cars for a great car, Sonny’s Racing Engines for solid reliable power, Big Stuff 3 for a simple trouble free EFI system, and most of all my wife and crew chief Jackie for all the support and help to make this possible.”
Post and Photos by: Bruce Biegler