Eastern Canada’s Ultimate Showdown Series had a nice and deserving taste of success last weekend…

After losing it’s season schedule round #1 to the elements in May, the Napa-sponsored circuit, which is entering year three of it’s existence in 2017, had a number of breakthoughs while playing it’s important part for the 8th Annual Canadian Nitro Nationals held at Toronto Motorsports Park Cayuga Dragway.

Fan Favourite Fast Fifty-One Finishes First!

The USDS Pennzoil-presented Pro Mod class put on an amazing race at Cayuga which in the end produced a surprising but popular winner.

Driving his very unique 1951 Chevy-bodied machine (which is based from Cicero NY and owned by Don “Shorty” Leppard) Jason White sped to victory for the first time in that class category. He sealed the deal when he used a holeshot in the final round to defeat Toronto’s Sam Andreacchi driver of the Wolf Electrical Chevy Camaro.

First trip ever to victory lane for Shorty’s “Dump Truck”!

White combined a better RT (.024) with a run of 6.000 secs which held off Sam’s 5.977 secs.

White, after qualifying #3 with a 5.995 secs, had defeated earlier in competition some other pre-race favourites, Melanie Salemi and also Jeff Roth. Andreacchi, who had qualified #1 (at 5.964 secs) had defeated Spencer Hyde and Rob Atchison prior to the final.

“This was a break thru weekend for all our team,” said Jason. “For four years me and my brothers (Brian & Mark) have been working with Shorty through a lot of expense and emotion to finally get here. I’m so pleased for Shorty — because he has for a long time put his heart and soul into this “dump truck”.  Our team got the car running deadly consistent here — it was like driving a bracket car.”

Using a superior start – Jason White (near lane) held off the quicker Camaro raced by Sam Andreacchi in the PM Final

Jason was also quick to dedicate his win to the memory of his father (Don White) who passed away last December.

“My Dad was my co-pilot — he was a NHRA drag racer from the 1960’s and he taught us everything – this win is for him!”

Also for the first time in Napa USDS history a never before rule was enacted – expanding the normal 8-car field to a 16-car eliminator for the Pro Mod class. A total of 15 machines entered and made qualifying runs which was record participation for the series (so far).

Victory for Veteran Vinnie!

Western New York state’s Vince Rastelli, who has been a long time fixture for Alcohol Funny Car racing in southern Ontario, slayed some giants while winning that category in his Chevy Corvette-bodied car.

Rastelli, who confirmed he has been racing in this area since 1988 earned the first ever presented event title for the Austin Apparel-presented Alcohol Funny Cars in Napa USDS when he was able to defeat London’s Paul Noakes in the final round.

Vinnie Rastelli – a long time veteran of racing in Southern Ontario – came away the very first winner for AFC class racing in the USDS

That match proved to be more exciting then planned for both drivers. Noakes was for sure a favourite but his Ford Mustang shook hard at about mid track and when Paul attempted to recover — the car did make a glancing blow to the left hand guard wall resulting in an automatic disqualification. Meantime Rastelli was having his own issues. While riding out an event winning 7.300 secs, his car did have a top end fire — however that was doused quickly.

“It feels great to win at Cayuga,” said Vinnie. “Even though we live across the border racing here is like being at our home track. We had the car running well and didn’t have any issues — until that last lap. When I hit the fire bottle it went out — so nothing serious. It’s nice to start a little bit of history for the USDS too – being their first ever winner in the class.”

AFC class racing did see seven cars show and entered for the class. The performance star was Tyler Scott, driver of Larry Dobbs’ Harmon HVS-sponsored Chevy Camaro. Tyler hit a truly impressive 5.668 secs at 256.36 mph – which was the fastest run of the weekend and we are pretty sure that reset both ends of Cayuga track record for the class (!?)

Muskegon Muscle Mustang!

Racing within the Billy Briggs/Bullseye Power Outlaw 10.5 class category was also ferocious with almost a dozen cars attempting that 8-car qualified field.

“Wild Bill” Devine (who is from Muskegon MI) and who is the founder/owner of Bullseye Power emerged victorious when he defeated arguably Canada’s top rated Outlaw 10.5 class racer Nick Agostino in the final round.

Bullseye Power founder and class presenting sponsor Bill Devine clipped the super competitive Outlaw 10.5 program.

Devine wheeled his turbocharged 2001 model Mustang to an unchallenged victory when Agostina’s potent Camaro developed problems right at the start.

“We’ve had some issues during the earlier part of 2017 with our car – mostly breakage,” Devine revealed. “But we got the car figured out here on about the 3rd hit – so this win is some real redemption for us. We were able to get by some real great friends and competitors who race with us in this class.”

Agostino, who is from Markham, had been the event’s class performance leader prior to his car unexpectedly faltering in the final. Earlier he had run a 4.170 secs at 189.07 mph to the 1/8th to pace the field.

Canadian drivers dominated action in both the Wiesco Top Sportsman and Samson Top Dragster categories – with both those final rounds featuring all Canada pairings.

Ingersoll’s Rob Gray – who is anything but unfamiliar with winning in Ontario TS class racing — wheeled the super consistent Wilson & Gray Chevy Cavalier to victory over that 16-car field.

Rob Gray (near lane) hit a superb .004 RT in the Samson TS final to run down Joe McCormick’s Ford Mustang

Rob delivered a near perfect light in the final (.004 RT and that got him by Joe McCormick’s Ford Mustang (a former Konigshofer Brothers Pro Stocker) to earn victory. Gray – after qualifying #2 (@ 6.905 secs) – defeated Don Nelson, Tom Bene and Larry Godin in previous rounds.

The Top Dragster title went to fast rising young lady racer Shawna Woudstra (a DragRaceCanada neighbour from Waterdown Ontario!). Shawna beat #1 qualifier Kyle Harris in a double break out Championship round final.

“Holding this cheque feels pretty good – this is great way to start off our season.” Shawna admitted. “This season our car has a new motor program so there was a bit of a learning curve for that. We are pretty happy with this early result.”

Shawna Woudstra (near lane) beat Kyle Harris in the double breakout Samson TD championship round.

For Shawna, who did have two USDS circuit wins to her credit last year, her Nitro Nationals event victory also included round wins over Tony Positano, Austin Vandergeld and Dan Zygmont.

The USDS was able to declare also officially it’s first two winners for their new for 2017 Magical Dream Journey’s Junior Dragster class racing categories. Young lady racers Kiley Hodges (St Catherines) won the Mennonite Mafia Elite Junior and Sarah Zonta (Binbrook) claimed the title in Royal Purple Pro Junior.

Kiley Hodges (St Catherines) won in Mennonite Mafia Elite Junior

Napa USDS’s Brent Edmonstone congratulates Sarah Zonta for her win in Royal Purple Pro Junior.

Posted by Bruce Biegler  — Photos by Bruce Biegler & Brennan Shortall

View our extensive photo gallery posted for this event on our LoudMusicLoudCars co-production site: HERE