The Mopar brand has stood the test of time while being a cornerstone for Canada’s drag racing scene….

I guess it’s pretty fair to ponder the question — where would things be today without them?

During this up coming drag racing season — Mopar Canada — will hit a couple of pretty important milestones within their ongoing and visionary support of Canada’s two largest drag racing events.

Later this summer, Mopar Canada will celebrate its 20th and 10th year anniversary marks at both the Mopar Canadian Nationals (at Grand Bend Motorplex) and the Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals (at Castrol Raceway).

Within motorsports in general, maintaining long term presenting sponsorship relations is often a fleeting task at best — so the fact that these relationships have already stood the test of time is evidence of a pretty darn impressive formula.

At Grand Bend Motorplex, Mopar Canada was there from day #1 when the inaugural Mopar Canadian Nationals was held — way back in the year 2000.

That race (then presented by the IHRA) did end a very long drought for Canadian drag racing fans – being the first recognized national event level race within Canada since the unfortunate demise of the NHRA’s Molson Grandnationals event in Sanair PQ (which was deleted a decade earlier -1991).

Drag racing fans may recall — that the very first Top Fuel win for popular racer Clay Millican – came in Canada — during the inaugural Mopar Canadian Nationals in 2000.  In the final he beat Shirley Muldowney to the stripe.

Since then the Mopar Canadian Nationals has migrated forward very successfully with various versions all the while in close partnership with Mopar Canada.

“Mopar Canada has been with Grand Bend Motorplex since our inaugural event — now 20 years ago,” stated Paul Spriet, GBM President. “Their support was an integral part of our ability to bring National event racing back to Canada — and they continue to be an integral part of our ability to offer this amazing event. We (GBM) and Canadian Motorsports in general owe them a huge thank you for all they have done.”

The very first Mopar Canadian Nationals Pro Mod title (2000) went to the dynamic team of Fred Hahn and Jim Oddy in record setting fashion.

Major league drag racing returned to Western Canada with the inaugural Rocky Mountain Nationals event held at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway in 2003.

While initially being an event associate sponsor, Mopar Canada stepped up to become that high profile event’s primary presenting sponsor in 2010 — and have remained so ever since.

Since inception — Castrol Raceway’s Rob & Kim Reeves have been a dynamic driving force behind the Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals.

“It’s hard to believe its been that many years — it seems like our first event wasn’t that long ago,” reflected track owners Kim and Rob Reeves. “It’s only with a strong partnership like we have with Mopar Canada that makes it possible to continually bring this premium drag race competition to Western Canada. Mopar’s engagement with our guests both regionally and nationally has created a strong community spirit for our sport. Our partnership with Mopar is based on a mutual understanding and desire to see both professional and sportsman drag racing competition succeed.”

The very first Top Fuel final round for the Rocky Mountain Nationals (2003) featured Bruce Litton vs Clay Millican. Litton won on a holeshot 4.917 secs to 4.877 secs.

Mopar Canada also acknowledged the importance of the long term associations.

“Drag racing is in our Mopar Canada DNA and we are proud to be hosting two milestone anniversary events this season,” said Jim Kiritsis, Head of Mopar and Service, FCA Canada. “Over the last two decades, we have enjoyed doing our part in continuing to provide loyal fans with exciting motorsports events that resonate with car enthusiasts both on and off the track.”

The dates for these two marquee Mopar Canada presented nationals this summer have been confirmed as July 12-14th at Edmonton and then August 2-4th at Grand Bend. Both race tracks are planning to make them some very special anniversary editions too — with a number of added attractions and extras in the works to help the celebrations.

Mopar-brand Alcohol Funny Car driver Mark Thomas was a popular winner during the inaugural Rocky Mountain Nationals at Edmonton.

At Castrol Raceway – in conjunction with an official NHRA Pacific Northwest National Open race — fans will witness an impressive and expanded line up of Nitro Funny Cars, Alcohol Funny Cars, Pro Mod circuit cars and 200 MPH Nitro Bikes in competition.

Grand Bend plans to showcase a range of examples from it’s 20-year event history — that will include NHRA level Top Fuel and nitro Funny Cars, as well as A/Fuel, Nitro Nostalgia FC and Nitro Harleys. There is also a good possibility for Mountain Motor Pro Stockers. The new PSDS (Pro Mod/TD/TS series) will also be showcased as well as a signifiant field of jet-powered and exhibition vehicles.

Grand Bend Motorplex’s Paul Spriet has played a key role while nurturing and evolving the longest event partnership in Canadian drag racing history.

And did we mention (?) — legendary drag racing icon Shirley Muldowney — has been announced as the Grand Marshal for both events!

DragRaceCanada will post additional event and line-up details as that becomes public.

For more more information on Mopar Canada click: HERE
For more information on Castrol Raceway click: HERE
For more information on Grand Bend Motorplex click: HERE

Post and Photos By Bruce Biegler