It’s a wrap for season racing in Eastern Canada’s Napa Ultimate Showdown Drag Racing Series..….

The still budding and not-for-profit circuit did complete it’s third season of existence with action on two fronts over the past Labour Day Weekend.

The majority of racing was hosted during Grand Bend Motoplex’s annual “Thunder by the Beach” event while the series’ Alcohol Funny Car racers completed their season campaign at Cayuga Dragway.

The weekend action featured both some new and familiar winners and it also determined the series’ final 2017 points championship standings.

Racing within the Pennzoil Pro Mod class category produced a first time winner and also affirmed a successful title defence for a popular series driver.

Mike Yedgarian, raced his stealth-looking and Speedwire-sponsored Firebird to it’s first win within the Napa USDS circuit and he did that in very impressive fashion.

Toronto’s Mike Yedgarian recorded a track and series speed record while winning the USDS season finale event at Grand Bend Motorplex.

The veteran driver who cut his teeth within fast street car genre competition for many seasons prior to switching to Pro Mod class racing (in 2014) was both fast and consistent while prevailing over the 8-car qualified field.

After qualifying #3 (5.941 secs) Mike clocked in two more “fives” while topping Bill Dineen and Al Martorino during rounds one and two. Then in the final round Yedgarian spooled his turbocharged car even further while beating another all black Pontiac Firebird – raced by Derek Hawker – the event’s low qualifier. Mike won that classic confrontation  with a 5.922 secs 257.73 mph compared to Hawker’s 6.017 secs at 234.07 mph.

Yedgarian’s top end charge (257.73 mph) was an all time fast speed record for the USDS class category and also a track record for GBM.

With his runner-up finish, Derek Hawker was declared for the 2nd year in a row the overall Pennzoil Pro Mod points champion. Derek was assured that title when he advanced beyond the semis finals, combined with the points leader (coming into the race) Rob Atchison, being upset in round #1.

While the championship was rewarding for “the Hawk” some post race revelations suggest that the Corbyville-based racer will no longer be “all in” beginning next season. He confirmed his plans to step away from the sport and in fact made a deal at GBM post race to sell his race car operation to Hamilton’s Bruce Boland.

Derek Hawker prevailed to win his second straight USDS points title – but then announced his apparent retirement!

“We had an interesting year and we are glad to be ending it all with the championship – back to back,” said Derek.  “I have to thank my crew for all their hard work this year (Kirk Silberman Scott Sager Corrie Hawker Maria Silberman) – and an extra shout to Kirk Silberman for tuning the car with basically no experience with screw blowers. He kept the car fast and didn’t  destroy my wallet doing it!  As always I gotta thank my wife (Corrie) for all this. As for my next step – I’m heading to the cottage because 20 years in the sport is enough.  But you never know — you may see me at the track in one form or another.”

The Samson Top Dragster class also produced some late season high drama. When Scott McCann produced a tension filled win light in the final round of competition, not only did that give him the event win – it also give him the overall season points title (by 3 markers) over Kyle Harris.

Racing his super cool and aviation themed TD, Scott ran a final round single at 7.701 secs to defeat opponent Sam Gauci who broke. McCann (from Stratford) had beaten lady racers Diane Thiffeault and Shawna Woudstra while advancing to his 2nd season win.

Scott McCann rolled his aviation-themed Top Dragster to a timely event win which also gave him eat 2017 Samson TD points championship title.

“I would like to thanks Ultimate Showdowns, GBM and TMP,” Scott said. “Also thanks to our crew Braydon McCann, Ryan Ballantyne, Cate McCann, Jennifer Burt and Justin McCann as well as John Weima and Scott Wildgust for all there help. We couldn’t do this without our sponsors; Fraser Asphalt Paving, K and K Racing, Core Fuels, Seyler Tire Service, Root Ent., Coco Paving, Keystone Light, McCann Ent., Red Cap Propane.”

“It’s a tough series with great cars and drivers so to win one race was great but to have won a second in the same year was huge,” he added. ” Winning the championship just topped it all off! We look forward to coming back next year as strong as we were this year. It was a great season for us!”

Racing at Grand Bend Motorplex also included wins by invading Michigan racer Ken Langlois in Wiseco Top Sportsman and also for young gun driver Spencer Hyde in Billy Briggs/Bullseye Power Outlaw 10.5.

Michigan’s Ken Langlois won in Wiseco Top Sportsman with his Corvette.

Langlois, (from Milan MI) ambushed the very competitive TS field after qualifying tenth with his super consistent ’63 Corvette. He beat Larry Godin, Steve Parkhurst and Joe McCormick to advance to the final versus Wes Goddard’s fan favourite turbocharged Nash. Langlois won that bout easily however when he combined a .013 RT with a run of 6.975 secs at 196.16 mph to take the win light while Goddard’s machine slowed from it’s previous mid-6.8 secs pace.

Wes Goddard’s fan favourite turbocharged Nash – placed R/UP

Also significant in the class was when Ingersoll’s Bill Wilson drove the “Wilson & Gray” Chevy Cavalier to a second round finish, that assured that strong running team the 2017 points championship for Wiseco Top Sportsman.

Ingersoll’s “Wilson & Gray” Racing Team clinched the USDS TS series points title.

Spencer Hyde, racing his Napa Auto Parts-sponsored Camaro won in Outlaw 10.5 class trim. Hyde (from Stratford) beat Tony “the Barber” Pontieri in a truly great final round winning by a narrow 4.212 secs 170.51 mph to 4.246 secs 172.34 mph margin.

“We decided as a team after the Mopar Canadian Nationals that our set up wasn’t quite cutting it in Pro Mod this year — so as a team we decided to run Outlaw 10.5 for the last event,” said Spencer.  “It was a great way to have fun, still race heads up, and be competitive.  A huge thanks to my sponsors, crew, family and friend for all the support.”

Hyde Racing converted their Camaro for Outlaw 10.5 class racing last weekend and came away winners.

Pontieri’s runner-up did give him that popular driver the overall Billy Briggs/Bullseye Power Outlaw 10.5 title for 2017 as that finish allowed him to surpass the points leader coming into the event – Nick Agostino. Nick elected to race his Camaro at the conflicting date Yellow Bullet Nationals in the U.S. last weekend. (Nick may however be second guessing that decision — as not only did he surrender his potential USDS points title — he in fact also did unfortunately crash his car at that Maryland race!)

Popular and veteran racer Tony Pontieri won the overall Billy Braggs/Bullseye Power Outlaw 10.5 points title.

Grand Bend’s hard fought Junior Dragster titles went to Sarah Zonta (from Binbrook) who defeated her sister Madison in the Mennonite Mafia Pro Junior class and to Jordan Crowe (Dorchester) who won in Royal Purple Elite Junior racing.

Racing at Cayuga Dragway’s Labour Day Funny Car Championships Weekend event included a third win of the season for London’s Paul Noakes in the Austin Apparel Alcohol Funny Car division. Noakes dominated that event performance wise and the victory cemented Paul as the very first Napa USDS champion — for the FC class which was newly introduced to the series this year.

Based on 3 wins in four final round appearances – Paul Noakes easily claimed the first ever USDS points title for Alcohol Funny Cars.

Connect to the Napa USDS GBM/Cayuga Dragway Labour Day weekend photo gallery : HERE 

Posted with files by Bruce Biegler and Brennan Shortall
Photos by Brennan Shortall & Darwin Kent