Canadians Cash In at TNT Cayuga

By: Lewis (The Kid) Robinson 

Dave Surmatchewski and Roy Lister dominated TNT Super Series during last weekend’s Canadian Street Car Nationals and with that  moved  into highly coveted top ten positions with their wins!

This past weekend’s Joe’s Transmission TNT Super Series double header saw extreme heat and humidity – with density altitude approaching 3800′.  Yet the sportsman competitors in the highly competitive 10.90 sportsman series persevered – powered by Beida’s Powersports.   

Part of the Canadian Street Car Nationals at Cayuga Dragway, the event saw Dave Surmatchewski of Oakland, Ontario get his fourth-ever series win and Roy Lister of Welland, Ontario get his first TNT win.  And in the Super Bowl run-off for the $7000 Matco tool box, Dave came in second out of a bunch of cars – running a near perfect 10.908.

Saturday’s Results

Coming from the number two qualifying position with a 10.912, Dave defeated Fred Gross (Brampton,ON) in round one with an .019 reaction time to Fred’s .080.  A bye run in round two set him up to face points leader Pete Maduri Jr (Tonawanda, NY).  Again, Dave’s advantage on the starting line earned him the round win in a double breakout.

The semi-final match up was with Mark Herbold (Elma, NY).  Almost dead even on the tree (.004 to .009), Dave ran dead-on with a two to move into the final round.

 The other side of the ladder saw Kevin Orr (Orangeville,ON) battle past Larry Pulver (Palmyra, NY), Ted Barnes (Canfield, ON) and Chris VanBaalen (Wellandport, ON).

But mechanical issues on Kevin’s car handed the final round and event win to Dave – making him the driver with the most final round appearances in TNT history at seven; and tied for the driver with the most event wins in TNT history (with Jamie Stoneman) at four.

Saturday winner - Dave Surmatchewski

“I have to thank my wife Alyson and my daughters Marissa and Maddy for their support and taking care of loose ends like feeding me and keeping me going through the day.  There is nothing as good as having them there during a win,” said Dave in the Cayuga Dragway winner’s circle.

“And thanks to Alex at Insta Insulation for standing by me and Danny Douglas at Douglas Engines in Brantford also for his continued support.”

“This weekend was alot of fun.  Being in the run off for the tool box and almost getting it done was awesome,” Dave added.  “And the great comradery and having so much fun with all the TNT members, families and friends.  It’s just a good time!”

 Dave’s car is a 1983 Hurst Olds Cutlass clone, built completely by him in his home shop.  It’s powered by a 377 cid Chevrolet with a powerglide transmission and is capable of running the 1/4 mile at 10.19 at 133 mph.

 Specialty Awards – Saturday August 14

                       Hoosier Tire Canada $50 certificate – Number One Qualifier

    • Ted Barnes (Canfield, ON) with a 10.901J&S Collision $50 – Closest to the Index (1st Round Loser)
    • Bill Elekes (West Seneca, NY) with a 10.942Cayuga FREE PASS – Best Reaction Time (1st Round Loser)
    • Larry Pulver (Palmyra, NY) with a .008

Sunday’s Results:

Roy started the day – after losing first round on Saturday – qualified in the 14th spot.  In round one, he took out Fred Gross (Brampton, ON) beating him on the tree.

Then he did the same thing to Larry Pulver (Palmyra, NY) in round two.  Third round saw him defeat Art Jones (Webster, NY) in a double breakout with another starting line advantage.  

Then a bye run in the semi’s set him up to face Kevin Orr (Orangeville, ON)  – who was in his second final round of the weekend.

 On his way to the final, Kevin marched past the likes of Andrew Stirk (Orangeville, ON), Bill Elekes (West Seneca, NY), Mark Herbold (Elma, NY) and Ted Barnes (Canfield, ON).  

But it was all Roy Lister in the final as he left with an .006 light to Kevin’s .053.  That allowed Roy to coast through the traps for his first ever Joe’s Transmission TNT Super Series victory.   “First I would like to comment on how well run the TNT program is.  It’s a great group of racers always trying to win but also there to help if you need it,” said Roy shortly after his win. 

Roy & Tara Lister

 “Having run my last sand drag race in 1980, I am thrilled to be back racing again.  I owe a special thanks to Rob Carpenter and Kim Ferri, Joe Fioravanti, my wife Tara and a very special thanks to my sister in law Melinda Fetz for helping me the entire weekend.”  

 Roy had oil pressure problems going through the traps in the semi’s.  “I came back to the trailer and Mark Herbold and Rob Carpenter dropped the diaper and changed the filter while I got everything ready for the final.  Looks like the filter collapsed, pressure came back and I was able to make the call for the final round.”  

“I also want to mention that Andrew Stirk and Mark Herbold’s partner Gary were there to jump in as well allowing me to refuel, charge and check my run.  That’s what I like about the group of TNT racers.”

Roy drives a beautiful 1968 Camaro powered by a 406ci built by Joe Fioravanti with 5:11 gears and a powerglide.  The car was built for throttle stop racing however Roy says that without the TNT program, he would either be travelling to race or parking it and looking at it.  “So once again a huge hats off to the TNT gang and the drivers that support it.”

 Specialty Awards – Sunday August 15

Hoosier Tire Canada $50 certificate – Number One Qualifier

  • Larry Pulver (Palmyra, NY) with a 10.910

J&S Collision $50 – Closest to the Index (1st Round Loser)

  • Jon Jablonski (West Seneca, NY) with a 10.902

Cayuga FREE PASS – Best Reaction Time (1st Round Loser)

  • Pete Maduri Jr (Tonawanda, NY) with a .019

Joe’s Transmission TNT Super Series Points (Top 10 of 42) After 8 of 13 Events

Pete Maduri Jr
Mark Herbold
Ted Barnes
Dave Surmatchewski
Fred Gross
J.J. Jablonski
Bill Elekes
Chris VanBaalen
Tom Coonly
Roy Lister


 About the TNT Super Series:

 The Joe’s Transmission TNT Super Series began in 2006 and is entering its fourth full season in 2010.  Based on NHRA’s Super Street & IHRA’s Hot Rod classes, the multi-event series runs on a 10.90 index in the 1/4 mile (7.00 in the 1/8 mile), guarantees a MINIMUM of $500 for an event win and pays round money for EVERY round win. Competing at facilities in southern Ontario and western New York, there are only two exceptions to the rulebook – no weight minimum and left-hand drive open-bodied cars are allowed.

Joe’s Transmission has been in business in Niagara Falls, Ontario since 1984.  They sell & install high performance parts & accessories however their specialty is building & repairing high performance transmissions.  Contact Joe and his team at (905) 374-6116 or visit them online at

Photos by Dale Boeru