There was both tradition and tenacity during the 2018 Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals…..

Held at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway last weekend, this 16th Mopar Canada sponsored annual event, which is now under the jurisdiction of NHRA sanctioning, and presented by JB’s Power Centre, featured not only NHRA National Open “double header” events but also a good swath of exhibition racing within a wide variety of class categories.

Dogged by some early inclement weather and then by some later major oil down issues, the race schedule was not without it’s challenges.  However in the end, thanks to a very hard working Castrol Raceway staff as well as determination and persistence from racers,  this event’s reputation for entertainment once again prevailed.

Event highlights were many and that included somewhat of a “cage match” between Canada’s very top two rated Nitro Nostalgia Funny Cars racers, locals Ryan Hodgson and Tim Boychuk, who both have deep winning histories at this particular event.

Those two drivers traded performance blows throughout Saturday’s three rounds of qualifying to set up yet another exciting head-to-head confrontation later on Sunday afternoon for the event championship.   This time it was Tim Boychuk who emerged the winner when he took the stripe first driving his very popular “Happy Hour/NitroMoose” Camaro.  Tim clocked a winning 5.979 secs 233.52 mph to 6.102 secs 233.04 mph margin over the defending 2017 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series World Champion, Hodgson.

The Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car event “cage match” went to Tim Boychuk (far lane) over Ryan Hodgson

The event also highlighted local talents within the WDRL’s Pro Mod class presentation as well as the 6.90 indexed Funny Car class.

Pro Mod racing produced a big hometown win for Edmonton’s own Wade Sjostrom who defeated Red Deer’s Dean Bettenson in a cool final round battle that showcased two supercharged ’57 Chevy cars.  Sjostrom, ran a winning 6.177 secs at 229.47 mph for the victory which prevailed over Bettenson’s 6.210 secs 235.85 mph effort.

Longtime local Pro Mod competitor Wade Sjostrom had a nice score racing his supercharged ’57 Chevy.

For Sjostrom, who placed runner-up at the previous WDRL race hosted just a couple weeks prior at Mission Raceway, the win helped to solidify his current first place standings within WDRL championship points.  Wade’s event win came over an 8-car qualified field and also included round decisions of Ray Leyten and Paul Glandon.

The 6.90 index Funny Car class produced a popular winner when Joey Steckler prevailed driving his always showstopping ’69 model Corvette.  Joey defeated circuit newcomer Colin Harris’ awesome new ’55 Chevy-bodied car in the final round when he recorded a winning time of 7.078 secs at 185.90 mph.

Joey Steckler’s popular ’69 Corvette prevailed in the event’s 6.90 index FC program.

Steckler’s romp to victory lane also included wins over Alberta-based racers Cody Anstead, Richard Yamada and Al Weich.

Nitro-burning Motorcycle racing, which remains a major fan draw at many Castrol Raceway events, was also featured with both Nitro Harley and Pro Fuel classes being part of the program.   

It was Nitro Harley class “kingpin” Jay Turner who claimed victory after his long tow up from North Carolina by besting 7 other competitors.  Jay qualified #1 at 6.577 secs but recorded his best time of the weekend in the final round at 6.471 secs to defeat Calgary’s Mike Scott who unfortunatley could not get his bike to fire. 

Jay “Bulldog” Turner roughed up the Nitro Harley class competition – again!

The Pro Fuel title came down to a battle of reputed Edmonton-based class racers, Quinn Olsen and Al Miles who battled it out with Olsen prevailing.

Nitro methane was also prevalent elsewhere at the 2018 Rocky Mountain Nationals — including a pair of Top Fuel cars, a pair of injected nitro cars and 6 very wild and wooly AA/FA entries.   

Calgary’s David Fedorwich, showcasing new sponsorship from “Zomongo” for this event for his Darkside Racing machine, had a very rewarding weekend.   That included a career best (and first ever “four”) for his team at 4.981 secs while winning a 1/4 mile match race round on Sunday over Bruce Litton.

Exhibition AA/FA class racing at Edmonton had some memorable moments for sure!

Local NHRA Lucas Oil class racers and Castrol Raceway’s ET racing best were involved in two full eliminator programs both on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday produced wins by Sheldon Erfle (Super Stock), Tom Nolan (Stock), Dave Archambault (Super Gas), Breanne Durie (Super Comp) and Warren Neitsch (Super Street).  The ET class winners were Dale O’Conner (Super Pro), Kyle Harrison (Pro), Brody Allison (Junior Lightning) and Jacob Mills (Junior Thunder).

The Mopar brand got a pair of wins in Stock eliminator thanks to racers Tom Nolan (top) and Clarence Bidniak who won on Sat and Sun respectively.

Sunday’s National Open tournament saw victories go to Darrell Dietz (Super Stock), Clarence Bidniak (Stock), Dale Dryden (Super Gas).  Both Saturday winners, Warren Neitsch (Super Street) and Breanne Durie (Super Comp) were able to double up with wins again on Sunday.

Young lady racer Breanne Durie (top) doubled up in NHRA Super Comp as did Warren Neitsch in S/ST with his reliable and familiar PT Cruiser!

The ET class titles on Sunday went to Darrell Toews (Super Pro), Lorenz Schwarz (Pro) Jacob Mills (Junior Thunder) and Ryan O’Conner (Junior Lightning).

Castrol Raceway’s very dynamic and very successful “Top Eliminator Club” which was founded by Bob and Gord Ebertz, was also well represented over the weekend with big fields and two full events for Top Sportsman and Top Dragster competitors.

Todd Fleck and Fred Hartum won in TD and TS respectively on Saturday evening and it was Jason Padd (TD) and Cody Liwiski (TS) who prevailed on Sunday.

Fred Hartum won the “Top Eliminator” TS class with his Dodge on Saturday.

As there always seems to be at Edmonton – exhibition runners were cool and different!

To view DragRaceCanada’s extensive photo gallery from this event visit our co-production site : HERE

Posted with files by Bruce Biegler and Mike Heil

Photos by Bruce Biegler