Community Come Together at GBM!

Ontario’s Grand Bend Motorplex hosted what is easily the most successful community organized drag racing event in all of Canada last weekend…..

The 2011 edition of the very innovative Stratford Spectacular Hot August Night Nationals marked the 17th time for the annual gathering which boasts over 100 individual community sponsors from Stratford Ontario and surrounding area.

A huge crowd was on hand for the Hot August Night Nationals

Following a pre-race kick off event presented by Ideal Supply and Napa Auto Parts in Stratford on Thursday night, action shifted to the track where the weekend event played out to a very significant fan base over the next three days.  In fact many observers (including yours truly) agreed the overall crowd exceeded that of the recent IHRA Canadian Nitro Jam race only a couple weeks prior.

The event’s marquee line up included great talents.  Event number four for the 6-race 2011 season for PMRA, Napa Quick 32 and Wiseco PBSS drag racing series got top billing.  The action also included some exciting Funny Car match racing action and exhibition vehicles.

Barry Paton (Paris ON) and his driver Ike Maier (Tottenham ON) made a series of runs while testing their Top Fuel dragster much of which was being filmed for an upcoming special on the Daily Planet show.  That will air on the Discovery Channel in the coming months and DragRaceCanada will post more details on that in the near future.

John Dunn's ultra cool Dodge was one of the Funny Cars featured

Funny Cars in attendance included a significant TAFC match between Cassie Simonton (driver for Spiro Kontos) and Paul Noakes (driver for Larry Dobbs) as well as the nitro-burning Nostalgia machines driven by Laurie Cannister and John Dunn.

The premier Canadian TAFCs driven by Paul Noakes and Cassie Simonton paired off

The event rolled along rather nicely before Mother Nature unfortunately had the final say late afternoon on Sunday.   All of the scheduled final rounds were rained out when one of her thunderstorms bombed the event in a very untimely manner.

It was then subsequently reported that all the final rounds for the Stratford Spectacular Hot August Nationals will be held during the next and season ending major event — the “Thunder by the Beach” at Grand Bend September 2-4th.

Here is the event summary so far for the PMRA/Q32/PBSS:

Racing in the Stratford Spectacular Hot August Nationals presented by Ideal Supply & NAPA Auto Parts got down to the final rounds before the rains came at the Grand Bend Motorplex.

Going into the PMRA final will be top qualifier Eric Latino of Whitby, Ontario, against number three seed Jeff Roth of New Dundee, Ontario.  Latino has secured a win in PMRA racing this season, while for Roth, who has won at Grand Bend previously; this will be his first trip to a 2011 final.

In PMRA semi-final racing, Latino eliminated number five qualifier Mark Nielsen of Brantford, Ontario, and Roth took out Vito Montesano of Maple, Ontario, who qualified number seven.

Eric Latino kept his PMRA Championship hope alive by advancing to the final round

The large Quick 32 Sportsman Series contingent was paired down to Jeff Moser with his Top Dragster and former champion Kevin Wicke with his Top Sportsman entry. For Moser, from Waterloo, Ontario, and Wicke, of Stratford, Ontario, this final round is the first for both drivers this season.

Wicke eliminated Dan Aitken of Belle River, Ontario in the Quick 32 Sportsman Series Top Sportsman race, and Moser got by Jamie Bridge of Napanee, Ontario in the Top Dragster final.

Prior to eliminations, qualifying highlights included some very signficant developments on both the TD and TS sides of the coin. 

The 16-car TD bump spot was a barrier breaker for the Q32 series as the 6.970 secs marked the first ever all 6-secs field in their history.  Burlington’s Rick Kopp earned the pole (again) with a super swift 6.151 secs.  It was Kopp’s 4th low qualifying effort of the season so far (including the IHRA event at Grand Bend in July).

In TS — Guelph’s Frank Goddard matched Kopp when he drove Frank DeJonge’s absolutely awesome turbo-charged Chevy Colbalt to that low qualifier position.   Goddard, who paced the field at Cayuga during season event #3, roared to a 6.796 secs and 212.56 mph during time trails to lead the way.  

The TS bump at Grand Bend was 7.508 secs with 24 cars entered.

Frank Goddard qualified #1 in Q32 TS for the 2nd race in a row.

Action in the PBSS only got to the semi-final round before cancellation, and four contestants are still in the hunt.

Top PBSS qualifier Jim Bernier of Stratford will race of his Suzuki Pro Bike against the Pro Sled of Bob Beaudoin of Techumseh, Ontario. The other semi will pit present PBSS points leader Randy Hope of London, Ontario against Dan Cryderman of Thamesville, Ontario in an all Pro Bike match-up.

Along with the finals in the PMRA, the Quick 32 Sportsman Series, and the PBSS to be completed at the next event, the three series will also hold their Consolation Race finals. The upcoming race over the Labor Day weekend will also be the scene of the fifth event in the six-race 2011 season for all three drag race series.

To View DragRaceCanada’s Hot August Nationals event Photo Gallery click:  HERE

Photos by:  Bruce Biegler