Mission Raceway’s marquee annual all fast door car extravaganza event was of a particular impact for 2018….

Version 6.0 of the “Doorwarz” race at Mission Raceway Park was one wild event – that featured crazy weather, fast racing and several incidents that damaged cars but thankfully left all drivers without major injury.

As always, the weather was the major determinant of what went down over the three days of the event. Continuing the trend of the month of June in B.C., it rained most of the week, and continued most of Friday. It stopped in time to get in a qualifying session that evening. Saturday, it rained again, not as long, and late afternoon and evening saw some hot qualifying. Sunday morning had more light rain, and the track was dry by 1:30 pm. All three days of mid-teens C temperatures saw air conditions no higher than the mid-hundreds in feet, with evenings below sea level, corrected. 

This all had a big effect on the concrete track surface, and the organizers brought in a team of professional track prep people to help keep on top of the situation. And it must be said that they did a good job of dealing with all the moisture and cold, although a few of the drivers who crashed near the finish line might have had different thoughts.

As always, the top billing at Doorwarz went to the BelAir Power Pro Mods of the Western Drag Racing League, and it must be said that, on paper, the show was a notch down from the past couple of years. A few of the quickest cars from ’16 and ’17 didn’t make it this year, and when a few teams who had entered didn’t show either, the field was to be 14 cars. But when four of those cars had breakage or simply withdrew in one case, it would be ten cars for the first round, with four singles and three side-by-side races.

Defending WDRL Pro Mod series champion Garrett Richards scored racing his blown Ford Mustang.

Qualifying saw four cars in the fives, led by the most consistently quick car on the circuit, the blown Mustang of Garrett Richards from Washington, at a 5.91. The next three were all Albertans, with Paul Glandon’s turbo Camaro at 5.94, Dean Bettenson’s ‘rusty’ blown ’57 Chevy at 5.97, and the welcome return to the scene of Joe Delehay, recovered from his hockey injury last year, with a 5.99 at a personal best 246 mph in his familiar blown Camaro.

Great to see Calgary’s Joe Delehay back in the saddle after a year absence.

The first round saw Richards consistent with a 5.93 single (his scheduled opponent broken), Delehay shake and spin on his single, Glandon lose (with a late and sub-par 7.60) to Edmonton’s Wade Sjostrom who improved from 7’s in qualifying to run 6.40, and Bettenson fall back to 6.14. Right there with a 6.09 single was Rick DiStefano who was happy with the progress they were making on the turbo Camaro.

Round Two saw Richards with the scheduled single and he didn’t back off any at 5.91, while Delehay faltered a bit at an engine-damaging 6.37 in the battle of Calgary, and DiStefano took advantage at 6.14. Sjostrom fell back to a 6.54 but it was enough to beat Dal Sangha’s turbo Mustang, while Steve Horne’s ’41 Willys ran 6.45 to dispatch Bettenson’s shut-off 6.70.

Fast Street car racing proponent Dal Sangha (from Surrey) tried his hand in the Pro Mod category with his turbocharged Ford Mustang.

The semis saw Richards play bracket racer with another 5.91 in front of Rickie D’s shut-off 13.26, while Sjostrom stayed consistent at 6.48 to beat Horne’s 6.60 with a .06 holeshot, in a close race.

So, on paper, the final was no contest, the Mustang consistently a half-second quicker than the Chevy, and that is the way it went, Richards setting low ET in the cool night air at 5.89, and Sjostrom losing at a respectable 6.62. All Richards did all weekend was run fives, and he was full value for the victory.

Edmonton’s Wade Sjostrom placed runner-up in Pro Mod.

The ’18 Doorwarz event was incident rich – including this scary moment for popular racer Yvonne Lucas during qualifying! Thankfully Yvonne was not injured.

In Outlaw 10.5, the past couple of years have seen the power players in this corner of the continent be Ken Sihota from Langley and Paja Agatonovic from Oregon. Paja bowed out early when he crashed in qualifying, hitting both walls right past the tree. Sihota topped the sheets by a bunch with a 4.03, but four others were at 4.25 or better, so if Sihota faltered, it would be a big battle. 

Falter, Sihota did, shutting it down early in Round 2 after a 4.09 single in Round One, and leaving the door open to several others. It was Nick Duda of Langley who knocked the door down in his ex-Pro Mod Corvette, running 4.22, 4.27 and 4.17 in the last three rounds to take the race. That 4.17 in the final came beside the 5.50 of Jay Syvertsen’s blown ’57 Chevy, another ex-Pro Mod car, and still searching for consistency. 

Nick Duda of Langley BC won in Outlaw 10.5 competition.

Outlaw 275 saw a few incidents of contact, the skinny tires and big power overcoming the track at times. Neil Richards from Edmonton and Daniel Rodrigue from Abbotsford established themselves early as the ones to beat, qualifying one-two at 4.62 and 4.75 respectively, but nobody could do it, and the two would face each other in the final. But in one last insult from Mother Nature, just as they were lining up to run, it started to rain, so they will have to settle the issue later this summer. They split the purse for the final run, netting $1,900 each.

Neil Richards from Edmonton was a scheduled finalist for the Outlaw 275 class category – before rain hit.

Despite the weather, and with the hard work of the track preparation crews, Doorwarz was a good show with numerous personal bests recorded, and close racing across the board. The WDRL series is back at Mission twice in August, and runs twice in Edmonton, too – including the Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals in two weeks.

Posted by Gerry Frechette 

Photos by Gerry Frechette and Les Puchala