Event Essentials2011 IHRA Mopar Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam – June 24-26th, 2011  Edmonton, AB

Posted by:  Bruce Biegler

The IHRA’s traveling road show rolled into Western Canada as Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway hosted the 2011 edition of the Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam.  The event which was bolstered by new major presenting sponsorship from Mopar, was unfortunately a testing affair for all concerned as a rather grouchy Mother Nature played havoc with the event schedule and event format.

To adjust for the effects of the weather (specifically track weeping due to rain) all of the Professional category final rounds as well as the conclusions to Sportsman racing on Sunday were completed on a 1/8th mile basis due to safety concerns.

Edmonton's Nitro Jam introduced Mopar Canada as it's proud new primary event sponsor

While initially the Mopar Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam’s main attraction was touted to be  its touring nitro-burning and exhibition cars – the post race reality was that the supplemental event eliminators designed and brought in by Castrol Raceway management itself – provided most of the event’s entertainment and drama.

Rather ferocious competition was enjoyed in a open field Prostalgia FC category , West Coast Pro Mods, Nitro Bikes and that combined with outstanding fields in Top Dragster and Top Sportsman did take away much of the steam from the IHRA’s imported limited fields in Top Fuel and Fuel Altered. 

For the 2nd year in a row hometown favorite driver Tim Boychuk was the man of the hour come Sunday evening’s concluding ceremonies.

Driving his simply awesome Troy Lee Designs Pontiac Firebird, which is owned by Ron Hodgson, tuned by Roland Leong and maintained by Bob Papernik; Boychuk won the event in truly impressive style.

The Tim Boychuk driven Troy Lee Designs Firebird ran like clockwork!

After qualifying #1 with a 5.788 secs 242.02 mph (low ET & top speed), Tim was the quickest and fastest during each and every round of competition.  He defeated U.S. racers Brad Thompson  and Mark Sanders to advance to the final round where he faced off with Edmonton’s Mike Grekul.  Grekul was making a rather unexpected return appearance as driver of the awesome California-based Plueger & Geiger ’72 Mustang.

That all Canadian final (1/8th mile) saw Boychuk move first and roll to a convincing win, 3.831 secs 198.85 mph to Mike’s 4.399 secs 132.96 mph.

“My emotions were up and down all weekend here,” said Boychuk.  “But when you finally win it – you feel very happy and it all kicks out.  We’ve got a good streak going here – all of us want to do our best in front of our home fans.  The crew is consistent and the car was running great – it was just up to me as a driver to get it down the track.”

The Prostalgia Funny Car class drew its largest car count of the season for the IHRA at Edmonton.  Instead of being an exhibition “Chicago Style” format, it was in fact an open field at Edmonton with 11 cars entered, 8 of which were from Canada.   The bump spot was a 6.125 secs.

Alberta’s Wayne Hofer (Lethbridge), a former Top Sportsman class racer, won his first ever West Coast Pro Mod title during the event.  Hofer dominated an out-of-shape Vern Mills in the 1/8th mile final round winning handily with a 4.335 secs 171.47 mph effort driving his ’63 Corvette.

Lethbridge's Wayne Hofer scored in Pro Mod over an all Nitrous field

Hofer, who qualified 2nd, beat Perry Thyr and Tom Meheden to advance to the final round.

Due to an (unfortunate for the fans) current apparent “riff” within the West Coast Pro Modified Association itself surrounding rules – all 9 Pro Mod cars entered at Edmonton were nitrous-injected.

North Carolina’s Jay Turner was the class of the field Nitro Bike as he made the very best of his first ever appearance racing in Edmonton.   Turner battled Oregon’s Steve Dorn in the championship final round winning a 4.3774 to 4.693 secs decision.

Jay Turner's first Edmonton invasion was a very successful one...

Dorn and Turner had qualified 1-2 respectively with impressive ¼ mile laps of 6.683 secs and 6.702 secs on Saturday.  Turner beat Canadian class stalwart Ron Houniet in round one and also Edmonton’s Ken Kent in the semis to advance to the final round.

Sponsored by Ace Manufacturing, the Rocky Mountain Nostalgia Funny Car association was also on hand running their cool collection of machines on a 6.99 index.   That final round was declared a draw however between Eddy Plaizier and Ron Sekura because the series does not recognize or practice any 1/8th mile racing.

Saturday’s high energy Quick 8 Shootouts were also unfortunately saw offs when rain cancelled the scheduled final rounds.  Teammates Todd Fleck and Don Wilk split the Campbell Automotive TS8 title and Mike Quayle and Tom McAvoy did the same in AFD sponsored TD8 program.

Mark Campbell's awesome new turbo '37 was part of a terrific TS program


Sunday’s Sportsman racing was highlighted by impressive wins in Top Sportsman by Darryn O’Conner (Ft. St. John BC), driving a Chevy Cavalier, and by local hitter Scott Hearn (Sherwood Park) in Top Dragster.  TS and TD were both well attended programs with 29 and 28 cars entered respectively.

Super Stock featured a first time IHRA win for Saskatchewan’s Sheldon Erfle who took his nostalgic 1956 Chevy SS/PA, the slowest car in the field to victory, by holding off a number of pre-event favorites.

To view DragRaceCanada’s “very” extensive event Photo Gallery click:  HERE

Class Winner E.T. MPH 
Nitro Jam Top Fuel (Sat) Bobby Lagana Jr 4.897* 268.49*
Nitro Jam AA/FA (Sat) Ron Maroney 6.530* 221.49*
  * ¼ Mile              
    1/8th 1/8th
Nitro Jam Top Fuel (Sun) Bobby Lagana Jr. 3.308 244.83
Nitro Jam AA/FA (Sun) Ron Maroney 4.405 173.27
Prostalgia Funny Car Tim Boychuk 3.831 198.85
West Coast Pro Mods Wayne Hofer 4.335 171.47
Nitro Bike Jay Turner 4.374 163.18
Top Dragster Scott Hearn 4.819 143.17
Top Sportsman Darryn O’Conner 4.802 144.27
Quick Rod Mike Pople 5.808 132.82
Super Rod Chad Barclay 6.583 109.98
Hot Rod Tony Osredkar 7.115 100.18
Super Stock Sheldon Erfle 7.682 88.41
Stock Mark Faul 7.353 89.78
ET Bracket John Melnyk 6.243 108.85
Junior Dragster Kaitlyn Crooks 7.887 81.67
Mod ET Dan Coss 6.554 103.28
Top ET John Melnyk 6.252 108.61

Super Stock winner Sheldon Erfle (from Saskatchewan) was one of a slew of Canadian Sportsman class winners

Nitro Jam TF & AA/FA Summary (Posted by:  Larry Crum)

 In Top Fuel Bobby Lagana completed the weekend sweep with a pair of wins over Bruce Litton both Saturday and Sunday to continue his dominance of the class.

 After downing Mike Strasburg in round one, Lagana faced off with Litton and easily cruised to a victory with a 3.308, 244.83 in the final to pick up the win. Litton, for the second night in a row, smoked the tires immediately off the line.

Bobby Lagana prevailed both days within the IHRA's 4-car TF show

In the consolation round Kyle Wurtzel picked up his first career Nitro Jam win over Strasburg.

Sunday’s other Nitro Jam shootout was contested in Nostalgia Fuel Altered as Ron Maroney in “Nanook” swept the category with a win over Tom Padilla’s “Nasty Benjamin” for the second night in a row. Maroney ran a 4.405, 173.27 in the final to Padilla’s 4.562, 148.05.

In the consolation pairing Randy Bradford recorded his first Nitro Jam round win over Jason Richey.

Photos by:  Bruce Biegler & Sheryl Ogonoski