Grand Bend Ramps Up for Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals! 

Grand Bend Motorplex, event sponsor Mopar and the IHRA are busy making ready for the 12th Annual Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals, Canada’s most historic drag race – coming to a beach resort town near you soon (next week!)……

Mopar's 75th year celebrations include sponsoring the Mopar Canadian Nationals for it's 12th annual version

Located just a few miles from the picturesque resort town of Grand Bend on the shores of Lake Huron, the Grand Bend Motorplex offers all the amenities race fans could ever want – from good food to great racing – all on display during one of Canada’s premier motorsports events July 21-22 at the IHRA Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals.  

 Grand Bend always features one of the biggest drag racing events in all of Canada, bringing thousands of fans from acrossNorth Americato the campgrounds and grandstands at the Motorplex.  

This year’s event will feature a full contingent of sportsman competition plus an exciting lineup of nitro classes – from 320 mph Top Fuel Dragsters to Prostalgia Nitro Funny Cars, Nitro Harleys and Nostalgia Fuel Altereds – plus the stars of the Pro Mod Racing Association, the two-wheel daredevils of Harley Destroys along with a huge show featuring the 30,000 horsepower Shockwave jet semi, the PT Cruiser wheelstander and much more.   

In the professional ranks four nitro classes will fill the lanes at Grand Bend highlighted by the return of Top Fuel and another great showdown in AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car. After last year’s incredible race, the stars of the new hit class return to Grand Bend to battle it out for bragging rights and a huge win. 

The event will also feature the return of wild and out-of-control Fuel Altered class as these famous machines try to keep the front end pointing straight in 1,320 feet of real estate. This once outlawed class features short wheelbases and high-horsepower engines producing some truly wild runs making this one of the most exciting classes in drag racing.  

And with so many legendary nostalgia machines filling the lanes, it will be a scene straight out of the glory days of the track. 

As for those fans wanting something a little more modern, Nitro Jam has you covered as well.  

Returning to the Ontario track this season will be the stars of Top Fuel Dragster class as former champions Bobby Lagana Jr. and Bruce Litton join a quartet of 320 mph machines facing off on the quarter-mile. 

Bruce Litton will come to Grand Bend fresh off his Top Fuel IHRA win at Edmonton

Rounding out the nitro classes are the stars of Nitro Harley as the one of the most extreme classes in the sport return for four exciting rounds of racing. Nitro Harley will feature four of the fastest racers on two wheels doing battle at over 220 miles per hour all from the back of a motorcycle.  

IHRA's very popular Fuel Altereds return for a scheduled 4-car shootout

All four nitro-burning classes will compete Saturday night under the lights and on championship Sunday using the Nitro Jam racing format that features two rounds of racing with the quickest winners from round one meeting up in the finals to determine a champion.  

The exhibition portion of the event will feature the return of the 30,000 horsepower, fire-breathing Shockwave jet semi and the PT Cruiser Wheelstander. Hardcore racing fans will also be excited to once again enjoy the wild 200 mph PMRA summer showdown on the shores ofLake Huron. 

Ontario’s own home-grown PMRA (Pro Modified Racing Association) circuit will also be a featured part of the event.

The PMRA will return - Jack Grainy is the defending event champion

PMRA qualifying will begin on Friday, at 7 pm, followed by two more session on Saturday at  4:30 and 7 pm.   Then at 8:30, as part of the Nitro Jam’s “Night of Fire,” round one of eliminations will take place.

Final PMRA elimination rounds will continue Sunday beginning at 1 pm.

In sportsman competition all seven IHRA classes will be featured as the stars of Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, Super Stock, Stock, Quick Rod, Super Rod and Hot Rod battle for a spot in the year-end Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions presented by AMSOIL. And what a collection of racers Grand Bend always manages to produce. Nearly all of last year’s winners went on to perform well at the Tournament of Champions including one world champion and five additional top 10 finishes emerging from last year’s Grand Bend winners.

Ontario's David Klomps won in Super Rod at last year's eventl

Last year’s winners at Grand Bend were Bill Wilson (TS), Ed Smith (TD), Pete D’Agnolo (SS), Craig Marshall (ST), Barry Ryan (QR), Dave Klomps (SR) and Andrew Stirk (HR). Other sportsman winners included Dave Elrod (Top), Will Steckly (Mod), Sarah Grennan (Juniors 13-18) and Luke Schwemier (Juniors 8-12). 

In addition to all the on track action, new in 2012 will be a revamped FanFest pit party beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 p.m. Sunday. The FanFest pit party will feature driver autographs and various activities for racers and fans of all ages prior to the start of the Nitro Jam professional rounds.   

Nitro Jam racing will get underway at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.  

Posted by:  Larry Crum

Photos by:  Bruce Biegler