During the 2019 drag racing season – an Ontario-based driver did carve himself out a bit of Canadian drag racing notoriety….

Competing within one of drag racing’s overall most participant popular classes — Top Dragster — is demanding enough.  But doing that as somewhat of a “black sheep” within the category is even more tasking.

Keith McKellar, who is from Fort Erie Ontario, did turn a few heads mid-last season with some impressively quick runs in his Top Dragster.  And while his 6.0 secs ET slips themselves were noteworthy — the fact Keith did that with a Mopar B1 wedge engine configuration — does add even more credence.

In this day and age the Mopar B1 motor is a pretty rare bird indeed.   While the tech has been around and used in drag racing circles traditionally for 2.5 decades or so — the reputation for the configuration overall is of a finicky nature.   

Keith McKellar (from Fort Erie ON) is making some waves with his Mopar-powered Top Dragster

But despite maybe all that, Keith McKellar’s dedication to his project is admirable as he is carrying forward the Mopar B1 motor’s “baton” so to speak — that includes both some U.S. and Canadian origin points.  

“We run a 528 CID Dodge B1 wedge – designed and engineered by Dave Koffel,” Keith confirmed.  “That creates 2200 HP.  It features a KB block with B1 MC cylinder heads and we run Littlefield blower backed up by an Abruzzi Mac Daddy transmission.”

“We choose Mopar (for this class) because we firmly believe in it,” he added.  “I’ve raced that for over 20 years and some 40 wins speaks for itself.”

Keith pointed to an early association established with Dave Koffel and Joe Boniferro as a foundation for his drag racing program.

“We went to a race the week before the 2003 IHRA AC Delco Nationals at Cayuga,” he reflected.  “I knew that Dave Koffel (then in charge of part of Chrysler’s race division and also the famed Alderman/Geoffrion Pro Stock team) would be there testing with Canadian Joe Boniferro and his B-1 powered Pro Mod Avenger.  We pitted next to them (not by accident — LOL!).  From right there a great personal and professional relationship started which has lasted.”

While still potential rich — it is true that a Mopar B1 engine program is a rather rare option for within drag racing’s Top Dragster class category.

Over time, prior to this current Top Dragster, Keith has raced a number of cars in his career.  That list includes a ’69 Dodge Dart — beginning in 2000 when he first established McKellar Motorsports.  He did drive the famed 1990 Chrysler LeBaron (ex Larry O’Brien car) and also did driving stints in a Top Sportsman car (owned by Jamie Tuppers) as well as in three other Top Dragster class cars owned by Joe Passero, Bruce Gaier and Scott Foster.

Keith’s newest dragster was actually first built in 2012 — it is a McIllvain-chassis 4-link car and the very first car built by Dean McIllvain (#001).

Originally this car ran a B1 motor on nitrous before being switched to a blower combination.   With expertise and advice from Dave Koffel and his son Scott Koffel a 528 CID motor was first installed in the frame rails in early 2016.  With that the car debuted at the Miramichi, New Brunswick NHRA National Open event — where it qualified #1.    

“After 2016 I did take a 2 year hiatus to build a new home,” McKeller explained.  “But during that period the cylinder heads were re-worked and the car was freshened up with help from Dean and Dave.  We also got some converter help from Marco Abruzzi.”

McKellar Motorsports returned to the drag strip with the car during July last summer and some dividends came quickly.   With each run they got progressively faster and according to our records their 6.097 secs best run does make them the fastest Dodge wedge-powered car in Canada.

“It’s all taken years of hard work, Keith added.  “What is important to me is being able to accomplish what I started.  To be fast, to win and to be respected is not easy.  I am lucky to have had my family by my side, friends supporting me and fans that spend their hard earned money to come out and watch us have fun and do what we do.”

For 2020 the team is well poised for competition within not only Eastern Canada’s PSDS season schedule but are also looking too at some potential NHRA divisional and national event race appearances.

McKellar Motorsports consists of Keith’s wife Wanda and his daughter Alexandria along with crew members Deryk Stevens, Mike Garden, Vinny Fragomeni and Bill Knox.  Their sponsor partners include – Koffel’s Place/B1 Cylinder Head, McIlvain Racecars, Joe’s Transmission, TT Fabricating, Birdie Golf Carts, BGF Photography and Tummillo Construction. 

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler