Mission FC Nitrofest to Boychuk & Plaizier

Following the success of the past couple of years running the Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars and two Alcohol FC circuits at the NHRA Canadian National Open at Mission Raceway Park, an effort was begun to make the show even bigger for 2011….

Mission's Nitrofest drew in 31 Funny Cars last weekend

The goal was a number familiar to FC fans from the 1970s – 32 Funny Cars. With sponsorship from Jet Tools & Equipment and TDN Constructors, the plan came to fruition, and Mission hosted the biggest Funny Car event in Western Canadian history under sunny skies. It was billed as Nitrofest, but it could have been called the Canadian Funny Car Nationals.

There were 32 cars expected to be there, but one from California couldn’t make it, leaving 31. Thirty cars made qualifying runs, ten each of the nitro cars, the Rocky Mountain FC Association from Alberta, and the Northwest BB/FC Association from the U.S., and Mission was rocking, especially on Saturday night for qualifying, with a silent auction, autograph session, and three hours straight of floppers, and the thousands of fans were eating it up.

It was a premium field of nitro cars, with four of the top cars from the western U.S. taking on the best from Western Canada, and in the end, it was Tim Boychuk once again cleaning house with low qualifier, the victory, low ET and top speed in the Hodgson/Leong Firebird from Edmonton.

Tim Boychuk rolled Ron Hodgson's Firebird to yet another season win -- stopping the Twig Ziegler Plymouth (driven by Darin Bay) in the final round

He led Saturday’s qualifying at 5.77/247, but Darin Bay in Twig Ziegler’s car (5.78), Mark Sanders (5.81) and Tim Nemeth (5.86) were all close, so Sunday’s race had the promise of close racing. Nathan Sitko ran a personal best 6.03 to slot in 7th.

The first round held only one surprise, with Mike Savage in the Candies & Hughes Cuda stepping up from a 6.09 to run 5.83/248 to beat Sanders, joining Boychuk, Nemeth, Bay and Todd Lesenko in the second round. With five cars, Boychuk was scheduled to get the bye, but Savage broke his car and couldn’t run, so Nemeth got to run Boychuk instead. Unfortunately, he was shut off on the line with an oil leak, and Boychuk sailed to low ET and top speed, in the 30-degree heat of the afternoon, at 5.72/250. In the other half of what had become the semi-finals, saving the organizers a scheduling headache and a late finish, Bay beat Lesenko, 5.85-6.00.

The finals went according to form, although Darin Bay made it fairly close, and Tim Boychuk prevailed, falling off a little to 5.81/243, to Bay’s 5.87/245, a good race to end the day.

The Rocky Mountain FC guys put on their usual entertaining show, but breakage had an effect on it. Ron Sekura broke his new Nova in Friday testing, and brother Cory’s Camaro ran a too-quick 6.89 (on the 6.90 index) and stood to miss the show. But another car broke and he got into the program in the number 8 slot, and the fans would get to see at least one more quarter-mile burnout.

"Mr. Consistent" Eddy Plaizier scored in the RMFCA feature driving Harold Parfett's totally unique all-aluminum '37 Chevy

It was Eddy Plaizier who was Mr. Consistent, though, qualifying at 6.92 and running 6.92 and 6.96 en route to the final to face Norm Kolwich, debuting his ’53 Corvette as the decided underdog. He almost pulled it off, though, cutting a nice light against Plaizier’s sleeper, and making a pretty run – except it was a 6.88, too quick on the 6.90 index. The ’37 Chevy took home the win and the NHRA Wally trophy with a 7.04.

The Canadian Pro Street Association had a good field for Pro Street, bolstered by the entry of Pro Mod heavyweight Joe Delehay, looking for somewhere to run following the schism in the independent and locally organized Pro Mod event that produced such an underwhelming race at Mission a few weeks prior.

Joe Delehay collected in the Pro Street Shootout

Racing in Outlaw Pro Mod trim, Delehay had been battling electronic gremlins then, and trying to manage the new power they had found this time, but it all came together in this race. With about three-tenths on the field in non-handicapped racing, on paper it was Delehay’s race to lose, but he put an exclamation point on the victory with his, and Mission’s and Western Canada’s, first-ever Pro Mod “five,” a nice 5.99 in round two, backed up by a 6.00 and a 6.09 in the final. Ironically, it all happened in the first Pro Street event he had run in, his car far from street-legal as are all of them, and it was the first time he had ever raced for an NHRA Wally. Joe and his group were probably the happiest bunch in the pits afterward.

Of course, there were the usual NHRA classes being run in the NHRA National Open part of the program, and Canadians scored their share of the victories. Winners included Jim Isherwood in Super Stock/Stock Combo, Greg Marshall in Super Street, Keith Newport in Sportsman Motorcycle, Jenna Walsh in Pro ET, and Darien Provost in Jr. Thunder.

 Finalists included Mike McKeigue in Comp, Casey Plaizier in SS/S, Francesca Giroux in Super Comp, Dale Dryden in Super Gas, Kevin Brennan in S/MC, and Vicki Strell in Super Pro. Of special note, Dave Jackson of Poulsbo, Washington had quite a day, winning two classes – Top Comp and Super Pro – in the same car!

The Stock/SS Combo featured Canadian racers Jim Isherwood verus Casey Plaizier


Frankie Plaizer (near lane) made the Super Comp 8.90 final round

This event was the most eagerly anticipated one in several years at Mission, and it has to be considered a total success on any level. The sponsors were happy, and already they and BCCCA are looking to make it even bigger next year. The goal will surely be 16 nitro cars, and that would be something to see.

Posted by:  Gerry Frechette

Photos by:  Gerry Frechette & Robert Hunter