Mission LODRS “Regional Report” 

British Columbia’s Mission Raceway hosted it’s annual Lordco B.C. Nationals over last weekend – Canada’s single biggest NHRA sanctioned event of the season… 

The 2012 event marked the first year for NHRA’s experiment of making certain Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events into “regional” events for the Top Alcohol classes.  The fields were not full and there were no “out-of-division” West Coast cars entered for either the Dragster or Funny Car classes.  But the size of the fields was of little consequence for Joey Severance and Steve Gasparrelli (from California but claiming Division 6, like last year), who were well in control of their respective eliminators on race day. 

Each had qualified on the pole by half-a-tenth for the short fields, five TADs and six TAFCs, and went on from there to victories in their respective Fontana-powered machines.

Joey Severance was very convincing while winning the TAD title at Mission Raceway

Severance, in his five complete runs at the event including qualifying, was never out of the 5.30s, and even ran 270 mph at the hottest point of the weekend, the third qualifier Saturday in high 20-degree heat. But there were a couple of other drivers within shouting distance, keeping him honest on race day, and one of them was the only injected nitro car in the field, owned by Cliff Bakx and driven by Gord Gingles of Manitoba, with tuning assistance by veteran Larry Miersch.

Manitoba's Cliff Bakx and his driver Gord Gingles made their first ever appearance at Mission Raceway

After qualifying at 5.44, Gingles improved to 5.39/270 in the cool, cloudy first round Sunday, where Severance ran 5.33 on his bye run, so he knew he’d have to get the jump on one of the best leavers in the sport in the second round. The result was a one-tenth-second red light and a 5.41/269, beside Severance’s .05-initiated 5.36, and the Oregonian headed for the final against Alaskan and defending champion Ray Martin, driving for Hugh Ridley ofChilliwack. Martin’s 5.37 semi-final bye run showed they were ready for the final, but he fell off slightly to a 5.42 after deep staging and cutting a late .16 light, while Severance parlayed a 5.39/267 into the victory.

In the first round, Spruce Grove’s Greg Sereda did well in losing to Martin with a 5.58/255, with an engine transplant after torching a head gasket on Saturday, while Medicine Hat’s Greg Hunter, in Kenny Gilmour’s car last seen piloted by Ashley Bart, battled valve train issues all weekend but got it together enough to launch with a .02 light and drive through tire shake to a losing 5.74 beside Gingles.

TAFC had four cars capable of 5.60s or better, but only Gasparrelli mastered the “better” part, qualifying at 5.59 and running 5.57 and 5.59 en route to the final, where his 5.63 was plenty against Brian Hough’s early shut-off with tire shake. All of Gasparrelli’s five trouble-free runs over the three days were at 260 or 261 mph, showing major strength and consistency.

Steve Gasparrelli (far lane) dominated TAFC at Mission -- beating Brian Hough in the final

Edmonton’s John Evanchuk went 5.68-5.67-5.68 in qualifying, but had shake early in his first round run and shut it down, while Clint Thompson was solidly in the 5.60s until the semis, when he got out of the groove and had to give up the run.

As has seemed to have become the case the last few years, two classes showing growth and good racing are Top Dragster and Top Sportsman, and Canadians figured prominently, especially those from Alberta. The final in Top Sportsman was an all-Canadian affair, with Dave Robinson of Red Deer taking on Mission’s own Zak Clarke. Both broke out, but Robinson by 1/100th less than Clarke, and he took home his first Wally.

Dave Robinson (from Red Deer AB) won in Top Sportsman

In Super Comp, Chilliwack’s Stefan Kondolay, who was also driving in Top Sportsman, scored yet another victory, as he cut three “double-0” lights in eliminations, one of which was a perfect .000, and then “slowed” to a more-than-adequate .011 in the final, which, as it turns out, he needed in a super-close 8.96-8.93 decision over Ed Hauter.


The Super Comp (8.90) final featured Stefan Kondolay vs Ed Hauter

Super Gas saw Marv Wiebe of Abbotsford drive his S10 to a 9.91 for the victory when his opponent broke out, while perennial bike winner Al Omond of Surrey kept the Wally inCanadawith victory in Sportsman Motorcycle.

With near-perfect May weather all three days, save for a brief shower Friday afternoon, fantastic track and air conditions, very few incidents, great runs and healthy attendance, the Lordco B.C. Nationals was a success on many levels. It’s just too bad more racers weren’t there to experience it, in all classes. 

Event Essentials: 2012 NHRA Lordco B.C. Nationals 

Top Alcohol Dragster Name ET MPH
Winner: Joey Severence 5.391 267.59
R/UP: Ray Martin 5.439 264.29
Low ET: Joey Severence 5.223  
Top Speed: Joey Severence   270.86
Bump Spot: N/A (5 cars)    
Top Alcohol Funny Car Name ET MPH
Winner: Steve Gasparrelli 5.638 260.91
R/UP: Brian Hough 15.15  35.92
Low ET: Steve Gasparrelli 5.574  
Top Speed: Steve Gasparrelli   261.83
Bump Spot: N/A (6 cars)    
Sportsman Winners: Name ET MPH
Top Dragster Tom Koenen 6.608 201.64
Top Sportsman Dave Robinson 7.455 185.72
Competition Jeff Lane 8.065 151.48
Super Stock Jackie Alley 9.392 136.70
Stock Brad Burton 10.83 115.60
Super Comp Stefan Kondolay 8.961 170.47
Super Gas Marv Wiebe 9.914 155.11
Super Street Allen Macham 10.91 134.98
Sportsman Motorcycle Al Omond 8.187 153.11
Super Pro Mike Shannon 8.905 174.50
Pro Jim Behnke 10.31 128.92

Marv Wiebe won in Super Gas 9.90 with his reliable Chevy S-10

Posting and Photos by:  Gerry Frechette