Mission Western Regional Event Report

The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Mission Raceway Park this past weekend was once again just a shadow of what it used to be, despite it being designated, for the second year in a row, as a Western Regional event for the alcohol classes. Sure, there was good racing, but the number of entries just was not there, for whatever reasons…..

The schedule-makers moved the Lordco B.C. Nationals yet another few weeks later, into mid-June, and as far as the weather went, it was a good move, as once the Friday morning rain ended, it was clear sailing the rest of the way, with mid-20 degree temperatures and some high cloud. But, and this is a big but, there was a similar Regional event scheduled for Denver the same weekend, and that kept away several Western teams who we might have expected to see at Mission, including Kenny Gilmour’s Calgary TAD, driven by Greg Hunter (for sponsorship reasons), and Jirka Kaplan who ended up not qualifying in TAFC in the 9,000-foot corrected altitude in Colorado. In any case, there were four TADs on the premises (one fewer than last year) and six TAFCs, (same), making qualifying for the eight-car fields a no-suspense affair.

In TAD, the favourites were the two cars qualified in the 5.30s, Joey Severance’s BAD and Don St. Arnaud’s Edmonton A/FD. But in a strange first round, Severance dropped a valve and the sure victory, allowing Edmonton’s Greg Sereda to win with a good 5.68. The other race saw St. Arnaud get out of the groove and drop cylinders, giving the 5.46 win to Alaskan Ray Martin, driving for Hugh Ridley of Chilliwack. The final saw Martin, despite being gated by Sereda and having the burst panel go away near the finish line, win with a 5.52 to the Albertan’s consistent 5.64.


The TAD final featured two Canadian-based cars with Ray Martin (far lane) driving Hugh Ridley's machine past  upset minded Greg Sereda.

The TAD final featured two Canadian-based cars with Ray Martin (far lane) driving Hugh Ridley’s machine past upset minded Greg Sereda.

TAFC, with six cars, had more to report, and Oregon’s Brian Hough, with 5.64 and 5.65 runs, had the field covered by a tenth-and-a-half after qualifying, thanks in no small part to Steve Gasparelli managing a best of only 5.99 in three troubled runs. Could he find the combination for elims? Hough served notice with a Low ET/Top Speed 5.62/260 in Round 1, but the Californian pulled one out with a 570/257 to beat Edmonton’s John Evanchuk, who struck the tires. Gasparelli almost duplicated that run with a “1,400-foot” 5.70/256 to beat Dave Germain in the semis, while Hough went for it again to try to get lane choice, but smoked the hides off the line and shut off. So, the finals would see the two quickest cars duke it out, and in the best run of the day, Gasparelli beat Hough, 5.72/256 to 5.74/257, in a repeat of last year’s final.

The TAFC Final showcased two powerhouse class entries

The TAFC Final showcased two powerhouse class entries

It wasn’t the best day for the Canuck contingent, with the exception of Mission’s Kirk Lanz, who made it to the finals of both Super Gas and Top Sportsman, winning SG and just missing in TS when he got off the throttle a touch soon, thinking he had Daryl Hemley covered. Still, a great day for the local racer. Other Canadians winning were Stefan Kondolay in Pro bracket and Al Quigley in Super Pro, while Fort McMurray’s Peter Saruga was runner-up in Top Dragster.

Mission Raceway's own Kirk Lanz won in Super Gas

Mission Raceway’s own Kirk Lanz won in Super Gas driving his Chevy Cavalier


The stories were just as interesting away from the official on-track NHRA action, as Bill Moore left the John Evanchuk team unexpectedly shortly before the event to join the Brian Hough camp, Hough being close friends with Shawn Cowie, for whom Moore called the shots, and hopefully will again, soon. But not this year, according to Cowie himself, who kept a low profile but looked good, standing without crutches in the Hough pit area.

Bill Moore

Bill Moore


In any case, this second NHRA LODRS Regional race at Mission was something less than a stunning success as far as entries went, and one has to think that when we finally look back at the season, it will be no better than the third most exciting event. And that is a shame, given the near-iconic status the race held until only a few years ago.

Final Results from the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Lordco Auto Parts B.C. Nationals event at Mission Raceway Park:



4) Greg Sereda, Spruce Grove, Alb., 5.680, 232.73 def. 1) Joey Severance, Woodburn, Ore., 6.094, 130.49

3) Ray Martin, Anchorage, Alaska, 5.467, 263.31 def. 2) Don St. Arnaud, Edmonton, Alb., 5.681, 240.12


Martin, 5.527, 251.95 def. Sereda, 5.642, 254.74


Round 1

1) Brian Hough, Junction City, Ore., ’10 Mustang, 5.621, 260.56 def. 6) Randy Parker, Puyallup, Wash.,

’04 Mustang, 6.333, 220.96

5) Steve Gasparrelli, West Covina, Calif., ’06 Monte Carlo, 5.707, 257.36 def. 2) John Evanchuk, Edmonton, Alb., ’06 Monte Carlo, 9.176, 104.43

3) Dave Germain, Toledo, Wash., ’06 Monte Carlo, 5.758, 243.37 def. 4) Russ Parker, Salem, Ore., ’02 Camaro, 5.916, 237.46


Gasparrelli, 5.706, 256.33 def. Germain, 13.337, 69.77

Hough, 12.050, 83.53 was unoppose


Gasparrelli, 5.726, 256.55 def. Hough, 5.744, 257.28


Brandon Huhtala, Puyallup, Wash., ’09 GXP, C/A, 7.320, 175.43  def. Joe Roubicek, Westlake Village,

Calif., ’68 Camaro, A/AA, 6.748, 207.66


Joe Sorensen, Woodburn, Ore., ’69 Camaro, SS/EA, 10.279, 126.95  def. Mark Faul, Tacoma, Wash., ’98

Grand Am, GT/DA, 10.094, 130.77


Mick Alley, Eagle, Idaho, ’69 Camaro, A/SA, 10.164, 123.23  def. Jim Storms, Renton, Wash., ’72

Barracuda, G/SA, 11.165, 113.12


Michael Dalrymple, Sunnyside, Wash., dragster, 8.928, 176.36  def. John Dalrymple, Sunnyside, Wash.,

dragster, 8.903, 180.39


Kirk Lanz, Mission, B.C., ’04 Cavalier, 9.865, 168.91  def. Brian Preszler, Kennewick, Wash., ’00

Corvette, 9.485, 152.51


Dudley Gee, Canby, Ore., ’66 Mustang, 10.905, 138.52  def. Arron Spitzer, Arlington, Wash., ’66 Chevy

II, 10.906, 143.28


Tom Clark, Spokane, Wash., dragster, 7.354, 178.39  def. Peter Saruga, Fort McMurray, Alb., dragster,

7.278, 181.48


Daryl Hemley, Burley, Wash., ’02 Cavalier, 6.951, 199.42  def. Kirk Lanz, Mission, B.C., ’69 Camaro,

7.256, 184.53


Jeff Havens, Yakima, Wash., ’95 Suzuki, 8.028, 158.45  def. Doug Rathbun, Oak Harbor, Wash., ’74

Kawasaki, 8.616, 145.37


Al Quigley, Aldergrove, B.C., ’98 Mustang, 9.250, 145.70  def. Jon Bradford, Tucson, Ariz., dragster,

7.143, 190.88


Stefan Kondolay, Chilliwack, B.C., 11.272, 115.74  def. Chris Stone, Mission, B.C., 10.319, 121.42


Mission's Top Dragster final round was another Canada versus USA showdown.

Mission’s Top Dragster final round was another Canada versus USA showdown.

Photos and posting by:  Gerry Frechette