Mopar Canadian Nitro Jam Wrap Up  

The IHRA brought in it’s traveling road show to Grand Bend Motorplex for the Mopar Canadian Nitro Jam.   A good mix of “Chicago Style” Pro exhibition racing with some ferocious Sportsman action keep action at a fever pace all weekend…..

Mopar hosted another successful event at Grand Bend Motorplex

New York’s Bobby Lagana Jr, was the Top Fuel exhibition winner on Sunday.  Joining Lagana in victory lane was Ron Hope in Fuel Altered, Peter Gallen in AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car, Steve Dorn in Nitro Harley and Eric Latino in Pro Mod.  Sportsman racing was highlighted by Ohio’s Jacob Elrod who set an IHRA record by winning in three different classes in one weekend for the first time ever.

Lagana dedicated his win to the memory of Jim Weinert, who was an important cog within the IHRA family who tragically passed away last March.

Bobby Lagana's team dedicated their win to the memory of Jim Weinert

A master of track preparation, Weinert was known for his record-setting tracks, his statuesque figure and to many more, a great friend.  Weinert was like a father to the Lagana brothers and his passing was especially tough on longtime IHRA competitor Bobby.

One night after Lagana set the track record at the Grand Bend Motorplex with a blistering 4.827/320.81 on a fitting solo pass in front of a packed house, the Scarsdale, N.Y.native drove his Jim Weinert tribute Top Fuel dragster to an emotional win over Bruce Litton on Sunday with a close 5.023/280.95 to Litton’s 5.216/243.77.

“When you lose someone you are going to have hard days and you are going to have healing days – today was a healing day,” Lagana said. “This was for Jim.”

Another driver with a Grand Bend weekend they will never forget is Ron Hope behind the wheel of the famous “Rat Trap” Nostalgia Fuel Altered. Hope won his first career Ironman on Saturday and backed that up with another monumental victory on Sunday over the most dominant man in the class Ron Maroney.

Fuel Altered winner Ron Hope

 “This weekend was more than exciting. It is hard to find the words to describe what this means to us,” Hope said. “Last night I thought it couldn’t get any better, but today it did. It was like David versus Goliath both runs. Some could say that sometimes you just get lucky and that is probably true, but the Ironman doesn’t say a word about that. It just says we got there first.”

 Peter Gallen returned to victory lane in AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car with an exciting final against Mike Minick. Gallen, fromBroomall,Pa., had low ET in round one and blasted down the track in the final with a 5.827/247.57 as the “Poverty Stricken” Chevy Monza got off the line first and never trailed. Minick in the “Chi-Town Hustler” Charger had an equally impressive 5.985/226.51 in taking runner-up efforts.

 In Nitro Harley Steve Dorn, from Milwaukie, Oregon, scored a win over Jay Turner. Dorn struggled in round one, but managed to squeak by a struggling Randal Andras. In the final Dorn finally found his groove and blasted down the quarter-mile with a 6.519/211.79 to Turner’s 7.544/121.14.

Nitro Harley winner Steve Dorn

Wrapping up the professional categories was Eric Latino from Whitby,Ontario who claimed the PMRA Pro Mod title over Rocky Dilecce. Latino qualified fourth and defeated Jacinto Santos and Bruce Boland on his way to the Pro Mod final.

Unfortunately the final wasn’t much to talk about as Dilecce went .056 red, giving Latino the win and an Ironman to take home with him.

Canada's Eric Latino took home the PMRA Pro Mod class feature

Elrod, of Harrod, Ohio, won in Quick Rod, Super Rod and Top ET to collect three trophies, two spots in the Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions and a lot of cash to take back across the border.

Joining Elrod in victory lane on Sunday were other Pro-Am Tournament winners Bob Bauer Jr. (Elma, N.Y.) in Top Sportsman, Jamie Tupper (Tillsonburg, Ontario) in Top Dragster, Jory Elliott (London, Ontario) in Super Stock, Anthony Platania (Rochester, N.Y.) in Stock and Joe Ferrari (Stouffville, Ontario) in Super Rod. 

Super Stock winner Jory Elliott was one of a number of Canadian winners in the IHRA Pro-Am Tournament

Other sportsman winners on Sunday were Steve Doornsbosch in Mod ET, Taitlyn Summerfield in Junior 8-12, Gillain Bishop in Junior 13-17 and Raymond Philp in Harley Destroyers.

Canada’s Lou Pierra helped to close the show driving his Jet-powered dragster

Posted by:  Larry Crum   Photos by:  Brennan Shortall 

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