BC-based TAD stalwart racer Shawn Cowie turns stunning numbers into hometown victory….

In the near-quarter century history of NHRA LODRS Division 6 racing at Mission Raceway Park, those few years with perfect atmospheric and track conditions have tended to generate performance numbers that dominate the event’s headlines, overcoming any other concerns like low entry numbers, and such was the case this year.

Shawn Cowie defeated Kim Parker in the Mission Raceway LODRS TAD final

There were but four entries in Top Alcohol Dragster at the Lordco BC Nationals, after an encouraging nine last year, but those who showed up put on a race to remember. With the defending TAD World Champion, Joey Severance, and the current points leader, local hero Shawn Cowie, both in attendance, it looked to be a big shootout that would go a long way to determining this year’s champion.

With conditions including 20-degree C temperatures, no humidity and low-to-mid 100s of feet of corrected altitude, plus of course, the meticulously prepped all-concrete track, quick and fast runs were the result, and for the first time in NHRA, three TAD cars ended up running under 5.20 in qualifying, led by Cowie’s stunning 5.180 at 279.06 mph, the second-quickest and nearly the fastest blown alcohol pass ever. Severance was right there at 5.198, but separating them was an A/FD with a major Canadian connection. Kim Parker from Washington ran a 5.190, by far her quickest ever, in the former “The Bull” car that had been owned by Manitoba’s Cliff Bakx, who was on hand making the tuning decisions, and they paid off for Parker. Completing the field was John Leach from Calgary in Kenny Gilmour’s car, at 6.16.

Shawn Cowie continued his torrid winning pace for 2017

In Round One, Severance had a car-length lead on Parker and looked headed for a big number, but fell off at the top end to a mere 5.26 at 269 – because he couldn’t shift into high gear. Think about that for a moment – a 5.26 in second gear. Parker drove around him with a great 5.20 at 276. On the other hand, Cowie ran a 5.20 / 278 single for lane choice, after it was decided that the inexperienced Leach might impact on Cowie’s efforts in some way, and was withdrawn from competition, although the team would still get first-round money and grade points, and get to make a test pass. That run was a good 5.46 and the team was happy with that.
So the final would be a toss-up, especially with Cowie out-leaving Parker by only .005, but the blown car had the performance edge, running a great 5.19 at 279.06, exactly the same speed as his qualifier, to Parker’s right-there 5.22 at 277. This was TAD racing at its finest, and it’s just too bad that more cars weren’t at Mission to experience the primo conditions. Cowie gained more ground on Severance in the points, but you can expect this pair to battle hard all season, and one of them to be the World Champ.

Top Alcohol Funny Car saw five teams entered, with four cars capable of 5.50s or better, so they shouldn’t have been taking a back seat to the dragsters. But in qualifying, they did, with few solid full passes, led by Brian Hough at 5.53. Jirka Kaplan of Calgary made his first appearance at Mission since he ran the first ever Comp Elim “fives” in his altered, but managed only a fourth-best 6.64.

Brian Hough led off elims with a single, a nice 5.50, and then came up-and-comer Chris Marshall from Oregon against the killer YNot car of Annie Whitely. Marshall had run a 5.50 on the Thursday test day, so nobody was discounting him, and he proceeded to do it again, running another 5.50 to defeat Whitely. She was way late on the lights, and ran an awesome 5.49 at 273.30 trying to catch up. That is the fourth fastest TAFC run ever, and obviously the track and Canadian record. Kaplan was unable to beat Randy Parker, running an early-chute 6.04.

The final was anti-climatic, as Hough was late, he had to pedal it, and he shut off early, watching Marshall run a 5.67 for his first NHRA Wally, but we predict not his last.

Chris Marshall beat Brian Hough in the TAFC title round

Top Dragster and Top Sportsman eliminators have shown strong growth at the LODRS level, and Canadians have been players. At Mission, both classes were taken by Canucks. In Rig Rentals Top Dragster, local kingpin Dan Provost of Abbotsford, who sponsors many cars with his RAD brand, debuted a new blown combination, and took it all the way to the winner’s circle. In the final, he parlayed a .01 light and a 6.67 on a 6.66 dial to defeat David Boucher from Edmonton, who broke out by only 0.002 seconds.

For this event — Provost was behind the wheel of the reliable dragster he had raced the past couple of seasons.  “We actually put my old motor (515 cu/in 871 blown) back in the car while we are waiting to get the new Spitzer back together with Jay’s new engine in it,” the winner confirmed.  “The new car should be ready for our next divisional in Seattle.”

Local “kingpin” Dan Provost (from Abbotsford) won a hard fought Top Dragster title

In JBS Top Sportsman, Pat McNally of St. Albert, AB was in deep against one of the winningest sportsman drivers ever, Mike Ferderer of Washington, but all you can do is cut a good light (0.026) and run your number (6.683 on a 6.680) and see what happens. Ferderer went red by 0.001, but even with a perfect light, his .06-over run wasn’t going to beat McNally, who took his first Wally home.

Alberta’s Pat McNally outgunned Mike Federer in the TS final round battle of Pontiacs

In Super Gas, Victoria fireman Ed Hutchinson parlayed a 0.004 light and a safe 9.92 run into the victory, as his opponent broke out with a 9.89 trying to catch him.

Other Canadian winners included Riley Toth, Medicine Hat, AB, in Sportsman Motorcycle, Mark Thompson, Coldstream, B.C., in his beautiful new ’54 Studebaker in Super Pro, and Chris Stone, Mission, B.C., in Pro.

Victoria’s Ed Hutchison won in Super Gas with his show quality ’57 Corvette

It was a good weekend for Canadian racers (with one exception – see below), with fantastic weather and lots of spectacular runs and close races for the fans.

Reich Car is Destroyed

Saskatchewan’s Ken Reich has been renting out his C/SMA Cobalt in Comp Eliminator for a few years now, and his latest driver, American Sean Cour, has certainly proven to be a capable young driver on the divisional level. In his first-round race with North Vancouver’s Howie Stevens, he took the easy win with a good .61-under run when Stevens was way late, and then it happened. Under braking, the car got loose and impacted the left side wall opening for the emergency vehicles, head on. It rolled over, shot across the track (barely missing Stevens) upside down, impacted the right wall, and bounced off it with parts flying, and on fire. It took most of an hour to extricate the unconscious Cour, who was transported and was reported to be banged up with broken ribs and concussion, and another hour to repair the walls. Unfortunately, the car did not look to be repairable, and we hope that this is not the last time we see a Ken Reich car at the track.

Regrettably — this was the “last pass” for Ken Reich’s Chevy Cobalt Comp car

WDRL Pro Mods Open Season at Mission

Defending WDRL 2016 Garrett Richards won the 2017 season opener

An eight-car field of WDRL Belair Power Pro Mods raced on the Saturday of the Lordco BC Nationals,
With Tacoma, Washington’s Garrett Richards consistently in the fives, and none of the other cars near the fives after qualifying, it was his race to lose, and he didn’t. Actually, he came close in Round One, as Yvonne Lucas beat him off the line by nearly a tenth and ran a good 6.10, but his 5.90 prevailed.
In the final, Dale Pedersen’s turbo small-block Chevy faced a quarter-second deficit to the big blown Ford of Richards, so he had to push the tree, and pushed way too hard, handing the win to Richards with a consistent 5.93.

WDRL Pro Mod racing at Mission included this new Camaro for Calgary’s Ricky Distefano

Post and photos by Gerry Frechette