Once again the strength of Canadian TAD class racing “shawn thru” at NHRA’s season-opener….

I don’t think there could have been a clearer message sent for this upcoming season – Canadian TAD class racers will be dangerous contenders once again in NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series racing.

Last Sunday's TAD final at Pomona was all Canada!

Last Sunday’s TAD final at Pomona was all Canada!

Last Sunday’s final round conclusions for the NHRA’s Circle K Winternationals included a titanic all Canadian battle for Top Alcohol Dragster supremacy between British Columbia’s Shawn Cowie versus Alberta’s Don St. Arnaud. It was a marquee face-off between the most determined TAD driver in Canadian history, who overcame so very much following a serious non racing related accident three years ago versus what (simply put) is the single most feared dragster currently anywhere within TAD class racing.

In the end it was the wily Cowie who scored racing his Mundie’s Towing sponsored supercharged car outrunning the A&J Construction injected nitro car raced by St. Arnaud. Shawn ran a winning 5.314 secs at 272.23 mph to just edge out St. Arnaud’s 5.334 secs at 279.85 mph.

Shawn Cowie has now won the NHRA season opener two years consecutively!

Shawn Cowie has now advanced to the NHRA season opener final round — two years consecutively!


For Shawn Cowie (who is from Surrey) it was his 2nd consecutive event final round appearance for the NHRA Pomona Winternationals and his 5th career NHRA national event title in now 9 final round appearances.

After qualifying his Bill Moore-tuned car #10 (at 5.300 secs) Shawn beat the injected nitro cars of Krista Baldwin and fellow Canadian Gord Gingles in rounds one and two. As any winning racer will tell you — you always need and get a break while winning an event – and Cowie’s came in the semi final round when his opponent Garret Bateman had a foul start.

For runner-up Don St. Arnaud (from Edmonton) – coming close at Pomona has been a tendency. His final round appearance was his 3rd at the fabled drag strip since 2011 but he is now 0-3. This final round loss might have been the toughest for the striving racer to swallow however as he had been the event’s clear cut performance star prior to that championship round.

Edmonton's Don St. Arnaud provided the event's biggest "wow" with some titanic speeds and ETs.

Edmonton’s Don St. Arnaud provided the event’s biggest performance “wow” with some titanic speeds and ETs.

That included qualifying #1 with a stunning track record setting ET 5.181 secs at 285.05 mph – which needless to say was both low ET and top speed. Then in rounds 1-3 he reeled off three consecutive laps of 5.221 – 5.222 and 5.242 secs all at over 280 mph to enter the final as the favourite. Versus Cowie, Don got out of the gate first –but the car had a slight slip however after the 60′ mark and thus his otherwise very good 5.334 secs ET (his slowest of eliminations) was ultimately costly.

Canadian TAD participation at Pomona also did include another superb effort by the invading Manitoba-based TAD owned by Cliff Bakx and driven by Winnipeg’s Gord Gingles. That team qualified their “The Bull” #2 for the 16-car field with a blazing 5.214 secs and advanced to round two before losing out to Cowie.

Another great Canadian effort at Pomona came from an invading "Bull" from Manitoba!

Another great Canadian effort at Pomona came from an invading “Bull” from Manitoba!

Posted by: Bruce Biegler
Photos by: Bruce Biegler & Phil Hutchison