Our Rocky Mountain Reflection

By:       Bruce Biegler

By most accounts, the 2010 running of the IHRA River Cree Rocky Mountain Nationals may have been the most successful version yet.  

There was no doubt that there was a lot of pre-race speculation around what effect the downsizing of actual IHRA class product (within it’s Nitro Jam format) would have on this race.  But if the Alberta fan reaction within the grandstands is the true indicator, that went unnoticed or was a non-issue.

Rob Reeves has created a monster event in Western Canada

Despite losing Friday’s feature program to a very nasty thunderstorm – Castrol Raceway President and Operator Rob Reeves was a pretty happy man come Sunday PM.  While the actual spectator count has not yet been finalized, the Saturday and Sunday crowd (estimated somewhere between 25,000 & 30,000), once again reset event records.

“It was a good race and I think our format worked,” said Reeves who was instrumental in padding the event line-up with a number of additional categories that featured Canadian regional talent.  “We know what works here so basically we take control of this event.  When the IHRA comes to town — that helps – but in reality it is our show that we are putting on.  We do it our way.”

Because of the ongoing event success, there is obligatory speculation about what the future relationship between Castrol Raceway and the IHRA will be.  The current contract with the IHRA has now expired and any new extension has yet to be signed.

Rob did however want to put to rest any rumors that he is leaning elsewhere or planning to go independent, at least in the near future.

 “I think it’s more of a timing thing then anything else,” he affirmed.  “NHRA is really off the table at this point and I would like to do more with the IHRA.  I believe in Feld Motorsports and in Charlie Mancuso.”

 “I do want a game plan from them for the next 2-3 years,” he added.  “I won’t just sign something and take a wait and see attitude for next year.  It needs to be right for what we do here and have a long term plan.  I want the best show in Canada each and every year.  All that is something that I believe we can work out.”

 DragRaceCanada did perform its own “very unscientific” polling throughout the event, randomly asking fans and racers what they thought.   That general consensus may fly into the face of what the IHRA itself is preaching about its portion of the Nitro Jam traveling season roadshow.    The word “overrated” cropped up rather frequently.

For some reason I was left with:  Fool me once – shame on you – fool me twice – shame on me.       

The Rocky Mountain Nationals is the IHRA's crown jewel event...

                                                                                                  (Bruce Biegler Photos)