Red Wolf Eats! 

Edmonton’s John Evanchuk scored what truly was an inspiring victory during Sunday’s NHRA Northwest Nationals at Seattle.  For him and his team the win oozed with final justice and emotion….

When John crossed the Pacific Raceways finish line stripe just ahead of Steve Gasparrelli  in the TAFC final held just about 4:05 PM on Sunday – a very long quest ended.   For about 15 years, the Alberta racer, along with his wife Ruth have been popular mainstays within Western Canada’s Top Alcohol Funny Car racing scene.  While over those many years they had notched their share of major event wins – they had never, until Sunday, scored at the NHRA national event level.

John Evanchuk's "Rush Hour Racing" team scored their first NHRA national event win on Sunday at Seattle

Evanchuk’s victory was not exactly a pretty one.  He and his Rush Hour Racing Chevy Monte Carlo (known affectionately as the “Red Wolf”) had entered final eliminations as a relative long shot after struggling during qualifying. 

But there was a combination of fate, fortune and some seriously good driving at work here and that made for a positive end.

Very hot atmospheric and track conditions were prevalent this weekend and the TAFC class racers in particular are vulnerable to all that because of their violent nature as they transverse down the track course.

After only managing a best of 7.573 secs during time trials (15th) and winning a mutually tire spinning duel over John Lombardo in round one – the team did find itself on Sunday.

With the expertise of crew chief/consultant Bill Moore in the camp, John won rounds two and three solidly with consecutive laps of 5.763 secs and 5.728 secs over Sean Bellemeur and Kris Hool.

In the championship final, John left first (.064 to .078) before both he and opponent Gasparrelli had tires spin issues.  The bottom line story then was that John did a better job of recollecting the car.  He won by a 6.583 secs 230.88 mph to 6.803 secs 244.92 mph margin.

TAFC class racers all battled extremely hot track and atmospheric conditions

With that Evanchuk, who had never been past round two in NHRA national event competition had finally earned his much coveted first “Wally”.

“Winning ugly is okay,” said John (transmitted via his crew chief Bill Moore). “Going into this race we felt confident that we could run hard as the car was happy at Mission recently running very conservative 5.60’s.  But the hot weather changed all that.  In the end Bill was able to make some sense out of the things out there.  To just keep the car in one piece and make this turnaround in that heat was a victory for our entire crew. To win was icing on the cake.”

John’s dedicated wife Ruth also expressed her excitement and relief.  “It’s been a long time coming but the feast for the Red Wolf was — superb west coast dining!” she added.

John Evanchuk with his new "BFF" Wally!

This win also had a truly serious side.  It did help to provide some emotional rescue to the team which was hurting following a troubling development earlier in the week.  Bill Moore’s older brother Wayne had passed away very suddenly after a tragic fall.  

Thus Sunday did bring some closure to a few very tough days.  

“The part of the win I like most is that some 38 years ago — my brother Wayne (who was into drag racing) asked if I wanted to go to a big race at Seattle,” said Bill. “That race was this very same “national event” held August.  It was special too because I asked him if we could bring along my new girlfriend; Shirleen (who would later become Bill’s wife).  I always blamed my brother Wayne for getting us both hooked (no pun) on drag racing.”  

“So as we drove down for this race we had actually said to each other — wouldn’t it be something if John won?, he revealed.  “I think there was a deep burn inside me (and all the team) to make it happen. I was in tears when the win light came on.” 

Simply put – this overdue and resounding win for this terrific Canadian team – is for Wayne.

Posted by:  Bruce Biegler

Photos by:  Rich Carlson and