It was a case of “close but no cigar” for the Napa Ultimate Showdown Drag Racing Series last weekend….

The aspiring Ontario-grown racing group was the primary attraction during Canada’s single largest community-orientated drag racing event – the 21st annual Stratford Spectacular held at Grand Bend Motorplex. And the popular series and event managed to get through “most” of it’s weekend racing schedule before some late afternoon rain on Sunday forced a postponement for most of it’s championship rounds.

Those remaining event titles will be run off during Friday’s race schedule for the upcoming Mopar Canadian Nationals back at Grand Bend Motorplex (August 4-6th).

Prior to the weather issue one title was decided with London’s Paul Noakes winning in the Austin Apparel Alcohol Funny Car division.

Noakes easily dominated what was unfortunately a very short field with his Ford Mustang winning in a walk. Paul after qualifying #1 with a superb 5.696 secs at 250.48 mph which earned him a first round single, then defeated Lyle Williams’s “Shock Therapy” Firebird in the final round.

Paul Noakes’ potent race team were clear cut performance stars while winning the Austin Apparel Funny Car title.

Noakes’ win was his first within the Napa USDS after he had placed runner-up during the recent Cayuga Nitro Nationals. Those two final round appearances have put him into the overall points lead after the season mid-point.

The upcoming Pennzoil Pro Mod championship final will feature two of the series’ most popular drivers and also prior champions in a head to head match. London’s Rob Atchison, who won the inaugural 2015 USDS Pro Mod crown will race Derek Hawker, the defending 2016 USDS title holder.

Atchison, who had qualified his ’63 Corvette #1 with a 6.000 secs ET has beaten Mike Yedgarian and Bruce Boland to advance to the final while Hawker (who set top speed at 239.98 mph with his ’68 Firebird) has taken the measure of Doug Blowes and Gary Mater so far.

Defending Napa USDS Pro Mod Champion Derek Hawker has advanced to another final round.

In Wiseco Top Sportsman and Samson Top Dragster – first time circuit winners are assured. Paul Coull’s supercharged ’99 Chevy Monte Carlo is scheduled to race Travis Gueguen’s late model Camaro in the TS final while the TD title bout will feature the dragsters of Scott McCann (Stratford) versus Gary Basdroba (Sudbury).

Paul Coull (from Drumbo ON) will have an opportunity for his first ever win in Wiseco Top Sportsman.

TS and TD qualifying did feature some very quick times including Tom Bene’s great looking new GTO which paced that 19 car field with a 6.695 secs at 209.05 mph. Kyle Harris (from Burford ON) set the pace in TD when he roared to the pole position for the 2X this season racing his supercharged “Charles Jones Industrial Limited” sponsored car to both low ET and top speed of the meet at 6.079 secs and 228.54 mph.

Kyle Harris (top) and Tom Bene were the performance stars in TD and TS qualifying during the Stratford Spectacular.

The Billy Briggs/Bullseye Power Outlaw 10.5 class title will feature an all Chevy battle with Burlington’s Glen Vardy matched up against Oakville’s Tony Presto.

Tony Presto’s fan favourite Chevy II is in the Billy Briggs/Bullseye Power 10.5 final round – he will race Glen Vardy.

The Napa Ultimate Showdown Drag Racing Series (presented by Ideal Supply) will once again be a major part of the event “fight card” for the upcoming Mopar Canadian Nationals in two weeks. They will, after completing the final rounds for season event #3 dive right into season event #4.

DragRaceCanada will post even more details on the upcoming and very exciting version of the Mopar Canadian Nationals event line-up – coming soon!

To view more images from the Napa USDS Stratford Spectacular visit the event photo gallery : HERE

Posted by Bruce Biegler
Photos by Brennan Shortall, Darwin Kent and Stacee Kenington-Richards