As Canada eases it’s way back into major events drag racing mode – something to watch for at GBM…

Following a pandemic induced postponement last summer – Eastern Canada’s marquee IHRA Canadian Nationals is at the ready line for this coming weekend at Grand Bend Motorplex (July 30-Aug. 1st).  

The facility is poised to present a pretty decent weekend program – including feature car bookings for some of your favourite nitromethane, alcohol, high-octane and even jet fuelled machines.

While it’s true that the return of the Paton Racing Top Fuel dragsters and Russ Lethbridge’s “Hellfire” Jet Truck will be highest for the event’s “wow factor” — there is certainly some other things to watch for.

Saturday and Sunday will include a “cage match” of sorts between two of Canada’s most prominent A/FD cars with Quebec’s Daniel Mercier facing Ontario’s Veale Racing – for bragging rites.  Both of these injected nitro dragsters have speedy and elite reputations within the NHRA’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series class circles — including multiple 280+ mph runs to their credit. 

Daniel Mercier, who ran a career best 5.120 secs (in the USA in Oct/19) is the current track record holder at GBM (5.298 secs) at an astounding 285.71 mph speed (a Canadian speed record), thinks track records could fall again.

Daniel Mercier currently holds both ends of the GBM track record for A/FD

“We are looking forward to our 3rd career appearance at Grand Bend,” he stated.  “The 285 mph we ran there was within .20 of the NHRA national record.  This track surface is premier – so if the air is good – we’ll go fast again — maybe a 5.25 secs ET?”  

Monitoring the Pro Mod class at GBM is also recommended.  That will be a 8-car qualified field racing on a 1/8th mile basis.  Winning at Grand Bend this Sunday might in fact be the apex of the pandemic shortened 2021 season for many of these class racers — so those entered will be fully armed and ready.

We do like the odds of GBM track records for Pro Mod falling by the wayside too.   Currently (the officially recognized) 1/8th mile ET mark is held by Stratford’s Spencer Hyde in his “Ideal Supply” Chevy Camaro at 3.763 secs.   While that is an impressive target – expectations are high that both the ET and MPH marks will be reset here too by event’s end.

Spencer Hyde is the 1/8th mile ET track record holder for Pro Mod – entering this weekend.

The 2021 IHRA Canadian Nationals kicks off Friday evening with the first round of qualifying for PM/TD/TS (7:45 PM).  The “Big Show” sessions will be 5:00 and 8:00 PM Saturday and then 2:30 PM on Sunday.

“It’s been a long time coming – but we are excited to bring back the Canadian Nationals,” said Paul Spriet – GBM President/Owner. “We’re proud to be able to showcase some of the best Canadian drag racers out there.”

DragRaceCanada/LMLCMedia will feature event coverage and extensive photo gallery – post race – next week.

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler