Top Fuel “Tag Team”

NHRA’s upcoming and season-ending events at Las Vegas and Pomona will include Canadian participation in Top Fuel eliminator….

The Barry Paton-owned and Tim Horton’s-backed Paton Racing Top Fueler is entered for both of the concluding races but will feature two different scheduled drivers.

Versatile Ike “Oscar” Maier, who has certainly been on the fast track within Canada’s racing scene the past two years, will wheel the car again at Las Vegas this coming weekend.  Confirmation has also come that “Techno” Todd Paton himself is slotted for NHRA’s AAA Auto Club Finals at Pomona two weeks later.

Ike Maier will climb back into a Top Fuel car again this weekend at Las Vegas

Maier’s entry at Las Vegas will be his 5th start in the Top Fuel class and it will mark a return to the drag strip that he actually licensed at during late 2010.   Ike, the owner of a very successful trucking company (Maier Trucking – Tottenham Ontario) and who is also a highly competitive Pro Mod class driver,  is pumped about returning to the track where it all really started for him.

“After being a spectator at the Las Vegas race for many years – I’m thrilled about actually going Top Fuel racing there,” he said.  “Our goal for this event remains the same – get qualified and try to go some rounds.”

"Oscar" & "El Capatain"

Maier will be guiding a race car that has made very solid progress this season under the continued guidance of owner Barry Paton and his tuner Jimbo Ermalovich.  Ike will try to improve on his career best 3.931 secs at 307.44 mph (which he ran at Atlanta last spring) in order to successfully crack what is expected to be one of the toughest Top Fuel fields of the 2011 season.

For Todd Paton, who is now the Pro Systems Manager for Racepak/Competition Systems (based from Orange County California) – the Pomona race will be his 9th start in NHRA Top Fuel racing.

“I of course have many NHRA events in both alcohol and nitro funny cars – but up to this point most of my races in the dragster were in IHRA,” Todd confirmed.

“Ike is doing a great job behind the wheel of our Tim Horton’s-backed Top Fuel Dragster and I really appreciate him  letting me ‘sub’ for him at Pomona.  I promised that I would take good care of the car if he would let me back in it for the weekend. I’ve only driven within NHRA’s 1000 foot format a couple of times so I will be seeking my first 3-second time slip.  So far my best run (to 1000 ft) was 4.03 secs at 285 back in 2009.”

The Paton Racing team was quick to credit John Hoey who owns and operates some Tim Horton’s franchises in and around the GTA (Mississauga and Oakville) for the opportunity to run these two events.  Hoey has backed the team ever since they made the switch to Top Fuel dragsters back in 2003.

Todd Paton - one of Canada's most favorite sons - will race in Top Fuel at the upcoming NHRA Pomona Finals

“I hadn’t originally planned on running Pomona,” Todd added.  “But since my NHRA Top Fuel license is coming up for renewal at the end of this year, John suggested running the car at the NHRA Auto Club Finals and provided the extra funding.”

Todd has enjoyed some great historical success at the Pomona facility – when driving in TAFC he went to consecutive NHRA World Finals championship rounds in both 1996 and 1997, winning the latter race.  

The Paton Racing/Tim Horton’s Top Fuel Dragster

Posted by:  Bruce Biegler – Photos by:  Bruce Biegler