Canada’s Paton Racing camp will deliver something pretty special for NHRA’s next national event…..

We’ve checked our historical archives — and we do not think/cannot recall (?) — if this has ever happened before in Canadian drag racing.   The Paton Racing team (who are based from Paris Ontario) — will field two Top Fuel dragsters when qualifying kicks off on May 17th for the NHRA’s Virginia Nationals.

The race team, which is overseen by iconic Barry Paton, will enter the event with both his son Todd and also driver Ike Maier (Tottenham ON) in the cockpits of two similarly prepped Top Fuel dragsters.

Todd and Barry Paton

Todd is entered for the race as driver of the DSR chassis car which Shawn Reed drove the past couple seasons, while Ike will clamber back into the dragster he last drove in 2017 — a former Antron Brown Hadman chassis car.

“Like many things in life — things have just spiraled out of control — and this is the latest example,” joked Todd Paton.  

“As you know we acquired pretty well all of Ike’s racing operation at the end of the 2017 season – his car – tractor & trailer etc.  Then we did have that race car out once last year — with Jeff Chatterson (Brantford ON) making a licence run in it.”

“For 2019 we wanted to continue some testing — at this time of the year — so we decided it just made sense to do it at a race track that we know will be fully prepped.  We felt racing on a NHRA national event level surface would give us our best chance to succeed.  Obviously Ike is familiar with driving our second car and we were able to “coax” him out of his apparent Top Fuel “retirement” for this event.”

At VMP the Paton Racing team’s current plan is to stagger and run each car twice during qualifying and hopefully put both machines into Sunday’s final eliminations.

The Paton Racing team will enter these two similarly prepped and built Top Fuel dragsters at NHRA’s Virginia Nationals.

“The cars are essentially now twins – with similar set ups,” Todd revealed.  “That should help us with tuning and gathering information from one another.”

“We recognize that racing two cars can be a tall order – especially because we don’t have a huge crew or a large racing budget,” Todd added. “But we do want to get out there and try to prove ourselves – and hopefully that will be attractive to some potential sponsors.  So it’s also a bit of a marketing litmus test.”

Beyond the NHRA Virginia Nationals — the continuation of this 2-car concept is still a TBA.  Canadian racing fans can look forward to seeing both cars for sure as part of Cayuga Dragway’s Canadian Nitro Nationals (coming June 28-30) as they are booked in for that.  The team will also evaluate their post race VMP event performance with regards to entering additional NHRA national events this season.

Ike Maier will come out of his apparent “quote-unquote” TF retirement.

With regards to who will be the second driver — that too is still a question — with Ike Maier, Jeff Chatterson and even Cameron Ferre being possibilities. 

*And just in case we did not mention it — Quebec’s Daniel Mercier is also scheduled to race his Top Fuel car at the Virginia Nationals.  Thus there will be three Canadian TF drivers at that event — and that’s something pretty special too!

DragRaceCanada will of course present full post race coverage from the NHRA Virginia Nationals — coming mid-month.  

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler