The 2019 racing season did feature a big bounce back from one of Canada’s most staunch 1/4 mile racing proponents….

Drag racing fans will likely recall that during August of 2017 — Edmonton’s Sitko Racing team — did experience a major setback.  It was then and at Spokane International Raceway in Washington state, when the team’s Plymouth Arrow nitro Nostalgia Funny Car went off the end of the race track at high speed — which effectively sidelined the popular independent racing operation.

After suffering a major set back mid season 2017 – Nathan Sitko’s new Mustang nitro Nostalgia Funny Car made great progress during a season comeback in 2019.

But during the summer of 2019, the team which is owned by driver Nathan Sitko and overseen and crew chiefed by his father Ken Sitko, did begin to carve out the next chapter for their family’s racing story. 

Although their racing schedule for this season was limited in number, their relaunch included some impressive progress as the newest version “Arctic Traveller” hit the drag strip.

“Since that accident — it’s been a long and expensive road,” explained Ken Sitko.  “But during that time we had a lot of friends and other racers help us get this car together — making donations to our cause.  We are a low budget team — we all have day jobs.”

Nathan’s father Ken Sitko – is the team’s patriarch and crew chief.

The race team’s new car features a very cool Ford Mustang body and mechanically it is a bit of a departure from what they formally ran.  It is also their 4th version car using the “Arctic Traveller” name, something which dates well back into the 1980’s and including Ken’s father George Sitko.

“Our 1977 Arrow, which was a Plueger chassis, was unfixable after the crash,” Ken elaborated.  “This chassis was built by Grant Downing (a New Zealand native) and it was in fact the first ever car he built — #001.  It had been sitting at Del Worsham’s shop for many years – but never run.  We picked the car up in Indiana — it was a complete car but we looked at everything really close and reassembled it.   This body is a 1965 model Mustang that we obtained through Norm Kolwich.  We did all the tin work to make it fit.”

The team also evolved their motor program which is now a lower compression configuration (457 CID BAE/AJ Heads) bolted between the frame rails.

Nathan Sitko’s first runs in the Mustang did include a first full pull at 6.21 secs and since then the team made a number of runs into the 5-seconds zone (5.84 secs / 247+ mph best) illustrating both great promise and future potential.

In addition to help from a long list of friends — the Sitko Racing team did get some valuable assistance from Jim Bell’s JB Power Centre and also a local Napa Auto Parts store (NAPA Auto Parts West Edmonton #239) as well as from Pro Stock Performance & Machine and Impact Coatings Inc., during their comeback phase.

The team has now parked their operation for the off-season — but driver Nathan Sitko is gratified about the progress made.

“Regrettably — we won’t make it to Bakersfield later this month,” he added. “ But in our comeback year we ran the four events we had originally planned for.  We’re hopeful that we’ve got noticed and that might entice some more financial support for 2020 — which is something we’re focusing on this off season.  The feedback we have gotten from everyone on how great the car looks and runs has been phenomenal. And as a team we got back into the groove with our new guys on board — I’m just so happy to be back out there!”

Post by Bruce Biegler

Photos by Bruce Biegler & Don Meleshko