Triumph and Trouble at Mission Raceway Park

Last weekend’s LODRS event at Mission presented solid racing but a low event TA car count is one again a concern…..

Another NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional race has come and gone at Mission Raceway Park, and despite it being a Western Regional event, despite the lure of a new all-concrete track to race on, and despite a forecast of clear (if a bit hot) weather that actually came true, the same old lament as the past couple of years at Mission was heard, one that NHRA and track officials can do little about.1348

There was far less than a full field of eight cars for both the Alcohol classes at the Lordco B.C. Nationals, with five Dragsters in the field, and only three Funny Cars making the trip north. That all eight cars were quality operations, capable of very good performance, was a saving grace for the knowledgeable Mission fans, but there were several teams that had been expected to attend, some of which had run this race for many years, that just didn’t show up.

Many reasons were advanced. The one that makes some sense was that this being later in the season, some teams had exhausted the divisional races at which they could claim points. Maybe budgets were exhausted, too. In any case, there were good fields in all the other regular NHRA classes, with the welcome addition of the Top Fuel Harley motorcycles.

With two of the best blown cars in the world entered, those of Joey Severance and Shawn Cowie, it figured that at least one of them would be in the TAD final, but it didn’t work out that way. There were three injected cars that had other ideas, driven by Garrett Bateman, Johnny Ahten and Cameron Ferre. Things went to form in qualifying, with Cowie leading at 5.34 and Severance right behind at 5.35. Cowie had run 5.27 and 5.28 in testing on Thursday, so most thought that we’d see some “twenties” on race day. But it didn’t happen.

Local Canadian TAD powerhouse Shawn Cowie qualified #1 at 5.323 secs - but fouled out in round #2.

Local Canadian TAD powerhouse Shawn Cowie qualified #1 at 5.323 secs – but fouled out in round #2.

First, Severance spun hard in Round 1 and lost, while Cowie ran low ET of the meet at 5.32 on the bye, but then the Canadian, in his welcome return to action at Mission after his long recovery, wasted a strong 5.37 in round 2 with a .05 red light, and Ferre won with a shut-off 6.09. So the final was between the fuel cars of Bateman and Ferre, and the latter was leading before his parachute deployed at half-track, and Bateman drove around him with a lacklustre 5.67.

The chances were better for Canadians in TAFC, with the cars driven by John Evanchuk and Greg Hunter entered, along with Dave Germain. The American led qualifying and had the bye run, while the Canadian cars duelled, and Hunter won handily with a 5.74 to Evanchuk’s 5.89. The final saw Hunter improve to 5.71 over the out-of-the-groove 6.47 by Germain.

Greg Hunter (near lane) drove Geoff Goodwin's great looking Synoil Fluids Chevy to the TAFC title

Greg Hunter (near lane) drove Geoff Goodwin’s great looking Synoil Energy Services Chevy to the TAFC title

The Top Fuel Harleys put on a good show, with Tommy Grimes, all the way from North Carolina, and Victoria’s Damian Cowndon the class of the field. They qualified one-two at 6.27-6.28, and both laid down big runs on Sunday to make the final. Cowndon ran low ET at 6.24 in Round 1, while Grimes was in the 6.30s at over 230 mph on two of his runs. One of them came in the final, 6.34/232, for the victory, while Cowndon had issues and shut off.

In the regular sportsman classes, there were several Canadian finalists, led by Clarence Bidniak of Edmonton, who mowed down some big shooters in his cool Plymouth Road Runner 440 6-Pack to grab the Stock Eliminator Wally. Darrell Storzuk of Surrey won Sportsman Motorcycle, while Chris Stone defeated Jim Behnke in Pro Bracket. Runners-up included Eddie Radjo of Stony Plain, Alberta in Top Sportsman, and Terry Langdon-Davies in Super Gas.

Clarence Bidniak of Edmonton (far lane) won in Stock eliminator

Clarence Bidniak of Edmonton (far lane) won in Stock eliminator

So, with a hot sun beating down on the new concrete, the NHRA Division 6 racers put on a good race. Still, fans have to wonder if they will ever again see the kind of Alcohol shows Mission served up until just a few years ago. It seems that all but the biggest National events are under-subscribed in the two classes, and one hopes that this is as low as they will go in terms of numbers of cars at events. Because any lower, and there won’t be much use in having Alcohol cars at all.

The Pro ET Bracket final round was all Mopar

The Pro ET Bracket final round was all Mopar

Mission Raceway NHRA LODRS Event Results:


Round 1
5) Garrett Bateman, Albany, Ore., 5.617, 257.58 def. 2) Joey Severance, Woodburn, Ore., 8.153, 103.46;
1) Shawn Cowie, Surrey, B.C., 5.323, 267.14 was unopposed;
3) Cameron Ferre, Huntington Beach, Calif., 5.650, 252.59 def. 4) Johnny Ahten, Santa Clarita, Calif., 11.543, 78.82;

Bateman, 5.429, 267.14 was unopposed;
Ferre, 6.092, 175.33 def. Cowie, foul;

Bateman, 5.673, 255.46 def. Ferre, 7.738, 103.59.


1) Dave Germain, Toledo, Wash., ’10 Monte Carlo, 6.042, 186.68 was unopposed;
2) Greg Hunter, Sheridan, Wyo., ’11 Monte Carlo, 5.743, 254.38 def. 3) John Evanchuk, Edmonton, Alb.,’10 Monte Carlo, 5.897, 250.41;

Hunter, 5.716, 255.60 def. Germain, 6.471, 163.10.

Ralph Van Paepeghem, Garden Valley, Idaho, ’32 Bantam, A/EA, 7.311, 180.97  def. Adam Bowdish, Vancouver, Wash., ’13 Cobalt, C/SMA, 8.089, 152.18.

Sean Cour, Brush Prairie, Wash., ’09 Cobalt, GT/DA, 9.573, 138.12  def. Cody Lane, North Bend, Wash.,’05 Cavalier, SS/CM, 8.927, 147.78.

Clarence Bidniak, Edmonton, Alb., ’70 Plymouth, B/SA, 10.687, 119.30 def. Tommy Gaynor, Vancouver, Wash., ’96 Corvette, C/SA, 10.459, 124.46.

Jackson Gradin, Spokane, Wash., ’07 RED, 8.948, 157.86 def. Michael Dalrymple, Sunnyside, Wash., ’09 Mullis, 8.973, 155.46.

Dave Kelly, Walla Walla, Wash., ’02 Firebird, 9.900, 164.83 def. Terry Langdon Davies, Yarrow, B.C.,
’41 Willys, foul.

Tom Manfred, Liberty Lake, Wash., ’81 Mustang, 10.900, 139.88 def. Allen Macham, Everett, Wash., ’67 Nova, foul.

Rod Andreas, Silverton, Ore., ’63 Corvette, 7.480, 185.83  def. Eddie Radjo, Stony Plains, Alb., ’04 S-10, 7.368, 184.84.

Wes Garvin III, Pasco, Wash., ’32 Bantam, 7.103, 188.48  def. Paul Nero, Eugene, Ore., ’14 Undercover, foul.

SPORTSMAN MOTORCYCLE PRESENTED BY HARLEY DAVIDSON Daryl Storzuk, Surrey, B.C., ’78 Kawasaki, 9.212, 136.40  def. Miles Hauer, Seattle, Wash., ’06 Suzuki, 7.990, 158.17.

Tommy Grimes, Pfafftown, N.C., ’14 Harley, 6.346, 232.01 def. Damian Cownden, Victoria, B.C., ’01 PRP, 7.817, 128.42.

William Bentz, Prescott Valley, Ariz., ’08 Weekend, 7.757, 129.49 def. Rod Anderson, Snohomish, Wash.,’04 Fastcat, broke.

Clint Rabb, Lloydminster, Alb., ’09 Lozano, 7.369, 178.39 def. Lance Bonham, Sunnyvale, Calif., ’96 Kosman, 8.979, 147.15.

Voctoria Bentz, Prescott Valley, Ariz., ’06 Destroyer, 9.455, 140.44 was unopposed.

Marty Smestad, Seattle, Wash., ’11 Harley, 12.365, 108.66 def. Clint Robb, Lloydminster, Alb., ’04 Street Glider, 13.288, 97.11.

Dave Toth, Medicine Hat, Alb., ’12 Harley, 11.509, 115.54 def. Scott McGee, Seattle, Wash., ’96 Harley, 13.496, 98.96.

Tommy Grimes, from N.C., topped Canadian Damian Cownden in the Nitro Harley final

Tommy Grimes, from N.C., topped Canadian Damian Cownden in the Nitro Harley final

Post and Photos by: Gerry Frechette