Event Essentials: IHRA Mopar Canadian Nitro Jam – July 16-17th, 2011  Grand Bend, ON.

Grand Bend’s 11th Mopar Canadian Nitro Jam drew a huge Saturday crowd


Class Winner E.T. MPH
Nitro Jam Top Fuel (Sat) Bobby Lagana Jr. 4.882 306.74
Nitro Jam Prostalgia FC (Sat) Peter Gallen 5.707 247.25
Nitro Jam Fuel Altereds (Sat) Tom Padilla 6.410 194.88
Nitro Harley Davidson (Sat) Steve Dorn 6.523 209.36
Nitro Jam Top Fuel (Sun) Bobby Lagana Jr. 5.041 267.96
Nitro Jam Prostalgia FC (Sun) Tim Boychuk 5.863 236.63
Nitro Jam Fuel Altereds (Sun) Jim Maroney 6.386 226.13
Nitro Harley Davidson (Sun) Jay Turner 8.060 200.35
Pro Mod Invitational Jack Grainy 6.117 233.56
Top Dragster Ed Smith 7.495 158.52
Top Sportsman Bill Wilson 7.307 188.38
Quick Rod Barry Howell 8.929 157.89
Super Rod Dave Klomps 10.05 142.40
Hot Rod Andrew Stirk 10.91 134.12
Super Stock Peter D’Agnolo 9.477 128.08
Stock Craig Marshall 11.15 114.59
ET Tournament Dave Elrod 7.146 184.09
JD Tournament Amanda Grennan 7.930 81.18
Box ET Dave Elrod 7.203 164.41
No Box ET Will Steckly 9.108 131.95
Harley Destroyers Peter Thomson 9.500 139.29


Western Funny Car Invaders Win in East – Lagana JR seals Nitro Jam TF Title

For the 11th consecutive season, and armed with high end sponsorship from Mopar, Ontario’s Grand Bend Motorplex played host to Eastern Canada’s largest drag racing event, the IHRA Mopar Canadian Nitro Jam.  The event which played out under rather blistering atmospheric and track conditions produced a true volley of excitement for a near capacity crowd.

Sunday’s action concluded with a marqee Can-Am battle of two of the fastest nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars in world – featuring Peter Gallen and Tim Boychuk.

Pennsylvania’s Peter Gallen had claimed round one on Saturday but Alberta’s Tim Boychuk proved top dog on Sunday, splitting the much anticipated match up. 

During his racing team’s first visit ever to Eastern Canada, Boychuk drove the Edmonton-based Troy Lee Designs Pontiac Firebird, which is owned by Ron Hodgson, and tuned by Roland Leong and Bob Papernik, to it’s second IHRA win of the season, using a final round time of 5.863 secs at 236.63 mph.

Alberta's "Team Troy Lee" had a very successful Eastern venture!

“Peter is a pretty tough opponent to go against so we were thrilled to get the win this afternoon,” Boychuk said. “It is nice to split with him. They have a great car and a great team and they know how to put the numbers down so anytime you can beat a team like that it is really special.”

Boychuk reached the final with a 5.878, 235.56 in a round one win over Troy Martin.

Gallen set a blistering pace to open the weekend, temporarily setting a new world record on Saturday with a superb 5.707 secs and 247.25 mph – but Peter was ultimately unable to back up that low ET/Top speed effort for an official IHRA national record.

Peter Gallen was the quickest and fastest Funny Car

In addition to the great final between Boychuk and Gallen, other Pro winners from Sunday’s Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals included Bobby Lagana Jr. who swept Top Fuel and picked up his second consecutive Nitro Jam championship in the process, Ron Maroney in Nostalgia Fuel Altered, Jay Turner in Nitro Harley and Jack Grainy in the Pro Mod Invitational.

In Top Fuel Lagana won his fourth consecutive Top Fuel Ironman and 11th this season allowing him to seal his 2nd straight IHRA Nitro Jam championship. Lagana was presented with the award during Sunday’s opening ceremonies.

“We had a great year and had a lot of fun going up against Bruce and those guys,” Lagana said. “We have become pretty close friends with those guys and that has made the ride even more special. I hated to see it come down to a tough weekend for Bruce, but those guys are first class and they won’t let it slow them down.  We have been racing Bruce for 12 years now and we hope to spend another decade doing the same.”

 Even with the trophy in hand, Lagana still had two solid laps on Sunday to sweep the weekend. Of those passes Lagana’s quickest lap came in the final with a 5.041, 267.96. In the other lane was Litton, who replaced Todd Paton in the championship pairing.  Paton who was making his first IHRA event appearance of the season blew his engine up during his first round win and was forced to withdraw after that.

Bobby Lagana Jr won X2 at Grand Bend to clinch the IHRA season title

“We made it down both times today. The track was 139 degrees and we were still on pace for a 4.91 lap in the final, but we tossed the belt off,” Lagana said. “We were obviously pretty excited to be able to run that quick and it gave us some stuff to work with in the future.

“Overall I thought it was a great weekend and the fan support was tremendous. There were so many fans last night and all of them came down and talked about how great the show was. That makes the weekend even more special because it really is all about them.”

In Nitro Harley Saturday winner Steve Dorn won the battle of the numbers, but left before the green light giving Jay Turner his second Ironman in three tries during the Canadian portion of the Nitro Jam tour. With the win in hand, Turner limped across the line with an 8.060, 200.35 to claim his fifth Ironman of the season, the most of anyone in the class. Dorn was top qualifier with a 6.497, 207.24.

Steve Dorn and Jay Turner battled for event Nitro Harley supremecy

Wrapping up the nitro categories was nostalgia Fuel Altered as Jim Maroney in “Nanook” claimed a big win over Tom Padilla’s “Nasty Benjamin” machine in the closest final of the afternoon. Both drivers were late on the start, but Maroney was a tad quicker and that proved the difference as he crossed the line with a 6.386, 226.13 to Padilla’s 6.343, 217.81. Maroney was also the top qualifier entering the finals.

The event’s Pro Mod Invitational finished up the professional ranks as PMRA circuit regulars Jack Grainy bested Eric Latino in a superb final round.  Grainy, who qualified second entering eliminations, ran a 6.117, 233.56 to pick up the win while #1 qualifier Latino crossed the finish line with an identical 6.117, 240.00 in the runner-up spot.

Jack Grainy and Eric Latino ran idential 6.117 ETs in the Pro Mod final

Both the Top Dragster and Top Sportsman eliminators drew impressive field for Grand Bend with 33 and 20 cars entered respectively.   Both those classes were won by Canadian drivers with Ed Smith (LaSalle, Ont.), who earlier in the day was named Best Engineered for the weekend, besting John Pizzo in the Top Dragster final. In Top Sportsman, Bill Wilson (Ingersoll, Ont.) ran a 7.307, 188.38 behind the wheel of his 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier to defeat Howard Michael.

Windsor's Ed Smith had a terrific weekend in Top Dragster

Bill Wilson (Ingersoll ON) overcame a very tough TS field

The Stock eliminator final round produced a very interesting pairing, as the potent father-son duo of Craig and Bob Marshall of Columbus, Ohio met head on, racing identical 1973 Dodge Darts. That finale saw the son (Craig) coming away the winner with a winning 11.151, 114.59 mph in his E/SA classed machine.

Super Rod racer Dave Klomps was one of a slew of Canadian Sportsman winners

Saturday’s evening of racing did produce a couple of pretty scary (separate) incidents involving Prostalgia Funny Car class racers.

The first incident involved nitro veteran Rick Krafft who was transported to a local medical center following a mechanical failure (transmission explosion) just after launch in the “Chicago Fire” Corvette.  Doctors did operate on Krafft’s leg and ankle later that evening.

Shortly after Krafft’s misfortune Mike McIntire slammed the wall in the “McAttack” Camaro a few hundred feet into his run, sending the car several feet in the air before landing back to earth. McIntire was treated and released following the accident.

Event title right sponsor Mopar had another highly impressive on-site display

Posted by:  Larry Crum & Bruce Biegler

Photos by:  Bruce Biegler

Visit DragRaceCanada’s Mopar Canadian Nitro Jam event Photo Gallery :  HERE