by DEAN MURDOCH
The Funny Car NitroFest, billed as the largest drag racing event ever held in British Columbia, hits the track this weekend at Mission Raceway.
Back in the 1970s and ’80s, 32 and 64 funny car events attained legendary status on the West Coast, as all the big names in drag racing participated. This type of event was never held in Canada, though – only in Washington, Oregon and California – due to the costs involved and the lack of promotion available.
This weekend’s NitroFest in Mission, presented with sponsorship from JET Equipment and Tools Canada and TDN Constructors Group, marks the first show of its kind north of the border.
Three different classes of funny cars will compete for close to $50,000 in prize money. The three classes include the Rocky Mountain Nostalgia Funny Cars running on a 6.90 hard index; the NW BB/ Funny Car group running on a 6.80 soft index; and the “All Out” Nitro Funny Cars.
The first two classes run blown alcohol combinations and include drivers like Kim Parker, Ron Huegli NW series champion Randy Parker, Rocky Mountain champion Joey Steckler, Cal Tebb in his GTO, and Eddy Plaizier in the very unique 37 Chevy built in-house by Ace Manufacturing.
The nitro class has world record holder Tim Boychuk in the Hodgson/Boychuk Trans Am, Mike Savage in the Candies and Hughes Cuda, Mark Hentges in Bucky Austin’s NW Hitter Arrow, Mark “Mr. Explosive” Sanders, two Steve Plueger funny cars (with Edmonton drivers Todd Lesenko and Mike Grekul behind the wheel) and a half-dozen others from the West Coast.
Local favorite Tim Nemeth is also among the drivers in the nitro class. His Mustang has made waves in the last year, running numerous five-second time slips and qualifying eighth out of 30 cars at the March meet in Bakersfield, Calif. Tim and wife Nancy has been a staple in the sport over the last 15 years, and their business TDN Constructors group is one of the sponsors for the event.
Nancy Nemeth, as if running the day-to-day operation of TDN is not enough, has taken on a very special project, fundraising for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. Nancy, along with Tammy Boersma, Trish Johnson and Carly LaFave, are running a triathlon in September at Cultus Lake. All the funds raised at that event, as well as the special auctions and raffles at the track this weekend, will go directly to the Hospice. One raffle is for a “crew chief for a day,” and the winner gets to be on Tim and Nancy’s crew on Sunday.
To go along with the three feature funny car classes, there is a full contingent of sportsman classes, a Lordco-sponsored comp eliminator shootout and the CPSA pro street class.
All are competing for NHRA Wally trophies and valuable National Open points.
Visit missionraceway.com for more race info, including times and admission (kids under 12 with an adult are admitted free).
For results from the weekend races, visit www.speedzonemagazine.com.