EDMONTON, Alberta – Three years, three races, three big wins for Tim Boychuk.
With thousands of Canadian fans filling the stands, Edmonton’s own Tim Boychuk proved the man to beat once again at his hometown track with his third victory in a row at the MOPAR Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals at Castrol Raceway, giving the driver of the “Troy Lee Designs” ’77 Firebird a natural hat trick at Canada’s premier drag racing event.
“To win here again is just awesome,” said Boychuk. “We have been working and working on this car because it hasn’t been running well and we have had some issues over the past few races. That we were able to get it sorted out and win here again in front of these incredible fans is amazing. I feel confident that we have the car back where we want it.”
Boychuk qualified No. 5 on the AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car ladder and went three rounds on Sunday defeating Mission, British Columbia’s Jim Obalek in a wild final. Boychuk got off the line first and kept in the throttle in the Funny Car finale as Obalek kissed the wall and darted across the track behind him, falling in line and tailing Boychuk across the finish line.
“I didn’t know what was going on behind me, but I heard from everyone that it was pretty wild,” Boychuk said. “We were setup for a good run, all I had to do was cut a good light and I managed to do that. It was a big weekend for everyone involved with this team.”
Joining Boychuk in victory lane at the 10th annual MOPAR Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals was Scott Palmer (Top Fuel), Randal Andras (Nitro Harley), Tom Padilla (Fuel Altered) and Shane Reykdal (Rocky Mountain Nostalgia Funny Car).
Sunday’s finale also featured a Summit Tournament of Champions qualifier for IHRA competitors and the finale of Division 6 on the Summit Pro-Am Tour.
Sunday’s big winners earning a spot in the TOC at Memphis Int’l Raceway in the fall were Randy Modersohn (Edmonton, Alberta) in Top Sportsman, Donna Patterson (Lorette, Manitoba) in Top Dragster, Art Congdon (Calgary, Alberta) in Super Stock, Mark Faul (Tacoma, Wash.) in Stock, Eric Goulden (Airdrie, Alberta) in Quick Rod, Dave Stobbe (Kamloops, British Columbia) in Super Rod and Casey Plaizier (Edmonton, Alberta) in Hot Rod.
Plaizier, Congdon and Goulden doubled up on the weekend with wins both Saturday and Sunday night.
Other sportsman winners in Edmonton were Derek Rose in Top ET, Wayne Plester in Mod ET, Ethan Ochitwa in Junior Master, Erick Crooks in Junior Advanced and Dutch Farr in Junior Beginner.
Boychuk was the fifth fastest car on the nitro Funny Car ladder after two days, running a 6.001/234.98 under the blazing hot conditions in western Canada. On Sunday Boychuk picked it up even more with wins over Jay Mageau and Ken Webster before matching up with Jim Obalek in the “Twig Zeigler” tribute ’69 Satellite in the final.
In the final Boychuk had a .091 light and ran a 5.972/234.57 in picking up the win, staying just ahead of the near-wreck behind him.
Nitro Harley provided one of the most competitive races of the weekend as Randal Andras, traveling over 2,000 miles to Alberta from Amelia, La., defeated North Carolina’s Jay Turner in the final.
After three incredible days of competition, the final proved a bit anti-climactic as Turner broke on the line and Andras coasted down the quarter-mile with a 6.678/217.53 to keep the trophy for the nitro-powered motorcycle class in the States for the second year in a row.
Andras’ win also snapped a streak of four consecutive wins by Turner in Nitro Jam competition.
“We had a great time up here playing with the Canadians. We have a lot of friends up here and they are great to race with,” Andras said. “This was a great place to come race and when you have an event that is this competitive and a crowd that is this big, it makes the trip even more worthwhile.”
Andras qualified fourth on the Nitro Harley ladder and defeated Joey Stenotti and top qualifier Damian Cownden before meeting Turner in the final. The stout field saw all 10 bikes separated by only two tenths in qualifying and provided some great racing with speeds approaching 230 mph.
“Coming out here the air was a little bit different from where we race, but we were able to find a decent spot in the motorcycle to make it happy,” Andras said. “We were at the top of qualifying for a while, but that went away quickly as the field got more competitive. The long and short of it is we were able to maintain lane choice which gave us an advantage we needed to get the win.”
Sunday’s biggest surprise winner was Shane Reykdal from Edmonton in Rocky Mountain Nostalgia Funny Car. Reykdal qualified 13th on the ladder and provided four upset wins on Sunday on his way to picking up his first career Ironman in one of the most unique classes on the Nitro Jam tour found only in Edmonton.
Reykdal had wins over Arvid Fonstad and Ron Sekura in the 6.99 index class before meeting top qualifier David Brant in the semifinals as Brant broke out by a few thousandths at the line. In the final Troy Sitko got off the line first with the Ace sponsored ’37 Chevy, but Reykdal ran closer to the numbers in his ’79 Omni with a 7.074/180.07 to Sitko’s 7.167/191.62 to pick up the win.
“We struggled like crazy with the tune-up this weekend, but we kept picking at it and we finally got it working the way we wanted,” Reykdal said. “My crew did one heck of a job with the quick turnaround and the hot weather and we finally figured it out for the final. We had some lucky rounds, but sometimes luck is the way you have to go.”
In regular Nitro Jam competition Missouri’s Scott Palmer picked up his first ever victory in Nitro Jam competition in Top Fuel, beating Bruce Litton in round one and getting a freebie in the final when Kyle Wurtzel’s “High Yield” Top Fuel Dragster failed to make the call.
Despite the final result, Palmer and Litton matched up in the final pass of the weekend in professional competition as a salute to the fans and Litton smoked his opponent with low elapsed time of the weekend on the tricky track with a 5.097/280.14. Litton, the very first ever winner in Top Fuel at Castrol Raceway, won on Friday night.
Bobby Lagana Jr. won the consolation round on a bye.
Tom Padilla wrapped up the professional competition at Canada’s biggest drag race with a win in Nostalgia Fuel Altered behind the wheel of the famous “Nasty Benjamin” machine. Padilla had low E.T. in round one with a 6.530/217.81 to give him lane choice, but that mattered little as his final round opponent Kyle Hough’s “Nanook” altered developed a leak on the line, allowing Padilla to have a nice leisurely Sunday drive to pick up the win.
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