GRAND BEND, Ontario – Prior to this weekend’s IHRA national event at the Grand Bend Motorplex neither Tracy Kile nor Ike Maier had ever won an IHRA Ironman in their respective class.
That all changed over the weekend.
During a thrilling three days of racing at the famed Grand Bend Motorplex in western Ontario Maier, piloting the “Nitro Warrior” Top Fuel Dragster, and Kile, driving a Jay Turner powered Nitro Harley, both claimed their first and second career Ironmen in exciting fashion during championship Sunday at the Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals presented by Parts Canada.
Maier, a former IHRA winner in Pro Modified, picked up his first career Ironmen in Top Fuel Saturday and Sunday in Grand Bend, besting Bobby Lagana Jr. both nights. On Sunday Maier ran a quick 4.969 seconds at 277.77 miles per hour in the final, a feat that was made even more impressive considering Maier is a regular on the NHRA circuit and isn’t acclimated to running the full drag racing distance of a quarter-mile.
“To be honest this was pretty new to us. We had not run a full quarter-mile pass in a long time entering Edmonton a few weeks ago and here and we were just trying to get used to the distance,” Maier said. “We added more fuel and had to put together a completely different setup, but boy did it feel good to run the quarter-mile again. I am so used to lifting at 1,000 feet and that extra 300 feet, it is tough, but it is fun. You are running wide open and the car is still carrying so much speed, but you learn to work around it.
“This IHRA deal is really nice racing. I love it.”
Joining Maier and Kile in Sunday’s pro winners circle were Peter Gallen in AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car, Mike Hilsabeck in Nostalgia Fuel Altered and Eric Latino in the PMRA Pro Modified Invitational.
Sportsman winners during Day 2 of the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL Division 3 doubleheader were Fred Sommer (Top Sportsman), Bill Moloughney (Top Dragster), Franco Cantusci (Super Stock), Stephen McGrath (Stock), Ken Hebert Jr. (Quick Rod), Jacob Elrod (Super Rod) and Roy Lister (Hot Rod).
Other sportsman winners from Sunday’s Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals were Top ET winner Will Steckly, Mod ET winner Will Steckly, Junior Dragster winner Tyler Donahue and Harley Destroyers winner Pete Thomson.
Maier put himself on the radar at IHRA’s Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals two weeks ago in Edmonton as the Tottenham, Ontario native came just a few miles per hour shy of setting the track speed record in his first pass. While he didn’t turn that speed into a win at the western Canadian event, Maier more than made up for it with a pair of wins in Grand Bend.
“This is very exciting. I have won a bunch of races here, but never in a Top Fuel car. The car is running pretty good. I had to lift a couple of times, but for the most part we were able to run it hard and put on a show for these great fans,” Maier said. “It wasn’t always pretty, but as they say it is not how you win, it is how many you win and we got two this weekend.”
In Sunday’s final Maier’s 4.969 held up to Lagana’s 5.124, 259.46 pass to take the win. In the consolation run Bruce Litton defeated Kyle Wurtzel with both lifting midway through the run.