EDMONTON, Alberta — It was déjà vu all over again at Castrol Raceway.
Exactly 10 years ago Bruce Litton visited victory lane at the inaugural MOPAR Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals on a beautiful summer weekend in 2003. A decade later not much has changed.
Driving the exact same car he took to victory lane in 2003 to commemorate the 10th running of the Mopar Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals, Litton returned to victory lane in front of a full house Saturday night during the SMS Komatsu Night of Fire with a big win over Bobby Lagana Jr., ending Lagana’s two-year run at the track and giving Litton his first Ironman since June of 2011.
“We really wanted to do something special to remember that first race in Edmonton so we brought the retro car that has been sitting in the shop all this time,” Litton said. “Returning to victory lane with that same car a decade later was definitely a special moment for the team and something we will remember for a very long time.”
Litton was joined in victory lane by Randy Bradford in Nostalgia Fuel Altered as the two winners from Saturday night. The other professional categories featured qualified fields as Jim Obalek (AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car), Damian Cownden (Nitro Bike) and David Brant (Rocky Mountain Nostalgia Funny Car) topped their respective fields entering championship Sunday.
Saturday’s Top Fuel final was filled with tension as Litton and Lagana went head-to-head for the fifth time in a row at Castrol Raceway in front of the usual jam-packed Edmonton crowd.
Litton topped the Top Fuel field after round one, running a 5.121/272.56 under tricky track conditions to take lane choice in the final. In the finale Lagana performed his trademark quarter-mile burnout while Litton waited patiently, unfortunately Lagana’s run looked a lot like the burnout as smoke filled the air moments after stabbing the throttle and Litton drove to a weekend-best 5.007/290.44 to take the win.
“The track has been very hot and tricky and we were just trying to make sure the car went down the track,” Litton said. “We have been having computer problems with this older car and we have been diagnosing them with a camera facing the engine to find any problems. So far it has worked wonders as we had a bad leak and the camera caught that. I just want to thank Mike Wolfarth and the crew who have been doing an awesome job, especially running this car with no data.”
In the consolation pairing Kyle Wurtzel finally found his groove as he drove his “High Yield” Top Fuel Dragster to a win over Friday’s top performer Scott Palmer.
Saturday’s other big winner was Randy Bradford as he picked up his first career victory behind the wheel of “Bradford’s Fiat” in the final against rookie Kyle Hough in “Nanook.” Hough looked like this was his night to take his first career Ironman trophy, but the young driver’s engine went sour midway into the run and Bradford was able to overtake him for his first career Ironman trophy.
In the consolation round Tom Padilla in “Nasty Benjamin” defeated Ron Hope and the “Rat Trap” team.
The rest of the professional rounds featured qualified fields headed by the AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car class. At the head of the field was Mission, British Columbia’s Jim Obalek who topped the field with a solid 5.829/241.20 entering eliminations on Sunday. Behind Obalek was Jay Mageau, Ken Webster, Tim Nemeth and Tim Boychuk.
The biggest field of the weekend resides in Nitro Bike as another British Columbia native Damian Cownden, hailing from Victoria, topped the field with a very quick 6.516/217.84. North Carolina’s Jay Turner sits second atop the “Big Pig” Nitro Harley, followed by Nitro Jam regulars Mike Scott and Randal Andras. Joey Stenotti round out the top five entering final eliminations.
Saturday’s sportsman winners were Darryn O’Conner (Fort St. John, British Columbia) in Top Sportsman, Tom McAvoy (Edmonton, Alberta) in Top Dragster, Art Congdon (Calgary, Alberta) in Super Stock, Tom Skjonsberg (Red Deer, Alberta) in Stock, Eric Goulden (Airdrie, Alberta) in Quick Rod, Jeff Crooks (Brandon, Manitoba) in Super Rod, Casey Plaizier (Edmonton, Alberta) in Hot Rod, Derek Rose (St. Albert, Alberta) in Top ET, Mark Bold (Red Deer, Alberta) in Mod ET, Shelby Sereda (Spruce Grove, Alberta) in Junior Master, Rain Farr (Canyon Lake, Calif.) in Junior Advanced and Dutch Farr (Canyon Lake, Calif.) in Junior Beginner.
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