EDMONTON, Alberta — There is nothing like winning one for momma.
With his 80-year-old mother watching from the sidelines and all of his family and friends cheering him on, Alberta native Tim Nemeth drove his beautiful 1977 Pontiac Firebird to a win in the AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car class and in the process ended Tim Boychuk’s three-year reign at the IHRA Mopar Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports all on championship Sunday at Castrol Raceway.
With Edmonton native Boychuk riding a three year winning streak at his home track in IHRA’s premier event, Nemeth came out of nowhere and blasted to the No. 1 qualifying position and ran that momentum all the way to an IHRA Ironman, giving the man known better as the “Iceman” his first-ever Rocky Mountain Nationals win.
“This win is for my mom. She is 80 years old and she is here with us this weekend and I really couldn’t have done any of this without her,” an emotional Nemeth said. “Since we switched to the new chassis and body last year everything has really come together for us. We have found a window to work in and the car has really been responding well to the adjustments. To be honest she is just really fun to ride right now.”
Joining Nemeth in the winner’s circle on Sunday was Bobby Lagana Jr. in Top Fuel, Joey Steckler in Rocky Mountain Nostalgia Funny Car and Nathan Gagnon in Nitro Harley.
Sportsman winners from Sunday’s Summit Pro-Am Tour presented by Amsoil competition were Rob Murphy (Top Sportsman), Jodi St. Arnaud (Top Dragster), Mark Faul (Super Stock), Ed Matiejewski (Stock), Mike Shannon (Quick Rod and Super Rod), Chad Barclay (Hot Rod), Zackary Pelrine (Junior Master), Tim Sletto (Junior Advanced) and Daniele Modersohn (Junior Beginner). ET winners were Braden Halina (Top), Kalim Menzel (Mod) and Mike Evanyshyn (Motorcycle).
Nemeth’s remarkable weekend began with a track-record pass of 5.752 seconds at 231.91 miles per hour on Saturday to propel him to the top of the fan-favorite nostalgia Funny Car class. On Sunday Nemeth avoided the man of the weekend as final round opponent Cameron Ferre dispatched of Boychuk in the semifinals while Nemeth took care of Mike Halstead. Ferre, behind the wheel of the “Twig Zeigler” tribute ’74 Satellite, defeated the three-time Rocky Mountain Nationals champion on a holeshot with a 6.030 to a 6.004 to advance to the money round.
In the final Nemeth posted a .072 light and ran a 5.836, 249.03 to take the win as Ferre ran into issues, clicking it off early in the runner-up effort.
Following the win Nemeth was joined in the winner’s circle by his mother and crew in an emotional scene as she was helped to her feet and took hold of the Ironman, all with tears streaming down her face.
“We love coming to Edmonton. This is my home province and I always like to come home and do well for these fans,” Nemeth said. “We haven’t had much luck at this race in the past, but this year everything came together for us. What an unbelievable weekend and to share it with my mom, what more could you really ask for.”
In IHRA’s other premier class Bobby Lagana Jr. swept Top Fuel with wins over Bruce Litton on Saturday and Ike Maier on Sunday to give the Scarsdale, New York native his first weekend sweep since 2011. Lagana had a tremendous weekend in his first IHRA action of the year behind the wheel of the “Nitro Ninja” machine, defeating Kyle Wurtzel in round one before putting on a tremendous show in the final against Maier.
All weekend long Top Fuel produced incredible side-by-side quarter-mile passes the fuelers saved the best for last as Lagana cut .079 light to Maier’s .187 and blasted down the track with a 5.016, 295.27 to Maier’s 5.022, 289.82 to take the win.