GRAND BEND, Ontario – Once a year the International Hot Rod Ass’n (IHRA) visits the shores of Lake Huron for three full days of drag racing action.
And for that one weekend, the fans of Grand Bend, Ontario pack the house for an event unlike any other as the IHRA and Grand Bend Motorplex celebrate all things speed and excitement at the annual IHRA Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals.
Another massive crowd was on hand on Saturday to witness final qualifying and the opening round of eliminations for all classes with the IHRA’s Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series as top qualifiers Jason Rupert (Nitro Funny Car), Mike Scott (Nitro Harley) and Don Blackshear (Nitro Altered) all survived a grueling night of competition. Saturday saw final qualifying and first round eliminations in Nitro Funny Car, Nitro Harley and Nitro Altered, while the remaining classes will begin eliminations on Sunday.
Meanwhile, on the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL, race one winners were crowned in front of the capacity crowd as Mark Sanders (Top Sportsman), Bruce Gaier (Top Dragster), Pete D’Agnolo (Super Stock), Steven Dziorny (Stock), Ken Heber Jr. (Quick Rod), Leo Zynda (Super Rod) and Joe Passero (Hot Rod) all took home Ironmen in Grand Bend.
In Nitro Jam competition, California native Jason Rupert, in the Bays and Rupert “Black Plague” ’69 Camaro, held down the top spot in qualifying and won his opening round matchup against Mike Halstead in an attempt to avenge a dreadful last race.
Joining Rupert, the top four qualifiers in the Nitro Funny Car class from earlier in the day, Rupert, Mark Sanders, Mike McIntire Jr. and Tim Boychuk, all advanced in the opening round. Boychuk led the way during the session with a 5.853-second pass at 243.83 mph in a win over Bruce Litton.