in the world of drag racing
The latest update as of August 30, 1999
"The best laid plans...." all evaporated in a haze of low clouds and heavy rain yesterday morning when I rolled out of bed early (as in way too early after a late night at work Saturday) to go out to Mission Raceway. The reason for my early rising? The last major event of the Mission schedule for this year, "Pro Mod Madness #2". Even though it's nearly the end of the season for the local track, this was to be my first trip out there this year. (Hey when you're working eight days a week, trying to get a car ready to race and spend three months in Australia; what do you expect?)
As I pondered the situation over the first pot of coffee, I kept reminding myself that even though it's raining at the foot of the mountains here in North Vancouver, that it's still probably sunny out in the valley. The 8:00 am radio news put an end to that daydream though, as they confirmed rain all the way east to Chilliwack (approximately 20 miles east of the track).
So now that I'm awake; very awake after the coffee, what am I going to for the next eight hours until it's time to go to work? Clean up the apartment, do some laundry, clear away a mountain of bills and invoices.... naaahhh, they can wait, the website needs more work -- it always needs more work. (Even though, in some people's eyes it needs more than work....) So I managed to add a bunch of Race Reports to that section, put together a few more stories for the Press Clippings index and follow the action at the other (non rained-out) events taking place over the weekend.
First stop was the Avon Park Super Series event in England, where the final round of the British Top Methanol Championship is being run. Qualifying has been completed, but eliminations will be held later today so the results from the event and the final points standings are not quite complete. To see who qualified, visit our results page and for more information, check out the race report.
Next up was the final event of the NHRA Division Six Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series, held at Yakima on Saturday night. For all the results, visit the Division Six home page at Horsepower Heaven. Last stop was the IHRA Mopar Parts World Nationals being held at Norwalk, Ohio. If you've been here already over the weekend, you'll know that quite a few Canadian cars qualified well in the Pro Mod and Alcohol Funny Car fields and my hopes were high for some good results for those racers.
Unfortunately, their luck was about as good as Mission Raceway's Sunday weather.... NOT!! Biggest disappointment had to be local hero Glen May's debut appearance with his '99 Ford Ranger truck. He qualified very well in the quickest Pro Mod field in IHRA history with a very strong 6.40, but alas, he didn't advance past the first round. The report went like this: "May's new pickup truck encountered severe tire shake on the launch and he shut if off." (The scoreboard read: 14.714 at 53.72). Still, to run 6.40 first time out with a new "car", qualify very well against some very tough competitors... he can't be too disappointed with the overall result.
Fellow Canadian Pro Mod stalwart (and current IHRA National Record-holder), Al Billes of Barrie, Ontario also lost in the first round. Despite holeshotting his opponent, Billes slowed considerably from his qualifying times and a 6.797 at 205 was only good enough for a first round runner-up. In the alky funny department, only one of three Canuck cars survived the first round. Herb Rodgers lost a close (6.02 to 6.11) race, Larry Dobbs crossed the center line at the 330 ft. mark (taking out both sets of reflectors), but #2 qualifier Paul Noakes did manage to turn on the win light.
His victory, however, at 6.25 - 228.61 was not without a price, as the report read: "Paul Noakes was very near the center line for the entire run, but hung on for the win. His car started puffing smoke at half track and oiled the top end. We are down for cleanup." Sounds like big trouble, eh? Surprisingly, Noakes made it back for the second round, but that was the end of his weekend. "Noakes' car shook and turned right, forcing him to shut off". Game over for Canada. All in all though, some very creditable performances were turned by the Canadian cars against some very tough competition at Norwalk. For the Top Fuel results from the event, check out our event results menu.
At this point, there's not much more to say today, except to remind everyone in British Columbia that if you want to see some televised drag racing (a very rare commodity these days in Canada, unless you have a big satellite dish), tune in to Speedvision from 6-8 pm or 10-midnight tonight (Monday, August 30) to see the professional semis and finals from the NHRA Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals, presented by (who gives a ratsass). And in case you haven't been keeping up on the Top Fuel scene in Europe lately, the following two pieces should be of some interest. Until tomorrow, remember, for all the drag racing news that really counts, tune in to Northern Thunder and the "What's New" page.European Top Fuel News:
AJ without a ride
Dannielle DePorter's crash at Hockenheim last weekend has left UK Top Fuel pilot Alan Jackson, currently second in the FIA Championship, without a ride for the FIA European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway in September. Alan has been driving the "Carbon By Design" team's number one car in the FIA tour this season, and it was this car which was involved in the accident.
Alan has rejected the idea of taking over the team's number two car, which has been driven by Robin Read so far this season, to try to take the Championship. "Robin was promised the ride", said Alan, "and we're not going back on our word".
The CBD team plan to step up Robin Read's car at the Finals. "We're missing some key parts", said Alan, "so we'll probably have to use some parts from my Funny Car". US tuner Bill Shultz will again be with the team at the Finals and has already expressed interest in continuing to work with the team next year.
Although his season has been terminated short of a final shot at the Championship, Alan remains upbeat. "It's a shame, because we were really looking forward to the Finals. But Knut (Soderquist, team owner - Ed) is already phoning around to find a new chassis and we'll be back next year".Nybo's short retirement!
Jens Nybo is returning to Top Fuel at the FIA European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway in September. He will be driving the US Auto Top Fueler, which is an ex-Nybo car now owned by Swede Johnny Nilsson and Dane Peter Christiansen and which has been driven by Kent Persson in this year's Swedish Top Fuel Tour.
Jens left the sport at the end of last season to race a Peugot 306 in the Danish Touring Car Championship and has done well, but he really misses drag racing: circuit racing was not quite what he expected. "I especially miss the fans, the life in the pits, the racing, and travelling with the good friends in my team", says Jens. "The car I will be driving is the Lantz chassis in which I won the European Top Fuel Championship in 1995 and 1996. The chassis which broke at Santa Pod at last year's Finals is not yet repaired".
Johnny Nilsson remains as Crew Chief, but Jens will be reunited with his Championship-winning crew. "I will bring my crew from the good old days to work for me", he says. "We hope that we can get a good result and show that the old car still can be competitive." Jens is also looking forward to a reunion with his fans. "I'm looking forward to racing in England again. There is always such a good atmosphere and a lot of friendly fans", he says.
As for the future, Jens is already making plans. "I hope that I can be back racing with my old team and a new car soon, hopefully in 2001. Everybody is ready, we just need to work out the last details and, of course, the finances."