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The latest update as of May 28, 2010

Mission Raceway - Day One - NHRA LODRS Lordco BC Nationals

Not much time for a report on today's doing's at Mission Raceway, but truth be told, there really wasn't much action on track, with the exception of one session for comp eliminator, top dragster, most of top sportsman and a few alcohol cars. Note that I said a "few" alcohol cars as a series of bad decisions, by a number of people, and a few unfortunate and extremely ill-timed on-track incidents, pushed back the scheduled 3:15 start time for the fast cars until nearly 5:00 pm. By this point, the weather, which had been threatening to dump heavy precipitation on the track since 3pm, took a serious turn for the worse and started sprinkling, which combined with the almost arctic track temperature of 71 F, made for some very marginal racing conditions.

Despite all this, the first pair of alcohol funny cars saw Edmonton's Nathan Sitko set a career best with an excellent 5.81 - 243.37 pass, even with some serious low-gear tire shake. The next pair out, John Evanchuk and Rob Atchison didn't have such luck and shook hard, and in Atchison's case crossed the centerline and took out some timing blocks. Then it started to rain. 45 minutes later the action resumed after some hard work with the jet drier, and no small amount of weather luck, just in time to see Brian Hough lay down one of the quickest laps of his career with a 5.616 - 255.53 clocking, alongside fellow Oregeonian Clint Thompson, who shook hard and shutoff early.

That was it for the flopper contingent, who showed that it was possible to get down the track, in virtually zero altitude air, even with a very cold track, even colder engines and some really challenging conditions. On to the dragsters now, as they were still patiently waiting in the dark and dreary staging lanes for their one shot of the day. Edmonton racers Don St. Arnaud and Greg Sereda came out and both shook hard, tried to recover and shutoff at half track. Good tries, but no cigarillo.

Then the rain started again and the decision was made to pack it in for the day. After nearly THREE, yes THREE hours in the lanes, the decision was not greeted warmly by the remaining dragster teams. About the only warmth was the torches being lit in the pits to storm the tower with. Seriously, it wasn't quite that bad, but to say there were some p-o'd racers and teams is putting it mildly. In retrospect, I'm sure that the officials would like the chance to revisit some of their decisions and run the alcohol cars at the scheduled, or as close to, time and then do what they could to get as many racers in the other classes at least one run before closing down for the day.

It's impossible to second-guess the decision to scrape the track in the morning after the rain stopped, which used up a few hour of valuable qualifying time, as that was an obvious safety issue and an action that no one could disagree with. But the postponing of the alcohol qualifying session from 3:15, to what turned out to be 5:00pm was one bad call, in this correspondent's opinion.

There will be some, and possibly more than some, who would disagree with me, but the analogy of Animal Farm (the George Orwell story from the middle of the last century) seems so appropriate in this situation. "All animals are equal.... but some are more equal than others". To put it simply, the alcohol cars are the "pro" racers at this event, and should be treated as such. That's tough to swallow for people who have paid a substantial entry fee and waited a very long time to run, but that's just the way it is, and has to be. Please note that the NHRA is in control of this event, and management of Mission Raceway has no veto powers over any of the association's actions. In effect, the division director calls the shots and the track staff dance to his tune.

Enough about yesterday, and let's just move ahead to today's activities and see what's in store. If the schedule holds (stop for a minute and have a big laugh before continuing) we should see two full alcohol qualifying sessions, at noon and 4pm, and lots of action from the sportsman ranks. But the latest news, courtesy of Drag Race Central is this: MISSION, B.C. - 10:23 am. It has been raining all night and is still rain at this time. Please stay tuned to DRC for all the updates. Short, and not very sweet, eh?

Anyways, we're heading out to the track, if for nothing else than to take advantage of Dean Murdoch's fabulous barbecue and snag a free burger or two, and do some serious bench racing in the pits. Just in case things do get going sometime today, go to Drag Race Central for the almost-instant results.

PS: Here'stoday's pics. Remember, click on the thumbnails to see the full-size images.

Here's a couple of views of Shawn Cowie's new Brad Hadman-built car. Looks very sharp.

On the left is Shawn getting ready for the warmup, while to the right we see the Bill Edwards Jr. car being worked on.

One more view of the Edwards car, with Bill Sr. supervising the work, while the John Evanchuk flopper body sits behind the trailer

A closer look at the funny car body reveals a very odd-looking (and probably not SFI-approved) new parachute pack. On the right, Don Eason and Jeff Johnsen prepare the High-Ridley car for a warmup.

On the left, Dale Carlson is in the cockpit of the Ridley car, while in the next pit spot, Brian Hough is making some noise.

A closer look at Hough as he looks somewhat apprehensive before bringing up the revs. And on the right is the sharp looking ACE Manufacturing funny car body of Ontario's Rob Atchison.

On the left is the car of first-time visitors to Mission, Todd and Jeff Ashwell from Oregon. Next to them is the very strong car of Washington state's Joey Severance.

A little further down the road is Tim Nemeth's almost-new nitro nostalgia funny car being prepped. To the right is Clint Thompson's funny resting before battle.

Finally some on-track action, with Comp Eliminator's Craig Donaldson launching hard before crossing the centreline and taking out the half-track cones. On the right is Edmonton's Casey Plazier bringing the wheels up too enroute to an 8.24 pass in his C/SMA.

Two shots of the beautiful and still un-debugged '70 Camaro of Calgary's Rick DiStefano. It's getting closer though.

On the left is Auburn, WA's Aaron Strong burning out, while Delta's Terry Spargo backs up from the burnout in his potent A/AP.

On the left, Strong launches... strongly to .57 under the index pass, while Al Lougheed helps partner Rob Harrison stage the "monster" car in Division Six comp racing. Their opening lap was an ultra-strong 7.66 - two-thirds of a second under the J/A index and #1 qualifier.

By some fluke we actually managed to catch Harrison shortly after leaving the starting line, and even more amazing, the car was in focus. Cool, eh? On the other side is North Delta's John Evans backing up from the burnout in his blown alky Top Dragster.

On the left, Evans launches to a 7.48 pass in his Top Dragster, while on the other side, Washington's Greg Carlile launches in his plain black dragster.

On the left is yet another Team ACE car, with Eddy Plazier leaving hard on a 6.98 pass in his Top Dragster, while Kelowna's Neil Lachelt backs up from the burnout (far lane).

Lachelt eases his dragster into the staging beams prior to blasting out the #1 qualifying pass of 6.58 at 211 mph. On the right we've got Camano Island WA's Craig Olson burning out in his sharp looking six-second car. For some reason though, it seemed to lose four tenths and 14 mph from yesterday's t 'n t pass of 6.26 - 219 mph and settled for the #2 spot today with "only" a 6.68 at 205 mph.

Two more shots of Olson's car backing up, then launching.

On the left is Alberta's Garth Giroux leaving hard before posting a 7.21 pass for the #12 spot in Top Dragster. To the right is obviously something completely different, as Randy Modersohn launches his beautiful '63 Corvette before carding a 7.64 at nearly 180 mph in Top Sportsman.

All looks good for Curt Geise as he leaves with the wheels up in his '08 GTO, then as you can see in the last picture on the right, all hell broke loose just before half track. The resulting oildown stopped the program for nearly an hour and cost six of the alcohol dragsters a chance to post some BIG numbers in the awesome air conditions.

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