Edmonton: Series Sunday report

Big weekend for Boychuk at River Cree Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals Lagana, Hamelink, dozens more take home Ironman hardware on championship Sunday EDMONTON,Alberta (June 27, 2010) -- It was a great day for Canadian race fans and an even ...

Big weekend for Boychuk at River Cree Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals
Lagana, Hamelink, dozens more take home Ironman hardware on championship Sunday

EDMONTON,Alberta (June 27, 2010) -- It was a great day for Canadian race fans and an even better day for Canadian racers during championship Sunday at the River Cree Resort and Casino Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals presented by MOPAR and E3 Spark Plugs at Castrol Raceway.

Canadian racers from across the country walked away with IHRA hardware during the final day of Canada's biggest and most exciting race as nearly two dozen drivers came away winners, 16 of which were from provinces of Canada.

Headlining the list of winners from championship Sunday was Edmonton native Tim Boychuk who took home two Ironman trophies in front of a second straight packed house at Castrol Raceway. Adding to his big win Saturday night Boychuk walked away from his home track with an incredible two victories, two world records and nearly every track record spread over the Top Fuel and Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car categories.

"Two out of three is just wonderful. It was a fun and very cool weekend," Boychuk said. "It would have been nice to do it with the other car, but we just weren't able to pull it off. Still, what a weekend and what a year so far for this group."

Boychuk produced one of the most captivating weekends of racing ever recorded at Edmonton's crown jewel. In addition to setting numerous track and Nitro Jam records Boychuk was carted from car to car with only minutes between rounds and still came away victorious in two of three finals.

"There are just so many people to thank working on both cars. Two different crews, two different cars, to get to three finals in one weekend is fantastic," Boychuk added.

In addition to Boychuk's victory, Jeff Hamelink claimed his first Ironman of the season in the Pro Fuel category over 21-year-old sensation Ashley Bart and Bobby Lagana Jr. doubled up in Top Fuel.

Other pro winners from championship Sunday included Tommy Johanns (Pro Modified), John Evanchuk (Alcohol Funny Car, Ron Sekura (Pro Nostalgia A), Darrell Webb (Pro Nostalgia B), Jason Arkinstall (Nitro Bike) and Tony Clizbe (Pro Modified Bike).

Sportsman champions on Sunday included Shawn Tracy (Top Sportsman), Dave Anderson (Top Dragster), Art Congdon (Super Stock), Norman Lapointe (Stock), Mike Shannon (Quick Rod), Tim Richards (Super Rod) and Carey Boychuk (Hot Rod).

Winners were also crowned in the thrilling Harland Sharp Elite 8 Shootout as Dean Branham (7.066, 209.69) defeated Dale Giroux in the Top Sportsman final and Rick Ball (6.875, 199.76) defeated Mike Quayle in Top Dragster.

Boychuk (Edmonton, Alberta) stole the show at the Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals, attempting to come away with victories in two different classes. While he didn't come away a winner in Top Fuel, he did double up in Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car and walks away with two Ironman trophies and a handful of new records.

And those records were set when they were needed most, in the Prostalgia final against fellow Canadian Andy Beauchemin. Boychuk ran a Nitro Jam best 5.810 elapsed time at 247.38 miles-per-hour to take home the win, besting Beauchemin's 5.998-second lap.

"We are just amazed at how well the car is running. The way it is tuned and the way it runs is just excellent. We just keep getting better and better," Boychuk said. "To win the trophies and to set track and IHRA records is just bonus to a great weekend."

Boychuk claimed his first Nitro Jam victory since winning at Tulsa in Top Fuel last year. It was also his third final round in the last four races.

In the consolation rounds "Mr.Explosive" Mark Sanders finally got back on track with a win over Jay Mageau and Steve Nichols, towing all the way from Deleware, defeated Todd Lesenko.

The all-Alberta Prostalgia final came about with a couple of very quick laps in the opening round. Boychuk put down a blistering 5.906 E.T. to secure a second final round appearance while Beauchemin filled the other final round spot with a win over Sanders. Beauchemin ran a 5.968/234.78 in the first round win.

Lagana (Scarsdale, N.Y.) also doubled up over the weekend in Top Fuel, ending Boychuk's hopes of winning in two separate categories with his third straight victory.

In the final Lagana ran a surprising 4.951 E.T. at 278.81 mph to get around Boychuk who went up in smoke near halftrack. With the win Lagana takes over the Top Fuel championship lead with an impressive three victories in four finals during Nitro Jam's "Western Swing."

"There is a lot of luck involved in this sport and the last few races we have been mixing a lot of luck with some incredible tuning," Lagana said. "What a job my dad, my brother, Bob Z, Wesley and the whole gang have done. It is very cool."

In the consolation rounds Bruce Litton defeated Spencer Massey in a weekend that did not turn out as hoped for the defending race winner and Del Cox Jr. lit the win light on a bye.

"For the fans, that last run was for them. That was a little bit better than expected and to run that and make all these fans happy made my day," Lagana said. "Overall the car is performing awesome and I have to give some of that credit to this awesome paint job, so Brian Olsen you better read this."

In the opening rounds Boychuk set up the epic final round with a win over Nitro Funny Car driver Jason Duchene. With a new entertainment based Nitro Jam package the Funny Car-Top Fuel matchup was made possible and for the second night in a row it was a Top Fuel Dragster coming out on top.

Boychuk ran a very quick 5.135 elapsed time at 261.12 miles-per-hour to overtake Duchene's 5.868.

Lagana filled the other final round spot with a session best 5.123 E.T. to defeat Massey. In the other first round matchup Cox defeated Litton, giving Lagana an opportunity to overtake the former champion in the battle for the '10 Top Fuel championship.

In Pro Fuel Hamelink (Minneapolis, Minn.) brought home a well-deserved Ironman over Saturday night winner Ashley Bart. Hamelink, the only driver to compete in all five Nitro Jam events so far this season, picked up his first win in 10 tries this season.

"This is a really long time coming. This is event number five and it is the last day, so that is 10 races without a win. You would think somewhere in there we would come out on top," Hamelink said. "And man it feels good to finally get it done. It wasn't a pretty pass, but we will take it."

Hamelink ran a 5.811/254.76 in the final to overtake a smoking Bart.

"We just can't seem to hook to any of these tracks. Now we have it figured down to aerodynamics so we are going to make some changes before Grand Bend and see if we can get it to stick," Hamelink said. "We have all kinds of power, we just haven't been able to get it to the track."

Hamelink is one of only two Americans to come away victorious in Edmonton, towing all the way from Minnesota to be a part of Canada's biggest race.

"This crowd is great. Sure we won, and that is awesome, but the crowd made it worthwhile. From the very beginning it was raining on Friday and the stands were full. All I could think is this crowd is nuts," Hamelink said. "It was a long haul, but it really does make it worth the trip. IHRA does a phenomenal job along with the track guys. Everyone is involved and that makes for an incredible event."

In the consolation round Greg Sereda defeated Ed Verenka.

In the first round Bart ran a session best 5.608 elapsed time at 258.71 miles-per-hour to get around Sereda and make her second straight final while Hamelink (6.101/243.41) defeated Falconer to set up the Canada versus U.S. Pro Fuel final.

In addition to the regular pros were over half a dozen additional pro categories on hand to take part in the big weekend.

Pro Modified returned to Nitro Jam competition in glorious fashion over the weekend and in that return Tommy Johanns will go down as the big winner. Johanns went three rounds on Sunday in the eight car qualified field, eventually meeting up with and eliminating Rick Distefano in the final.

Johanns, who qualified sixth on Saturday, ran a 6.334/222.99 in an easy win over Distefano who ran into trouble and was forced to shut if off early. Johanns also took down Dan Vogt and Yvonne Lucas to claim the Ironman in one of Nitro Jam's oldest and most prestigious categories.

In addition to Pro Modified another classic Nitro Jam class returned to competition at Castrol Raceway as local John Evanchuk took down '09 winner Roger Bateman in the Alcohol Funny Car final. Evanchuk ran a 5.846/243.46 in the win.

In Pro Nostalgia, the alcohol burning cousins to Prostalgia, two separate divisions were on hand competing in index racing.

In the Pro Nostalgia A category, running on a 6.90 index, Ron Sekura and his merry band of renegades claimed the victory with a near spot-on 6.994 elapsed time defeating Joey Steckler (6.946) in the final.

In the Pro Nostalgia B category, with a little slower 7.20 index, class veteran Darrell Webb (7.303) took home the Ironman by defeating Cody Anstead (7.243).

Two bike classes were also a part of Sunday's championship action as Jason Arkinstall won in the nitro-powered Nitro Bike final over Ken Kent and Tony Clizbe defeated Gary Christopher to win the Pro Modified Bike category. Arkinstall ran a 6.672/204.54 in the Nitro Bike win and Clizbe put down a quick 7.364/190.81.

Next up for Nitro Jam is a trip to Grand Bend, Ontario for the MOPAR Nitro Jam Nationals July 16-18 at the Grand Bend Motorplex.

-source: ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Bruce Litton , Bobby Lagana Jr. , Tim Richards , Spencer Massey