Biggest Win of the season – so far!
The 24th Annual Lucas Oil B.C. Summer Classic at Mission Raceway Park had, as its feature class once again, Nostalgia Funny Cars. This year’s entry was much improved over the past couple of years, with some 28 floppers on the grounds, covering three different series.
The headliners were the Nostalgia Nitro AA/FCs, running in the NHRA Hod Rod Heritage Series event. Only two cars in the top ten in points attended, those of Kris Krabill (leader) and Ryan Hodgson, (5th) with, again, none of the California teams making the tow. However, making up for that was the presence of two IHRA-regular teams from this corner of the continent, Tim Boychuk and Mark Sanders, booked with the help of legendary promoter Bill Doner, who was in attendance. With four other solid cars, a good eight-car field was the result.
The cool summer weather B.C. has been enjoying continued into Saturday, and qualifying saw cloud and low 20s for the first session. Sanders set the pace early with a 5.67, but Hodgson beat that with a 5.66 at Top Speed of the Meet 255.75 mph, while Boychuk blew the motor on a 5.99. Nathan Sitko gave the driving lesson of the day with a two-wheels-up (both front AND side) no-lift 5.87, Jay Mageau ran a 6.46 with no chutes, hitting Sanders’ car at the turn-off with only minor damage to both cars, and Tim Nemeth continued to have problems, going up in smoke.
For the night session, it had cooled off even more, with little humidity and 500-feet of corrected altitude at the sea-level concrete track, so fans were ready for big numbers, but they didn’t happen.
Boychuk had a new engine and shut off early to a 5.93, Kris Krabill was on a pass but spun at half track and shut off, Mark Sanders launched with a .959 60-foot but also shut off way early (5.90 / 195), and Ryan Hodgson’s team elected not to run when their 5.66 was not bettered.
Sunday dawned warmer and clear, and would reach the high 20s, but with little humidity. Tim Boychuk threw down the first shot in Round 1, beating Sitko’s 5.95 with a 5.74. Hodgson easily beat Nemeth’s 6.31 with a 5.80, Sanders got loose at half-track but drove through it with a 5.76 to beat Clint Thompson, and Krabill pedalled slightly to a 5.85 to beat Mageau.
So, the semis would have two IHRA race winners in Sanders and Boychuk, versus the two NHRA hitters in Krabill and Hodgson, all cars having run solid fives within .11 seconds of each other in Round One. First up, it was the top two AA/FCs in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, and Sanders stayed hot with a winning 5.75 from his Mustang to the 5.85 by Krabill in Bucky Austin’s Firebird. Then, it was the top two AA/FCs in Canada, both from Edmonton, Boychuk having once driven for Ron Hodgson, of course. Boychuk nailed the tree with a .013 RT en route to a winning 5.81, while Hodgson left at a normal .157, and ran a losing 5.73, low ET of eliminations. Fantastic racing.
The ‘all-IHRA’ final (the last thing NHRA might have wanted at their race) saw Boychuk launch with a great .932 60-foot and disappear down track with a 5.79 / 243, while Sanders’ car got a bit loose at half-track and fell off to a 5.84, blowing the engine in the shutdown. For Boychuk and the Happy Hour team led by veteran Twig Ziegler, it was the third victory of the summer, but the first with an NHRA Wally trophy to show for it.
Post and photos by Gerry Frechette