Drag racers from all over the northwest will converge on Mission Raceway Park next weekend for the largest NHRA event of the season, the B.C. Lordco Nationals.
Close to 400 racer teams with race operations valued at over $60 million will compete for over $150,000 in prize money and contingencies and valuable division six and national points.
A number of national records will likely fall as the Mission facility is one of the quickest and fastest in North America. Situated at sea level with highly oxygenated air, this event in the spring is one of the most popular races for record seeking racers on the West Coast. Five of the 11 classes in attendance will try and better quarter-mile elapse times (ET) and mph records. comp eliminator, stock, super stock, top alcohol dragster and top alcohol funny car will not only try to win the event, they will also try to better existing records.
The other six classes, sportsman motorcycle, top dragster, top sportsman, super comp, super gas, and super street do not race for performance records, they compete solely for prize money and points, but they make up the largest numbers in NHRA drag racing.
This week’s preview will highlight all the classes except for the two top alcohol classes.
This tops the list of the sportsman classes. It has many competitors who have moved up to the professional ranks and is one of the toughest classes in which to succeed.
But one who is succeeding this year is North Vancouver’s Rob Harrison. The Harrison/Lougheed team is having a great start to the season with two wins in three starts including clinching victory at the season opening Winternationals, one of the biggest races in all of drag racing. Harrison’s win there was the first ever by a Canadian in the comp class. Three or four other Canadians are also considered strong contenders for next weekend’s event. They include Alberta racers Casey Plaizier and Dale Giroux, B.C. racer Bob Marshall and the driver of possibly the quickest comp car in attendance, Terry Spargo, pilot of a mid-six second 215 mph Chevy Cavalier.
This class will see one the largest numbers of competitors with close to 50 drivers battling in out. This class includes dragsters and altereds, and you will see cars running as quick as 6.1 seconds at 220 mph.
This is the fraternal twin to top dragster (TD). They start off with a similar engine as TD, but the split is in body styles. Anything from vintage 1930s body styles all the way up to current 2011 Mustangs or Pontiacs and everything in between. Many cars in the class are ex-pro stock cars. With over 2,000 hp in many of them, ETs are in the mid-sixes or quicker at speeds well over 200 mph. A number of local and Canadian competitors are considered favourites including Mission’s own Zak Clarke, and two time Division winner Darryn O’Connor from Fort St. John, B.C.
This class will see close to 40-50 competitors and almost every one of them will sky-rocket their front ends. Every body style and every year from the 1950s onward run in the class. All the cars look completely stock, but have many internal changes. Some of the cars produce close to 1,000 hp. Again this class has a number of strong American and Canadian competitors.
This class is the little brother to super stock with all the same body styles, but engines with far fewer modifications. Big wheelies also highlight this class, and Mission is the home to the first nine-second run by a car in the stock just about a decade ago.
Super classes are the most highly competitive of the classes in all of drag racing and the three classes run on a heads up index, meaning the cars all have to run a set ET, and they all leave on a heads up pro light. Super comp is set at 8.90 seconds, super gas is set at 9.90 seconds and super street is set at 10.90 seconds. The body styles are limitless, and the engines range from 400 hp all the way up to 1,500, and the theories on the best way to race these classes are almost as varied. One thing is for sure, no one is a clear favorite.
This is the final class in regular sportsman racing at the divisional level, and these two-wheeled beasts rip down the quarter-mile as quick as seven seconds at close to 200 mph. Local rider Al Omond from Chilliwack won the first division six race of the year at Boise, Idaho three weeks ago. He along with three-time winner from 2010 Jeff Havens will be riders to watch.
The final class competing next weekend is super pro, a regular bracket class that will see 20-30 local racers battle. They don’t usually compete in the classes at the divisional but they too are looking for a big payday and the coveted Wally trophy.
Next weekend, we will preview the two top Classes in NHRA divisional competition, Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car. These are 3000 hp beasts that run down the ¼ mile at over 270 mph.
Go to www.missionraceway.com for event info, and don’t forget that kids under 12 are admitted free with an adult. Racing begins Thursday with a test and tune, with qualifying starting Friday and finishing Saturday. Final eliminations are on Sunday.
– By Dean Murdoch, editor of SpeedZone magazine.