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24th ANNUAL FATHER’S DAY FUNNY CAR CLASSIC A HUGE SUCCESS

24th ANNUAL FATHER’S DAY FUNNY CAR CLASSIC A HUGE SUCCESS

Kevin Therres’ 7,500 h.p. bio-diesel jet car warms up for a run 

By Josh Penner, reporter 

The 24th annual Father’s Day Funny Car Classic almost opened its gates under storm clouds, as major sponsor AMHA pulled out at the last minute, but blue skies prevailed and several thousand Calgarians flocked to Race City to enjoy the warm weather and some great racing.

“Every year for the last 23 years, Calgary has held a Funny Car race on Fathers day” said Rick Francescone, president of the Motorsport Council of Calgary.   But this year, the Council and ”the Calgary Drag Racing Association hung their necks out to make this event happen.”

Washington-based American Hot Rod Association says it cancelled its support and withdrew its sanction of Race City because of concerns over the condition of the track.  CEO Troy Moe said his representative inspected the track and it just wasn’t safe for the faster, more powerful cars.  Faced with the cancellation of the traditional June event, the CDRA committed to cover the costs of the race, including payments to the racers. 

Saturday and Sunday didn’t disappoint the fans.  The bleachers were packed to watch a lively field of Alcohol Funny Cars, an “Altered”, two high-powered diesel semi-trucks, and a very popular jet car deliver an exciting and over the top performance.

Ward 12 candidate Shane Keating says the City of Calgary should support Race City or partner to build a new track

Rome Awde, promoter and past manager noted the incredible attendance of fans: “We couldn’t be happier with the turnout. Things were definitely a challenge to bring the program to Calgary this year, but it happened, and we have our amazing fans to thank for showing up and making it worthwhile.”

The official starter for the evetn was long-time motorsport fan and ward 12 alderman candidate, Shane Keating, who gave a heartfelt address to the racers and fans.

“This track needs to be here, and the city needs to realize that” Keating said. “Young and old, this is a safe place for car enthusiasts.  My son comes out on Friday nights and he races his motorcycle in a safe environment that benefits Calgary, it takes the racers off the streets, and gives young and old adults a way to do this safely.”

Kevin Therres and the rest of the Prairieland Motorsports team arrived with their Milligan Bio-Tech/Canola Council sponsored 2007 Corvette Jet car on Friday night and blew away the spectators (not literally).

Voluminous amounts of Bio-Diesel smoke poured out the exhaust as Therres fired up the 7,500 horsepower J-60 Pratt and Whitney jet engine, but there was a little twist: It smelled like French fries and popcorn. The car is powered entirely by “B100”, which is hundred per cent canola-based diesel fuel that Therres says can be used in any diesel engine.  Therres claims that using this type of fuel produces 78% less greenhouse gas emissions overall, as its production method is extremely efficient.

Therres has piloted the Corvette to a wild 6.3 seconds in the quarter mile and over 250 miles per hour. When asked what it felt like to leave the starting line in a jet car, Therres says “it’s like a real kick in the-you-know-what.”

Father's Day Classic attracted a sizeable group of local and out of town racers

The veteran racing team of Sherrie and Dave Bodnarchuk also made their presence felt this weekend with their massive half-track burnouts, a Bodnarchuk signature. Sherrie, driver of the 1970 Plymouth Superbird blown alcohol funny car, said she loves coming to Calgary for the Father’s Day event each year.

“We have an amazing time when we come here, and the fans are incredible” Bodnarchuk said, while husband and crew chief Dave looked over the car. “We’ll be coming here as long as there’s a track to race on.”

To make sure everything ran smoothly, and that the track was in pristine condition, the organizers called in long-time race director Vern Christy, whose track preparation and race management has been refined over the years at tracks across Canada and the United States. Christy, who flew in from Ontario at the last minute, said he’s worked with the Calgary track in the past.

“This place definitely needs some help. It needs some pavement, and it needs some cleaning up! You should see what I can do with a smooth racing surface!” Christy said through his signature moustache.  “But I suppose if you don’t know the future of the place, it’s hard to dump money into it, hey?”

If you didn’t make it to this year’s Fathers Day Funny Car Classic, there’s always 2011, slated to be the final season for Race City.

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FATHER’S DAY CLASSIC WINNERS:

King of the Hill
$940.00 Split between Keith Meadors and Rod Hymas
 
King of the Hill Junior
Winner Alex Archembault
Runner Up: Julian Bilinske
 
Super Sportsman
Winner:  Tom Bonin
Runner Up: Randy Campbell
 
Pro Sportsman
Winner:  Shelley Steffensen
Runner Up: Keith Meadors
 
Sportsman
Winner:  Eric Schenkenfeller
Runner Up: Dave Poirier
 
Bike
Winner: Wayne Keim
Runner Up: Mike Stairs
 
Junior Dragster A
Winner: Evan Thorogood
Runner Up: Zach Toth
 
Junior Dragster B
Winner: Riley Toth
 
Buy Back
Winner: Chelsea Wannamaker
Runner Up: Andy Bushfield

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LAST MINUTE HEROICS BY LOCAL DRAG RACING CLUB SAVES FATHER’S DAY CLASSIC

LAST MINUTE HEROICS BY LOCAL DRAG RACING CLUB SAVES FATHER’S DAY CLASSIC

Action from the 2009 Classic 
By Markham Hislop with Josh Penner
 

The 24th running of the Father’s Day Classic drag race almost didn’t make it off the launch pad.  Only a last ditch effort by the Calgary Drag Racing Association appears to have saved the event.  But the drama doesn’t end there, as the former American sponsor is considering a lawsuit against the Motorsport Council of Calgary after some inflammatory comments to the media by its president. Continue Reading

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VIDEO: NEW DAVENPORT CHALLENGE TARGETS FRIDAY SECRET STREET RACERS

VIDEO: NEW DAVENPORT CHALLENGE TARGETS FRIDAY SECRET STREET RACERS

Jamie Hogg with his 552 rwhp Mopar 
By Josh Penner, reporter
 

The Davenport Street Challenge kicked off the Saturday Calgary Drag Racing Association’s first event of the year.  It’s new to the CDRA’s drag racing program, but the Davenport Motorsports sponsored Street Challenge managed to bring out a small field of competitors for its ever first bracket race.  Cars and bikes 12 seconds and slower raced against each other for cash and bragging rights in an edge-of-your-seat bracket race. Continue Reading

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VIDEO: SATURDAY’S WEATHER NOT BAD ENOUGH TO DAMPEN SPIRITS OF DRAG RACERS

VIDEO: SATURDAY’S WEATHER NOT BAD ENOUGH TO DAMPEN SPIRITS OF DRAG RACERS

Brent Hackl’s Brogie roadster 
By Josh Penner, reporter
 

Racers were a little tense Saturday evening as heavy rain clouds hovered over the Race City drag strip, threatening to cancel yet another weekend of racing.  But by 7 p.m. the sun poked out of the clouds, CDRA organizers gave the thumbs up and the roar of unmuffled engines rolled across the track. Continue Reading

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DRAG RACING TAKES CENTRE STAGE AT RACE CITY THIS WEEKEND

DRAG RACING TAKES CENTRE STAGE AT RACE CITY THIS WEEKEND

By Josh Penner, reporter 

With the promise of decent weather over the next few days, the drag strip at Race City Motorsports Park is offering a packed weekend of racing. Continue Reading

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POLICE FROM AROUND ALBERTA TAKE A SPIN AT RACE CITY AT FRIDAY'S SECRET STREET EVENT

2003 Tiberon race car of the Blue Line Racing Association

2003 Tiberon race car of the Blue Line Racing Association

Amanda Preece, SECN reporter

Amanda Preece, SECN reporter

Calgary’s motorsport fans are in for a treat this weekend as police from Edmonton descend on Race City Motorsport Park to test out their racing prowess.  Members of Edmonton’s Blue Line Racing Association will be taking part in races along with teams from the Alberta Sheriff Department and the R.C.M.P. this Friday, Sept. 25, from 7 p.m. The Blue Line Racing Association is a non-profit organization formed by members of the Edmonton Police Service. Continue Reading

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LAST HURRAH FOR DRAG RACING AT RACE CITY?

Local drag racing veteran Harry Svinger makes his last run at Race City

Local drag racing veteran Harry Svinger makes his last run at Race City

Sunday afternoon may have seen the last deafening roar from the straight pipes of high horsepower cars at Race City.  The venerable motorsports facility is set to close after this season thanks to the City of Calgary’s insatiable demand for land to expand the Shepard Landfill.  Continue Reading

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VIDEO: GREAT WEEKEND OF DRAG RACING AT RACE CITY

Warming up the tires prior to a run at Race City Sunday

Warming up the tires prior to a run at Race City Sunday

Summer has officially arrived when the roar of open exhaust systems fills the air in southeast Calgary.  This past weekend it was the Calgary Drag Racing Association’s turn to tear up the track at Race City, with almost a hundred cars competing on Sunday.  Continue Reading

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VIDEO: 23RD ANNUAL FATHER'S DAY CLASSIC DRAG RACING EVENT A SUCCESS THIS PAST WEEKEND

One of many spectacular, crowd-pleasing runs down the track during the Father's Day Classic

One of many spectacular, crowd-pleasing runs down the track during the Father's Day Classic

The 23rd Annual, and possibly last, Father’s Day Classic drag racing event was held this past weekend at Race City.  The highlight of the meet was the featured jet cars, but racers from all over Western Canada came out to test their cars and their driving skills. Continue Reading

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VIDEO: HUSBAND AND WIFE JET CAR TEAM BIG HIT AT FATHER'S DAY CLASSIC

The Janeshewski jet car ready to run the quarter mile at Race City Sunday

The Janeshewski jet car ready to run the quarter mile at Race City Sunday

You can’t beat the ear-splitting whine of a jet engine, volumnious clouds of smoke, great puffs of flame and 250 mph for pleasing race fans.  The several thousand people who came to Race City this past weekend for the 23rd Annual Father’s Day Classic hosted by the Calgary Drag Racing Association went away happy customers. Continue Reading

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