A very familiar competitor to those familiar with the IHRA, Boychuk has been a regular competitor with the International Hot Rod Association since the late 2000s, first piloting a 10,000 horsepower Top Fuel Dragster before finding extreme success in the ranks of the nostalgia Nitro Funny Car scene. A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Boychuk has become a repeat visitor to the Edmonton winners circle at IHRA’s biggest event of the year – the Mopar Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports at Castrol Raceway – but his success extends much farther than the shores of the IHRA.
Tim Boychuk's new ride, seen here at the March Meet earlier this year
A former March Meet winner, Boychuk has proven himself a threat to win nearly everywhere he goes which is why he is considered one of the top dogs entering the 2014 IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series season. Going head-to-head against regular foes John Hale, Jason Rupert, Mark Sanders and many more, Boychuk has matched wits with the best of the best and looks forward to trying his hand at winning the most coveted championship in the history of the nostalgia Nitro Funny Car world.
With legendary tuner Roland Leong by his side, joining car chief Twig Ziegler, Boychuk has amassed an essential who’s who in the world of Nitro Funny Car racing as he goes after the inaugural IHRA Nitro Funny Car World Championship beginning at the Southwestern Nitro Jam Nationals at Southwestern International Raceway March 21-22.
Can Boychuk win it all with essentially a brand new team? What rivalries will we see pop up with so much on the line? We asked him that and a whole lot more. Here is our interview with Tim Boychuk as he prepares for the first race of the IHRA season in a little over a week.
Q: What changes have you and your team made during the offseason?
Tim Boychuk: We have actually made some big changes in our camp this year. My former partner Ron (Hodgson) decided he doesn’t want to race as much as I do, so he has bowed out and I have since purchased the entire team. I am essentially running the entire team myself now, which is definitely a new challenge. I also lost Bob as our crew chief as he decided to pursue other interests, but in the meantime I have since rehired Roland Leong as my tuner and Twig Ziegler as my car chief, which is really exciting. Returning on the original crew are Dan and Doug and also Cal Tebb will be joining us this year. A lot of people don’t know that Cal is actually the person that got me into drag racing. It is really a big homecoming deal for the team this year, which makes it really nice.
Q: You have really assembled a who’s who team when it comes to the world of Nitro Funny Car, do you feel that gives you any sort of advantage?
TB: I don’t think it necessarily gives us an advantage, what it does is makes it more comfortable and allows us to try some new things. We have been experimenting lately with a whole new combination on the car. Now, we didn’t have the success that we were looking for at the March Meet, but we did get the car down the track on our last run which proved a lot to us. We left happy with the outcome and we are looking forward to taking what we have learned into Tucson and the entire IHRA tour.
Boychuk has seen a lot of success over the past few years
Q: Tell us a little about the major changes made to the car for this year?
TB: We changed the combination of cubic inches, we made it smaller, we changed the transmission gearing, we changed the rear end gearing, just a lot of changes made really. The other thing is we updated a lot of stuff on the car. Now we are just going to move forward with what we have learned and try to have a really good season.
Q: When it comes to the competition with the IHRA, obviously there are some pretty big hitters running over here this year. Talk about the competition in Nitro Funny Car this season?
TB: It sounds like it is going to be a fun year, for sure. With all of the names that have signed on to do this tour, John Hale, Jason Rupert, Kris Krabill, Mark Sanders – we are going to have a lot of fun running against those guys. As a competitor, I like it when we run against guys of that caliber. Last year we developed a couple of great rivalries. We had our east-west rivalry with Peter Gallen and an even bigger rivalry between Kris Krabill and myself. We were all going to races and we were racing each other with a few thousandths of a second and there is nothing more fun. It is great, not only for us, but for the fans to see that kind of intense racing. I think with all of this talent it is going to be one heck of an exciting season.
Q: Talk a little bit about the explosion of fan interest in nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars over the past few years?
TB: This is my sixth season running these cars and since I have been involved with them you just see such a great competition. Everybody is running so close to one another. If you saw the numbers from the March Meet, you have to be running a 5.80 at least to be in the show and there were 29 cars going for a 16-car field. And when you look at the people that are going to be running with the IHRA this year, you can't get any more competitive than that. We have the cream of the crop. And I think all of that goes back to the fans. These cars are relatable, the racing is close and very intense and these cars put on one heck of a show.
Q: The 2014 season is just around the bend, how excited are you about the season ahead?
TB: I am very much looking forward to Tucson. I wish it was this weekend. I think that we have a great new team coming in, some of these guys have been there before and it is just going to be a hell of a show out there. We are going to have a lot of fun.