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Records fall during thrilling "Night of Fire" at Rocky Mountain Nationals

Sunday, 07 July 2013

Cooler temperatures and near-perfect air created flawless conditions and led to several record runs all in front of a packed house at the 11th annual Mopar Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports Saturday at Castrol Raceway.

For over a decade the Rocky Mountain Nationals has stood at the pinnacle of the IHRA Nitro Jam season and the event again lived up to those expectations on a night filled with incredible quarter-mile drag racing. Top Fuel provided the most wow moments Saturday night as Canadian Ike Maier came just a couple of miles per hour shy of setting the all-time speed record at Castrol Raceway while Bobby Lagana Jr. took home the win in the sports fastest class.

Lagana had back-to-back passes at or near the four second zone, saving the best for last with a 4.987, 300.93 to defeat longtime rival Bruce Litton on a very cool surface. Also taking home a win Saturday was Kyle Hough in the “Super Nanook” who blasted by Randy Bradford in the Nostalgia Fuel Altered final to take his fifth win of the season.

Edmonton Saturday 3

   Mike Pelrine

In Nitro Jam’s two other nitro classes Tim Nemeth’s record-breaking pass on Friday withstood Saturday’s cooler conditions and will give him the the top qualifying spot in Sunday’s final eliminations, while Mike Pelrine topped IHRA’s Nitro Harley class. The Rocky Mountain Nostalgia Funny Car class qualified and completed one round on Saturday with upsets highlighting the evening session.

In sportsman competition Day 1 of the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL Division 6 race is in the books with Graham Foster (Top Sportsman), Trevor Ritchie (Top Dragster), Mark Faul (Super Stock), Casey Plaizier (Stock), Cody Scheu (Quick Rod), Tom Patterson (Super Rod), Warren Neitsch (Hot Rod), Shawn Hagan (Junior Master), Mackenna Ochitwa (Junior Advanced) and Shaylynne Smith (Junior Beginner) taking home Ironman trophies.

It was lap-after-lap of great racing in Top Fuel as Scarsdale, New York native Bobby Lagana Jr. raced his way to the win in his first IHRA action of the season. In the final Lagana faced longtime IHRA competitor Bruce Litton and used a narrow fourth thousandths advantage off the line and a great run to pick up the win.

Edmonton Saturday 2 2

   Tim Nemeth (far) versus Nathan Sitko

In the consolation pairing Ike Maier continued his strong weekend with an evening-best 4.959, 281.95 to pick up the win. Maier also had a pass of 4.992 at 324.75 mph, just two miles per hour shy of the Castrol Raceway track speed record.

Tim Nemeth topped the AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car field with a Castrol Raceway-record run of 5.752, 249.26 on Friday, still some two tenths quicker than second place qualifier Cameron Ferre. Tim Boychuk, Mike Halstead and Nathan Sitko round out the top five qualifiers entering Sunday’s eliminations.

Sixth place qualifier Paul Romine produced Saturday’s most spectacular pass, putting his “Powers Steel” Camaro up on two wheels and into his opponents lane before taming the car and getting back on track.

Edmonton Saturday 5 2

   Mark Faul

In Nitro Harley Mike Pelrine topped the class with a 6.570, 212.56 Saturday night, just holding off Nathan Gagnon whose 6.689, 212.06 will place him second. Ben Ground, Damian Cownden and Andy Beauchemin round out the top five.

Saturday’s other pro winner was Kyle Hough who survived two wobbly rounds to take the win over Randy Bradford. Hough had the better light and a much better pass with a 7.255, 163.39 putting him in the winners circle.

In the popular Rocky Mountain Nostalgia Funny Car class four rounds of qualifying and a round of eliminations were completed on Saturday with upset winners dominating the headlines. Three of the top four qualifiers fell out in round one with Cory Kincaid being the highest qualified car left standing at No. 3. Top qualifier Cal Tebb lost in round one to Joey Steckler and No. 2 qualifier Jim Fersch went red against Cody Anstead.

Edmonton Saturday 5 1

   Kyle Hough

Greg Sereda (Top Alcohol Dragster) and Jason Rupert (Alcohol Funny Car) were Saturday’s exhibition class winners.

Racing action will continue on championship Sunday with eliminations in all professional classes followed by Day 2 of the Summit Pro-Am Tour Division 6 competition. Racing gets underway at 9 a.m. with pro competition kicking off at 11:30 a.m.

Edmonton Saturday 8

   Randy Modersohn

Edmonton Saturday 7 2

   Joey Steckler

Edmonton Saturday 7 1

   Lots of cars were on hand for Saturday's Summit Pro-Am/Nitro Jam doubleheader

Edmonton Saturday 2 1

   Ron Hope

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