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Old School Cool: IHRA enjoys throwback weekend at Grand Bend

Friday, 19 July 2013

The year was 2002.

That season Grand Bend celebrated its third-ever IHRA national event, there were 12 events on the IHRA national event calendar – only two of which are still on the schedule – and Clay Millican (Top Fuel), Shannon Jenkins (Pro Mod), Brian Gahm (Pro Stock) Jimmy Rector (Alcohol Funny Car) and Doug Vancil (Nitro Harley) were celebrating IHRA national championships.

Oh, and it was also the last time the very IHRA-distinct classes of Top Fuel, Pro Stock, Pro Mod and Nitro Harley all competed at an IHRA-sanctioned event together.

That is, until this weekend.

For the first time in over a decade the IHRA will celebrate its heritage with competition in three of its flagship classes – Top Fuel, Pro Mod and Mountain Motor Pro Stock – plus the thrilling excitement of Nitro Harley all at this weekend’s Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals presented by Parts Canada at the Grand Bend Motorplex.

Pete Berner GBM

   Pete Berner

The 14th annual Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals will feature six professional classes plus Jet Jam – a thrilling show featuring three different jet-burning classes – all jammed together at one of the biggest events Grand Bend has ever hosted. And among those in attendance this weekend, two-time IHRA national champions in Pro Mod and Pro Stock respectively Kenny Lang and Pete Berner, plus IHRA world champions in Top Fuel Bobby Lagana Jr. and Bruce Litton and multi-time Nitro Harley title holder Jay Turner.

“It has been a while since we have been to an IHRA race and we are really looking forward to it,” said Kenny Lang, the IHRA Pro Mod World Champion in 2008 and 2009. “It is always fun coming to this racetrack. When the IHRA is here it is always a packed house with tons of people, tons of cars, it should be a really good weekend for competitive racing.”

Lang will be competing as a part of the Canadian-based Pro Modified Racing Association this weekend alongside 2012 Grand Bend winner Eric Latino and 2013’s undefeated racer Rocky Di Lecce.

Jay Turner GBM

   Jay Turner (far lane)

IHRA will also welcome back Mountain Motor Pro Stock for the first time since 2009 as the four-car exhibition of Pete Berner and Bob Bertsch and Canadians John Konigshofer Toni Pontieri take to the track for a now rare quarter-mile showdown.

Lang and Berner, both backed by Summit Racing Equipment and powering down the track in Chevrolet Camaros, are both looking forward to being back with the IHRA this weekend at one of the biggest events on the schedule.

“This is a great chance to showcase our heritage in front of the IHRA fans and will be a good move for our class and for the sport,” Berner said. “The Summit Racing Equipment team is very excited to be back at Grand Bend and returning to the quarter-mile and seeing our old friends and fans up in Canada."

In addition to Pro Stock and Pro Mod, the IHRA will also feature competition in Top Fuel and Nitro Harley, both regulars on the IHRA trail, along with new favorites in AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car and Fuel Altered.

Bruce Litton GBM 1

   Bruce Litton

And one man who is extra excited about this weekend’s Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals is the man who won the very first one 14 years ago – North Carolina native Jay Turner and the Bulldog Nitro Harley team. In only the third season for Nitro Harley on the IHRA trail Turner won at the inagural Grand Bend event in 2000, his second of four wins that season on his way to the Nitro Harley championship.

“I won the first race here in 2000 and because of that this place will always have a special place in my heart,” said Turner. “I have won a bunch of races, but that one really stands out. It was the first time we had ever run in Canada and we won the race. I also really like this track. We race here a few times a year and we really look forward to those races, seeing the incredible Canadian fans and racing on this great track.”

The 2013 Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals presented by Parts Canada is Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Grand Bend Motorplex in Grand Bend, Ontario. For ticket information visit www.nitrojam.com or call the track at (519) 238-7223.

CLICK HERE for schedules, ticket information and more on the Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals presented by Parts Canada at the Grand Bend Motorplex

Last modified on Friday, 19 July 2013
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