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  • Kile, Maier, Gallen sweep in thrilling fashion during championship Sunday at Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals


    GRAND BEND, Ontario (July 21, 2013) – Prior to this weekend’s IHRA national event at the Grand Bend Motorplex neither Tracy Kile nor Ike Maier had ever won an IHRA Ironman in their respective class.


    That all changed over the weekend.



    Ike Maier


    During a thrilling three days of racing at the famed Grand Bend Motorplex in western Ontario Maier, piloting the “Nitro Warrior” Top Fuel Dragster, and Kile, driving a Jay Turner powered Nitro Harley, both claimed their first and second career Ironmen in exciting fashion during championship Sunday at the Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals presented by Parts Canada.


    Maier, a former IHRA winner in Pro Modified, picked up his first career Ironmen in Top Fuel Saturday and Sunday in Grand Bend, besting Bobby Lagana Jr. both nights. On Sunday Maier ran a quick 4.969 seconds at 277.77 miles per hour in the final, a feat that was made even more impressive considering Maier is a regular on the NHRA circuit and isn’t acclimated to running the full drag racing distance of a quarter-mile.


    “To be honest this was pretty new to us. We had not run a full quarter-mile pass in a long time entering Edmonton a few weeks ago and here and we were just trying to get used to the distance,” Maier said. “We added more fuel and had to put together a completely different setup, but boy did it feel good to run the quarter-mile again. I am so used to lifting at 1,000 feet and that extra 300 feet, it is tough, but it is fun. You are running wide open and the car is still carrying so much speed, but you learn to work around it.


    “This IHRA deal is really nice racing. I love it.”



    Peter Gallen


    Joining Maier and Kile in Sunday’s pro winners circle were Peter Gallen in AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car, Mike Hilsabeck in Nostalgia Fuel Altered and Eric Latino in the PMRA Pro Modified Invitational.


    Sportsman winners during Day 2 of the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL Division 3 doubleheader were Fred Sommer (Top Sportsman), Bill Moloughney (Top Dragster), Franco Cantusci (Super Stock), Stephen McGrath (Stock), Ken Hebert Jr. (Quick Rod), Jacob Elrod (Super Rod) and Roy Lister (Hot Rod).


    Other sportsman winners from Sunday’s Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals were Top ET winner Will Steckly, Mod ET winner Will Steckly, Junior Dragster winner Tyler Donahue and Harley Destroyers winner Pete Thomson.


    Maier put himself on the radar at IHRA’s Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals two weeks ago in Edmonton as the Tottenham, Ontario native came just a few miles per hour shy of setting the track speed record in his first pass. While he didn’t turn that speed into a win at the western Canadian event, Maier more than made up for it with a pair of wins in Grand Bend.



    Tracy Kile


    “This is very exciting. I have won a bunch of races here, but never in a Top Fuel car. The car is running pretty good. I had to lift a couple of times, but for the most part we were able to run it hard and put on a show for these great fans,” Maier said. “It wasn’t always pretty, but as they say it is not how you win, it is how many you win and we got two this weekend.”


    In Sunday’s final Maier’s 4.969 held up to Lagana’s 5.124, 259.46 pass to take the win. In the consolation run Bruce Litton defeated Kyle Wurtzel with both lifting midway through the run.


    Tracy Kile was Sunday’s other big winner as the Asheville, North Carolina native won his very first career Nitro Harley win on Saturday and followed it up with a second win Sunday. Both wins came against Kile’s bike owner and tuner Jay Turner with the pair saving the best for last in Sunday’s final elimination. In that final Kile ran a 6.512, 211.10 to Turner’s 6.691, 213.23 in a tremendous side-by-side pass to give Kile the win.



    Jacob Elrod


    “It is about time! The bike has been running good all year long, but I just haven’t been able to get it done with the trophy on the line,” Kile said. “Jay tunes both bikes, so ultimately he has control over the deal, so I guess he cut me some slack this weekend!


    “The great thing about having to run Jay all the time is that you get to prove yourself. As they say if you want to be the best you have to beat the best and it feels awesome to do it against Jay. That was a big goal for me this year was getting an Ironman and I am so excited to accomplish that.”


    In the consolation run Jake Stordeur defeated Rob Brown.


    Peter Gallen won for the seventh time in 2013 in AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car, sweeping a Nitro Jam weekend for the fourth fifth time in his career as he held off Mike Minick and the “Chi-Town Hustler” team. Minick had low elapsed time of the weekend entering Sunday’s final, but in the money round Minick went -.201 red and Gallen powered to a 5.778, 248.29 in the “Poverty Stricken” ’77 Monza in picking up the win and setting the bench mark for the weekend.


    In the consolation round Rick Krafft defeated Mike McIntire.


    Mike Hilsabeck wrapped up Nitro Jam competition with a close win over Ron Hope in Fuel Altered. Hilsabeck drove the “Arizona Thunder” to a 6.581, 212.49 in the win, edging Ron Hope’s “Rat Trap” by just two thousandths at the line to get the win. Hope ran a 6.553, 209.88 in the runner-up effort.



    Eric Latino


    Ron Maroney won the consolation pairing against Kyle Hough. Maroney also failed to back up his numbers from Saturday night as the Arizona native ran the quickest and fastest Fuel Altered pass in IHRA history at 5.935 seconds at 236.13.


    Eric Latino won the Pro Modified Racing Association Invitational on Sunday, defeating three-time PMRA champion Bruce Boland in the final. Latino won his second Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals in row in easy fashion as Boland broke on his burnout allowing the Ontario native to take a nice leisurely stroll to the Ironman.


    Latino qualified No. 2 on the charts and defeated Steve Legare, Kenny Lang and Boland on his way to the win.


    In sportsman competition Harrod, Ohio native Jacob Elrod returned to the track where he won three races in one day one year ago, once again claiming a win in Super Rod to give him four Sunday wins in four years at Grand Bend. Elrod drove his Corvette roadster to a win over Dave Klomps as Elrod ran one one thousandth off of the 9.90 dial while Klomps broke out by that same margin.



    Roy Lister


    In Top Sportsman Fred Sommer won via red light over Steve Corriveau while Bill Moloughney produced a very close win over Tony Positano in the Top Dragster final. In the Stock categories Franco Cantusci won over a red-lighting Robert Becker in Super Stock and Stephen McGrath continued his hot streak in Stock with a win over Doug Box.


    Finally Ken Hebert Jr. used a .001 reaction time to help propel him to a win over Vince Gregoire and Roy Lister took the win light over a red-lighting Chris Black in Hot Rod.


    Next up for the IHRA Nitro Jam series is a trip to U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan for the CarSafe Northern Nitro Jam presented by Perry Harley-Davidson August 9-10.


  • Gallen wows in front of packed house at Mopar Nationals


    GRAND BEND, Ontario (July 20, 2013) – It seems nothing can slow down IHRA Funny Car pilot Peter Gallen.


    Not delays, not valve issues, not really much of anything, seems to be able to slow down the Broomall, Pennsylvania native as he continues to rack up win after win, record after record with nothing but clean, solid passes down the quarter-mile in the incredibly popular nostalgia Funny Car class.



    Peter Gallen


    And Saturday night that trend continued as Gallen, following a lengthy delay between rounds and a few motor issues, drove to his sixth win of 2013 in quite simply one of the best side-by-side drag races you will ever see all in front of a packed house at the IHRA Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals presented by Parts Canada at the Grand Bend Motorplex.


    Gallen won on a holeshot with a blistering 5.810 second lap at 244.96 miles per hour in the “Poverty Stricken” 1977 Chevrolet Monza, driving around his opponent at the 300 foot mark and never looking back. In the other lane Mike Minick, driving the newly branded Omni-bodied “Chi-Town Hustler” machine, drove to a 5.789, 246.75 in the runner-up effort with only five thousandths of a second separating the pair at the line.


    “What an amazing job by the entire time. We have been battling valve issues and the team really got to work in getting this car ready to go and they did one hell of a job tonight,” Gallen said. “It was a great drag race against those guys and I would be lying if I didn’t say we weren’t happy with that pass. It was a great run to cap a long evening. Hats off to those guys and to my team.”



    Saturday at the Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals at the Grand Bend Motorplex


    Joining Peter Gallen in the winner’s circle during Saturday’s night of fire was Ike Maier in Top Fuel, Tracy Kile in Nitro Harley, Ron Maroney in Nostalgia Fuel Altered and John Konigshofer in Pro Stock.


    Sportsman winners during Day 1 of the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL Division 3 doubleheader were Tom Orr (Top Sportsman), Kevin Fisher (Top Dragster), Brian Clayton (Super Stock), Thomas Fletcher (Stock), Chris Scarlata (Quick Rod), Tony Elrod (Super Rod) and Rob Holden (Hot Rod).


    Gallen and Minick both produced sub-five second runs each and every time to the line, with Minick’s elapsed time and speed in the final standing as the low numbers for the weekend. The pair had to wait through an extensive oildown during round one put Rick Krafft and the “Bullet Bob” team out of commission.



    Ike Maier (near lane)


    In Top Fuel Canadian Ike Maier finally broke through for his first career IHRA Nitro Jam win in a tremendous pass against friend and rival Bobby Lagana Jr. With header flames lit the length of the track, Maier was edged at the line but fought back on the top end producing a 4.879, 272.89 in his first win. Lagana held the lead for the first 1,000 feet, but the blower belt let go in a tremendous burst to allow Maier to get to the line first.


    “What a fantastic win. We have really enjoyed our time running with the IHRA and this is really something we are very excited about,” Maier said. “Bobby and I had a great run in the final with him leading most of the way until the belt let loose. Still it was a great race and we are excited to get to race him for this win.”


    In the consolation round Bruce Litton produced an impressive 4.834, 293.86 in a solo pass for low ET and top speed of the night.


    Continuing with the theme of the evening Tracy Kile had a close win over Jay Turner in the Nitro Harley final as the Asheville, North Carolina native overcame a slower reaction time to run a 6.463, 213.74 in picking up the win. Turner ran a 6.632, 205.63 in the runner-up effort.



    Kevin Fisher


    Perhaps the most impressive lap of the night came during round one of Nostalgia Fuel Altered as Gilbert, Arizona native Ron Maroney put down a national record-topping pass of 5.935 seconds at 236.13 miles per hour in the “Blind Faith” Fuel Altered, both good enough for a new record if he can back up the numbers during the weekend.


    Maroney also took home the Ironman in the popular nostalgia class, nipping Ron Hope at the line as Hope crossed the center line and took out the timing blocks at the quarter-mile.


    In Mountain Motor Pro Stock John Konigshofer made an impressive return to quarter-mile competition with a very fast 6.308, 222.33 lap in a win over Tony Pontieri who had to shut it off early.


    Wrapping up the pro portion of the evening was round one of eliminations in the PMRA Pro Mod Invitational as top qualifiers Rocky Di Lecce and Bruce Boland advanced and will meet in round two, joining 2012 Grand Bend winner Eric Latino and two-time IHRA Pro Mod champion Kenny Lang.



    Kenny Lang


    In sportsman competition Canadian Tom Orr drove his ’08 Dodge Stratus to a win over Steve Corriveau in the all Canadian Top Sportsman final, joining fellow countrymen Brian Clayton in Super Stock who took down Franco Cantusci and Rob Holden who claimed the Hot Rod crown over Ryan Boniferro.

    Kevin Fisher took the win in Top Dragster over Ron Biondo, Tony Elrod took the Super Rod crown over Andrew Stirk, Thomas Fletcher won in Stock over Raymond Darroch and Chris Scarlata defeated Steve Mikus in the Quick Rod final.

    Nitro Jam competition will continue on Sunday with professional competition beginning at noon. Sportsman racing during Day 2 of the Summit Pro-Am Tour doubleheader will get underway at 9 a.m.

  • Lagana, Gallen Pick Up Where They Left Off At Grand Bend

    Bobby Lagana

    GRAND BEND, Ontario –(July 19, 2013) – Just one year ago Bobby Lagana Jr. hoisted the IHRA Ironman trophy after a dominating run in Top Fuel at the Grand Bend Motorplex.

    Friday night, Lagana looked like he hasn’t missed a beat.

    Coming off of a weekend sweep at the IHRA national event in Edmonton just two weeks ago, Lagana (Scarsdale, N.Y.) continued his dominance on the IHRA’s Canadian tour with a top run of the night during opening night at the Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals presented by Parts Canada at the Grand Bend Motorplex.

    IHRA’s professional classes got a qualifying hit at the track Friday night in preparation for Saturday and Sunday’s eliminations, with Friday’s qualifying setting the pairings for Sunday’s single Nitro Jam round. Lagana led the charge with a chart-topping 4.916 second pass at 313.29 miles per hour. He beat Kyle Wurtzel, Grand Bend’s other winner a year ago, in a great side-by-side drag race as Wurtzel produced a 5.056, 249.49 lap.

    Peter Gallen

    In AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car Peter Gallen (Broomall, Pa.) showed why he is the record holder and best-in-class with a very quick 5.858, 231.64 pass, barely holding down the top spot in the “Poverty Stricken” Monza over Mike Minick who drove the new bodied “Chi-Town Hustler” Omni to a 5.929, 233.88.

    Tracy Kile

    Tracy Kile had the top pass of the night in Nitro Harley ,blazing down the track to the tune of a 6.639, 211.33 to hold off Jay Turner’s 6.702, 205.22.

    Wrapping up the evening was an exhibition pass of Mountain Motor Pro Stocks running the IHRA quarter-mile for the first time since 2009 as Canadian John Konigshofer led the way with a 6.440, 219.01 in his first quarter-mile pass in his brand new Mustang-bodied machine.

    Round one of qualifying in PMRA Pro Mods wrapped up the evening with points leader and four-time race winner in 2013 Rocky Di Leece pacing the field for the fourth race in a row with a stout 6.109, 237.30 pass. Two-time IHRA Pro Mod champion Kenny Lang was second with a 6.104, 238.85 followed by 2012 Grand Bend winner Eric Latino with a 6.355, 235.35.

    Racing will continue on Saturday with sportsman qualifying beginning at 9 a.m. followed by round two of PMRA qualifying and one round of Fuel Altered at 4:30 p.m. and two rounds of Nitro Jam professional competition beginning at 7 p.m.