Nemeth Rides Rocky Mountain High
Sunday’s other big winner was Joe Delehay, who set both ends of the track record and bested a few personal bests on his way to the Ironman in Pro Modified. Driving a beautiful blue and silver ’68 Camaro, Delehay qualified first and was the fastest driver all weekend on his way to his first win at the Rocky Mountain Nationals.
“We have been away from this race for three years and it was great to once again put on a show for these fans,” Delehay said. “Tim McAmis built us a pretty good racecar. It goes right down the track every time, straight as an arrow, and has been really good to us as of late. We came here in August of last year and won the race. We went to Las Vegas and won the race. Now we come here and win again to make it three-in-a-row. That is not too bad.”
With everyone on the property gunning for the weekend’s fast qualifier, Delehay’s final-round opponent, Garry Weslosky, got ahead of himself, going way red and allowing Delehay to make a victory pass of 6.086 at 238.72 for the win.
Delehay, trying to put down the first five-second Pro Mod pass in Castrol Raceway history, flirted with the record all weekend long, coming as close as 6.001 Saturday evening. But on Sunday, Delehay shifted his focus from records to an Ironman as he weaved his way through Kerry Stone and Glen Kerunsky on his way to the win.
“We actually hadn’t run this car since November. We put the car together, put a new blower on it, new gear ratio, new combination and started the weekend pretty safe in our setup, but we stepped it up as the weekend went along,” Delehay said. “We were so close to that five-second mark. We thought we were there a couple of times, but we just came up short. Still, we set a few records and came away with the win and we are pretty happy about that.”
IHRA’s largest pro field in Edmonton was Pro 6.90 made up of the Rocky Mountain Nostalgia Funny Car group as Edmonton’s own Shane Reykdal, piloting the “E-Town Hustler” ’79 Omni, drove to his second win in the last three years at the Rocky Mountain Nationals. From the No. 7 position on the 16-car ladder, Reykdal went four rounds ending with a win over Ryan Hodgson.
Reykdal had a .025 light and drove a 6.982 at 197.62 in the final of the 6.90-index class as Hodgson broke-out by .003 at the line.
Reykdal added wins over Cal Tebb, Landon Goudreau and Troy Sitko on his way to his second Ironman in three years.
Damian Cownden, from Victoria, British Columbia, won the Drag Specialties Nitro Bike category, meeting up with Nate Gagnon, from Qualican Beach, B.C. in the final. Gagnon, who won IHRA’s most recent race in Grand Bend,Ontario just two weeks ago, had the advantage on the starting line with a .109 to a .137, but lost it at the top end as Cowndon rode to a 6.699 at 212.43. Gagnon had to shut it off early.
Tottenham, Ontario native Ike Maier won his second consecutive IHRA Ironman in Top Fuel on Sunday, besting Indiana native Kyle Wurtzel in the final with a 4.988 at 279.73. Wurtzel’s dragster lit up in a fiery explosion at the line, handing Maier the win.
Wrapping up pro eliminations in Edmonton was Jet Dragster as Dawn Perdue, in the Sport Aviation jet dragster, collected her second Ironman of the year over Marisha Falk. Perdue had a 6.008 at 262.74 in the final, while Falk launched before lighting the stage light, negating her run.
Mark Faul and Casey Plaizier led the way in the sportsman categories during the three-day weekend. Faul, from Tacoma, Wash., won Super Stock both Saturday and Sunday, while Plaizier, from Stony Plain, Alb., took home a pair of Ironman trophies on Saturday in Stock and Hot Rod.