Toronto - Reporter's Notebook
Notes from Jim Luikens' Reporter's Notebook at the 3rd Annual ACDelco Canadian Nationals
The only other injected car here, Bob Leverich, also arrived with nitrous onboard after his crew had worked until midnight the night before to install an entry-level kit. Bob made his first ever nitrous-assisted pass on Friday evening with base line tuning information from Keith Stark. Saturday's first qualifying session produced a 6.677 elapsed time, just a few thousands away from his 6.63 career best. Bob was impressed with the impact that nitrous made on his run and looks forward to continuing to develop the combination.
Beginning with the next event in Martin, Michigan all of the Top Fuelers are required to have roll cage shielding in place in addition to the traditional "tombstone" that has always been required behind the driver's head. Only Clay Millican had such a shield installed here and his was a second-design model that replaced the one that the team had proactively installed prior to any specific shield rules being announced by the sanctioning bodies.
Evan Knoll of Decatur, Michigan has purchased a Top Fueler from Bruce Litton. Knoll, the owner of Knoll Gas, is well known for the Torco Race Fuels he sells and has competed in Top Alcohol Dragster in NHRA Lucas Oil Series competition. He plans to make his Top Fuel debut at the upcoming, Torco Race Fuels-sponsored Martin, Michigan Northern Nationals.
Rick DiStefano rejoined the tour here after business commitments had forced him to miss the last event at Milan. The last time we saw Rick was in the final round at Edmonton when a broken blower belt relegated him to the runner-up position. The departing belt did some damage to his hood and windshield but both had been refurbished for this event. Rick proved that he had mastered the transition from the altitude of Edmonton seamlessly. On Friday he qualified second right out of the box at 6.230 despite short shifting his car early by mistake. Only Fred Hahn's 6.228 eclipsed his 6.230 as supercharged cars claimed the top two positions and 11 of the top 16 on Friday. During Saturday's first session Rick roared to the number one spot at 6.174 seconds before being bumped back to number two by Billy Harper during Saturday's Night of Fire.
Elijah Morton was racing here with "Big Sexy." Big Sexy is the name of one his engines and it was that engine that carried him to victory at Grand Bend earlier this year. The engine lived up to its pedigree by roaring to the number three qualifying position on Friday night. His run of 6.572 seconds was actually holding down the pole position until the very last run of the qualifying session when Brian Gahm and John Montecalvo both recorded 6.55 elapsed times. On Saturday he was only able to improve to a 6.571 elapsed time which dropped him to fifth place in the final Pro Stock ranking.
Former track manager Bruce Mehlenbacher and his friends put together an observance of the 50th anniversary of the Cayuga (now TMP) track earlier this year. Due to the overwhelming positive response the group decided to reprise the highlights of that event over the national event weekend to allow even more fans to enjoy it. In a former army barracks located adjacent to the track they set up a photo review, continuous slide show and memorabilia swap meet.
John McIntyre from Hydro Vac was trying to raise money this weekend for Ryan MacPherson. MacPherson, of nearby Selkirk, Ontario has Cystic Fibrosis and is need of a double lung transplant. McIntyre and Hydro Vac, already a Toronto Motorsports Park and local racer sponsor, decided to get behind Ryan when they heard that he was no longer eligible for coverage under his parent's insurance policy because he had reached 21 years of age. They started by donating $4,000 towards a weekend goal of $15,000 and offered to match all of the other contributions received on a dollar for dollar basis. By the end of the first day the fund already stood at $6,000 collected.
Ed Note: Notes during the event mentioned that the last time an Ostrander Team car was in consecutive finals was in 1987. In fact, Louie Allison went to consecutive finals, at Epping and Rockingham in 2001. The Fall Rockingham race was run prior to the event at Budds Creek that year. FastNews apologizes for the error.