Photo courtesy Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame

Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame welcomes Class of 2016 inductees

Leave a comment

Hockey may be Canada’s favorite sport, but drag racing isn’t far behind in terms of popularity and interest.

Saturday night in Montreal, 23 drag racing luminaries from north of the border were inducted into the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame in its second annual gala.

“It’s a privilege to witness the Class of 2015 welcome this year’s inductees,” says John Scotti, Founder of the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame. “Seeing the positive reactions from members of the drag racing community at each annual induction, is truly a rewarding experience to be a part of.”

Inductees were enshrined for having been actively engaged in the top level of their respective drag racing categories for at least 25 years.

Categories for which they were inducted included racers, crew chiefs, engine and chassis builders, mechanics, track officials, track photographers, announcers, promoters and sponsors “who have made a lasting impact and significant difference in the development of the sport of drag racing in Canada and elsewhere,” according to a media release.

Among those inducted were former NHRA team public relations representative and International Hot Rod Association Media Relations Director Rob Evans, as well as Jeff Arend, who won several races in his career, including the 1996 NHRA event at Maple Grove Raceway.

Others inducted included former world champion Gianni Cantusci, who follows his father Frank Cantusci, who was inducted in last year’s inaugural Hall of Fame class.

“With each new induction, the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame Museum is expanding with new artefacts and memorabilia thanks to each inductee and the drag racing community,” said Hall director Bob Aubertin. “Not only are we recognizing some of our nation’s drag racing greats, it also shows today’s generation just how far the sport has really grown.”

The Hall is located in Montreal.

Here’s a list of Saturday’s inductees:

Ken Achs, Saskatoon, SK; Jeff Arend, Thornhill, ON; Bob Beazer, Odessa, ON; Vic Beleny, Welland, ON; Gianni Cantusci, Ottawa, ON; Guy Desjardins, Montreal, QC; Bob Elliott, London, ON; Rob Evans, London, ON; Geoff Goodwin, Prince Albert, SK; Charlie Haviland, London, ON;

Also, Vince Hazel, Windsor, ON; Ron Hodgson, St. Albert, AB; Richard Jones, Ottawa, ON; Bill Kydd, London, ON; Wayne Lang, London, ON; Abe Loewen, Regina, SK; Brian Mulligan, Cornwall, ON; Norm Noddle, Wasaga Beach, ON; Harold Parfett, Edmonton, AB; Venice Perno, Stoney Creek, ON; Rob Potter, Dundas, ON; Bert Straus, Kitchener, ON; John Waldie, Embro, ON.

2016-canadian-drag-racing-hall-of-fame-class
Here’s the 2016 Class of the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame: 1st Row – From left to right: Richard Jones, Brian Mulligan, Ken Achs, Guy Desjardins, Vince Hazel, Rob Evans, John Scotti – Founder of the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame – Gianni Cantusci, Jeff Arend, Rob Potter, Vic Beleny, Wayne Lang. 2nd Row – From left to right: Harolf Parfett, Ron Hodgson, Geoff Goodwin, John Waldie, Norm Noddle, Bill Kydd, Bob Elliott, Venice Perno, Charlie Haviland, Bert Straus, Abe Loewen and Bob Beazer.

 

Follow @JerryBonkowski

NHRA to expand field sizes for 2020 Countdown playoffs

NHRA
Leave a comment

Field sizes for the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship playoffs could substantially increase for the upcoming 2020 season, the sanctioning body announced Wednesday.

The previous standard to qualify for the playoffs was the top 10 ranked drivers following the last regular season race before the Countdown begins, the U.S. Nationals in suburban Indianapolis. That standard remains in place.

Now, in light of Wednesday’s announcement, additional drivers in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car “Nitro” classes will be eligible for the six-race Countdown playoffs if they compete in all 18 regular season events and run a minimum of two qualifying sessions at each of those 18 events.

Given that most of the 18 NHRA regular season events have as many as four qualifying sessions, the new expanded field could potentially add several Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars to the Countdown field. For example, if there are 16 full-time teams that compete in all 18 regular season races for the upcoming season, all 16 teams will likely qualify for the playoffs.

If those additional drivers meet the new standard, their point standings will also be reset after the U.S. Nationals, as has always been the case for the top 10 Countdown qualifiers.

Changes will also take place in Countdown qualifying for Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle, which have smaller season schedules than their counterparts in Top Fuel and Funny Car.

In addition to those being ranked in the top 10 after the U.S. Nationals following the 13-race regular season, additional Pro Stock drivers who have competed in all 13 prior events as well as took part in a minimum of two qualifying sessions in each of those events will be eligible for the Countdown.

Because it contests only an 18-race overall season schedule, Pro Stock’s portion of the Countdown is only five races, rather than six as in Top Fuel and Funny Car.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, which has a 16-race overall season schedule, in addition to those being ranked in the top 10 after the U.S. Nationals following the 11-race regular season, riders who have competed in all 11 regular season events and took part in a minimum of two qualifying sessions in each of those events will also be eligible for the Countdown.

As in Top Fuel and Funny Car, all Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle drivers/riders that qualify for the Countdown after the U.S. Nationals will have their points reset.

Speaking of points being reset, the NHRA also announced that heading into the Countdown, Top Fuel and Funny Car will see first and second place be separated by 20 points, while each subsequent position will be separated by a 10-point differential.

In Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle, first and second place heading into the Countdown will be separated by 20 points, while second through fifth place will be separated by 10 points and all positions below fifth place will be separated by five points.

And has been the case in the past, all drivers/riders that reach the Auto Club Finals season-ending race will earn points-and-a-half for qualifying and each round run.

According to a NHRA media release, “NHRA officials made this change in order to better reward driver endurance and encourage participation in regular season events.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski