IHRA pulls into Grand Bend

JIM CRESSMAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:44 PM ET

Grand Bend is one of the IHRA's most favourite stops on its North American tour.

"It's a beautiful place with great beaches just down the road and a wonderful track right in the heart of Ontario, and for over a decade now we've featured some of the best racing in the world for some of the best racing fans in the world," Nitro Jam president Aaron Polburn said as the IHRA pulls into Grand Bend Motorplex this weekend.

This year's event features the largest lineup of nitro machines yet, as the nitro Harley class has returned following an eight-year absence to join the 300 m.p.h. top fuel dragsters, prostalgia nitro funny cars and nostalgia fuel altereds. Besides the six pro classes, which includes pro mod, there are 11 classes in sportsman.

It's the 11th year the IHRA has invaded the Bend with its ground-moving machines, and with it come thousands of speed-hungry race fans from nearby Canadian provinces and bordering U.S. states.

And as with any drag racing show, there will be the "monsters of the midway," including the world famous Grave Digger truck of Monster Jam fame taking on the 30,000 horsepower Super Shockwave jet truck in a side-by-side race never before seen in Eastern Canada.

It's interesting that Randy Brown, who pilots Grave Digger, knew nothing about drag racing before he teamed with Nitro Jam this year. Monster Jam and Nitro Jam are both owned by Feld Motor Sports, which produces various motorsports entertainment.

Brown has put massive truck slicks on the rear wheels and has perfected the monster truck burnout. It's also something to see the legendary green and black, 11-foot tall, 12,000-pound vehicle firing down the quarter-mile. It basically takes up the entire lane.

Another interesting twist to this year involves sponsor Mopar, which is adding a stock car element to the weekend. NASCAR Canadian Tire Series competitor Ron Beauchamp Jr. of Windsor, sponsored in the NCATS by Mopar, will have a display and will do burnouts in his late model prior to each evening's pro session.

Likely another first for drag racing as the IHRA is always looking to impress its fans.


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