EDMONTON, Alberta --
Here is what's making headlines entering this weekend's race:
EVENT: MOPAR Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports
SUMMIT PRO-AM DIVISION: Division 6 Border Bandits
WHERE: Castrol Raceway | 10 Minutes south of Edmonton. Highway 19 and Highway 2, Nisku, Alberta, Canada
WHEN: July 5-7
Edmonton native and Funny Car ace Tim Boychuk will be going for his fourth consecutive win at his home race this weekend.
Based right down the road from the track, Boychuk has made a name for himself in the nostalgia Funny Car ranks over the past few years setting records and winning some of the biggest races in the sport including taking home the famed March Meet crown at Bakersfield, California earlier this year. But nowhere has Boychuk been better than at the track where he got his drag racing start.
Over the past three years Boychuk has dispatched of Andy Beauchemin, Michael Grekul and Jim Obalek in the AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car finals to take wins in the only qualified-field Funny Car competition on the Nitro Jam schedule. Boychuk also took a runner-up finish in Top Fuel in 2010.
This year's competition will without a doubt be Boychuk's toughest yet as he squares off against a stout field of competitors including three-time IHRA Top Fuel World Champion Paul Romine in the "Power Steel" Camaro and the famed "Candies & Hughes" Funny Car team and March Meet runner-up Mark Sanders.
Fans will be in for a treat if Boychuk can once again take home the Ironman in the biggest IHRA race of the year.
THE LEGEND RETURNS
Speaking of Funny Car competition, if you haven't heard three-time IHRA Top Fuel World Champion and recent nostalgia Funny Car star Paul Romine will be coming out of retirement and traveling from his home in Indianapolis, Indiana to Edmonton to compete in his first race in over a year.
Romine received a call from Jim Broome, owner of the famed "Candies & Hughes" Funny Car team, earlier this year to drive his newly acquired "Power Steel" Camaro and Romine happily obliged. After taking a mini-retirement from the sport, Romine will return to action this weekend alongside his "Candies & Hughes" teammate as one of the most iconic Funny Car teams in the sport travel to Edmonton to battle Tim Boychuk and western Canada's best racers.
Adding to the excitement, Romine will be reuniting with his old crew as he teams with longtime tuner Mike Cavalieri and crewman John Bullard - both of whom have played pivotal roles with Romine over the years - as the team tries to get the "Power Steel" Camaro up to snuff against a very tough field in IHRA's only qualified Funny Car competition of the season.
"We are getting the band back together," Romine said. "It has been a little while since the last time I was behind the wheel, but with these guys I am sure we can get the car and myself up to speed pretty quickly. Mike used to help me with the Funny Car and John has been with me forever and having those guys with me up in Edmonton will make for a pretty awesome weekend."
A SPECIAL GUEST COMES HOME
Hall of Fame crew chief and Edmonton native Bernie Fedderly, long associated with legendary Funny Car driver John Force, has been named the Grand Marshal for the upcoming IHRA MOPAR Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals presented by Good Vibrations.
Fedderly, who retired from racing earlier this year, spent more than two decades with John Force Racing where he served alongside Austin Coil in guiding Force to 15 NHRA Funny Car championships. Fedderly was elected into the Drag Racing Hall of Fame in March and the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1996.
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Fedderly has been around drag racing for more than 40 years. He broke onto the scene in 1980 when he guided Terry Capp to a victory at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and went on to win more than 100 national events with six different drivers in both Top Fuel and Funny Car.
With his Edmonton roots and longtime association with Castrol, Fedderly will serve as Grand Marshal for one of Canada's biggest motorsports events, the International Hot Rod Association's MOPAR Rocky Mountain Nationals set for July 5-7 at Castrol Raceway.
A SHOW UNLIKE ANY OTHER
One of the things that makes the MOPAR Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals so special is the unique lineup of racers and racecars. Between professional and sportsman competitors over a dozen different classes will fill the lanes this weekend including one of the wildest assortments of show cars found anywhere in the sport.
Professional competition will be conducted in Top Fuel Dragster, AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car, Nitro Harley, Fuel Altered, Rocky Mountain Nostalgia Funny Car and more.
In addition to all of the racing, the 2013 Rocky Mountain Nationals will also feature one of the biggest shows in the history of the event.
Multiple wheelstanders, jet dragsters and even a pair of jet trucks will join Alcohol Funny Cars, wheelstanding Police Cars and more. It will be a nice complement to an already stellar lineup of racing!
One of the oldest rivalries in all of IHRA drag racing is that between Top Fuel veterans Bruce Litton and Bobby Lagana Jr.
The two have competed against one another for over a decade, each winning multiple races and even a few championships during that span. But this year the two haven't seen much of each other - that is until this weekend.
Lagana and Litton will renew their age-old rivalry at Castrol Raceway as the two Top Fuel pilots, both winners of this event in the past, will join Kyle Wurtzel and a fourth Top Fuel team in an old-fashioned 320 mile-per-hour shootout to determine the fastest racer on the property. Last year it was Litton, who will take this year's showdown?
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH
Over the past few years one of the most popular classes to emerge from the Rocky Mountain Nationals is the similarly named Rocky Mountain Funny Car group.
What began as an exhibition class at this event several years ago has grown into an integral part of the Edmonton event as the racers, from all across western Canada and the United States, travel to Castrol Raceway in their unique assortment of race vehicles looking for a shot at their biggest win of the year.
Racing on an index, these wild-bodied race cars qualify and compete in a 16-car field with the winner taking bragging rights for the year. And to add to the excitement - you never really know who is going to take the win.
Last year's Rocky Mountain Nostalgia Funny Car race was marred with upsets as No. 13 qualifier Shane Reykdal went on a tear eliminating one contender after another - including top qualifier David Brant - to eventually take home the win over Troy Sitko.