Race winners and 2013 season champions were declared during the Thunder by the Beach Weekend at the Grand Bend Motorplex for the Pro Modified Racing Association, the Quick 32 Sportsman Series, and the Pro Bike & Sled Series.
This event was the final for all three drag race series, and along with new event winners, the championship in each series was announced.
After a stellar year with five victories in the PMRA, Rocky Di Lecce of Mississauga, Ontario has been named champion, his first in the Pro Modified series. The Top Sportsman team of Rob Gray and Bill Wilson of Ingersoll, Ontario won their first Quick 32 Sportsman Series title, and Pro Bike rider Dan Cryderman of Thamesville, Ontario won his first championship in PBSS racing.
The Grand Bend race was the seventh and final points race for the PMRA, now in its ninth year. The race marked the sixth and final race for the Quick 32 Sportsman Series, presented by NAPA Auto Parts, as well as the sixth and final race of the season for the PBSS, presented by Wiseco Performance Products.
Winning his first PMRA race was Paolo Giust of Osgoode, Ontario. Qualifying third with his 1963 Corvette Pro Modified, Giust caught a good light in the final round and eliminated Derek Hawker of Corbyville, Ontario in his 1968 Firebird with a 6.330-second, 213.57-mph pass.
Di Lecce, who qualified number one in the field, was taken out in the first round by Sam Andreacchi of Toronto, Ontario. Andreacchi was eliminated by Hawker in the semi-final, and number two qualifier Jeff Roth of New Hamburg, Ontario fell victim to Giust in the semi.
Finishing second in PMRA points behind Di Lecce was Jack Grainy of Basom, New York, while Bruce Boland of Stoney Creek, Ontario took third. Hawker placed fourth in points and Giust fifth.
The Wilson and Gray team, with Gray at the wheel of the 2002 Cavalier, qualified number two on the Top Sportsman side of the Quick 32 Sportsman Series and drove through the eliminations to meet up with Darrin Grubb of Kincardine, Ontario. Grubb made Gray work for his win, who posted a 6.925, 187.50 to win over the Pontiac GXP entry of Grubb. Semi-finalists in the event were Spencer Hyde of Stratford, Ontario, and Mike Beska of Waterloo, Ontario.
On the Top Dragster side of the Quick 32 Sportsman Series, race, number 16 and final qualifier Jim Rubino of Buffalo, New York marched through the field to meet up with and eliminate Brody Vandergeld of Cambridge, Ontario, who qualified third. Semi-finalists were Tony Positano of Toronto, Ontario and Jeff Moser of Waterloo, Ontario.
Rubino met up with Gray in the event final, but was eliminated in the race, giving the Wilson and Gray their first event victory in series competition.
The top five in the 2013 Quick 32 Sportsman Series championship are Wilson and Gray, the Top Sportsman entries of Kevin Wicke of Stratford, and Spencer Hyde, also of Stratford, then the Top Dragster entries of Melanie Simmons Salemi of Orillia, Ontario, and Jeff Moser.
In PBSS action, which pits Pro Bike entries against Pro Sled entries, Ted Glinny of Milton, Ontario rode his Kawasaki to victory over the Pro Bike Suzuki of Melissa Pluim of Pefferlaw, Ontario in the final eliminator. Glinny qualified fourth with an 8.462, 149.80. Pluim was sixth in qualifying, and eliminated number three qualifier and Pro Bike rider Dave Vandereyken of Acton, Ontario in the semi-final round while Glinny sat out with a bye run.
Cryderman qualified sixth for the PBSS race, and although he was taken out in first round action, he amassed enough points to win his first PBSS championship. Glinny placed second in points for the season, while Pro Bike riders Marty Kuiack of Milton, Ontario placed third, John Orfanidis of Toronto, Ontario fourth, and Curtis Beck, also of Milton, placed fifth.
While the 2013 season is over for the Quick 32 Sportsman Series and the PBSS, the PMRA will take part in the inaugural International Pro Mod Challenge September 20-21 at Maryland International Raceway in Mechanicsville, Maryland.