It’s been a very long time since Canada’s drag racing fans have had something like this to cheer for. Not since the days of living legends Gordie Bonin and Terry Capp has there been a Canadian-themed race car entered in competition within NHRA’s Professional racing ranks. That void will come to an end on Feb. 14th when qualifying begins for the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series’ season-opening NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Winternationals at Pomona.
Edmonton’s Todd Lesenko, who completed his first full season on the NHRA tour last year as driver for Jim Dunn Racing, will in conjunction with California-based Worsham Racing debut a bona fide “Canadiana” Dodge Charger Funny Car. That will be both a stepping stone and a beginning for Lesenko’s next career racing chapter.
“Growing up I always took inspiration from what guys like Gordie Bonin and Terry Capp accomplished for Canadians in drag racing,” Todd admitted. “Last season I was so amazed at how many times Canadian fans came up to me when I was signing autographs and told me how proud they were to have a Canadian involved in the fastest Motorsport on earth. All of that has made me very determined to give Canada’s drag racing fan base something very real and special to cheer for and support again. Canadian drag racing fans are as dedicated as they come out there. So simply put — they deserve this.”
Todd Lesenko, who is a successful businessman within his own right, is busy aligning himself with a number of Canadian-based company partnerships to be part of his team’s racing equation going forward. Lesenko, who also previously raced within NHRA’s Hot Rod Heritage Series driving a Nostalgia Funny Car, is excited about the possibilities.
“There is a perception out there that Canadian teams may be at a disadvantage because of geography or the border or whatever,” he continued. “But we’ve come to realize that there are many Canadian companies that do a lot of business in the U.S. Market and vice versa.”
To start, Todd Lesenko and Chuck Worsham plan to run a condensed NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour in 2013 beginning with back-to-back event entries at Pomona and Phoenix.
“The rest of our 2013 season is a bit undecided at this point,” Todd clarified. “Sponsorship will have a lot to do with that schedule but in the end I expect we will probably run 10-12 events. My objective for 2013 is instead to focus on quality outings versus quantity of events.”
NHRA drag racing fans can also safely speculate about an expanded team presence at some point later this season involving a second “Canadiana” themed race car in another NHRA Professional category.
Fans can find news updates on Todd’s official team website: www.NitroFCCanada.com.
From Bruce Biegler- www.DragRaceCanada.com