Edmonton's Lesenko earns first career Ironman in Salt Lake City on heels of Canadian Nitro Jam
Nitro Jam Media
Jun 19, 2011
Someone forgot to tell Todd Lesenko and Tim Boychuk that the Nitro Jam event in Canada is next weekend.
Lesenko and Boychuk, both natives of “The City of Champions,” better known in Canada as Edmonton, Alberta where the Nitro Jam tour will head next weekend, left their hometown and traveled over a thousand miles south to Salt Lake City, Utah for the second annual Salt Lake Nitro Jam Saturday night only to meet again in the Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car championship in front of another sold out crowd at the beautiful Rocky Mountain Raceways facility.
Not only was it a battle of native Canadians, native Edmontonians and two good friends, but the pair can also trace their heritage to the Ukraine where both Lesenko and Boychuk’s parents are from. But on Saturday night someone had to prove different and walk away a winner and on this night that man was Lesenko.
“Both Tim and I can trace our past back a long way and tonight this was a battle of Canada, the Ukraine, whatever you want to call it and thankfully we were able to come out on the winning end,” Lesenko said. “Tim had another great run, but unfortunately he left a little too early and we were able to take the win.”
Lesenko, who earned the right to compete in the final when Mark Sanders broke, made the most of his opportunity on Saturday when the fastest man in nostalgia drag racing went red allowing Lesenko, better known as Todd “The Pirate” to his fans, to earn his first career IHRA Nitro Jam Ironman in front of a packed house at RMR.
Joining Lesenko in hoisting an IHRA Ironman was Bruce Litton who finally got the better of Bobby Lagana to claim the Top Fuel crown and Jason Richey who piloted the “Pure Hell” Nostalgia Fuel Altered to a win over Ron Maroney and “Nanook.”
Other winners from Saturday’s Salt Lake Nitro Jam finale were Sheldon Gecker (Top Dragster), Frank Santarosa (Top Sportsman), Russ Stevenson (Quick Rod), Ed Olpin (Super Rod), Les Norton (Stock/Super Stock Combo), Nathan Kemp (Top ET), Bryan Sylvester (Mod ET), Kirk Walton (Motorcycle), Dan Pratt (RMR Pro), Shawn Hart (Top Junior) and Shante Henderson (Junior All Run).
In the Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car final Lesenko knew he had to be on his game to get a win against the always tough Boychuk, but in an unexpected twist it was Boychuk who actually went red giving the pilot of the “Jolly Rogers” 1975 Camaro bodied Funny Car his first career Ironman.
Unfortunately for Boychuk, the red-light also negated the best run of the weekend as Lesenko coasted across the line with a 6.798, 183.56 knowing the victory was well in hand.
Mark Sanders in the “Mr. Explosive” entry was supposed to meet Boychuk in the final, but a damaged engine following the best run of the opening round, a solid 6.046, 233.40 shot, moved Lesenko into the final.
In the Prostalgia consolation rounds James Day recorded a win over Michael Grekul, Jack Harris defeated Roger Garten and Mike Savage earned a bye round victory.
“It was a great weekend, this was a great facility and we just had an awesome time competing here this weekend,” Lesenko said. “The track preparation was phenomenal and I really enjoyed all of the new additions to the series. With stuff like Grave Digger and Megasaurus it just adds another element to the sport that makes it fun for the fans and for some of us racers.”
In Top Fuel Bruce Litton erased a string of bad luck against Bobby Lagana Jr. with a pair of victories over the fellow Lucas Oil-backed machine. Litton’s best run of the two came in the first round when he crossed the finish line with a 5.322, 230.82 on the tricky Utah quarter-mile and he then followed that up with a 5.412 in the final.
Lagana, on the other hand, made some noise of his own with an exciting 1,000 foot burnout in the final that brought the crowd to its feet and actually required a bit of extra fuel while staging to assure he made it the distance.
Wrapping up the professional rounds was the Nostalgia Fuel Altered class as Jason Richey in “Pure Hell” picked up his first career IHRA Nitro Jam victory over Ron Maroney and the “Nanook” team.
Richey ran a 6.842, 203.66 in the final, leaving the line first and continually stretching his lead in a strong pass. Maroney crossed the line with a 6.986, 203.29.
“We had a fantastic weekend. We battled the altitude and a bit of a slippery track, but we made a solid run that was good enough for the win,” Richey said. “This car was parked for over 10 years and it is great that this thing is back out and running. Hopefully there are more to come.”
In sportsman competition nearly a dozen different drivers visited victory lane on Saturday lead by the IHRA’s regular touring classes.
Among those winners were Sheldon Gecker (Surprise, Ariz.) who defeated Mark Sievers in the Top Dragster final and Frank Santarosa (Draper, Utah) who picked up a win over Flip Payne. In Quick Rod Russ Stevenson (South Jordan, Utah) recorded a win over Travis Theobald, in Super Rod Ed Olpin (Pleasant Grove, Utah) defeated Mark Tyacke and in the Super Stock/Stock combo class Les Norton (South Jordan, Utah) defeated Jesse Sanderson.
In Rocky Mountain Raceways competition Nathan Kemp (West Valley City, Utah) defeated Brian Leibee to claim the Top ET win and Bryan Sylvester (Herriman, Utah) won Mod ET with a victory over Blake Williams. Other RMR winners included Kirk Walton (Salt Lake City, Utah) in Motorcycle over Jeff Zogg, Dan Pratt (Magna, Utah) in RMR Pro over Glen Frantz, Shawn Hart (Layton, Utah) in Top Junior over Connor Anderson and Shante Henderson (Clinton, Utah) in Junior All Run over Thomas Anderson.
Next up for the IHRA Nitro Jam tour is a trip to Lesenko’s hometown of Edmonton for the Mopar Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals at Castrol Raceway June 24-26.
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- Saturday's final results from the IHRA Salt Lake Nitro Jam at Rocky Mountain Raceway. The race is the sixth of 10 in the 2011 Nitro Jam Series:
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER DAY TWO
Bruce Litton, Indianapolis, Ind., 5.412 seconds, 222.66 mph def. Bobby Lagana Jr., Scarsdale, N.Y., 5.413 seconds, 211.81 mph.
PROSTALGIA FUNNY CAR DAY TWO
Todd Lesenko, St. Albert, Alb., '75 Camaro, 6.798, 183.56 def. Tim Boychuk, Edmonton, Alb., '77 Firebird, foul.
FUEL ALTERED DAY TWO
Jason Richey, Pleasonton, Calif., dragster, 6.842, 203.66 def. Ron W. Maroney, Chandler, Ariz., '23 roadster, 6.986, 203.29.
Sheldon Gecker, Surprise, Ariz., dragster, 7.838, 168.03 def. Mark Sievers, Grand Junction, Colo., '38 Fiat, 7.537, 172.18.
Frank Santarosa, Draper, Utah, '90 Corvette, 8.712, 147.73 def. Flip Payne, Salt Lake City, Utah, '63 Corvette, 7.667, 181.37.
Russ Stevenson, S. Jordan, Utah, dragster, 9.291, 161.14 def. Travis Theobald, Washington, Utah, dragster, foul.
Ed Olpin, Pleasant Grove, Utah, '63 Corvette, 10.359, 156.33 def. Mark Tyacke, Provo, Utah, '74 Apollo, 10.346, 125.29.
STOCK/SUPER STOCK COMBO
Les Norton, S. Jordan, Utah, '10 Challenger, A/FIA, 10.775, 122.26 def. Jesse Sanderson, W. Jordan, Utah, '63 Savoy, A/SA, 10.824, 115.14.
Nathan Kemp, W. Valley City, Utah, dragster, 11.481, 65.85 def. Brian Leibee, Rocksprings, Wyo., '96 Firebird, foul.
Bryan Sylvester, Herriman, Utah, '65 Chevelle, 10.350, 129.29 def. Blake Williams, Tooele, Utah, '88 Mustang, 10.323, 131.63.
Kirk Walton, Salt Lake City, Utah, '05 ZX10R, 10.119, 133.51 def. Jeff Zogg, Corinne, Utah, '96 ZX11, 9.263, 123.47.
Dan Pratt, Magna, Utah, '72 Vega, 12.039, 109.01 def. Glen Frantz, Riverton, Utah, '70 Barracuda, 11.943, 111.64.
Shawn Hart, Layton, Utah, dragster, 8.033, 80.62 def. Connor Andersson, Spanish Fork, Utah, dragster, 8.056, 81.44.
JUNIOR ALL RUN
Shante Henderson, Clinton, Utah, dragster, 9.182, 68.88 def. Thomas Anderson, Sandy, Utah, dragster, 13.162, 49.69.
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- Final round-by-round results from the IHRA Salt Lake Nitro Jam at Rocky Mountain Raceway, the sixth of 10 events in the 2011 Nitro Jam Series:
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- Bruce Litton, 5.322, 230.82 def. Bobby Lagana Jr., 5.562, 191.65;
FINAL -- B. Litton, 5.412, 222.66 def. B. Lagana Jr., 5.413, 211.81.
PROSTALGIA FUNNY CAR DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- Mike Savage, Plymouth Barracuda, 7.526, 185.29 def. Micheal Grekul, Ford Mustang, 11.303, 66.51; Tim Boychuk, Pontiac Firebird, 6.059, 225.22 def. Brett Harris, Firebird, 6.181, 235.29; Mark Sanders, Chevy Nova, 6.046, 233.40 def. Roger Garten, Mustang, foul; Todd Lesenko, Chevy Camaro, 6.320, 227.10 def. James Day, Pontiac Trans Am, 9.061, 99.65;
CONSOLATION -- J. Day, 6.006, 231.89 def. M. Grekul, 6.091, 230.23; B. Harris, 6.652, 220.80 def. R. Garten, 6.523, 214.38; M. Savage, 9.077, 83.69 def. M. Sanders, broke;
FINAL -- T. Lesenko, 6.798, 183.56 def. T. Boychuk, foul.
FUEL ALTERED DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- Ron W. Maroney, '-T Ford, 6.749, 209.30 def. Randy Bradford, Fiat Topolino, 7.732, 191.81; Jason Richey, 6.723, 198.76 def. Tom Padilla, '-T Ford, 7.050, 166.94;
CONSOLATION -- R. Bradford, 7.439, 196.03 def. T. Padilla, broke;
FINAL -- J. Richey, 6.842, 203.66 def. R. Maroney, 6.986, 203.29.