Time Capsule – Northwest Doorslammers of the 1990’s

Looking back at how fast Northwest doorslammers were, it’s apparent that things started to get serious in the mid 90s. In fact it was the Canadian contingent who outpaced their American rivals for a few years. You didn’t read much about that in the magazines.

For a time Mission Raceway Park was the center of the NW door car world with both Pro Mods and Pro Street standouts coming out of the famed Canadian track.

Northwest Doorslammers, Pro Mod, Fastest Street Cars, Super Street, Fuel Curve

Northwest Doorslammers, Pro Mod, Fastest Street Cars, Super Street, Fuel Curve

Canucks like Glen May, Trevor Lowe, Joe Delehay and Rick Distefano ran both locally and made extended journeys to major IHRA races when that group lead the Pro Mod world. It was a time when the Hemi was outlawed, but that didn’t matter to Glen May. His Walt Austin Hemi powered ‘94 T-Bird was the first doorslammer over 220 mph during an NHRA points race at the obscure track called The Eagle Motorplex.

Northwest Doorslammers, Pro Mod, Fastest Street Cars, Super Street, Fuel CurveNorthwest Doorslammers, Pro Mod, Fastest Street Cars, Super Street, Fuel Curve

Northwest Doorslammers, Pro Mod, Fastest Street Cars, Super Street, Fuel Curve

A southwest group called West Coast Pro Mods was quite active at Mission and Boise in the late 90s attracting many name drivers. Guys like Wayne Torkelson, John Scialpi, Monty Berney (a transplanted Canuck), Pat Stoken, Kirk Kuhns and long distance stars Billy Harper, Charles Carpenter and others always put on a show.

Northwest Doorslammers, Pro Mod, Fastest Street Cars, Super Street, Fuel CurveIn Pro Street the locals got to see an all-out war between Glen Braid in his blown small block Canso (a Canadian Pontiac ‘Nova’) and Don Murray in his big block injected, nitrous-fed lime green Corvette. It was common for their rivalry to upstage booked in features such as when Warren Johnson came to Mission.

Northwest Doorslammers, Pro Mod, Fastest Street Cars, Super Street, Fuel Curve

It was Braid who went south to Las Vegas in 2001 for one of the first Pro Street appearances at Las Vegas running exhibition. It was about this time that the Pacific Street Car Association came to be.

Northwest Doorslammers, Pro Mod, Fastest Street Cars, Super Street, Fuel Curve

Within a half dozen years the PSCA was hosting ‘street car’ races throughout the southwest headlined by the Street Car Super Nationals in November at LVMS – a race where northwest drivers enjoyed great success in a number of classes. And it wasn’t just cars that were part of the competition as trucks were well represented as May, Delehay, Garrett Richards among others campaigned some very competitive rides.

Northwest Doorslammers, Pro Mod, Fastest Street Cars, Super Street, Fuel CurveNorthwest Doorslammers, Pro Mod, Fastest Street Cars, Super Street, Fuel Curve

An outgrowth of all this was a group called the Canada West Doorslammers. They still run events today and feature one of the top Pro Mods in NHRA – Washington’s Shane Molinari.

The northwest has a rich doorslammer history, perhaps not as significant as other areas, but considering the small number of tracks, that history is even more impressive.

Photo Extra!

Now retired, Canada’s Larry Pfister was a fan, photographer and Pacific Northwest drag racing enthusiast for over four decades. His signature image, a 1975 shot of Twig Zigler going through the SIR finish line upside down and backwards launched his career from fan-with-camera to professional racing photojournalist. Over the years, Pfister branched out into photographing and videotaping other forms of motorsport but drag racing remained his first love. Back at the dawn of the internet era, Pfister founded “Horsepower Heaven” – a now-shelved website which was the world’s first to post live updates, same day photos and same day video from a drag race. Pfister retired from motorsports journalism in 2009 but still shares his archives with various print and digital publications around the world.

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