David Kowalski has liked going fast ever since he and his dad first hauled their 1971 Chevy Vega out of a backyard, a car that’s still more than capable of running fast times 25 years after it first hit the track in Fort St. John.
Kowalski, his father and his son Devon, were out in full force celebrating the 25th anniversary of their racing team at Northern Lights Raceway for the third race this year, but it was David’s 2015 Corvette Stingray that stole the show on the weekend.
The souped up ride is touted as one of the fastest corvettes in North America and routinely hits over 200 mph on the radar gun and under seven seconds almost every time down the track. The deafening sound of the engine drew the ire of the crowd Sunday afternoon.
Last weekend in Edmonton the corvette went 6.33 seconds in a quarter-mile, a time that would have broken the track record at NLR, which used to sit at 6.49. Kowalski explained Sunday that to break the record, he’d probably have to make some modifications to his car, but in the first elimination race he put down a 6.7 second run, easily advancing. Later on Sunday, Kowalski topped the previous track record with a 6.40 second time.
NLR president Mark Brush said having a family like the Kowalski’s around the track just shows how deep the ties with racing are in the community and what kind of calibre racers show up throughout the year.
“Their family is third generation, this is their 25th anniversary of racing at Northern Lights Raceway. So that’s huge,” Brush said. “I can’t begin to tell you how big a family this is… it’s an amazing community of people here.”
Overall, more than 90 cars were out on a sunny, but windy weekend in Fort St. John, a turnout that had the first year president of the track glowing with pride.
“Blew my mind,” Brush said about the number of racers on the weekend.
“Absolute great turnout, we have great, great racers here. Really cool, really fast cars, motorcycles and sleds. We had over a 90 car count. Huge, a lot of pure street which is really good, those are the guys that are going to step into bigger cars. They are going to get addicted and want to keep doing it.”
On Saturday, July 23, Kelsie Epp in her 2000 Silverado Duramax was the top racer in the pure street class with an elapsed time of 12.868 seconds over Kevin Wiebe who was the runner up. In the No Box category, Kevin Noehring raced his 1970 Plymouth Duster down the track in 10.074 to take the win. John Tiegan and his 1983 Chevy Camaro took top spot with a 8.605 second run in the Box final. William Suisdahl was the bike/sled winner on Saturday and Kailee Morton won the junior dragster class.
On July 24, Jason Miller was the fastest pure street racer in 14.080 seconds. Kevin Fehr was the top No Box winner in 12.301. Tiegan took his second straight Box win of the weekend in a time of 8.619 seconds. Richard Rollinson won the bike/sled category and Daylen Miller was the fastest junior dragster.
On top of the Saturday and Sunday racing, Northern Lights Raceway has been hosting a Friday street legal race night, where people interested in the sport can bring their car out to the track to give it a test drive. Brush said this weekend was the biggest crew yet and hopes to have even more at the final race day on Sept. 10.
“Our Friday night street legals turned out phenomenal,” he said.
“We had 21 cars, the most we’ve had yet and I can only see it growing from here. We hope that it does, we want to run more Friday night street legals… we upped the ante on this one, we ran a random ladder on the Friday night and the winner took first place, bragging rights and free entry in Saturday’s race.”
Mike Tomkins took home the street legal title on Friday.
The last event of the summer at Northern Lights Raceway will go on Sept. 10 and 11.