A Terrace drag racer is revving up for a world cup tournament in Memphis, Tenn. next month.
Clint Dalla Vecchia, 47, qualified for the Summit World Finals in the four-weekend Summer Super Series at the International Hot Rod Association’s (IHRA) track in Prince George. Della Vecchia came in first with 412 points won over eight races from June through August.
“I won two races and came in second in one of them. Even if you just win a few rounds you get points,” Dalla Vecchia said.
He took out the old engine in his new 1967 Camaro to install one that cranks out 900 horsepower. The car can now cover a quarter mile in 9.12 seconds, at top speeds of 148 miles per hour.
When first place is determined with pinpoint laser accuracy, keeping up the car’s calibre is key, Dalla Vecchia said.
“The competition is so strong, you lose races by 200,000th of a second sometimes. That’s like the hair on your head.”
To qualify for the Summit World Finals, the racer must be the champion of an IHRA track competition — a difficult feat to achieve in northern B.C. with two tracks in Prince George and Fort St. John.
At the Prince George track’s annual Big Bux race late July, Dalla Vecchia also took home a $7,000 cheque as the box-class series champion. Then to top off a fast-paced summer, he took home the box-class IHRA Ironman trophy in August.
“There’s only one held a year in [Prince George]…they’re hard to come by up in the North,” Dalla Vecchia said.
The two-day Memphis competition will host first place qualifiers from more than 80 other IHRA tracks across North America. A $20,000 prize, a large championship trophy and bragging rights are all up for grabs.
“I don’t even know if it’s really sunk in yet,” Dalla Vecchia said. “I’ve never been to something this big before, but I’ve been to races that were a fair size. Never the pressure this one is going to give me, but I can handle pressure.”
The smoke from burning tires has kept him coming back to the sport for decades.
“It’s the adrenaline, it’s the comradery. You got your friends, you actually camp at the site so you’re camping for the weekend with the family.
“Hopefully I can go down there, win it all and bring it back to Terrace.”