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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Top Alcohol Mud Bog Racing with the Sitkos

by Sheryl Ogonoski and Ken Sitko
Photos by Sheryl Ogonoski

Serge Dion burns out in the Sitko Family Racing Top Alcohol Dragster. Photo by Sheryl Ogonoski
Serge Dion burns out in the Sitko Family Racing Top Alcohol Dragster. Photo by Sheryl Ogonoski

In July of 1999, Serge Dion of the "Sitko Family Racing " top alcohol dragster had problems when his parachutes did not deploy. Despite his best efforts to slow the car, it went off the end of the track at about 100 mph and barrel rolled when the chassis dug into the mud. This was in the final round of the Canadian Open at Labatt Raceway (now Budweiser Motorsports Park). Serge's opponent Steve Sitko (Sorcerer Racing) saw that his friend was in trouble. He drove his car past the shut down area and jumped out to help. The car was quickly righted as the ambulance arrived. Serge initially was unconscious, but came around quickly and was transported to the Leduc hospital for observation. Except for a minor head injury, Serge escaped with no other ill effects, a tribute to the safety equipment, the construction of the car, and the quick reaction of the people involved. What a way to win a Wally!

Crew chief Ken Sitko and Serge Dion immediately began repairing their damaged dragster.

The dragster's front end dug up some rich Canadian topsoil. Photo by Sheryl Ogonoski
The dragster's front end dug up some rich Canadian topsoil. Photo by Sheryl Ogonoski

The next two weeks were spent cleaning up the car, ordering parts, and setting up the chassis jig to address the numerous checks and repairs necessary after such an impact. By Monday, July 19, it was apparent that the chassis had not been damaged as much as first thought, and all the parts were in place to finish the project. The race team thrashed on the car all week. By Thursday night, it was apparent that they might be able to make the AHRA World Finals in Spokane after all.

Serge ended up WAY out in left field after the crash. Photo by Sheryl Ogonoski
Serge ended up WAY out in left field after the crash. Photo by Sheryl Ogonoski

All the loose ends were tied up by Friday night at 6:00 p.m., so the car was loaded and the team headed down the road. They arrived in Spokane at 7:00 a.m., just in time for breakfast, then went straight to the track to get ready for the first qualifying pass. Although the rest of the field had already made qualifying attempts on Friday, Serge qualified #1 on his first pass at 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon with a 6.52 at 213 mph on a very slippery racetrack. Serge went on to post consistent times on Sunday to take home the championship trophy, showing everyone that he was ready to get on with the rest of the racing season.

The Sitko Family Racing machine shows the after effects of Top Alcohol Mud Bog racing. Photo by Sheryl Ogonoski
The Sitko Family Racing machine shows the after effects of Top Alcohol Mud Bog racing.
Photo by Sheryl Ogonoski

The spectacular re-emergence of the Sitko Family Racing top alcohol dragster would not have been possible without the support from our sponsors, family, friends, and other competitors. The support from the racing community again emphasizes that drag racing itself is a close knit family, and reminds us why we keep on doing this.

Sheryl Ogonoski (Sitko)
sogonoski@shaw.ca
Edmonton, Alberta ,Canada

 

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