Versatile Canadian drag racer Paul Noakes concluded his 2016 season with some very memorable experiences….
Paul Noakes capped his 2016 season off this past weekend as a headlining attraction during the Turkey Nationals at St. Thomas Raceway Park, less than an hour from his hometown of London, Ontario. That event was the closer on a 44 day long adventure for Noakes in which he made a valiant mid-September effort to qualify in Top Fuel Dragster competition at the NHRA Carolina Nationals, and captured an event win with his Top Alcohol Funny Car team at the season-ending NDRA Canadian Funny Car Championships over the Labour Day Weekend.
Last weekend’s Turkey National’s was as close as it gets to a home game for NHRA national event winner Noakes. A high school automotive technology teacher by trade, Noakes was born, raised and works in the city of London, Ontario and has had his share of memorable moments at St. Thomas Raceway Park over the years. “Now that my daughter races at St. Thomas the memories just keep coming. The track personnel and family treat the kids, amongst everyone else, like they are very special individuals. I got my (Funny Car) license there in 1988 and absolutely love the kind and family atmosphere then and now,” reminisced Noakes. The event, which filled every available parking space at the facility once again this year, is a great celebration of an iconic local drag strip. “For the past few years with Brooklyn racing Jr’s (Jr Dragster) at St. Thomas I have got to know all the staff and the Morse family and feel like I just needed to run this past weekend to not help, but repay some of the kindness that has been reflected to us by this very professional place to race.”
Three weeks prior to playing the role of hometown hero, Noakes found himself 750 miles away at the controls of a 300 mile per hour Top Fuel Dragster, attempting to qualify for the NHRA Carolina Nationals, just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Despite a workhorse-style effort driving for the underfunded Leverich Racing team, Noakes missed the field by only a few tenths of a second and had incredible support from the fans in the process. “Having the opportunity to not only race the Leverich Family Top Fuel car but to race it at the Bellagio of race tracks, zMax Dragway, was an amazing experience! I’m currently trying to work my way into more trips down the track in that class and even though the car DNQ’d (did not qualify) it gave me the opportunity to keep my license current and continue to put my name out there as a diverse driver,” noted Noakes.
The Canadian Funny Car Championships, hosted at Toronto Motorsports Park over the Labour Day weekend, will forever stand out as one of the major highlights of the 2016 season for Noakes and his NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car team. After a solid qualifying effort from the Canadian record holding team, everything came together on race day as Noakes took his 4000 horespower machine to the promised land, taking out the strongest field in the history of the NDRA on his way to earning the trophy. “It was no secret that our car struggled mid-season after coming out swinging at the beginning of the season with some amazingly fast and consistent runs,” said Noakes. “To finally fix the car and make some consistently quick runs again and win the NDRA Funny Car Finals was not only a great testament to how hard my team works but a great way to close the season out.” The win was Noakes’ fourth in NDRA competition in just six events entered.
As is the case in all of motorsports, the achievements of the team are often shared with sponsors whom without their contributions the team could not compete at the level it does. Noakes echoed those sentiments, saying; “I can’t thank all the sponsors enough, large and small, for the continued support to help our racing program move forward, they are a very important part of our team. I have always said that I would do what I can to make all the sponsors not only glad they helped, but proud to be part of our team. We were proud to be affiliated with Meritor for four years, but all good things come to an end and I personally would like to continue to thank them for what they have done for us. Fleet Brake has been a great supporter for the last two years, Karl’s Truck service has been a great supporter for the last three years, increasing their support every year, NGK Spark plugs has been a great supporter for 10 years and new to the team this year was Bluewave Energy, supplying us with great products, and finally McDonnell Ford who stepped in graciously to help support us and put the blue oval back on my car after 15 years.”
And as quickly as the season comes to a close, preparations for the coming season begin, which means little to no time off for the dedicated crew members who make sure the car is well prepared and safe each time Paul suits up and rockets down the track. “I also need to thank all of my hard working crew, whether it is the guys and girls that go race to race with me, or just the helpers around home,” said an appreciative Noakes. Also a big part of the offseason plans is an effort to secure a new major sponsorship partner which provides an outstanding opportunity for a business to strengthen its position in its given industry, while providing the same support to the growth of the Paul Noakes Racing team.
About Paul Noakes
Holding NHRA license credentials for both the Top Fuel Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car classes, Paul Noakes is a two-time NHRA event winner, four-time IHRA national event winner and four-time NDRA event champion at the wheel of his Noakes Racing Top Alcohol Funny Car.
An NHRA licensed Top Alcohol Funny Car competitor since 1988, Noakes has become one of drag racing’s premier drivers and is the Canadian record holder, both on home soil and in the United States, for the class he has made his name competing in. In 2013, Noakes upgraded his competition license to the highest level possible in the sport, the Top Fuel Dragster category, and has since made limited appearances in NHRA competition at both the Las Vegas, Nevada and Charlotte, North Carolina events.
Posted by: Jory Elliott