OCTOBER 3, 2017 – LONDON, ON – Over a successful career that has spanned more than three decades at the controls of Top Alcohol Funny Cars, Pro Modifieds, Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars and Top Fuel Dragsters, you wouldn’t think there would be much Paul Noakes hasn’t accomplished. But in 2017 he checked another box on his racing to-do-list by winning a series championship on home soil. Noakes and team took home three of four event titles in the NAPA Ultimate Showdown Series on route to the 2017 champions crown.
Noakes came out of the gates with a solid effort at the first event of the season, posting a runner-up finish at the Canadian Nitro Nationals, hosted at Toronto Motorsports Park over the Canada Day long weekend. Despite being the heavily favorited team in that final round matchup against Vince Rastelli from New York, Noakes’ car didn’t perform as planned and left the team a little worse for wear, with some damage to repair prior to it’s next outing.
With the car repaired and optimism on high, the team was prepared for the next two stops on the tour, hosted at Grand Bend Motorplex, which included the popular Stratford Spectacular and MOPAR Canadian Nationals. The Noakes team came armed for battle at the first event, the Stratford Spectacular, and in the process of taking home the event title by defeating fellow London area driver Lyle Williams, rattled off a very impressive 5.69 elapsed time for the number one qualifying spot and a new Grand Bend Motorplex Top Alcohol Funny Car track record. The second event, formerly an IHRA sanctioned national event which Noakes won in both 2007 and 2008, led to another solid performance from Noakes and his team, and another final round victory over Williams.
The capper on the championship season came during a return to Toronto Motorsports Park for the series finale, the Canadian Funny Car Championships. There, Noakes put an exclamation point on his dominating season long performance by taking the victory in his fourth final round appearance of the season, making him a perfect four for four in reaching the ultimate round at each series stop.
“I am very happy with our car this year and how Crew Chief Tim Rice and I overcame the obstacles of a new engine and combination”, said a pleased Paul Noakes. “Our initial goal was to test and tune and win our first race over the May long weekend at Toronto Motorsports Park, but unfortunately the event was rained out. That made our first weekend out at the NHRA Summit Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. We made changes and it showed great promise when we unloaded the track record breaking run of 5.69. At that point we actually pulled the reigns back on our tune up to ensure great runs, that wouldn’t need to be aborted, for the rest of the season. Every run we made from that point on was between 5.72 and 5.78 seconds, other than our first round in Cayuga where we tried to step up the car on a bye run to lay down our season best. We were definitely a feared car with our consistent, quick times!”
Noakes went on to add, “To win the first championship for the series, as well as winning the hometown championship rights is a fabulous accolade that will stick with the team for years to come. The competition was tough and we ruled the year! This is my fourth championship and I feel honoured.”
And just as he does each season, Noakes realizes the incredible contributions his team members make to the success of his racing efforts. “I would like to thank my awesome crew for their hard work, consistency and attention to detail to make this season as successful as it was. There were many hours spent preparing at home and at the track and I can’t thank them enough! All Gina and I try to do is make our crew comfortable and respect their time, and most importantly we try to ensure we all have fun doing what we love to do”, concluded Noakes.
Despite having the NAPA Ultimate Showdown Series championship wrapped up, Noakes is far from done competing in 2017. Again showing his versatility and standing as a renowned driver and personality in the sport, he will compete in a Funny Car match race during the very popular Turkey Nationals event, hosted at his home track, St. Thomas Raceway Park in Sparta, Ontario, over the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Photo Credit: Darwin Kent
About Paul Noakes
Holding NHRA license credentials for the Top Fuel Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car and Pro Modified classes, Paul Noakes is a two-time NHRA event winner, six-time IHRA national event winner and four-time champion in various series 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.
For more information about Paul Noakes Racing visit www.paulnoakesracing.com