Ken Achs

Inducted 2002

Saskatoon businessman Ken Achs started racing in 1962 in Calgary at the wheel of a 1940 Ford Coupe with a Buick motor. Two years later, he opened Mid-West Automotive in Saskatoon and built a Chevv-powered C-class dragster. This was the first car to go down the newly-constructed Saskatoon International Raceway in 1966. Ken also raced his car at Bison Raceway in Winnipeg as well as at Calgary and Edmonton.

In 1967, he bought a Top Fuel car from Ed Norton of Seattle. This was the first Top Fuel car in Saskatchewan and he won virtually every race he entered across the prairies that year, competing against U.S. drivers. In 1968, he upgraded to a brand-new Top Fuel car, which he ran for three years, sweeping every race he entered in Canada. He set the low elapsed time and top miles-per-hour marks at the Canadian Nationals in 1968.

In 1971, Ken switched to Funny Cars and continued his success. He won races and championships across the prairies as well as in California, Washington and Oregon. He was the only Canadian competitor to hold both NHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car licences in 1971. Due to the demands of business, Ken sold all of his racing equipment in 1973. When asked, he said he did not consider himself a world-class drag racer but rather a fortunate fan who happened to live at a time when going 200 mph was an attainable dream. When asked, Ken graciously tracked down and restored his 1967 Top Fuel dragster and donated it in 2002 to the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame where it is on permanent display.

Image by Richard Wood via Bison Dragways

Terry Capp

Inducted 2001

During the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, Terry Capp and his crew chief, Hall of Fame member Bernie Fedderly, were instrumental in bringing Canadian Top Fuel drag cars to the forefront of the North American drag-racing scene. He was honoured four times by making the cover of the NHRA’s National Dragster magazine and the highlight of his career was winning the Top Fuel championship at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis in 1980.Much ado has been made about Hall-of-Famer Gary Beck, the all conquering Top Fuel hero who lived in Edmonton and was instrumental in making drag racing a truly international sport. But Terry Capp was his equal.Terry started drag racing in 1967 with Fedderly and the two made a formidable team for most of Terry’s career. Their initial entry was a 1951 Anglia B/Gasser that produced more success than is usually expected from a first-car effort, winning the Western Canadian Championship Series that season. In 1968 and 1969, they quickened their pace with a C/Dragster and then switched to the lightening fast A/Fuel Dragster category in 1970. Shortly thereafter, they met up with Wes Van Dusen, who had a Top Fuel dragster but needed extra assistance in campaigning the machine. A three-way partnership was formed. Terry purchased a 426 Hemi from a retired US Funny Car racer and the team went to Saskatchewan International Raceway for a meet and surprised everybody, especially themselves, by hitting a 6.42 second run-225 mph-which set a Canadian record. Terry’s thundering performances proved to be no fluke as he journeyed to the United States to race in division VI at Seattle International Raceway and he came away with an even more impressive 6.40 sec run (236 mph), something (as the Americans said) that Canadians weren’t suppose to do. Beck convinced them to go rear engine in 1972 and they finished in the Top Ten of the NHRA World championship Series, something again they weren’t suppose to do. Many wins and regional championships followed. In 1980, Terry went up against the likes of Beck, Connie Kalitta, Shirley Muldowney and Dick Lahaie at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Qualifying second with a 5.80 sec. ET at 243.24 mph, Terry beat Jeb Allen in the final, posting the quickest side by side race in history, winning with a 5.82 sec. ET at 241.93 mph to a 5.99 sec. ET at 245.23 mph. Terry went into semi-retirement after that, but teamed up with Ron Hodgson. Gordon Jenner, Dale Adams in 1988 to try Top Fuel racing again. They won the AHRA World Finals in Spokane that year and went back to the US Nationals in Indianapolis where Terry qualified ninth, loosing in the second round with a gigantic wheel stand. Over the next decade Terry kept his Top Fuel and Funny Car licenses current by running match races throughout Canada and the US. And then in 2000 he returned to the AHRA World Finals in Spokane, Wash. where after the smoke had cleared, he added another trophy to his collection by posting a time of 5.22 seconds and a 297 mph run, winning the AHRA World Finals. Not bad for a semi-retired driver. Terry Capp says he’s not finished. Before he hangs up the helmet for good, he wants to make a 300 plus mph pass in the 4-second range. He’s had a 5.02 run at 297.97 mph, so that barrier can’t be far off.

Image via Drag Race Alberta

Gordie Bonin

Inducted 2000

Gordie Bonin, Ron Hodgson, Gordon Jenner; these three people could well make up what is arguably the most successful drag racing team in Canadian motorsport history.

Gordie Bonin, the driver, won 9 NHRA Funny Car national events, the AHRA Top Fuel World Championship in 1989 and numerous other runoffs. Gordie also served as the NHRA’s director of marketing for six years. After a short retirement, Gordie returned to action two years ago, competing in the FIA’s European Top Fuel category.

Ron Hodgson, the team member, ran Edmonton International Speedway from 1974 to 1979. He also fine-tuned dragsters that won 6 NHRA Funny Car national event victories, two AHRA Top Fuel World Championships and numerous other events. Ron today is associated with the top fuel dragster driven by Craig Smith out of Spokane. He also campaigns a sprint car with his youngest son, Jeff.

Gordon Jenner was, for years, associated with a number of drag racing teams, acting as crew chief. He joined the Bonin-Hodgson team for the first time in 1972 and was crew chief when many of the team’s victories were recorded. Gordon worked as crew chief on a team with driver Terry Capp in 1988 that won the NHRA’s World Championship. In 1989, he rejoined Bonin-Hodgson in time for the World Championship, which they won. True drag racers, they were quick to lend a helping hand to fellow competitors when the need arose and over the years they worked with Gary Beck and Ed McCullough, among others.