Dale Amy
March 1, 2013
Way back when this magazine was simply titled Super Ford, some of us old-timers spent many a weekend covering events at this historic quarter-mile north of the border in Ontario. Now our old pal Joe DaSilva is giving us—and drag racers ranging from Toronto to Detroit—an annual reason to get reacquainted with this rustic race track.

Longtime readers-and certainly any Canadian quarter-mile fans in the crowd-may well remember Joe DaSilva's cross-border exploits back in the formative years of Pro 5.0 racing. The immensely likeable, high-energy racer from the Toronto area originally campaigned under the J&P Performance banner (together with brother Paul) before branching off onto his own with DaSilva Racing, a speed shop that is going strong to this day.

What you may not know or remember is that Joe was just as good a race promoter as he was a driver. Back in the day, he organized and put on many a hotly contested drag race, mainly at St. Thomas Raceway Park (albeit back when it was variously known as St. Thomas Dragway, or London Motorsports Park) in southwestern Ontario.

Recently, Joe was back at the St. Thomas strip again, now promoting the Canadian Ford Challenge, which he hopes to make an annual affair. This was the start-up year for the deal, which first and foremost seemed a relaxed and friendly gathering of Mustang-centric racers of all experience levels, many of whom are loyal customers of Joe's. Which is not to say that the challenge wasn't competitive.

Race classes included both bracket and heads-up competition, and the two-day gathering also boasted a Saturday morning 212-hour cruise to the track from Toronto, a show area for those who preferred not to rubber up their rides, and even overnight camping-a good thing given its relative isolation amongst the corn and soybean fields just a few concessions north of the Lake Erie shoreline.

Was this a high-dollar affair dominated by six-figure motorhomes dragging 53-foot trailers loaded with uniformed crewmen? Absolutely not. But it's exactly the sort of gathering needed to attract and welcome new players into the sport of Mustang drag racing. The strip veterans in attendance seemed pretty happy, too.

Keep your eyes online for word about the 2013 Canadian Ford Challenge.

Joe’s 21-year-old son Matt has inherited the old man’s need for speed. This ’05 GT is Matt’s personal ride, now fitted with a Coyote 5.0 that is stock save for a Boss intake, Kooks long-tube headers, and an AccuFab throttle body. Behind it is a Liberty-prepped Tremec 6060 out of a GT500 and a set of 4.56 gears. Lightened to 3,100 pounds, the all-motor coupe has gone 10.96 at 123.9, so you know this thing hooks up. Matt built it all himself and is now Joe’s custom tuning/calibration specialist back at the shop.

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Basically, if it was a Ford, it could run. It’s time for some history, kids. This unusual subject is a 1950 Prefect, a British-built Ford (also made in Australia) that was exported to Canada in lefthand-drive form. As you may have guessed from the tire smoke, its original four-cylinder wheezer has been replaced by a healthy FoMoCo small-block.