Canada, Drag Racing, Feature Article — July 19, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Jason and Allison Gibson (Issue 104)

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By Steve Heeb

When Mission Raceway Park re-opened its staging lanes in 1992, it was a great excuse for Jason Gibson to give up street racing and head for the dragstrip less than 40 miles from his home in Delta, BC.

“I went to opening day and never looked back,” Jason recalls of the lure of organized drag racing.

His weapon of choice was the fully restored stock ’66 Mustang he had recently purchased.

“I kept it that way at the start, but as things broke, I kind of fixed things,” Jason says of the 720 hp car that was running on 8-inch street tires. “It didn’t like that.”

Jason crashed the Mustang at Mission while racing in the Canada Pro Street competition in 2003.

“It took me 10 months to get it back on the track,” Jason reflects. “I spent pretty much every minute fixing it up.”

After the crash, the Mustang’s graphics were re-worked by Darryl Tippee after a trip to the SEMA show. The color is based on ’95 Mazda Protégé Blue and Jason Lavesque of Klassic Kolors applied the flames and skull graphics on the hood.

The car is insured for street travel, and Jason says he and wife Allison have logged 1,700 miles going to cruises and car shows.

“With street tires of course,” notes Allison.

“Sometimes,” Jason laughs.

At the dragstrip, Jason did not get much advice during his first few seasons.

“A lot of it I figured out the hard way, by doing it the wrong way first” he reflects. “I lost a lot of rounds on the way.”

One of the challenges at the beginning was overcoming the first-round jitters. Jason says his brother Tyler also tried drag racing, but never broke through the first round and gave up racing after a few short seasons.

“Once I found the calmness I realized running my own race was more important than who was beside me,” Jason says of learning from his experiences.

He also notes the importance of having good parts so he can trust the car.

“It has to be reliable,” he says.

Jason built the transmission himself at the AJ Transmission where he works in North Vancouver.

A Quickfuel carburetor helps feed fuel to the 347 smallblock Ford motor up front, and a 9-inch rear end transfers power to the 14×32-inch Mickey Thompson tires in back.

“I started racing on a regular basis in 1995 and only won a few rounds here and there,” Jason recalls. “I didn’t get my first super pro win until the 1997 season.”

After that, Jason was on a roll.

“I won a few Division Six Super Pro championships in the car and a couple track titles,” he says.

In 2008, Jason and Allison purchased a 2000 Sarmento 240-inch wheelbase, rear-engined dragster to run in Super Pro.

Jason built the Powerglide tranny to go with the Steve Schmitt-built 565-cid motor, and converted the dragster to a four-link setup.

In the dragster, Jason was now making 7.50-second passes at 175 mph, compared to 9.90-second runs at 132 mph in the Mustang running flat out on pump gas.

Son Justin also began competing in the Junior Dragster ranks, as the family started racing in the national open series and went to all the Div. 6 national open races, including a very fortunate event at the Nl’Akapxm Eagle Motorplex in Ashcroft, B.C.

“We went to Eagle’s opening weekend to get comfortable with the dragster and I won Super Pro,” Jason explains. “Justin and I both won our first Wallys within minutes of each other. That was a good day for the Gibson family.”

The good day became a good season as both father and son won their respective Division 6 national open series titles, as well as earning the track championships in 2008.

“In 2009, due to both of us having gold cards, we ran the same series again,” Jason says of defending their titles. “We both won the championships for a second time in a row.”

With Jason fully hooked on the Top Dragster and Super Pro brackets in the dragster, Allison took over driving the Mustang at Mission Raceway Park.

“I got tired of spectating,” Allison states. “I decided I wanted a turn now.”

She confesses to being a little nervous heading into her first race.

“When I got to the starting line I was concerned about the lights,” she explains. “I wanted to do well.”

Apparently her fears were unfounded.

“My first race out, I won,” she smiles.

“She was hooked,” Jason says. “Now she understands why this is what we enjoy so much.”

Jason notes that her time being at the races helped her get off to a good start.

“With Allison watching all these years and jumping into a good car, she was really good on the tree,” he says. “She’s got a lot of round wins under her belt so far.”

“You have to have confidence in yourself,” Allison says. “And you have to have a car you can trust.”

Allison has two Wally trophies from Mission events to show for her confidence and trust in the Mustang.

In addition to competing at Mission, the couple also races at other Northwest tracks including Bremerton, Portland and Boise on occasion.

“I like Medicine Hat for the people,” Jason says of the Alberta dragstrip. “But it is a long drive.”

Jason recalls an expensive trip to Medicine Hat during the 2010 season.

“I won $5000 in the gambler’s race, but lost it all when I blew the motor in the first round the next day” he sighs. “I went from hero to zero overnight — $5,000 in and $10,000 out.”

Allison prefers the atmosphere at Mission, but they both also appreciate events at Portland Int’l Raceway.

“Portland is a nice track to go to,” Jason says. “There’s good people and the place is always spotlessly clean.”

“Racing there is nice for families,” Allison agrees.

For young drivers and families just coming into racing, Jason encourages them to be more proactive than he was when he started out.

“Just go out and talk to as many people as you can,” he advises. “Everybody tries to help. We’re all friends, at least until you get to the waterbox.”

Jason credits his father’s support of his own family’s racing efforts.

“He’s been behind us all the way,” Jason says.

More support came from Dave LeClerc of DML Masonry, a customer of AJ Transmission where Jason works.

“Dave is a car enthusiast and always asked how I was doing,” Jason recalls. “He said ‘I want to help you out.’”

Jason says Dave offered financial support.

“That will never be forgotten,” Jason explains. “Without that, I would not have been able to accomplish what I did.

While Jason concentrated on racing the dragster, he and Allison lent the Mustang out to friends Cindy and Martin Dykstra for part of the 2010 season.

“He jumped in the car and won a lot of rounds,” Jason says. “Yes, we’ve won a lot of money in that car.”

The dragster was only brought out for special events, and was recently sold.

“The Mustang is the one we love to race,” Jason says of the heavily updated street car that started it all and has since helped produce 10 Wallies for the family.

“It’s the money maker,” Allison nods.

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