David Fedorowich has always had a fascination with cars, something that led him to the world of top fuel racing, which featured the fastest dragsters in the world. Despite the dangers and financial struggles associated with the motorsport, David and his family have turned their business, Dark Side Racing, into a success and are hoping to bring top fuel cars back to Western Canada.
Ever since David was a child he has been fascinated with cars and mechanics — having always been surrounded by both.
“My dad owned a John Deere dealership, so mechanical stuff is what we did. I’ve built cars since I was 12 or 14. I’ve had my Demons and Mustangs and stuff like that, but that’s how I got started in actual racing.”
But he was especially fascinated by drag racing.
“Quarter-mile racing to me is more interesting, planning how to put stuff together and making it go down the track faster was always interesting to me.”
Later, David got into drag racing and went pro after getting into contact with legendary drag racer Jerry Ruth and purchasing one of his old race cars.
“I bought Jerry Ruth’s top fuel car and a fellow partnered with me back then and we put together a top alcohol car. Then I built an injected nitro engine to put into it and my first pass down the racetrack was a 7.01. So that’s kind of the slowest when I started.”
7.01 refers to how fast he drove his top fuel car in the standing quarter mile. To put that into perspective, a Lamborghini Aventador can only do a quarter mile in 10.4 seconds.
After establishing himself in drag racing and car culture, David met his wife-to-be Kelly Fedorowich.
“As soon as he introduced me to his world, I knew that I needed to be part of it.”
They then formed their very own racing team and business called Dark Side Racing. When their son Nicholas was born, Kelly began to develop a plan to advance the team as a family.
“Because we were both absolutely passionate about drag racing when Nicholas was a newborn, we recognized that we had a window of opportunity that we could really go out and try and accomplish the things that we had set forth for ourselves in our plan.”
When Nicholas was first born, David and Kelly did not waste any time getting him into the world of cars and drag racing. They would routinely bring him to the drag strip as a newborn.
“I was sitting beside the dragster in my baby cradle,” says Nicholas. “As I grew up, I just always dabbled with it, after school building engines with my mother and father.”
However, the plan did come with some inherent danger. The sheer speed and overall performance of these cars is something no other motorsport has. Though the cars themselves are as safe as possible, when something goes wrong it can be very harrowing.
“David was doing the quarter mile and his parachutes didn’t open at the top end of the track,” remembers Kelly, “I had tears streaming down my eyes and I was trying to get to the end of the racetrack. When I got there David managed to get the car stopped in time and he was sitting on top of the cockpit laughing.”
While top fuel racing is one of the most dangerous motorsports out there, David and his team still take every precaution to make it as safe as possible.
“Letting off the gas 320 feet early gives you a lot of shutdown area and now we have carbon fiber brakes so it’s safer.”
Looking back at the dangers and struggles the team faced while progressing through the world of drag racing, Nicholas feels that it was all part of their journey to becoming a competitive and sponsored top fuel team.
“Every bit of it is part of the trial and tribulation. You’ll grumble about it now,but if you think about it the struggle is always there, and it’s part of the fun.”
As they put on more and more events, they found people really enjoyed the sight of seeing 10,000 horsepower flying down the drag strip.
“Drag racing has always been interesting [to] people. If you put on a spectacle like the jet cars and the top fuel cars, people find it worthwhile to pay a couple bucks to get in and spend an afternoon enjoying the spectacle.”
Going forward, David, alongside Dark Side Racing, hopes to return drag racing to its former glory in Western Canada.
“Edmonton and Calgary used to be the hub of professional drag racing with racers like Gary Beck, Terry Capps, even the president of the National Hot Rod Association. These are all people from this part of the world and it just got left behind.”
Kelly believes that they are well on their way to realising their dream of bringing back competitive drag racing to Alberta.
“We had a dream that we were going to do this as a family, and to see that dream come to fruition after all these years is truly a dream come true.”