Top Sportsman Pros versus Joes at Maryland International Raceway

Top Sportsman Pros versus Joes at Maryland International Raceway

Jeffrey Jones is a regular at MIR.

Maryland International Raceway, since its very beginning in 1966, has always been a feature attraction to the hearts and minds of doorslammer racers and fans. Top Sportsman, known as the quickest door car class in the IHRA and the category that spawned what is now known as Pro Modified, features a huge variety of race cars, engine combinations and driver personalities. Ever since Wild Bill Kuhlmann took the first Top Sportsman car over 200 MPH more than 25 years ago, the argument has never stopped on which style of car the fans and racers like better. Is it the high tech sleek looking new age Camaros, Corvettes, Mustangs or Avengers? Or is it the old school 1950s, '60s and '70s looking machines?

In 2013, MIR president and promoter, Royce Miller, conceived an idea that would allow racers with all types of machines and budgets to compete on one level playing field for a huge cash purse. It’s called the Top Sportsman 5K Pros vs Joes. The only requirement is that each car must be 5.99 and quicker in the eighth mile. After qualifying has been completed, the quickest 16 cars are placed on a ladder known as the Pros. The drivers who are not among the quick 16 are placed on the Joes side. Once down to 16 cars or fewer, the Joes are then placed on a ladder and run to a winner. In traditional Top Sportsman format, each driver must attempt to get to the finish line first without running quicker than their dial in.

Nathanial Yount was the Sunday Joes winner.

Once there’s one driver left standing on each side, they race each other to determine the Pros vs Joes winner and along with the coveted MIR IronTree trophy, $5,000 cash is on the line to the winner. What makes this event truly special is that each day is a separate race, so a driver who didn’t qualify for the Pros one day, gets another shot to do so on the second day, and another shot at $5,000.

Before the debut of the Pro vs Joes in 2013, many drivers were eager to be a part of this new concept. Many saying that it gives everyone who doesn’t necessarily have the fastest car or the biggest budget to be able to come out and be a part of Top Sportsman level racing, while being on a level playing field and everyone having an equal chance at $5,000.