IHRA announces 2015 Nitro Jam schedule

The International Hot Rod Association and IRG Sports + Entertainment have just announced the 2015 IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series (NJDRS) schedule. The 12-race North American Tour will include a number of traditional favorites, plus two new stops in Ohio and Washington as the series travels to nine states and Canada, making the IHRA one of the only truly international motorsports series.

The complete lineup of professional and sportsman classes will be announced soon.

Highlighting the 2015 schedule will be a return to IHRA’s home state of Ohio for the first time since 2006 as the series travels to Dragway 42 in West Salem the weekend of September 11-12. The Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series will also travel to the great state of Washington for the first time ever the weekend of July 10-11 at Spokane County Raceway and will host an additional international event to be announced later this year.

Feb. 6-7 Southwestern International Raceway, Tucson, AZ
March 13-14 San Antonio Raceway, Marion, TX
April 17-18 Bradenton Motorsports Park, Bradenton, FL
April 24-25 Palm Beach International Raceway, Jupiter, FL
May 29-30 Cordova Dragway Park, Cordova, IL
June 19-20 Maryland International Raceway, Budds Creek, MD
June 26-28 Grand Bend Motorplex, Grand Bend, ON
July 10-11 Spokane County Raceway, Airway Heights, WA
July 17-19 Castrol Raceway, Edmonton, AB
August 7-8 US 131 Motorsports Park, Martin, MI
Sept. 11-12 Dragway 42, West Salem, OH
Oct. 9-10 Memphis International Raceway, Millington, TN

Branca takes double wins in Jr. Dragster and King of the Hill at Maple Grove

Bisci_VictorBranca-JrDragster-winVincent Branca of Norristown, Pa., scored twice in final eliminations at Maple Grove Raceway to clinch the King of the Hill title Saturday at Maple Grove Raceway during the NHRA Summit Jr. Drag Racing League Challenge. The event originally was scheduled for Aug. 24 but was rained out.

Branca first defeated Jamie Rothenberger of Glenmoore, Pa., in the Jr. Dragster 16-17 age group final, then won King-of-the-Hill finale over C.J. Ketterer of Sellersville, Pa.

Justin Handwerk of Edison, N.J., won the Jr. Dragster 8-9 final over Alexis Wade of Trevose, Pa.

Matt Schell of Exton, Pa., won the Jr. Dragster 10-11 final over Owen Roth of Danielsville, Pa.

C.J. Ketterer defeated Benjamin Spotts of Douglassville, Pa., in the Jr. Dragster 12-13 final.

Jeremy Ketterer of Sellersville, Pa., defeated Brian O’Brien of Coatesville, Pa., in the Jr. Dragster 14-15 final. (John Bisci photo)

IHRA Division 3 Summit Team Finals at Pittsburgh

Mark Brewer (far lane) won the Top ET runoff over Cody Bayus.


IHRA Division 3 Summit Team Finals at Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Raceway Park was the site of this year's Division 3 Summit Team Finals as the track hosted nine teams from four states throughout the Sept. 19-21 weekend. And to kick off the weekend, six drivers advanced out of the Division 3 Team Finals and will head to Memphis International Raceway as representatives in the Summit SuperSeries presented by AMSOIL World Championship.

In the team competition, Pittsburgh Raceway Park won the Division 3 Summit Team Finals over Elegant Builders Raceway Park in New York. The host track accumulated 59 points during the busy weekend, just ahead of Elegant Builder Raceway Park's 51.5 points. Empire Dragway, which finished with 48 points, was third, followed by Thompson Raceway Park and Kanawha Valley Motorsports Park. The remaining teams were Beaver Springs Dragway, Quaker City Motorsports Park and Skyview Drags.

In the Summit SuperSeries runoffs, Mark Brewer, Greg Sauvage and Brandon Butler won their respective classes and will join runner-up finishers Cody Bayus, Gordie Stevens and Paige Montgomery at the Summit Racing Equipment World Finals next month for a shot at a world championship and over $200,000 in cash and prizes.

Mark Brewer, representing Pittsburgh Raceway Park, won the Top ET runoff Friday at Pittsburgh Raceway Park over Thompson Raceway Park's Cody Bayus. Both drivers had tremendous lights, but it was Brewer who ran closest to the numbers, putting together an outstanding .016 package with a .012 light and a 7.204-second pass on a 7.20 dial-in at 94.44 mph. Bayus finished runner-up with a 4.885 on a 4.87 at 134.41 mph.

In Mod ET, Greg Sauvage won at Pittsburgh Raceway Park for the second year in a row racing out of Kanawha Valley Motorsports Park in West Virignia. Sauvage ran a 6.437 on a 6.42 at 103.95 mph to defeat Gordie Stevens of Thompson Raceway Park. Stevens had an 8.429 on an 8.43 at 78.03 mph in the runner-up effort.

IHRA Division 2 Championships

IHRA Division 2 Championships

Carolina Dragway edges Union County

The Division 2 East IHRA Summit Team Finals presented by AMSOIL took place Sept. 19-21 at Carolina Dragway with the host team narrowly escaping with the team win. Six more drivers earned a spot in the Summit SuperSeries championship runoff later this year at Memphis International Raceway.

Carolina Dragway took the Division 2 East team championship by two points over fellow South Carolina track Union County Dragway. Carolina amassed 54 points during the weekend, followed by Union County with 52 points and Pageland Dragway with 48 points. Immokalee Regional Raceway finished fourth with 43 points and Bradenton Motorsports Park rounded out the top five with 42 points.

In the Summit SuperSeries presented by AMSOIL runoff, Joseph Bagwell, Sonny Freeland and Johnny Tolisano won their respective classes, joining runner-up drivers Jerry Norton, David Richardson and Jeremy Barbee as all six advance to the championship race October 10-11 during the Summit World Finals weekend.

Joseph Bagwell got the Summit SuperSeries action underway on Friday with a big win over Jerry Norton in the Top ET runoff. Bagwell, representing the host track, cut a near-perfect .001 light and followed that up with a 5.762-second pass on a 5.76 dial-in at 116.07 mph, while his opponent, traveling from Bradenton Motorsports Park, broke out with a 4.89 on a 4.92 at 139.00 mph.

In Mod ET action, Sonny Freeland, from IHRA's most southern US track Immokalee Regional Raceway, took the win light over David Richardson. Freeland had a .027 light followed by a 5.897-second pass on a 5.83 dial at 106.93 mph. Richardson, from Darlington Dragway, had a 6.407 on a 6.38 at 106.29.

DSE Finals at Toronto

DSE Finals at Toronto

Series Champions Crowned

The sixth and final event weekend of the DSE Sportsman racing series took place September 13-14 at Toronto Motorsports Park, and with NHRA National Dragster Wally trophies along with valuable points for those competing in the Points Series, the stakes could not have been any higher for competitors.

Saturday’s racing schedule was set to run points race number eleven for the Series as well as the NHRA National Dragster Challenge, however, unseasonably cold temperatures and heavy morning rain made the racing surface impossible to dry and be safe to race on.

With Saturday’s rainout, the National Dragster race shifted to Sunday for all categories including Super Gas. In the Super Gas class, Wayne Sipos lead the charge into Eliminations as the Number 1 Qualifier and worked his way into the final round where he met up with Super Gas newcomer Chris VanBaalen. Sipos ran closer to the 6.40 index in that final round, however, VanBaalen’s better reaction got him there first for the win.

Chris Van Baalen got his second NHRA Wally, this time in Super Gas.

Super Bike/Sled found a strong field of racers. The final round found two-time Super Bike/Sled Points Champion Pete Stewart going up against the talented Derek Dwyer on his Sled. Unfortunately, what looked like a fantastic final was cut short when Dwyer took a shot at the tree and came up with a red light, handing Stewart his second NHRA Wally of the 2014 Season.

Quick 16 saw a strong field of 18 vehicles attempt to qualify on Sunday. After two rounds of qualifying and three rounds of racing a classic door car versus dragster was set up where both drivers would be competing in their second final that day with Chris VanBaalen taking on K.C. Kovacs. The door car of VanBaalen took a head start over the dragster, but the final had been decided on the starting line where VanBaalen went red by only -.003, handing the win to Kovacs.

JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals at Hebron, Ohio

JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals at Hebron, Ohio


Rudy Matthews from Ohio City, Ohio, took home the trophy in the NHRA Moser Sportsman Shootout on Friday, Sept. 19, at the 10th annual JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals knocking out Fishers, Ind., racer Ed Dudley in the final round at National Trail Raceway. Matthews, driving his ’69 Camaro posted a winning lap of 7.424 seconds at 105.61 mph.

Matthews ran consistent throughout the day and took out Scotty Rienschield in round one with a favorable starting line advantage before beating Larry Rzepczynski in round two. He then met up with Todd Frantz in the semifinals using a .009 light to take the win. Matthews picked up $5,000 from Moser Engineering for the win along with the champions trophy.

Dudley raced to a runner-up finish by defeating Christopher Carrico, Jerry Albert and local JEGS Super Gas racer Troy Coughlin Jr. on his way to the final round.

With the final qualifying fields set going into Saturday’s eliminations, Bryan Keller, Macedonia, Ohio, grabbed the top spot in the Spitzer Race Cars Top Dragster category with a 6.035 second, 239.40 mph pass. Track conditions were ideal making way for the second fasted 32-car TD field in NHRA history. In the Brodix / Steve Schmidt Competition Engines Top Sportsman class it was Lester Johnson of Cynthiana, Ky., who raced to the top in his ’55 Bel Air with a 6.523 second, 213.67 mph pass.

Todd Frantz, Louisville, Ky., secured the No.1 spot in Comp Eliminator; Wes Leopold of Bethel Park, Pa., sits atop the Super Stock class, and Drew Skillman out of Bargersville, Ind., leads the Stock Eliminator pack.

In addition to the day’s events, the DRAW/RFC Super Shootout presented by Moser Engineering was contested for the Super categories. Scott Mackie, Milford, Mich., defeated Steve Eckard in the Super Comp final; Tom Stalba, Hammerton, N.J., took the Super Gas win over Steve Hoyt in the battle of the ’63 Corvettes; and Lancaster, Ohio native Dewey Boggs III won the Super Street title over Brain Webster of Newark, Ohio.

JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals is this week at National Trail

Jegs-Northern-SportsNats-;logoIn the midst of National Trail Raceway’s 50th anniversary celebration, the JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals, part of a trio of events designed to showcase the best drivers in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend at the Hebron, Ohio, strip.

The second of the three annual events designed specifically to showcase NHRA’s grassroots racers, the JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals will crown champions in Comp, Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Street, Top Dragster, and Top Sportsman. There will also be a special Jr. Drag Racing League event held Sunday.

Racers have a wide variety of bonus features, including traditional class eliminations for drivers in Super Stock and Stock and the special DRAW/Racer’s for Christ Super Eliminator Shootouts presented by Moser Engineering for the top 16 qualifiers in Super Comp, Super Gas, and Super Street.

Last year’s event featured six first-time winners, including Steven Belanger (Super Stock), Chuck Beach (Stock), Leo Zynda (Super Comp), and Andy Johnson (Top Dragster). David Billingsley also scored in Comp, and former motorcycle racer Donnie Durenberger won in Super Street.

The 10th annual JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals also will mark the second of three races in the ongoing battle for the coveted JEGS Crown, which is awarded to any driver who can win the same class in two of the three JEGS SPORTSnationals events in a given season. The winners of the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals in Belle Rose, La., are currently eligible for the prize. Later this year, the winners of the Belle Rose and Hebron events also will have the chance to travel to Las Vegas for the annual JEGS NHRA Pacific SPORTSnationals, where they will be eligible for another chance at the JEGS Crown.

Most Charlotte sportsman class eliminations set for Gainesville; TAD and TAFC to be determined

NHRA officials have announced the completion of eliminations from the Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, NC, for Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, and Super Gas will be completed at the Divisional event at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in October.

Officials are reviewing various options for the completion of eliminations for Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car and will make an announcement soon.

Local racer to take on Doc from Street Outlaws at Memphis

Monza and Doc from the hit Discovery Channel TV show Street Outlaws will be at Memphis International Raceway this Friday, Sept. 19.

While Monza will be in attendance to meet with the fans, local racer Donn Gingrich will replace him in the head-to-head challenge on the drag strip against Doc. The racers will go for a best two out of three challenge down the eighth mile at MIR.

Monza was recently injured in an off-track incident and Gingrich has stepped up to take on the challenge Friday night. The heads-up drag racer has 20+ years making passes on drag strips around the country and considers MIR his “hometown” track. He will drive a 1955 Monster-motored Chevy against Doc in “Street Beast”.

The evening will also include an open Test N Tune and a Quick 8.

US 131 Motorsports Park takes IHRA Division 5 Summit Team Finals win

The IHRA Summit Racing Equipment Team Finals presented by AMSOIL continued its championship tour over weekend with the team championship and Summit SuperSeries runoffs at the Division 5 Summit Team Finals at US 131 Motorsports Park.

US 131 Motorsports Park took the team crown for the third year in a row, this year over Grand Bend Motorplex. Wisconsin International Raceway, the last team other than US 131 to win the team championship back in 2011, was third, followed by Osceola Dragway and Cordova Dragway Park. The remaining teams in competition were Marion County International Raceway, Eddyville Raceway Park, Ubly Dragway, Cedar Falls Raceway, and Central Illinois Dragway.

In the Summit SuperSeries runoff, Gary Smiley, Mark Pressey and Allison Muchler won their respective classes during the second weekend of Summit Team Finals action in Martin, Michigan. With the win, the trio of drivers advance to the Summit SuperSeries World Championship as part of the Summit World Finals weekend October 10-11 at Memphis International Raceway.

GarySmiley-TopET-winnerSmiley, representing Eddyville Raceway Park, won the Top ET championship at the Division 5 Team Finals in a thriller over Kyle Smith. Smiley had a solid .015 reaction time and paired that with a 7.586 second pass on a 7.58 dial at 175.70 mph to take the win. Smith, from Marion County Raceway, had a 7.721 on a 7.71 at 169.15.

MarkPressey_ModET-winnerIn the Mod ET runoff Mark Pressey, from nearby Ubly Dragstrip, defeated Jeff Green with a little help in the form of a red-light start for Green. Green lit the red bulb by just -.001, negating an otherwise solid weekend for the driver out of US 131 Motorsports Park. With the win in hand, Pressey ran out his final pass of the weekend in tremendous fashion, weaving together a .026 package with a 10.118 on a 10.11 dial at 127.20 mph.

Wrapping up the Division 5 Summit SuperSeries runoff was the Junior Dragster pairing as Allison Muchler, representing her home track of US 131 Motorsports Park, put her machine in the winner's circle over Codey Scheland of Central Illinois Dragway. In a double-breakout finish, Muchler had a .050 reaction time coupled with a 7.872 on a 7.90 at 80.79 mph, while Scheland ran an 8.016 on an 8.05 in the runner-up effort.  (photos courtesy IHRA)

Wrapping up the Division 5 Summit SuperSeries runoff was the Junior Dragster pairing as Allison Muchler, representing her home track of US 131 Motorsports Park, put her machine in the winner’s circle over Codey Scheland of Central Illinois Dragway. In a double-breakout finish, Muchler had a .050 reaction time coupled with a 7.872 on a 7.90 at 80.79 mph, while Scheland ran an 8.016 on an 8.05 in the runner-up effort. (photos courtesy IHRA)

Main Event Top ET: Brad Smiley, Eddyville Raceway Park, (.025) 8.162 on 8.16, 163.03 def. Ken Hebert, Grand Bend Motorplex, (.039) 8.565 on 8.55, 159.57

Main Event Mod ET: Rob Livingston, Eddyville Raceway Park, (.004) 9.929 on 9.92, 136.10 def. Steve Decker, Cedar Falls Raceway, (.004) 10.004 on 10.02, 133.61

Main Event Street: Mike Lapp, Osceola Dragway, (.009) 13.147 on 13.17, 107.39 def. Mitchell Smith, US 131 Motorsports Park, (.093) 12.035 on 12.10, 110.41

Main Event Juniors: Schuyler Turner, Marion County International Raceway, (.045) 7.941 on 7.90, 77.73 def. Bryce Londerville, Wisconsin International Raceway, (.209) 7.855 on 7.90, 81.66