IHRA Summit Super Series at San Antonio, Texas

IHRA Summit Super Series at San Antonio, Texas

Back in the Business of Racing

 

 

It's official! The IHRA Summit Super Series kicked off the track's official grand opening celebration Saturday, June 27, with about 150 cars (130 bracket, 20 exhibition) signed in. In competition on the eighth-mile drag strip just outside San Antonio were the Electronics (Box), Foot Brake (No-box), Jr. Dragster, plus a Street and Bike Trophy class.

 

Besides a pit full of cars in competition there were plenty of vendors in the midway, the Tantrum Monster Truck giving rides, and some exhibition cars from the Southwest Superchargers.

 

If that wasn't enough, after the conclusion of the Summit Series bracket races, it blended into test-n-tune/grudge racing with 300+ street cars making runs plus the Busted Knuckle Motorcycle stunt riders.

 

It was a hot, muggy day with sun and clouds taking turns in the sky. Track temperatures at the start of round one in eliminations was 127, but the track was good all day. A small shower passed quickly in the evening, only slowing activities briefly.

 

The biggest incident of the day came early in time trials when Rick O'Donnell in his newly finished Roadster got crossed up and nosed into the wall just past the finish line. The driver was uninjured, but the car will need to be front-halved according to Ryan McDonnell.

Boerne's Greg Meuth (lead photo) grabbed the Electronics $1,500 payday over Cole Herbold (Seguin). Meuth had a slight edge at the start in his Quality Care Automotive, TNT Chassis and ran within 5/1,000ths of his index to get the win over Herbold, in his Undercover Dragster.

 

On his way to the finals, Meuth had to beat Darrell Hendricks, C. Murray, B. Wenske, David Cain, Chris Keylich with a round five bye. Herbold bettered Austin Philpot, Brandon Bass, J. Wenske, R. Ramirez, Todd Robinson and got the round six bye.

Greg Meuth (4.97), 4.975 at 139.45 mph defeats Cole Herbold (5.00) 5.016 at 136.94

 

Former San Antonio Raceway promoter Todd Zampese (Universal City) and Josh Gaspard (New Braunfels) both over shot their index in a double breakout final that gave the win to Zampese. Zampese in his Landshark Style Dragster was 5/100th better on the tree and chased down Gaspard's, G&G Performance, '73 Dodge Challenger at the line with both going too quick.

 

T. Zampese put Jimmy Koranek, Carlos Carrasco jr., Tom Posey and defending track champ, Ryan McDonnell on the trailer. Gaspard got around Anthony Montoya, Rhett Floyd, Struxness, D. Alvarez, Art Morales and had a round three bye.

 

Would LESS add up to MORE in these examples?

Would LESS add up to MORE in these examples?

My last column generated some great input from our readers and it seems like the ones responding fit in two categories: they still race or they have a race car that is sitting because they lost interest. We also had several email us and they have quit supporting local tracks in favor of running Regional races, be it Nostalgia events, Index races or Big Bucks bracket races.

 

My concerns center around the local drag strips and whether they will survive off bracket racing or not. For me, at almost 65 years of age, it isn't that important personally but I would hate to see something that has been a big part of my family's life disappear or become unrecognizable.

 

I mentioned in the last Dead-On column maybe there are a few things I think local tracks could do rebuild their bracket program and make it profitable enough to become important again. Seems most tracks are paying their bills and mortgages off of Test & Tunes, Midnight Madness events and other non-bracket racing events. The tracks must survive and that is what pays the bills. From the results I read about at NHRA and IHRA Divisional and National events, it indicates most of those events are shrinking every time they have one.

 

Here are a few more details of the random thoughts I want to share on "How Less might add up to MORE" for bracket racing.


1. LESS emphasis on track prep could bring in MORE cars. Look, I don't want unsafe conditions. I know the fast cars can spin their tire almost anywhere on the track. Do, or should, local tracks need to spend $1,000 a weekend on these cars at weekly events?


How about this plan: Allow 10 gallons of Traction Compound for the event. Keep the staging lanes and track as clean as possible. Sure, some cars will not "dead-hook" anymore. We will likely see new faces in the semis and the finals. Is that a bad thing or a good thing?


2. LESS entry fee expense could bring in MORE cars. I think, without exception, the entry fees have increased to the point where the guys who are coming will always come because a couple hundred bucks a weekend isn't that important and they love their racing. No problem with that; I race every weekend I can and I work hard so I can pay for it.

 

BUT what about the guy who either likes racing or wants to move up from $25 Test & Tune days to real racing? Now he has to spend $60-$80 to enter a race he literally has no chance to win. If he is 30-40 years old with a family this might simply be too much expense to "learn about bracket racing", so he stays home. BUT what about the bracket racer who has "lost interest" because of the COST he knows he will have to make to bring his bracket car up to a competitive level? Would he come back out if the costs were lower and the track wasn't prepped for the faster cars in his bracket?

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Lightning strike cancels Cordova’s weekend

Bisci_SteveNichols_BruceLittonSteve Nichols (left) and Bruce Litton in Nostalgia Funny Car competition at the IHRA Nitro Jam earlier this month at the newly paved Cordova track. (John Bisci photo)

This has been a year full of challenges for the new management team led by General Manager Bobbi Jo Cox at Cordova International Raceway in Cordova, Ill. Mother Nature has shown her bad side almost every weekend since opening for the season. They started racing in April and have yet to get in a full weekend.

Mother Nature dealt Cordova another blow between Monday and Tuesday. The storms that crossed the Midwest that day definitely packed a punch with tornadoes, hail, strong winds, torrential rain and lightning.

“We were sitting in the office Monday afternoon when lightning struck right outside our window – it scared us so badly! The whole office turned blue,” said Office Manager, Brenda Stuart. “We had a feeling we weren’t going to be very lucky with that lightning.”

Along with losing some phone lines, electronic equipment and coolers, the entire racetrack timing system took a direct blow. Lightning struck the ground at CIR, where it continued through the timing system and entered the tower damaging several key components of the whole system.

“It was a gut-wrenching discovery,” Cox said, “all the time and effort we’ve put into this facility this year – to have the timing system taken out by lightning was the worst feeling.

“We consulted with JJ Koehler at FSS Inc, Rod Cady at Cady Electric and Bob Brockmeyer at Compulink to see if there was any way possible to fix the timing before this weekend, but there’s not. We finally have a good weekend weather-wise and we won’t even be able to race. We’re sorry to say that Cordova will not be open for racing on June 26-28. Friday Fun Night, Points Race #4, and the Battle of the High Schools have all been canceled for this weekend.”

While plans have been underway to install the fiber system in early August, the injured timing system created an opening sooner to replace the current timing system with the new fiber optic system this coming week. IRG staff, along with FSS, Compulink, and Cady Electric will begin the install over this weekend and complete it in time for racing on July 3.

Rain curtails sportsman classes at Bristol; to be concluded at other events

CH_Bristol-track-rainAs the professional classes were finished on Sunday at Thunder Valley, the skies again opened up. Sportsman classes were held over to Monday, but that didn’t help.

Prior to cancellation on Monday, Ken Ellison won his first National event title as Tim Weise was unable to make it to the line for the Top Sportsman final. Ellison went five rounds in his ’12 Camaro from the No.22 qualifying position to take the trophy back home to Moore, S.C.

The Stock Eliminator final between Dan Fletcher and Michael Brand will be contested at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, over Fourth of July weekend.

The Top Dragster final will have Steve Cohen vs. Marco Abruzzi at the NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Chicago.

Three categories will be contested in September at the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway. Super Stock reached the semifinals in which the winner of Monty Bogan vs. Mike Saye will square off against Emily Volkman in the final thanks to a bye. No.1 qualifier David Anspach vs. Ray Connolly and John Taylor vs. Dean Mathauser will meet in the semifinals in search for the Super Gas title. The Super Comp final will pair up Michelle Furr vs. Jeff Burns. (Chris Haverly photo)

‘Pinks All Out’ series is back at the Rock, July 1-4

pinks_all_out

For drag racing purists and grassroots racers who for years have railed against the use of electronic aids like throttle stops and delay boxes, Rockingham Dragway will offer up a colorful reason to rejoice this 4th of July week when creator Rich Christensen resurrects the popular PINKS: All Out TV franchise.

The iconic drag racing TV series that first aired on Speed Channel, will have Live Taping for all Four days of PINKS ALL OUT for its third incarnation with only a few tweaks to a format that has remained largely intact since it debuted in 2005.

Although cars will qualify using an electronic starting system with the “instant green” option, actual competition still will employ the arm-drop start which harkens back to drag racing’s beginnings when races were started by a flagman. However, its primary function, because of its unpredictability, is to nullify the use of delay boxes.

While grassroots, old-style drag racing between cars, trucks, ATVs, Jr. Dragsters and motorcycles will be the cornerstone of the event, there will be other activities as well including a car and truck show, grudge racing, bench racing, along with live music Thursday evening and fireworks on Friday, July 3.

Saturday Night Nitro starts this week at Famoso

This Saturday, June 27, Auto Club Famoso Raceway launches their 2015 Summer Series with the first of the popular Good Vibrations Motorsports Saturday Night Nitro event. SNN includes a two-round Chicago-style nitro funny car shootout with the quickest winner of the eight car final round taking home $3,000 in cash. This weekend Famoso Raceway also hosts a Mega Mopar weekend and the West Coast Outlaw Pro Mods in competition. The agent hears there are 14 AA/FC teams that have said they are coming to the event

Here’s the kicker: if you get your buddies or the whole family together on Saturday, the Bowser family will let you in the gate at $25 per carload or truckload after 3 p.m.

PS_RogerHolder-WCHRA-CamaroRoger Holder is leading the West Coast Hot Rod Association True 10.5 points. WCHRA eliminations will start Sunday at 10 a.m. (Paul Schmitz photo)

There’s racing all weekend with nitro funny cars making test shots on Saturday afternoon, a funny car parade at 8 p.m. and nitro qualifying at 8:30 with the final round at 10:30.

NHRA Begins Promotion To Get New Fans To The Track

DragAFriend-logo

 

The NHRA has announced the newly created Drag A Friend To The Strip, a program offered exclusively for NHRA member tracks across the country. The initiative implemented by NHRA Field Marketing will inspire current racers, fans and supporters of the NHRA to bring friends to share the speed at NHRA Member Tracks events.

NHRA says the Drag A Friend To The Strip program will be supplemented through the use of a custom logo, collateral material, as well National Dragster ads, banner ads and social media content the tracks can utilize.

“The sport of NHRA drag racing is one that has to be seen, heard and felt up close and the Drag A Friend To The Strip program will bring new fans to NHRA events,” said Eric Lotz, director of field marketing and contingency program. “This will be another tool for our member tracks to utilize to promote their widely popular events.”

Dragstock XII Will Return To Rockingham as GALOT Track Opening is Delayed

RR_PDRA_TS_shootout-2014-Rockingham

At the 2014 Dragstock, Canadian racer Barry Daniluk (near lane) won the Top Sportsman Ultimate Shootout Saturday night over Ronnie Davis. Heavy rain put an early end to the PDRA race Sunday afternoon. (file photo by Roger Richards)

The PDRA Dragstock XII, originally scheduled to be run at GALOT Motorsports Park, will now return to Rockingham Dragway on September 11-13.

GALOT Motorsports Park’s expected completion date for the track overhaul has been pushed back to 2016, and as a result the track was forced to cancel all races on schedule for this year. The track is the former Dunn-Benson Dragstrip located in Benson, NC. PDRA Race Director Bob Harris reached out to Rockingham Dragway, the home of Dragstock in recent years, quickly securing the facility for the PDRA’s marquee event.

“We are disappointed that we will not run at GALOT this year,” Harris said, “but we understand that they are creating a world class facility and want it to be right before opening. We appreciate GALOT giving us enough notice to find a different facility in time and also appreciate (Rockingham track owner) Steve Earwood for partnering with the PDRA for a second event this season. We enjoy running at Rockingham and love the history that the Dragstock event has had at that track. We look forward to a great event there.”

The Dragstock name was originally used by the now-defunct ADRL.

Harris said GALOT Motorsports Park will have a place on the PDRA’s 2016 schedule.

Figspeed West Coast Classic at Fontana, Calif.

Figspeed West Coast Classic at Fontana, Calif.

Herem, Rizzoli, and Pierce top fields

 

 

Brenden Herem won a Huntsville Engine & Performance racing engine, Kyle Rizzoli won the Sunday Lucas Oil Pro eliminator and the overall Pro points title, while Sunday's Super Pro runner-up Brad Pierce earned the Racepak Super Pro points championship at the inaugural Figspeed West Coast Classic at Auto Club Dragway.

 

The first big dollar bracket race contested at the Fontana, Calif., racetrack opened with a Friday (June 13) afternoon Brodix "Race for the Money" competition where Alta Loma, Calif., racer Trevor Hayes (lead photo) and Arizona racer Seth Polvadore — who had the two best packages — and they faced off for the Pro title, while Jeff Shaw and Marko Perivolaris scored the best times in Super Pro, with Shaw's Road Runner advancing to the Brodix Shootout match. Hayes '74 Camaro took the win with a .007 reaction and was .003 good on his dial for the win.

 

Saturday featured a full day of bracket racing including Racepak Super Pro, Lucas Oil Pro followed by the Meziere 32-car Pro Shootout and the big 64-car Huntsville Super Pro Shootout. The Racepak Super Pro show opened with 120 cars with the winner awarded with a check for $5,000.

 

‘Wally’ up for grabs at Cayuga Dragway’s King of the Track competition

Irwindale-2-cars

Previous King of the Track champion Claude Losier. (Stacee Kenington photo)

The second event stop in the five-event DSE Automotive Sportsman Racing Series (www.sportsmanracingseries.ca) will take place this weekend at Cayuga Dragway near Toronto, Canada, which will also feature the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment “King of the Track” run-off on Saturday, June 20.

Main event winners in Super Pro, Modified, Super Bike/Sled, Street Eliminator, Quick 16, and Street Bike Eliminator will all have the opportunity to race in a special “total package run-off” for the NHRA Wally trophy and a bonus $250 cash prize.

The run-off will consist of each racer making a single pass after they have won their class and the person during that single pass who produces the best total package (Reaction time plus dial in) will win the trophy. Redlights and break-outs will disqualify a racer from winning the run-off.

“This is really going to be an fun format change for us with the King of the Track race, and we are excited to now be able to include four more classes in the event, where as in years gone by it was only open to Modified and Super Pro racers,” said DSE series director Andrew Stirk. “With this configuration racers in Super Bike/Sled, Street Bike and Street Car can still use the same PRO tree they were used to running all day, and our Quick 16 racers only have to make one additional run versus three or more for a chance at the Wally.”