Super Class Racing Returns to Auto Club Dragway

Super Comp racer Matt Fischle in the near lane.

Super Class Racing Returns to Auto Club Dragway

For over three years the Southern California “Super Series” associations have been without a home dragstrip when Auto Club Dragway’s normal drag racing activities were shut down because of environmental issues. A great-looking sound wall was constructed earlier this year, and racing has returned to the Fontana track.

The SoCal Pro Gas and Super Street associations, along with the Southern California Racing Association ( racers, conducted their first races at Fontana on the July 12-13 weekend.

Paul Wiechmann won the Derek Sanchez Pro Gas Memorial race on Saturday with his Corvette, defeating the event top qualifier Val Torres, Jr., in the final round 9.905 (9.90 index) to a losing 9.953.

On Sunday, Travis Balough wheeled his Corvette to a double-breakout final round win over Mike Lang. Lucas Oil Products and K&N Filters sponsored the event.

Dave Gotts drove his ’67 Camaro to the Super Street points race title on Sunday, defeating Jimmy Galante in the final round of the Tim and Donna Daniel-sponsored race.

Dead On – Sometimes less might mean more

Sometimes less might mean more

There seem to be a lot of "Big Money" bracket races this year and from what I have heard and read about them they are not attracting the large car counts they used to. Why is that? I used to go to as many of those races as I could, but lately the cost of going the high-dollar entry fees and ultra-competitive racing has made it an easier decision to stay home and race local. Evidently a lot of you feel the same way.

George Howard and Steve Earwood just completed a July 4th weekend event that GUARANTEED $20,000 to win, $3,000 R/U, $1,000 semis and $500 for quarterfinals. What made this a unique event was there was NO ENTRY FEE, per say. It cost the racers and crew just $50 each for the entire four days of the event. $12.50 a day for two $20,000-to-win races! They also had a $1,000-to-win Footbrake race and a JR Dragster race as well.

George and Steve used this type of format several years ago with the B&M Racers Appreciation Series and it was a huge success. This "rebirth" of the no entry fee, fairly expensive buy-backs and paying eight places did fairly well but it wasn't a "homerun." Why not? Low entry cost, huge payout on top....

Here is what I think might make that type of event work for today's bracket racer.

Let's stay with the $50 per person through the gate and no entry fee: Yeah, I realize if three of you come in the motor home or truck that is $150. Remember, you will get a day of testing, probably a gambler race and a couple last time trial "run for the money" chances.

Double entries: This seems to always be an issue and there are a lot of ways to do it. Here is an idea: A driver can enter his own car twice (extra $50 required). He can drive it twice or he can have another driver run it once. A car can go down the track a maximum of two times per round. A driver can go down the track a maximum of two times per round. A driver can bring two cars with him; same rules above apply. He can only go down track twice per round so he would need another driver or he could run once in both cars, his choice.
Buy-backs: Always an issue but maybe this would make it easier: Lower buy-back cost to $75; first or second round losers eligible; driver can only buy-back once per entry. You double-enter, you can buy-back twice. Buy-backs go to the next round but they are put into the lanes against the other buy-back racers.

Payouts: Hard to beat $20,000 for $50 entry, but what about this idea. Rather than have all the cash on top (which 99% of the time the racers figure out a split at eight cars or maybe semis).

Let's look at this: This would be the payout for each day of a two-day event. Friday could be all time runs or throw in a High-Roller and Low-Roller gambler race for those that want it with 80% payback. Payout: $5,000 WINNER; $4,000 R/U; $2,000 semis; $1,000 quarters; $500 1/8ths; $250 each 1/16ths; $100 each 1/32nds (this round paid if nine rounds to complete race).

This spreads the money out -- which happens anyway when racers split up in the staging lanes with verbal agreements -- and pays more racers some good money.

Still a great race, more affordable for racers and more racers collect some money. That's a good thing, right?

The event promoter is still on the hook for over $40,000 for a two-day event, but I feel more racers will accept this format because of the deeper payout and less expensive buy-backs. focuses on the high-dollar races with results, schedules, tech, racing tips, driver profiles and much more, all with the high editorial standards and professional look from the same people who have been bringing you since 1999.


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NHRA Sportsman classes at Norwalk, Ohio

NHRA Sportsman classes at Norwalk, Ohio

Holeshots mean wins for Strasburg and Harker

Mike Strasburg and Steve Harker took wins over the July 4th weekend in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. Both drivers won on holeshots.

Strasburg (far lane) got the TAD win over Taliferro.

Strasburg, Lindon, Utah, had the early lead in the final then gave it up to Mark Taliaferro, Odessa, Texas, before taking it back and crossing the finish line for the win in 5.450 seconds at 269.40 mph. The win was the first national-event win for Strasburg who took out Robin Samsel, Bill Reichert and Rich McPhillips on his way to the TAD final.

Harker (near lane) over Foster in TAFC.

Harker, Gainesville, Ga., was out first in his ’13 Monte Carlo funny car with a .026-second reaction time in his final round match up with Chris Foster, Davenport, Iowa. The holeshot proved to be the difference as he held off the hard charging Foster, who clocked in at 5.616, 257.73. Harker, the No. 1 qualifier, posted a 5.627-second lap at 240.77 mph for his fifth national event win. 

Project 10 the Hard Way – It’s ALIVE!

The Dart SHP iron block arrived in a finished condition -- cleaned, finish honed, ready to assemble. 4.125" bore and clearance for 3.875' stroke. This SHP block will be an excellent foundation for our 415-inch engine.


It’s alive thanks to our many partners and friends. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Without a doubt the Project 10-The Hard Way Firebird bracket car has been a bit of a struggle to get completed. I am in the final stages of getting it to the track. I was hoping for this weekend but I decided not to take it out until it was painted and "finished".

Mechanically there are a few things to do (actually, there will always be a few things to do, right?) but the main project for this year is sitting between the fenders after a few "pulls" on the dyno at AEM (Automotive Engine & Machine) in Waterloo, Iowa.

I will do my best to go over what we built, why we built what we did and the results. I am confident we have a 600-800 run small-block Chevy that I can bracket race until I hang up my helmet.

Getting the right combination of parts is important

The small EDM hole in the Comp Cams solid lifter will provide extra lubrication to the cam and lifters to prevent premature wear.

By that I do not mean getting the heads that flow the most air, the biggest camshaft and biggest carburetor. I mean a combination of parts that will put you where you want to be, financially and horsepower-wise to accomplish what you are shooting for in your own racing program. My plan was to get about 500-550 HP so the engine would be efficient and pull hard, but I did not want parts that took a lot of maintenance week to week.

I just about wore the guys out at Competition Products with my questions on the different engine packages they offered. We started talking about using an OEM Chevy block that they prep and getting a 355" rotating assembly. The conversation led us to the fact we would need more compression and camshaft than I wanted to run to get to the 500 HP numbers. Their tech guys thought the best route would be to go with more stroke in the engine, lower the compression, and it would take less camshaft (which means it is easier on valve train parts).

Bracket Racers Independence Day Race at Rockingham, NC

William Roberts

Bracket Racers Independence Day Race at Rockingham, NC


Benson, North Carolina’s William Roberts used a .017 package to get past Robbie Joines from Sparta, NC, by .02 of a second in the final round Sunday, July 6, and claim the second of the $20,000 winner’s shares in the Bracket Racers Independence Day event at Steve Earwood’s Rockingham Dragway.

Roberts, team driver for Ronnie Roberts Racing, and T.G. Paschal of Pleasant Garden were the big winners in a weekend event that recalled the big money bracket races of the 1990s when Rockingham owner Steve Earwood and “Big Daddy” George Howard teamed up to produce the Racers Appreciation Bracket Series and the Million Dollar Drag Race.

“It brought back some memories,” Earwood said of his first collaboration with Howard in more than 10 years, “and I’m not ruling out the possibility that we might do some more of these. It was fun then and it was fun today.”

Although Roberts and Paschal were the only drivers to pull down five figures over the weekend, there was a host of $1,000 champions including Brian Butler of Donald, SC, who won Friday’s Run for the Money, Raleigh’s Richard Alford, who was the Sunday Footbrake winner, and Kevin Riner of Autryville, NC, who claimed Saturday’s Footbrake title.

Rockingham regular Tommy Plott of Winston-Salem won the special High Rollers’ race on Friday and Bo Sutton of Jackson, SC, prevailed in the Gamblers Race also contested on the first day.

DSE Sportsman Series at Toronto

Andrew Stirk won the Modified class on Saturday and Sunday.

DSE Sportsman Series at Toronto

Dwyer, Manwaring and Stirk Double up at Canada Day Spectacular

Great weather coupled with perfect track conditions at Toronto Motorsports Park created the ingredients needed for a fantastic weekend of close and competitive racing as DSE Sportsman Series racers were contending for NHRA Hardware in both the Summit Racing Equipment “King of the Track” program as well as the Jr. Drag Racing League Challenge.

Saturday night, June 28, also hosted the inaugural Mike Marshall Memorial Race, an event created to pay tribute to long-time Mopar racer Mike Marshall as well as raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. Tim Knight drove his 1933 roadster to the win with a terrific .005 RT and a 9.878 on a 9.83 dial-in against Bob Richards’ .051 RT and 10.130 on a 10.08 dial in his ’63 Corvette.

Hill Racing/ATI Performance Products Modified racers would be the first category to hit the track Saturday, with racers looking to take home the Saturday main event win along with a spot in the run-off final for the NHRA awards later in the day.

After five rounds of stellar No box racing, two Chevy-powered Mustangs remained, first year racer Alex Lepp and his SBC-powered 1986 Mustang and the BBC-powered 1989 Mustang of Andrew Stirk. Lepp would take the head start dialed 10.94 to Stirk’s 10.00. However it would be Stirk’s starting line advantage that would allow him to push Lepp into a breakout allowing Stirk to take the win and move into the run-off final.

Renegade Race Fuels Super Pro saw a rematch from the DSE season opener final round with multi-time Super Pro Class Champion Steve “Freight-Train” Ferstl in his 2008 S&W Dragster, taking on recent IHRA Mopar Canadian Nationals Super Rod winner Andrew Stirk and his 1963 Corvette Roadster. 

Both racers were prepared for the final with Stirk launching to a .007 light to Ferstl’s .016. However Stirk’s 9.899 ET on his 9.90 dial bested Ferstl’s 7.787 on a 7.81 dial to take the double-breakout win. The win gave Stirk both spots in the NHRA “King of the Track” Wally Run-off and thus assured his second “King of the Track” Championship in the past three years.

Stirk would go on to complete the first known “Double-Double” in Toronto Motorsports Park history by driving back into the Sunday winner circle in Super Pro by defeating Allan Bain and his 1993 rear-engine dragster, then defeating Bob Richards and his 1963 Corvette in the Hill Racing/ATI Performance Products Modified final round.

JEGS Allstars at Joliet, Ill.

JEGS Allstars at Joliet, Ill.

Division 5 gets first win

Thanks to a dominating performance that included four wins in five final rounds, the NHRA Division 5 team finally earned its first overall title Saturday night, June 28, at the JEGS Allstars event at Route 66 Raceway.

In 30 years of JEGS Allstars competition, Division 5 had never claimed possession of the perpetual trophy that goes to the winning team, but that changed when it earned 1,400 points at this year's event, easily topping second-place Division 2, which ended with 1,000 points. The winning team members shared a $20,000 bonus from event sponsor JEGS Mail Order.

The winning group was led by Brett Speer, Trevor Larson, Roger Sauder, and Phil Unruh, who claimed wins in Stock, Super Gas, Super Street, and Top Dragster, respectively. As if that wasn't enough, defending JEGS Allstars winner Bruno Massel Jr. reached the final round in Comp.

Speer, of Little Falls, Minn., defeated Division 2 racer Robbie Shaw in a heads-up Stock finale between similarly classed A/SA entries. In the end, Speer's 10.23 defeated Shaw's quicker 10.17.

Moments later, Larson, of Starbuck, Minn., defeated Division 6 racer Randy Sides in the Super Gas final, 9.93 to 9.96.

Super Street winner Sauder, who hails from Sidney, Neb., won his final-round bout when opponent Clint Parker, representing the Division 4 team, fouled at the start. 

Unruh, who is based in McPherson, Kan., won the title in Top Dragster by running a 6.41 on his 6.39 dial, which was enough to beat Division 1 racer Scott Luken, who ran a 7.10 on a 7.06 dial.

Greg Kamplain, of Brownsburg, Ind., claimed one of two titles for the defending team champs from Division 3 when he drove his dragster to victory in Comp. Kamplain defeated Massel, whose turbocharged dragster slowed before the finish line. 

Fellow Division 3 racer Jerry Albert, of Avon, Ohio, also collected a win in Top Sportsman when he beat Michael Daniele of Division 1.

A pair of Division 2 racers met to decide the Super Stock title, with Mike Crutchfield, of Montgomery, Ala., claiming the win over Gary Coccaro, who was entered as a blocker and could not earn points toward the overall title. Crutchfield also won JEGS Allstars titles in 1990 and 2013.

The Division 2 team also won in Super Comp when Ray Miller III, of Spring Hill, Fla., took the trophy with an 8.954 to 8.951 holeshot victory over Division 7 rep George Garbiso.

The Central Region team won the overall title in the special Top Alcohol Dragster portion of the JEGS Allstars competition thanks to a victory by decorated racer Randy Meyer. Hailing from Spring Hill, Kan., Meyer defeated West Region racer Joey Severance in the final, 5.36 to a shutoff 7.86.

In the Top Alcohol Funny Car final, John Lombardo Jr., of Brea, Calif., scored a win for the West Region by driving to a 5.66 to 5.76 victory against East Region rival Dan Pomponio.

Final Points Standings
Division 5:  1,400
Division 2:  1,000
Division 4:  600
Division 1:  500
Division 3:  500
Division 6:  500
Division 7:  400

Summit Bracket Racing Series at MIR

Summit Bracket Racing Series Presented by COMP Cams: Double Header Race Results

The Summit Bracket Racing Series presented by COMP Cams had a double header weekend at Memphis International Raceway as drivers battled for class victories on Saturday and Sunday. Also, a special Stock/ Super Stock Combo race was added to the schedule to provide additional excitement for the sportsman racers. 

Cliff Hubbard from Millington, Tenn. swept the weekend in the R.T. Turbines D.O.T. Street class and, in the R.T. Turbines Jr. Dragster class, Devin Johnson took the win on Saturday and followed it up by winning the Second Chance Shootout on Sunday. Rusty Ashmore from Southhaven, Miss. and Cody Graham came out the big winners over the weekend as Ashmore took over the point lead in Rick's Powder Coating Super Pro class and Graham jumped four spots to lead the B&B Towing Footbrake class. 

"This weekend was more stellar drag racing at Memphis International Raceway," stated Tyler Crossnoe, Drag Strip Manager. "There was plenty of racing excitement with the Summit Bracket Series presented by COMP Cams and with the Stock/ Super Stock Combo races. The points battle is exciting to watch right now as we're getting closer and closer to the World's Finals."

Results from Saturday

Jr. Dragsters

Devin Johnson from Collierville, Tenn. took the win over the Motorvation Motorsports entry, driven by Drew Mann Tracey. Johnson recorded a .054 reaction time and a winning time of 12.103 at 54.36 m.p.h. off his 12.08 dial-in as Tracey posted a .050 reaction time and a 9.436 elapsed time off a 9.40 dial-in. Layna Tracey, also from Motorvation Motorsports, took home the semi-final finish.

Jr. Dragsters Second Chance Shootout

Breanna Bemister from Bloomfield, Mo. took home the win in R.T. Turbines Jr. Dragster Second Chance Shootout over Millington, Tenn.'s Brianna Moore. Bemister won in a double breakout race as she broke out with a 7.959 off a 7.96 dial-in as Moore was 7.928 off her 7.96 dial-in. 

IHRA Summit Super Series at San Antonio Raceway

IHRA Summit Super Series at San Antonio Raceway

The IHRA Summit Super Series hit the track again for another round of racing at San Antonio Raceway. After a successful IHRA Pro-Am event that saw over 300 cars competing, the local classes were back in action on the 1/8 mile track just outside of San Antonio. With a later start time to beat the heat, the Electronics(Box), Foot Brake(No-box) and Jr. Dragster were all in search of track points.

Veteran Leroy O'Bryant continues his advantage over Brent Ritter and Chris Keylich in the Electronics(Box) class. Foot Brake(No-box) shows defending champ, Brandon Mitchan back on top holding a slim 4-point margin over motorcycle rival, Ruben Gallegos with Nelson Friedeck third. In Jr. Dragster, former track champ, Ashley Hubbell has a commanding 200-point edge over Matthew Keylich and Caden Meuth.

The later start time saw driver run time trials in the late afternoon, but partly cloudy skies helped keep the heat down with track temperatures around 120*. By the time the first rounds of eliminations began, the sun had started to set bringing out a full moon and cooler conditions for the later rounds. The track was good with enough bite to tear out the rear gears of Anthony Montoya and Paul Gaspard.

Gaspard Grabs Dialing for Dollars Dough

Josh Gaspard(New Braunfels) took home the 'Dialing for Dollars' jackpot coming the closest to his dial in. J. Gaspard, who dialed a 6.99, ran through the 1/8th mile at 6.9903 in his G&G Performance, 73 Dodge Challenger, only missing his number by .0003 or 3/10,000th. No one could knock down that number set by J. Gaspard early in Foot Brake runs.

Preston 'Peeps' Pennington on a burn out in early action


"Peeps" Pockets Double Payday

Preston "Peeps" Pennington(Three Rivers) scored a big daily double taking wins in of the Electronics(Box) finals. In race #1 Pennington, in his Pennington Brothers Racing Dragster had a round 1 rematch against the current points leader, Leroy O'Bryant(San Antonio) driving the O'Bryant Automotive, 79 Chevy El Camino. Pennington had a 1/10 in the bank off the line and needed it as he chased down the earlier leaving O'Bryant.

Preston Pennington, 4.780(4.76) @ 136.78 defeats Leroy O'Bryant, 7.949(7.93) @ 93.94

Pennington, who rebought after the round 1 loss to O'Bryant, took out Chris Keylich, Kip Scharf, Jeff Rabedeau with a round 4 bye on his way to the finals. O'Bryant trailered P. Pennengton, Pete De Los Santos, Victo Hinojosa and Brett Zampese getting a bye in the semi's.

Electronics race #2 saw P. Pennington square off with Jeff Rabedeau(Canyon Lake) in a replay of the race #1 semi's, for the race #2 finals. Pennington laid a .006 light on Rabedeau and that was all she wrote as Pennington held on for the victory.

Preston Pennington, 4.789(4.76) @ 140.71 defeats Jeff Rabedeau, 4.691(4.68) @ 147.69

Pennington got by Chris Keylich, Kip Scharf, Victor Hinojosa, with a competition bye in round 4 against brother Philip Pennington(broke) and bye in the semi finals. Rabedeau got around Brett Zampese, Jon Hernandez and Rick Shafer after a round 1 loss, and rebuy, to Zampese plus a bye in round 3.

Josh Gaspard readies for semi finals with dad, Paul Gaspard looking on

Foot Brake(No-box)

Gaspard Grabs Gold Again

Josh Gaspard, who survived a scary ride in round 3 that turned the 660' into more like a 700' adventure after a test-n-tune oil down, scored a double win after taking the "Dialing for Dollars" cash earlier. Gaspard was paired off with Nelson Friedeck, in his Herb & Sons Tire, RnR Auto Glass, 62 Chevy Nova for the finals. Gaspard had a .006 light that perhaps caused Friedeck to out run his and break out on the big end giving the win to Gaspard.

Josh Gaspard, 7.020(6.98) @ 90.04 defeats Nelson Friedeck, 6.846(6.86) @ 99.67

Gaspard defeated Ryan McDonnell, Todd Zampese, Jimmy Inman, Debbie Schneider and Rhett Floyd. Friedeck got past M. Bachman, Mac Garcia, Brandon Mitchan, Ruben Gallegos and Walter Dyrenfurth

HRH Summer Kick-Off at Salt Lake City, Utah

HRH Summer Kick-Off at Salt Lake City, Utah

Rocky Mountain Raceways near Salt Lake City, Utah, was host of the NHRA Summer Kick-Off on Saturday, June 7.

Fans were thrilled to see both ends of the Nostalgia Nitro Funny Car track record broken. In the semifinals, Dan Horan blistered down the track with an elapsed time of 5.845, creating the new standard. In the very next pair, Kris Krabill set a speed track record running 250.00 mph.

Here are the Heritage Series winners in the sportsman ranks.

Bill Wayne, Bullhead, Ariz. (A Fuel)