IHRA Summit SuperSeries final at Memphis

IHRA Summit SuperSeries final at Memphis

Drivers in Top, Mod, Jr. Dragster claim world championships

The real excitement behind the Summit SuperSeries program is that anyone, anywhere can win it.

Drivers from the contiguous United States, Canada and even as far away as Aruba, Alaska and Hawaii have the opportunity to race for a track championship and, with a little luck and a lot of skill, make it all the way from their local track to the big stage at the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment World Finals at Memphis International Raceway to compete for a world championship.

And that is exactly the tale told by Tim Lucas, Kevin Pollard and Justin Poindexter.

All three drivers won at their local tracks, advanced further at the Team Finals level and eventually found themselves walking in Memphis along with 48 other drivers going after a championship. With drivers from all across North America on hand to compete in Memphis, at the end of the day, those three drivers were left standing as the 2013 class of the IHRA Summit SuperSeries presented by AMSOIL as Lucas (Lillington, N.C.) took the title in Top ET, Pollard (Fincastle, Va.) claimed the Mod ET championship and Poindexter (Millington, Tenn.) won the Junior Dragster world championship.

“I told everyone that it would be a dream come true to come here and win this thing and to actually be standing here today, holding this trophy, I am at a loss for words,” Lucas said. “There are a lot of bracket guys out there that would probably love to run the circuit, but the IHRA and Summit give those guys an awesome place to race. Summit has made a dream come true for a guy like me and I just want to thank them, IHRA and everyone that is involved with this program. It is unbelievable, it really is.”

Tim Lucas

After tearing up his primary car one week ago, Lucas traveled to Memphis in a car familiar to most that follow the IHRA circuit – Donald Webb’s gorgeous Camaro. In that borrowed ride, Lucas went four huge rounds on Sunday culminating with a victory over another longtime bracket racer, Irving, Texas’ Don Boulware. In a final with decades of experience between the two, it was actually Boulware who had the advantage on the tree with a perfect .000 reaction time to Lucas’ .016, but Lucas battled back on the top end with a 10.132 on a 10.12 dial at 128.27 miles per hour while Boulware, in a very quick dragster, ran a 7.442 on a 7.41 dial at 175.82 mph in the runner-up effort.

Lucas also had wins over Chris Butcher, Eric Boyd and Brad Perkins to reach the finals.

“I was a lot more calm than I thought I would be going into the final,” Lucas said. “I knew there was a lot on the line, but I tried to put that behind me and just focus on running my race which really helped me turn on that win light.”

Representing Fayetteville Motorsports Park, Lucas reached the Summit SuperSeries championships via a win at the Division 9 Summit Team Finals, while Boulware used a runner-up finish in Division 4 representing Dallas Raceway to reach the big show.

With the win Lucas claims a $10,000 prize courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment, a brand new dragster built by Maddox Race Cars with a Trick Flow engine, a custom paint job by Imagine That Custom Paint and major components from Moser Engineering, Abruzzi Transmissions and Converters and many more, a championship trophy, diamond ring, a trip to Aruba and more.

In Mod ET Kevin Pollard survived a grueling day of competition against some of the best racers from across North America, culminating with a matchup with South Carolina native Jay Norris in the final. With more than $10,000 and the title of world champion on the line, Norris let up a tad too early to light the red bulb by -.029 allowing Pollard to take a leisurely Sunday drive and the Mod ET championship in the process.

NHRA Heritage Series Champions Crowned At Famoso

NHRA Heritage Series Champions Crowned At Famoso

Eight champions were crowned in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series at Auto Club Famoso Raceway and the Nostalgia Fall Championships with both Chris Beanes and Ed Carey grabbing their second.

Beanes, the 2011 A/Gas series champion came into the event in third place, 11 points behind 2012 champion Dean Hall, with Terry Newton in second, 10 points back.  As luck would have it, Newton and Hall met up in round one with Hall taking the win and ending Newton’s championship hopes.  In round two, it was Beanes and Hall that would battle for what could be the championship as Ray Padgett, Brendon Frye and Steve Faller were still in competition with an outside shot.  Beanes, Valencia, Calif., defeated Hall and went on to win the event, his second this year, and the championship.  Hall held on to finish second in the points standings.

Carey, La Jolla, Calif., was looking to repeat his 2012 D/Gas championship run and locked things up in round two when he knocked out Trey Sommers, Escondido, Calif., who was the lone survivor that could overtake Carey.  Carey also won the season opening March Meet at Famoso and has dominated the class finishing second in points in both 2011 and 2009 to go along with his pair of championships.

Ken Brown

One of the biggest surprises of the day was in C/Gas when Jason Barta, Dan Crisp and Dave Dubose, who were all tied for first, fell in round one of eliminations leaving the door open for Ken Brown, Neal Westbrook and Chris Kurtis. Westbrook fell to Kurtis in the semifinals while Brown, Ventura, Calif., worked his way through eliminations, earning a bye in to the finals which secured the championship.  Kurtis, Bakersfield, Calif., beat Brown in the final, took home the event win and finished second in the points chase.  Brown combined his runner up finish with a win at the March Meet for his championship.

The B/Gas championship wasn’t quite as dramatic as John Saliani led Kevin Riley by 53 points coming into the event with two wins in the first two events (March Meet and the Nostalgia Reunion in Sacramento).  Riley fell in round one giving the championship to Saliani of Saugus, Calif.  Jessie Wooton went on to win the event and jump into second.

Hot Rod Eliminator saw more than 10 competitors with a shot at the title with the point’s leader Dan Cargill, Bullhead City, Ariz., sitting on top at 113 points and Kurt Kaemeale back in eleventh at 70.  Kaemeale, Redondo Beach, Calif., was the class runner up in 2012 and worked his way through eliminations as other drivers dropped out early, including Cargill in round two.  Kaemeale, having to win the event to overtake Cargill, beat Shane Pulido in the semifinals and would face off with Roger McGregor, Glendora, Calif., in the final.  Kaemeale left early by .005 seconds giving McGregor the win and Cargill the 2013 Hot Rod Championship.  Kaemeale finished second for the second year in a row.

What the hell are we doing?

What the hell are we doing?

Have you ever heard the term "professional sportsman racer" used? Do you have any idea what they mean by that? Well, I have given it a lot of thought for a lot of years. Finally, I think I have come to a conclusion -- put an end to it! Want to be a professional racer? Then race in a professional category. I guess someone has to finally say it.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for the racers who travel across the United States going to national and regional events and kicking everyone's ass.

Good for them!

But is it good for the sport? I think not.

These "professional sportsman racers" get used to different tracks, weather, travel, changes to race schedules, etc. It's what they do and they are damn good at it. The issues it creates runs a lot deeper though, and although there are a lot of racers who will agree with what I am saying, there are a lot of racers who think I am way off base. I feel torn between personal feelings of loving racing at every level and hating what I see it turning into.

Since there is no rule against traveling across the country running national events in the sportsman categories, the guys doing it are doing nothing wrong whatsoever. The reality is, however, that in my opinion, those racers are professional on every level. The rigs they tow with, the race cars, the engines, the preparation they can do is nothing but first-class, and in a way I am a little jealous that they are living a life I dreamed of several years ago. They work hard prepping the cars, they drive the starting line and finish line like their wages depended on it and it shows.

They are the BEST SPORTSMAN DRIVERS IN HISTORY, PERIOD!

But I see a couple faults to this "professional sportsman racing". One is that it kills a lot of regional or local racers ever having much of a chance to win a big race.

Hey, if you can't get as good a reaction time or drive the stripe as good as the "professional sportsman racer" then you need to improve, right? I don't care how much a local sportsman racer works at getting better, it will be very rare that they even come close to the skills the "professional sportsman racer" has, especially when you throw in the national event atmosphere and scheduling. That is something you have to get used to, and how many local sportsman racers can spend that much time away from work getting used to a national or divisional event schedule?

Is there a way to fix this? Is it a problem that enough people want to fix? I have no idea. I can tell you this, though. Look at the sportsman national points standings -- have the names changed much in the last five to 10 years? Not really.

Should the sanctioning bodies only allow a sportsman racer to enter so many races a year? Do you think a driver should only enter one car at any given race? Do you think leveling the playing field a little will make the national points program something that more people would like to take a shot at?

I am pretty sure NHRA likes seeing the same guys, same tow rigs, and same people who know their parking and race procedures coming into all their events.

Good for them.

It makes their life easier in one sense. On the other hand the entire sportsman program is withering on the vine with smaller and smaller turnouts at LODRS races where you are supposed to attend to be eligible to attend national events. If it wasn't for racers who bring in multiple entries in their trailers I wonder what the "real" racer attendance would be at some NHRA/IHRA events.

My problem with this is that I know a lot more race car owners that have one car they drive and not multiple cars. I think it's great the financial situation for some people is such that they can field multiple entries, but don't think that is not an advantage.

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JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals at Columbus, Ohio

JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals at Columbus, Ohio

Billingsley gets back-to-back wins

For the second-consecutive year, David Billingsley was crowned the champion of the JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals Sept. 22 at National Trail Raceway. Billingsley, of Decatur, Ill., successfully defended his title in the Comp Eliminator class when he drove his ’93 Cutlass to a final round win over local racer Chuck Haubiel of Gahanna, Ohio. Billingsley, who came from the No. 11 qualifying spot, won with an 8.70 elapsed time in his L/AA classed entry.

Billingsley celebrated his win along with fellow champions Stephen Belanger (Super Stock), Chuck Beach (Stock), Leo Zynda (Super Comp), Rusty Cook (Super Gas), Donnie Durenberger (Super Street), Andy Johnson (Top Dragster), and Jeff Sexton (Top Sportsman).

Belanger, of Elizabeth, Ind., had his work cut out for him as there were a total of 99 drivers competing in the Super Stock class. In the final, he drove his ’05 Cavalier to a 9.27 elapsed time to defeat veteran racer Kenny Schindler’s ’71 Corvette.

After many years of dedication and effort, Beach, of Delaware, Ohio, finally got to celebrate an NHRA national event title and he did it at his home track. Beach, in his ’68 Barracuda, used an 11.00 elapsed time to win the final round over the ’00 Firebird of Leonard Mattingly. Beach had lost in the first round in three of his previous four appearances this season.

NHRA Sportsman at Dallas

NHRA Sportsman at Dallas

WESTERFIELD BREAKS MANZO’S STREAK AT THE AAA TEXAS FALLNATIONALS

At the AAA Texas FallNationals in Dallas, Shane Westerfield handed Frank Manzo his first final-round loss in nearly eight years to earn his first major Top Alcohol Funny Car victory and Jim Whiteley put the Top Alcohol Dragster championship almost out of reach with his sixth overall win this season.

With increasingly quicker reaction times, Westerfield left everybody he faced and reeled off one low-5.50 after another, highlighted by a 5.55 to 5.58 final-round decision over Manzo, whose last runner-up was 43 finals ago at the 2006 Winternationals. "That's about the best weekend anybody could have – not because I won but because I ended his streak," Westerfield said. "That's all anybody wanted to talk about."

Pittsburgh Raceway Park runs away with D3 Summit Team Finals win

Pittsburgh Raceway Park runs away with D3 Summit Team Finals win

Six more drivers advance in Summit SuperSeries championship

Six very excited drivers kicked off the Division 3 Summit Racing Equipment Team Finals at Pittsburgh Raceway Park with final round appearances in the Summit SuperSeries runoff, automatically advancing them to the Summit World Finals at Memphis International Raceway in October.

Albert Donnell (Top ET), Greg Sauvage (Mod ET) and Roberta Benedict (Junior Dragster) won their respective classes on the first day of racing in Pittsburgh, joining runner-up finishers Brad Perkins (Top ET), Ray Wade (Mod ET) and Darrell Holstion (Junior Dragster) with automatic tickets to compete for the Summit SuperSeries World Championship next month.

Division 3 Summit SuperSeries Top winner Albert Donnell

In the team competition, host track Pittsburgh Raceway Park (65) pulled away to a 19 point win over runner-up team Quaker City Motorsports Park (46) in the eight-time race. Beaver Springs Dragway was third with 45 points, followed by Thompson Raceway Park (44.5) and Empire Dragway (39). Rounding out the field were Elegant Builders Raceway Park (39), Skyview Drags (26) and Kanawha Valley Motorsports Park (24).

Albert Donnell, representing his home track of Quaker City Motorsports Park, won the Top ET runoff in thrilling fashion. Both he and runner-up Ray Perkins had tremendous reaction times, with Donnell holding a narrow edge of .005 to a .007, while Donnell ran an 8.848 on an 8.84 dial at 148.32 miles per hour. Perkins was beat by just inches at the line, producing a 10.808 on a 10.79 dial at 119.81 mph.

In the Mod ET runoff Kanawha Valley Motorsports Park’s Greg Sauvage had little trouble with Ray Wade, posting a .002 reaction time and running a 10.594 lap on a 10.58 dial. Wade had a .071 light and ran a tad quicker than predicted with a 10.710 on a 10.78.

Division 3 Summit SuperSeries Mod winner Greg Sauvage

Roberta Benedict, from Thompson Dragway, won the Junior Dragster runoff over Darrell Holstion. Benedict won the battle at the tree with a .014 to a .092 and backed that up with a 7.960 on a 7.93 at 80.73 mph. Holstion was just off on his numbers, producing an 8.298 on an 8.30 dial.

Other big winners from the Division 3 Summit Team Finals were Top Main Event winner Steve Butler from Pittsburgh Raceway Park, Mod Main Event winner Nathan Waugh from Kanawha Valley Motorsports Park, Junior Dragster Main Event winner Paige Montgomery from Empire Dragway, Street Main Event winner Bruce Tharp from Quaker City Motorsports Park and Motorcycle Main Event winner Tom Ozinga from Thompson Raceway Park.

Carolina Dragway takes Division 2 East Summit Team Finals crown

Carolina Dragway takes Division 2 East Summit Team Finals crown

Six more drivers advance to Summit World Finals in Memphis

At one of the biggest Summit Racing Equipment Team Finals events of the year, six drivers survived a grueling afternoon against a dozen talented tracks to punch their tickets to the Summit SuperSeries championship runoff at Memphis International Raceway in October.

Greg Maddox (Top ET), Brad Hall (Mod ET) and Amanda Foley (Junior Dragster) won their respective classes on opening day of the Division 2 East Summit Team Finals at Carolina Dragway on Friday, joining runner-up finishers Kevin Crawford (Top ET), Jay Norris (Mod ET) and Zach Pennington (Junior Dragster). The six drivers automatically advance to compete for the Summit SuperSeries World Championship next month.

In the team competition host track Carolina Dragway (61) took the overall crown by 18 points over team runner-up Pageland Dragway (43). Ware Shoals Dragway finished third with 41 points, followed by Orangeburg Dragstrip (35) and Immokalee Regional Raceway (32). Rounding out the remaining teams were Darlington Dragway (31), Union County Dragway (31), Bradenton Motorsports Park (24), Dorchester Dragway (23), Lakeland Dragstrip (21), Douglas Motorsports Park (20) and Palm Beach International Raceway (18).

Representing Ware Shoals Dragway, Greg Maddox kicked off the huge weekend of racing at Carolina Dragway with a win in Top ET over Kevin Crawford. Maddox nailed the tree with a .015 light to Crawford’s .629 and backed it up on the top end with a 5.422 second lap at 96.32 miles per hour on a 5.15 dial. Crawford had a 6.200 on a 6.17 dial at 109.28 mph.

In Mod ET Brad Hall, also representing Ware Shoals Dragway, had to overcome a slower light against Jay Norris and ended up just beating his opponent in a very close double-breakout. Hall ran an 8.512 on an 8.52 dial at 78.22 mph, while Norris had a 7.417 lap on a 7.43 dial.

Amanda Foley wrapped up the Summit SuperSeries competition at Carolina Dragway by giving Palm Beach International Raceway a representative at the Summit World Finals. Foley won a close race over Zach Pennington of host track Carolina Dragway, posting a .061 light and running a 7.958 on a 7.90 dial at 81.16 mph. Pennington had a 7.915 lap on a 7.90 dial.

Other big winners from the Division 2 East Summit Team Finals were Top Main Event winner Joe Gary from Carolina Dragway, Mod Main Event winner Jay Norris from Union County Dragway and Junior Dragster Main Event winner Christian Hanson from Ware Shoals Dragway.

Summit Div 9 Team Finals championship

Summit Div 9 Team Finals championship

Six more drivers advance to Summit World Finals in Memphis out of Division 9

North Carolina’s finest took center stage during the opening day of the Division 9 Summit Racing Equipment Team Finals as six more drivers punched their ticket to the Summit World Finals next month to compete for the Summit SuperSeries World Championship.

Tim Lucas (Top ET), Brian Perkins (Mod ET) and Noah Strickland (Junior Dragster) each won their respective classes on Friday during the opening day of the D9 Summit Team Finals, while runner-up finishers Michael Paschal (Top ET), Jim “Bo” Sells (Mod ET) and Dawson Wiggins (Junior Dragster) also advanced in the Summit SuperSeries championships.

In the team competition Fayetteville Motorsports Park took the overall crown at the Division 9 Summit Team Finals with 67 points, 20 markers ahead of runner-up Greer Dragway. Mooresville Dragway was third with 46 points, followed by Farmington Dragway (44) and Dunn-Benson Dragstrip (41). The remainder of the top 10 were Piedmont Dragway (34), Elk Creek Dragway (22), Coastal Plains Dragway (14) and Rockingham Dragway (12).

In easily the closest battle of the first day of competition, Fayetteville Motorsports Park’s Tim Lucas took the win in an incredibly close race with Farmington Dragway’s Michael Paschal. With the Top ET title on the line, Lucas edged his opponent by the slimmest of margins at the line with a .010 reaction time to a .014, and ran a near dead-on 6.247 elapsed time at 107.75 mph on a 6.24 dial. Paschal ran a 4.634 on a 4.62 in a runner-up effort.

In Mod ET Dunn-Benson Dragstrip’s Brian Perkins was handed the win when the lone non-North Carolina track representative Jim Sells of Elk Creek lit the red bulb by -.008. Still, Perkins closed out the race with a 6.734 on a 6.70 dial with a .030 reaction time.

Noah Strickland, representing Mooresville Dragway, took the Junior Dragster title over Dunn-Benson Dragstrip’s Dawson Wigging who ran just a tad too quick on his dial. Strickland had a .049 light and ran a 7.916 on a 7.90 dial at 81.65 mph while Wigging had a 9.043 on a 9.08.

Other big winners at the Division 9 Team Finals were Main Event winners Cameron Manuel from Farmington Dragway in Top ET, Jeff Longhany from Fayetteville Motorsports Park in Mod ET and Zachary Houser from Farmington Dragway in Junior Dragster.

JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals winners take trophies

JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals winners take trophies

For the second-consecutive year, David Billingsley was crowned the champion of the JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals at National Trail Raceway. Billingsley, of Decatur, Ill., successfully defended his title in the Comp Eliminator class when he drove his ’93 Cutlass to a final round win over local racer Chuck Haubiel of Gahanna, Ohio. Billingsley, who came from the No. 11 qualifying spot, won with an 8.70 elapsed time in his L/AA classed entry.

Stephen Belanger, of Elizabeth, Ind., had his work cut out for him as there were a total of 99 drivers competing in the Super Stock class. In the final, he drove his ’05 Cavalier to a 9.27 elapsed time to defeat veteran racer Kenny Schindler’s ’71 Corvette.

After many years of dedication and effort, Chuck Beach, of Delaware, Ohio, finally got to celebrate an NHRA national event title and he did it at his home track. Beach, in his ’68 Barracuda, used an 11.00 elapsed time to win the Stock final round over the ’00 Firebird of Leonard Mattingly. Beach had lost in the first round in three of his previous four appearances this season.

IHRA Division 7 Summit Team Finals

IHRA Division 7 Summit Team Finals

Amarillo Dragway takes team win

Three more drivers punched their tickets to the Summit SuperSeries championship runoff at the IHRA Summit World Finals as Kevin Thorp, Larry Cannon and Lizzie Low will represent their home tracks at Memphis International Raceway in October.

Thorp won the Top ET runoff at the Division 7 Summit Team Finals at Caprock Motorplex on Friday, Sept. 13, while Larry Cannon claimed the Mod ET win and Lizzie Low won in Junior Dragster. Low had a huge weekend in Junior Dragster, winning the Main Event later that weekend while also reaching a third final in three days of racing.

Amarillo Dragway Team 1 won the Summit Team Finals team competition by a considerably margin – 15 points over Caprock Motorplex Team 2. Caprock Motorplex Team 1 finished third, followed by Desert Thunder and Southwestern International Raceway. Rounding out the top 10 were Hobbs Motorsports Park, Amarillo Dragway Team 2, Roswell Dragway and El Paso Dragway.

Kevin Thorp, representing host track Caprock Motorplex, won the Top ET runoff at the Division 7 Summit Team Finals at Caprock Motorplex on Friday, defeating Brad Hawk from Southwestern International Raceway. Thorp won with a solid .020 reaction time while posting a 4.856 elapsed time at 142.41 miles per hour on a 4.85 dial. Hawk had a .026 light and ran a 6.934 at 96.36 mph on a 6.93 dial.