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Top Guns of IHRA Sportsman Racing Set to Battle for Summit Allstars Gl

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Top Guns of IHRA Sportsman Racing Set to Battle for Summit Allstars Glory




For years, Summit Racing Equipment Allstars Program presented by Mr. Gasket has offered the ultimate shootout experience for racers in the IHRA’s seven sportsman categories.


Traditionally, the top eight point earners in Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, Super Stock, Stock, Quick Rod, Super Rod and Hot Rod meet at the Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway to compete for cash and trophies.


2009 will see a format change for the Allstars competition, which makes this the last spring running of the event. Starting this October, the big race will take place at the World Final at Rockingham. In the meantime, however, there are prizes to win, scores to settle and bragging rights to earn, and the Spring Nationals is where it’s all going to happen.


Below is a preview of each class of competition and the drivers who will be battling it out for Summit Allstars glory. For full ladders, photos and a more detailed look at the race, check out issue No. 7 of DRM.




Top Sportsman




Steve Corker ended the 2008 season seeing his dream of becoming a world champion come true, and he is hoping that his success will continue through to 2009 as he leads the Allstars field into battle behind the wheel of his ’02 Cavalier.


Sandy Wilkins and Bruce Thrift just barely missed out on seeing their title dreams come true last season. With multiple wins behind each driver and years of experience, this may be one of the most closely contested battles of the year. Familiarity will play a large role as half of the drivers involved hail from the Raiders Division, including Corker, Wilkins, and Thrift. After racing each other all season, they know their competitors well and will be using that to their advantage.


Harold Snyder and Chris Gulitti are representing the Renegades Division and have the tough job of hanging in the middle of the pack. These two went 1-2 at the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals with Snyder coming out on top. Can we say revenge may be on the horizon for this pair?


Glen Butcher will be looking to break out of his runner-up mode and score a win while Jason Lynch will look to repeat his Sportsman Nationals win for a chance at the Allstars crown.


Gary Bingham has returned to his winning ways by kicking off the season in Baton Rouge with a class win. Will his early season success give him an advantage? Coming in as the 8th man in the field, Bingham may just be the underdog to watch.




Top Dragster




If you are looking to find the most feared eight drivers in Top Dragster – look no further. This year’s Allstar class reads as a who’s who of the finest and most notorious drivers in the class.


Leading the pack is Scott Richardson, who in 2008 scored three Pro-Am wins and earned a National Event title to claim his place at the top of the pack. Dominating the class, Richardson’s closest competitor, Steve Furr, was 81 points back. This says a lot, as Furr has a few championships under his belt as well. Last season Furr won four times at a combination of Pro-Am and National events.


Brad Slaughter is pulling hard for the Ohio contingent, which also includes David Elrod. Elrod may have more experience in the Pro-Am ranks, but Slaughter will be using his bracket racing roots to gain every advantage he can.


The mention of Luke Bogacki, Jason Lynch, or Ricky Adkins could send chills down the spine of any Top Dragster hopeful. But if you are from the North Stars Division, the mere thought can send you running, as these three dominated the Division and could do the same again at Rockingham.

Jason Dennis could be the dark horse coming out of the Renegades Division. With a split pair of final round apperances he may be the unknown in the class and that could work to his advantage.


Rounding out the field is reining Quick Rod World Champion Brett Nesbitt representing the Raiders Division.


Any of these eight drivers is more than capable of winning the big dance - so we will throw the chips in the air and see where they land for this exteme class.




Super Stock




With World Championship Ironman trophies on the mantle representing both Stock and Super Stock, Craig Marshall has nothing to prove to anyone.


When the Eastland Crane/Hoosier “Wanna Be Dodge Material” Grand Am cracks open the throttle, it will welcome any challenge. Marshall’s first round opponent will be another multi-time World Champion, Michael Lyons, driving his Comp Cams/TCI/Edelbrock/Wolf Pumps Probe.


Anthony Bertozzi just missed adding to his World Championship collection last year thanks to a tie-breaker with Marshall, but the next best thing would be to conquer the Summit Allstars with his Grand Am, backed by Nitroplate, Mickey Thompson, B&M and Holley. His first round challenger will be 2003 Stock World Champion Michael Beard, who wheels Johnny Fisher’s Mirada, with support from Duck Tape, Mickey Thompson, K&N, Bearden Oil and Bradley Auto Parts.


If there was ever an apt moniker for Scotty Richardson, arguably one of the best sportsman racers in history, it would be “Allstar.” He’ll attempt to make that an official title as he stages his TCI/Hoosier Chevy II against Raiders Super Stock Champion Tracy Robbins and his CVP Corvette. Rounding out the ladder is fourth-ranked Jeff Tripp and eighth-ranked James Paul. Tripp invaded the IHRA scene last year and was immediately successful with his CVP/Mickey Thompson Monte Carlo. Paul makes the long haul from Texas with his father and a pair of matching Stock and Super Stock Dusters, carrying with him the Renegades Super Stock title. This varied field ranging from eight- to eleven-second entries sets up a tortoise and the hare race, with $5,000 on the line.








It’s called the Summit Allstars for a reason, and the star-studded Stock Eliminator field is perhaps among the deepest in talent.


Every single competitor can lay claim to the title of champion. In a bit on irony, the reigning Stock World Champion, Nick Folk, will stage up his Folk Race Cars/Wegner Automotive Camaro in the first round of the shootout against the reigning Super Stock World Champion, Craig Marshall, who also owns the 2004 Stock World Championship title with his Eastland Crane “Dodge Material” Dart Sport.


Second-ranked Luke Bogacki, although technically a rookie in the Stock ranks last year driving his Mickey Thompson/BTE/ThisIsBracketRacing.com Nova, is a multi-time DRR Series Champion. He’ll face bracket ace Britt Mizia, who has earned multiple track championships with his Savoy, not to mention a Race of Champions title.


Third-ranked Rick Baehr, the 2005 No-Box Summit World Champion, has proven his adeptness at footbraking time and time again. He’ll bring all of his skills to bear piloting the K&N/Mickey Thompson Mustang against the world’s most prolific sportsman World Champion, Anthony Bertozzi in his Nitroplate Camaro.


Scott Macy, a multi-time track champion and the ‘07 Raiders Stock Champion, starts from the fourth position on the ladder. He’ll fire up the Pirate Marine Volare as the defending Summit Allstars Stock Champion. He’ll stand in the way of the Daytona State College/Holeshot Wheels/Amsoil “Locomotion” Dart Sport, engineered by 2007 Stock World Champion Myron Piatek. This group of irresistible forces will vie for the $5,000 top prize, and a chance to claim to be the best of the best… at least for one day!




Quick Rod




One big question remains as the Summit Allstars Championship returns to Rockingham Dragway. Will the year of the Nesbitt carry over into 2009?


Last season Brett Nesbitt was virtually unstoppable in his Quick Rod dragster. Coming off a second best finish in ’07, Nesbitt was determined to improve. And improve he did. With a total of 742 points from ‘08, he is the top-ranked driver in this run-off.


The second best finisher from last season and in the series shootout is David Bills. As a North Stars Division driver, Bills may be at a slight disadvantage owing to a lack of early season seat time.


Jacob Elrod is also a northern racer, but claimed Thunder Division honors a year ago. Depending on his work schedule, Elrod may have plenty of practice and racing under his belt this year.


One racer who has already set the stage for an exceptional ’09 is Luke Bogacki. Coming off a national event win in Baton Rouge, he has to be a favorite to win either the Summit Allstars or the main event at Rockingham. At the rate he is going, one should never count out a double-up win either.


Steve Mikus, Cameron Choate, Danny Waters Jr. and Anthony Elrod would also like to return to the winner’s circle.


Waters Jr. has a pair of championships to his name and a major MOSER Axle Mania victory. Another shootout win would surely help turn the weekend into a memorable occasion.




Super Rod




Jimmy Lewis sits atop the Summit Allstars standings in the Super Rod category. By the narrowest of margins, Lewis finished second in the land at the completion of last season to Jim Lintner. Lewis is hungry for a prestigious win and the $5,000 payday that comes along with the Allstars championship.


Waiting in the wings are seven other 9.90 standouts who also want to assert themselves. The Renegades Division is well represented and the trip to Rockingham isn’t too far for those drivers. Phillip Pennington, Todd Thompson and Cameron Manuel would like to make the trip more worthwhile by winning a bonus race of this caliber.


Be sure to watch out for the quiet ones like Bernard Weaver, Steve Furr and Brian Folk. Those that walk softly often times carry a big stick. In this case, they happen to carry multiple World Champion titles in the Super Rod category.


Tony Gray is the lone Thunder Division representative. But he surely isn’t frightened by the odds. He knows how to outlast his competition and has found the Super Rod winner’s circle on many occasions.


In a class that requires both top notch equipment and top notch skill, Super Rod will be a crap shoot.




Hot Rod




Glenn Ferguson has won nearly everything IHRA. He has multiple track, world and event championships to his credit. The problem lies in the fact that the man loves to race and he loves to win. No matter how well he has done in the past, he simply keeps his eyes focused on the prize ahead. That is good news for Ferguson, but bad news for his fellow Hot Rod racers.


In respect to the Summit All Star shootout, a dedicated group of racers will be hunting down the World Champ en route to a title shot of their own. Matt Crisp finished second last year and wants nothing more than to leave Rockingham on top of the elite eight.


Tim Shuck will not hesitate to drive around anyone who pulls up in the opposite lane. Shuck has one goal when he stages his Camaro; turn on the win light! He has gotten the best of many racers and this race will be more of the same.


Chris Carpenter, Tony Elrod, Kenny Underwood, Mark McKay and Rob Bowers would all like to count out 5,000 big ones in their respective trailers. More important that the $5,000 top prize is the respect that comes with beating the toughest drivers in the world.


Hot Rod may be considered an entry level class to some, but the talent in this category is second to none. Whoever wins this year’s Hot Rod shootout will have surely earned it.

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