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Summit Super Series Champions named at San Antonio Raceway

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Summit Super Series Champions named at San Antonio Raceway

By JM Hallas


Marion, TX.,(Nov. 11th, 2014) As the season draws to an end three drivers have already secured track championships as the Summit Super Series points ended in September. As the final race day unfolded two of the classes were still up for grabs(Electronics-Box and Foot Brake-No Box) while the Jr. Dragster title was wrapped up long before the last race. The Summit Super Series double race day made it interesting right down to the end.


The San Antonio Raceway Summit Super Series champions are Brent Ritter, who barely squeezed out the his second title over Brett Zampese by three points. Ryan McDonnell scored his second San Antonio Raceway track championship, and third overall, surpassing the motorcycle duo of Brandon Mitchan and Ruben Gallegos on the final day. Despite being to young to drive on the street legally, Ashley Hubbell had her third track title secured coming into the final races.


Ritter Races Way to Electronics Title

Brent Ritter(Cibolo) came into the final day trailing Leroy O'Bryant by 44 points while holding a slim 13 point margin over Brett Zampese. O'Bryant had been out front nearly the entire season with consistent runs, but the final day saw Ritter pick up 21 points in the first race. In the second race, Ritter still needed 23 points to catch O'Bryant and hold off Zampese who lost 1 point in race one.


O'Bryant got knocked out early paving the way for Ritter and Zampese to fight it out. Fight it out they did. The two went toe-to-toe, round for round until the end where they met in one semi-final. When the smoke cleared(pun intended) it was Ritter in his Mission Auto Parts, Simpson Performance, Transmissions by Lonnie, Parks Engine Service, Longoria Race Cars, Rehrer & Morrison powered, Undercover Chassis, narrowly edging out Zampese by three points to score the championship, his second(2014, 2001).



"I knew going into the final race that I had a chance to catch Leroy(O'Bryant) but knew I would have to win both races if he didn't go out before the fourth round. With all the rain my car wasn't really working good in time trials, spinning the tires. When the track surface is slick it's an advantage to the heavier cars, like Leroy's. I felt like we were at a disadvantage."


"When the races started it looked like his friends were giving him round wins. That tactic usually doesn't work out and takes a good racer, like Leroy, off his game. It's much harder to try to get a round win when you have to earn it. In my first round the car turned sideways at the finish line going 140. That was a little scary and I thought my chances were over. My car felt better the second round and the track started coming around, taking some rubber. That's when I started points counting."


"I wasn't really thinking about Brett(Zampese) until we both caught Leroy. Brett has been like a little brother to me since he was young and I helped him on his Jr. Dragster while his dad ran the track. For that reason I wasn't going to be too disappointed if he won and I didn't. Candace and I usually park with the Zampese's so we were both counting together. I think anyone that runs for points doesn't really start counting until the final couple races."


"I raced Brett in the semi-finals and we both knew if I won that the championship was mine. I won one semi-final and got a bye in the other.

It was a good thing since I broke some teeth off the rear gear and it was getting worse each round. I only get a little nervous sitting waiting for my next run. Once I get in the water box I'm not thinking about anything but being safe for my family and winning the round. It's hard to explain how the nerves go away, they just do for me."


"I'm very fortunate to have my wife, Candace, that loves to race as much as I do. Without her support and desire to race it wouldn't all be possible. My father-in-law races with us and my niece, Macy, watches our daughter, Caitlin. She loves to go to the track and it wouldn't be possible for both of us to race without their help. I'm thankful to have good friends like the Zampese's, David Johns, Scott Ball, Mike and Chris Keylich, Todd Robinson and David Bills that are willing to help whenever needed."


"It takes a significant amount of commitment, time and money to be competitive and run for a points championship. The cars, the fuel and the maintenance required are very expensive. Anyone can race and compete. How much money you spend will determine how fast you go on the track and how comfortable you are at the track."


McDonnell Motors to Second SAR Championship

After trailing the motorcycle duo of Brandon Mitchan and Ruben Gallegos most of the season, Ryan McDonnell(San Antonio) made a big jump in the points during the August 30th event with 'The Clash of the Titans'. McDonnell in his San Antonio Hydro Graphics sponsored, Rick McDonnell powered, 27 T Roadster by Don Davis Race Cars, jumped past both to the points lead with a semi-finals visit.


As the final race day unfolded McDonnell had only a 27 point lead over Gallegos and 84 over Mitchan. McDonnell gave up points to both Gallegos and Mitchan in the first race. Now holding a mere seventeen point advantage over Gallegos, McDonnell had to out last him in race two. Gallegos went out early giving McDonnell some breathing room over, but still had Mitchan in the hunt. Both ended their day with similar points giving the track title to McDonnell.


No stranger to track championships, this is the second at San Antonio Raceway(2014, 2010) and third overall(Little River Dragway-2009) for McDonnell. Also on his resume are numerous Division 4 bracket finals wins, as well IHRA national event wins in Top ET and a Summit Series Division 4 championship.



"We've chased various points series since 2004," said McDonnell. "Having been through this before I try to ignore the points battle on race day and just focus on turning on the win lights. My wife is our official statistician tracking round wins at nearly all our races. She knows not to give me any points updates until the end of the night."


"Having a strong performance during the 'Clash of the Titans', a double points race, was the key to winning the championship as well as winning the race before that. The top four of us were battling it out all season and I knew whomever went the farthest at 'The Clash' would probably be the champ."


"I knew that going into the final points night that Ruben(Gallegos) was really the only one that might be able to take the number one spot from us. When he was eliminated I knew we had clinched the championship and was very excited.


"It takes a reliable, consistent hot rod, a dedicated crew and plenty of shop time to be able to run for a points championship. I really have to thank my dad for all his help, on and off the track, and my wife for all her support."


Hubbell Hustles to Third Jr. Dragster Title

In the Jr. Dragster division it was Ashley Hubbell(San Antonio) taking home her third track championship(2014, 2011, 2010). This was a big year for the 15 year old, East Central High School sophomore who also added a national cheer leading competition championship to her resume. Her biggest racing wins include events during the IHRA Nitro Jam, IHRA Pro-Am, Clash of the Titans and a $1,000 to win race sponsored by Alamo Hot Rod Parts.


Hubbell was the one to beat all year jumping out to a big points lead in the first two weeks, then increasing her margin to the end. Still undecided about her racing future at this time, Hubbell, who got interested in racing at three, is following a path that her older sister Megan forged in her Aramendia Plumbing, Bexar Waste, Alamo Powder Coatings, All in Designs, Express Lube, Alamo City Media Blast, Rainman Grafix, RPC Clutches, Texas Hot Rods, Mission Auto Parts, VP Racing Fuels, Jim Cole Racing Engines, Greg Hubbell Race Car.



"At this time juggling school, racing and cheer leading has not been a consistent problem," said Hubbell. "When some school activities overlap with racing, I lean towards cheer. I only have so many years of high school cheer leading, but a lifetime ahead of me in racing, if I choose."


"I couldn't wait until I was old enough to start racing myself. My older sister, Megan, has been my biggest inspiration along with Erica Enders-Stevens. Having won championships before makes it easier with all that I've learned in the past. When I go out, I race to win every week, the points just come with it. It takes a full package, from the car to the driver to win a championship."


"I don't get that nervous about her racing," replied father, and chassis builder Greg Hubbell. "She was determined to win it(championship) this year."


"As a mom, I get a little nervous" added Kathy Hubbell. "She is a very capable and responsible young lady. Her dad makes sure she is in the safest car possible. A little prayer before each round helps a lot."


"We'd really like to thank San Antonio Raceway, Freddy Cruz and his staff as well as James Racing Pictures, all for their support of the Jr. Dragster racers."

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