IHRA sportsman programs go all-bracket racing for 2018

The International Hot Rod Association sportsman program will be moving to an all-bracket racing format for the first time in the organization's history in 2018. The IHRA will produce both the Summit SuperSeries and the new Summit Sportsman Spectacular programs next season.


The IHRA Summit SuperSeries will return for a 17th season and will continue to be the leading bracket racing program for Top, Mod and Junior Dragster competitors in North America. This program is hosted by nearly 100 member tracks and has over 8,000 active and specifically registered participants. The program recently secured a multiple-year renewal from title sponsor Summit Racing Equipment.


The major change in the IHRA lineup will be the switch from the class racing-based Summit Sportsman National Championship series to the newly created Summit Sportsman Spectacular. The new bracket racing-based program consists of 20 races over ten weekends. Summit Racing Equipment will support the program through a new multi-year sponsorship.


The change to an all-bracket racing program is a result of input from racers, partners, and tracks and comes after a five-year effort to improve participation levels in IHRA class racing. The previous touring series saw multiple format changes all aimed at keeping the series viable for the racers, host tracks, and sponsors. While there continues to be a core group of dedicated class racers who supported certain events, there simply hasn't been enough entries to make a series work. (Is this sounding familiar this year?)


The new Summit Sportsman Spectacular bracket events will be targeted to Top, Mod and Junior racers looking for a value-oriented and fun double-race weekend. The series will work in conjunction with the Summit SuperSeries to provide grassroots bracket racers new opportunities and events that are designed to provide maximum value for the participants.


Full details of the Summit Sportsman Spectacular will be released as soon as the event dates are confirmed. No mention of any IHRA professional classes so far.  

ACDelco is title sponsor for November event at Sydney Dragway

ACDelco will be the naming rights sponsor of the East Coast Thunder to be held at Australia’s Sydney Dragway on Nov. 3-4.


The company has been sponsor on Fabietti Racing with driver Mark Belleri, who won last season’s 400 Thunder Pro Slammer title.


The ACDelco East Coast Thunder is the second round of the 2017-18 IHRA-sanctioned 400 Thunder Professional Drag Racing Series (www.400thunder.com.au). It is the first time this season that all 400 Thunder professional and sportsman categories will be racing at a single event. 

DeJoria makes it official: she is retiring

As the Agent told you last week, Alexis DeJoria will be retiring from Funny Car competition at the end of this season.


“I’ve accomplished great things throughout my NHRA career,” DeJoria said. “Working with Kalitta Motorsports and driving for Connie Kalitta has been an absolute honor; the man is a legend. He’s been the best boss I could have ever hoped for as a professional nitro Funny Car pilot. I can’t say enough about Jim O [Oberhofer], Nicky [Boninfante], Tommy [DeLago] and the entire organization I’ve had the pleasure of working with these last six plus years. I got to work with and learn from the best.”


DeJoria began her NHRA career in 2005, working her way up the ranks in the Super Gas, Super Comp and Top Alcohol Funny Car classes before making her professional debut at the Texas NHRA FallNationals in September 2011.


In her six-year Funny Car career, DeJoria has earned five event wins (including the U.S. Nationals), four No. 1 qualifiers, and eight final round appearances. Among her many achievements, DeJoria was the first female Funny Car pilot to break the 4-second barrier, and the first woman to compete in 100 Funny Car events.


“I want to thank our incredible fans and everyone who has supported our team along the way,” DeJoria continued. “A huge thank you to The Patrón Spirits Company, Toyota and all of our sponsors who have had our backs these years.”    

Harleys head for Rockingham World Finals

A host of Top Fuel motorcycle racers including reigning NHRA Harley-Davidson Series champion Jay “Bulldog” Turner of Julian, NC, and current AMRA point leader Jake Stordeur of Goshen, OH, are expected to compete Oct. 13-15 in the 26th annual Jim McClure Memorial All-Harley World Finals at Rockingham Dragway.


The race honors the memory of two members of the Harley-Davidson Hall-of-Fame: Jim McClure, who is recognized as “The Father of the Top Fuel Motorcycle” and Ray Price, who distinguished himself as a Top Fuel rider although he also is considered “The Father of the Nitro Funny Bike.”


Turner, who has won three straight major championships (including IHRA Nitro Harley titles in 2015 and 2016) and six overall, is the headliner in a Top Fuel lineup that also includes teammate Tii Tharpe of East Bend, NC, Rickey House of Humble, TX, Bill “Billy Jack” Jackson of Honeybrooke, PA, and Randal Andras of Amelia, LA.


While much of the attention will focus on those racing in the Ray Price Top Fuel Challenge, race champions also will be crowned in Nitro Funny Bike, Pro Fuel, Pro Gas, Pro Mod, and a host of sportsman categories.   

‘No Mercy’ FC to make first NHRA race at Las Vegas

The “No Mercy” Nitro Funny Car will enter its first NHRA event Oct. 26-29 at the Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas. The team's veteran Crew Chief, Johnny West, will be making the tuning calls, as well as advising the crew and overseeing the operation. Tim Gibbons, President and CEO of Castle Rock Trucks, will take the wheel of the NMR Dodge Charger for the weekend as regular driver, Chris Bennett, will continue pursuing his license upgrade during the Monday test session following the national event. Chris is an accomplished and proven Nostalgia Funny Car/Fuel Altered driver who is just two runs shy of obtaining his long awaited professional license.


“It has always been my lifelong dream and ambition to own and drive a professional NHRA Nitro Funny Car,” Chris said. “We bought this car two years ago and in that time we have put together a quality race program that has exceeded all of our expectations. We sold all of our Nostalgia Funny Car equipment to build this new car, but as a self-funded team it has taken us much longer than any of us would have liked to ensure we were ready for a national event. We’ve done some private testing with Johnny getting familiar with our combination and I’m confident we are very close to having a competitive nitro coupe.”


No Mercy Racing LLC is owned by Jeff Bennett, Chris Bennett and Brad Miner. Jeff Bennett, NMR Assistant Crew Chief, is a three-time winner of the AHRA Nitro Funny Car World Championship and is the seventh quickest and fastest Fuel Altered driver of all time. His son, Chris, devoted 20 years of his life to military service and retired in 2015 with honors as a U.S. Air Force pilot. NMR Team Chief, Brad Miner, is a long-time crewman who previously raced with co-owner Jeff on his Nitro Funny car/Fuel Altered efforts, in addition to crew positions on several nitro teams over the years.

Traxxas releases 1/8th scale Ford Funny Car

Although they no longer sponsor Courtney Force’s Chevrolet Funny Car, the Traxxas folks have recently come out with a colorful new 1/8th scale model Ford Funny Car that sports the Traxxas Nitro Shootout logo.  

Auto Club Famoso wins team championship in Pacific Division

Auto Club Famoso Raceway captured the team championship while the husband and wife team of C.W. and Sacha Hoefer each grabbed wins at this weekend’s NHRA Pacific Division Summit Racing Series Championships. The Hoefers will be joined by Katelyn Whynaught, Ryan Mangus, and Rick Newport in advancing to the NHRA Summit National Championship at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in November.


Sunday’s Summit Showdown final round produced three of the four winners from California. Sacha Hoefer of Calimesa, booked her trip to Pomona by outlasting Tim Arnswalf of Indio, CA, in the Sportsman final round. Hoefer recorded a victory pass of 12.182 seconds, 103.57 mph.


Super Pro runner Whynaught of Oceanside, outran fellow Californian Tony Trimp of Wilton. Katelyn trumped Trimp running 7.765 seconds, 172.52 mph to capture the Summit Showdown Wally trophy.


Magnus of Rialto, ran 12.655 seconds, 100.11 mph to successfully hold off John Schurr, Peoria, AZ, for the Pro ET final round victory. Schurr registered a runner up pass of 10.892 seconds, 120.20 mph.


Newport, Bluffdale, UT, upended local Vegas runner Kahea Woods, in the motorcycle final round, clocking in at 8.472 seconds, 149.95 mph. Remy Reynolds of San Diego rounded out the Summit Showdown winners defeating Michael Earleywine of Winchester, CA, in High School.


C.W. took home a pair of wins on Saturday winning in both the Pro and the Sportsman categories, as he led the team from Auto Club Famoso to a one-point win over host track Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Team Championship. Hoefer‘s Sportsman win gave him the berth into the national championship as the wild card entry.


Hoefer, out of Calimesa, CA, met Brandon Umberger, Grand Junction, CO, in the Pro ET final round. Hoefer was able to outlast Umberger for the victory, running 12.215 seconds, 103.77 mph. Umberger came in second at 8.965 seconds, 135.27mph. In the Sportsman final round, Hoefer eliminated fellow Californian runner David Dodwell of Lancaster. Hoefer ran 12.245 seconds at 94.60 mph.


Travis Theobald, Washington, UT, squared off against Pedro Valadez, Fullerton, CA, in the Super Pro final round. Theobald outran Valadez, scoring a victory pass of 7.522 seconds, 173.90 mph. Valadez followed up at 10.449 seconds, 124.60 mph.


Local Vegas rider, Leo Shaver had an easy motorcycle final round as Aaron Pine, La Mirada, CA, fouled at the starting line. Shaver hit a final stride of 8.963 seconds, 145.91 mph. 

New Product of the Day


Prefix Performance HEMI Crate Engine

Prefix Corp. formerly Arrow Racing Engines, now has 392 and 426 HEMI crate engines created with plug & play convenience. These low volume specialty-built engines are produced by a team with decades of experience with the Mopar powerplant. Each Prefix engine comes with a dyno-tuned calibration and includes front accessory drive with alternator, power steering pump, and AC compressor all build using all forged internal components. Each is built with a Holley HP system. 




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