‘Mr. Dirt’ takes ‘new AHRA’ win at Sikeston, MO

DRO’s “Mr. Dirt”, Bret Kepner, flashes cash on the winner’s circle at Jeffers Motorsports Park while American Hot Rod Association President Dallas Brown hoists the big check at the first full event for the “new” AHRA.


The American Hot Rod Association made its grand return to actual facility sanctioning on Saturday, April 21, when Jeffers Motorsports Park in Sikeston, MO, opened for the new season. However, the first full AHRA event program was staged at the same eighth-mile facility on Saturday, April 28, and new AHRA President Dallas Brown was on hand to stake his hard, cold cash on his new Performance-Based Payout for bracket racers.


The new program was one of several reasons track owner Larry Jeffers, the renowned chassis builder and motor oil distributor, decided to make his raceplant the first to be sanctioned by Brown’s resurrection of the fabled racing organization. For the fifty-dollar price of an AHRA membership, the association posts cash bonuses for racers who record perfect runs during eliminations at any sanctioned track, win an event while “footbraking” in any class which permits delay boxes and, in a brilliant move, pays extra for any driver who wins any class with a fully manual transmission.


Brown impressed a lot of people when he arrived at JMP ready to pay those bonuses and more. He also added a cash bonus in the Electronics category to any winner who was an AHRA member. In competition, Mike Crass in his Kentucky-based 6.2-second Mustang got down to five cars remaining in the Electronics category while “footbraking”, narrowly missing a $1500 bonus for winning the class. However, Crass stunned the assemblage when, after double entering in the Non-Electronics division, he raced the same Mustang to both the winner and runner-up spots! Brown personally made certain all purses were paid in full.


In a unique turn of events, DRO’s own “Mr. Dirt”, Bret Kepner, took his newest Grand Marquis to a win in the Open (no rules) category in a tight final round against Midwestern superstar Ricky “Possum” Skelton. Kepner, who announced the original AHRA’s Grand American national event series for its final seven years before it went down in flames in September 1984, became the first member of the “new” AHRA to win an AHRA event at an AHRA track with the victory. Mr. Dirt had only become a member a few weeks earlier when he met Dallas Brown at Sikeston during an event.


An example of the benefits offered to members of the association became apparent in the Electronics final round. Royce Thomason, a Midwestern drag racing legend for sixty years, met Dave McDonald for the money. Thomason pushed his six-second ’66 Nova to the victory but Royce was not a member and received no bonus. McDonald signed up earlier during the race and stood to earn the bonus cash if he could win, but Thomason kept McDonald’s four-second dragster from the money!


Garrett Shankle defeated Dalton Ward for the Junior Dragster title. The event was presented in a fast-paced and timely fashion by track manager Bob Gibson and the JMP crew.


Just prior to the JMP race, Dallas Brown signed North Iowa Dragway (previously Humboldt County Dragway) to the AHRA family while new owners James Barhite of Iowa Falls and Dennis Quillen of Fort Dodge completely renovated the racetrack. Brown and full-time AHRA staff member Chris “C.J.” Glass will be on hand for the grand opening of NID on Friday and Saturday, May 4-5. 

PDRA holds North-South Shootout this weekend

Competitors from around the country are heading to Maryland International Raceway this week for the Professional Drag Racers Association (www.PDRA660.com) North-South Shootout, May 3-5, the second of eight races for the eighth-mile series. A stop on the schedule since 2015, the North-South Shootout has become a battle of the East Coast’s best racers at a classic Pro Mod venue.


Among the many PDRA competitors representing the South will be the points leaders in two of the series’ headlining classes, Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous presented by MoTeC and Moroso Pro Boost. Pro Nitrous star Jay Cox (shown), Smithfield, NC, is riding the momentum of a season-opening win at the PDRA East Coast Spring Nationals, as is Lugoff, South Carolina’s Jeremy Ray in Pro Boost.


The PDRA North-South Shootout will also feature competition in Bryant Industrial Pro Extreme presented by Pro Line Racing, Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock, Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle and East Side Auto Transport Pro Outlaw 632. The PDRA’s sportsman stars will face off in MagnaFuel Top Sportsman, Lucas Oil Top Dragster, Coolshirt Pro Jr. Dragster, Gilbert Motorsports Top Jr. Dragster and Edelbrock Bracket Bash.

Gassers to race at Maryland PDRA event

At least four members of the Supercharged AA Gassers group will take to the track during the PDRA North-South Shootout this weekend.


Scheduled to appear are Tom Fritz and his “Going Broke” 1940 Willys truck; Mark Korzaniewski and his “Calamity Jane” ’33 Willys sedan; Alan Niespondzinski Jr. and his “Caged Heat” ’33 Willys coupe; and Jr. Ward driving Jim Oddy’s “Junkyard Dog” ’34 Willys sedan (shown). Tentatively on the list is Derrick Childress’s “Classical Gas” ‘33 Willys coupe.


The winner at this event will receive an Iron Man trophy and points toward the Gasser championship, which will be awarded at the PDRA banquet during December’s PRI Show.


For more information on the rules contact AA Al at 716-553-4412.

NHRA North Central Divisional held this weekend at National Trail

National Trail Raceway hosts the NHRA 16th annual Buckeye Fuel Wars May 4-6. The event is one of 44 scheduled across the country where drivers in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series earn points leading to divisional, regional and national championships as well as a chance at a share of the year-end purse of more than $519,000.


Categories include Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, Comp Eliminator, Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, Super Gas and Super Street. The division’s Oakley Motorsports Comp Engines Top Sportsman and Top Dragster Series will also run in conjunction with the event.  

Houston returns to original name after Royal Purple sponsor exits

Angel, general manager of the drag strip near Houston, TX, has announced that Royal Purple Synthetic Oil Co. has ended their sponsorship of the facility. Starting today the track will now be known by its original name, Houston Raceway Park. (The Agent must admit he never called it anything else.)

Dragway 42 to host ‘Bike Fest’ May 4-6

The Midwest’s largest motorcycle drag racing series—NHDRO—returns to its heartland base May 4-6 for the Liguori Drag Racing May Bike Fest at Dragway 42 in West Salem, Ohio.


It’s the first time that NHDRO has raced at the historic, newly renovated track, and the Buckeye State has long been known as the home of more dragbikes than any state in the USA. So, expect packed staging lanes of baller ET, index and streetbike racers going mano y mano for NHDRO’s big victory checks.


At the top of the heap are the world’s quickest street-legal bikes of McIntosh/Grayson Machine & Fabrication Pro Street. Second generation Pro Street racer Frankie Stotz has entered two Pro Street races on his little 1000cc Honda this year and won them both, including NHDRO’s 190hookup.com season opener. Most recently, the Chicago-area racer ran his first 6.60 and moved up the G.O.A.T. list with a 6.69.


But Stotz will face a whole slew of turbocharged and nitrous-huffing, 700 horsepower streetbikes, including the whole Quicktime Motorsports stable—Rudy Sanzottera, Jake “From State Farm” Henderson, Brad Christian, Chris Klassen, and Will Santana. Add in former champ Doug Gall, Bill Deshong, Jeremy St. Julien, Gabe Frederick and more.


Plus, all the other classes including Pro Ultra, Pro Open, Street Bike Shootout, Top Gas, Street Fighter, Super comp, Crazy 8s, Pro ET, Street ET, Heavy Hitters and Grudge racing.   

HROT Engine Challenge marks halfway point in season

With the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge’s seventh event at the Chattanooga Cruise-in in Tennessee on April 14, they have reached the halfway point of the HROT season. At the Cruise-in a total of seven schools from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee participated, fielding 15 teams. Of the 15, five new teams qualified.


To qualify for the Dual National Championship, a team must finish disassembling and reassembling a small-block Chevrolet engine in less than 33 minutes, including penalties.


Chattanooga Cruise-in Qualifiers:


Team Hurst – Sequoyah high school #1 from Soddy Daisy, TN – 23 minutes: 54 seconds


Team Performance Quotient – Gordon Central high school #1 from Calhoun, GA – 26:14


Team Taylor Cable – Sequoyah high school #1 from Canton GA – 27:34


Forsyth Central High School from Cumming, GA, had six teams competing with five having qualified at previous HROT events. Team Energy Suspension, their 6th team qualified with a 29:48 time.


Team Parts Pro – Effingham College & Career Academy from Rincon, GA – 30:26 

Worsham beats Cory Mac in second NODRA event

At the Nitro Outlaw Drag Racing Association event at the Texas Motorplex, Del Worsham drove his Toyota Camry Funny Car to the final round win over the Top Fuel dragster driven by Cory McClenathan.


The 135-degree track temperature made for a tricky track all day Sunday, April 29. Worsham out-pedaled Jack Wyatt to advance to the final while Cory Mac got past Bill Linton.


The Top Fuel and Funny Cars are now even after two events. Cory Mac’s dragster was the winner at the first event in Phoenix. Next event on the schedule is June 9 at Bandimere Speedway outside of Denver. 

Xiberras poised to move up at Sydney

A dark horse in the unfolding 400 Thunder Top Fuel Championship, Top Fuel racer Peter Xiberras is ready to make his play for the title at the upcoming Gulf Western Oil Nitro Champs on May 4-5.


Heading to the penultimate event of the current championship chase, Xiberras sits third on the points ladder just 22 points shy of leader Damien Harris, and 20 points away from the second-placed Kelly Bettes.


With consistently strong showings all season-long and a razor-sharp focus on preparation, Xiberras and his crew cannot be discounted from the championship battle.


“Ahead of Sydney we have been working very hard on all of those ‘one percenter’ items in our set-up, to make sure that absolutely nothing is left to chance as we look to battle for the championship,” Xiberras explained.


“We have enjoyed some success at Sydney in the past with both my personal best ET and personal best speed set there (3.90s and 319mph respectively). On top of that, we have been at the pointy end of each event so far this season and have picked up an event win along the way, so we know we have the package to put in a good showing in Sydney.”

Mr. Aruba’s Winter Nationals raises $12K for JEGS Foundation

This week, DeChicco and Graebner presented this year's check for $12,000 to the Coughlin family on behalf of the JEGS Foundation. From left: Mike Coughlin, Troy Coughlin, Jane Graebner "Mrs. Aruba", Jeg Coughlin Jr., Mike DeChicco "Mr. Aruba", Julie Galow and Dan Jones.


What started as a way to get through the long, cold Ohio winters has turned into a cool way to raise money for the JEGS Foundation for Cancer Research.


The recently completed 14th annual Mr. Aruba's Winter Nationals Bench Race and Charity Challenge raised $12,000 for the Foundation, bringing the 14-year total to an astonishing $87,000.


Mike DeChicco and Jane Graebner, aka Mr. and Mrs. Aruba, started the party in 2005, using a practice Christmas Tree in DeChicco's basement, which has been dubbed "Ostrander International Raceway", in Ostrander, Ohio. Family and friends bought in to participate, with any money raised going to the JEGS Foundation. It's been a mid-winter staple ever since.


The 15th annual Mr. Aruba Winter Nationals will be held Jan. 26, 2019.

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