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  • IHRA travels to US 131 Motorsports Park this weekend looking to once again make history

    IHRA travels to US 131 Motorsports Park this weekend looking to once again make history

    Lagana brothers return to ‘official’ home track looking for more magic

    MARTIN, Mich. (August 6, 2014) – Brothers Bobby and Dom Lagana are from New York. They talk like New Yorkers talk and they act like New Yorkers act. But when you ask either one where their home is on the racetrack, both will point to one place – the tiny town of Martin, Michigan.

    For nearly two decades, US 131 Motorsports Park in western Michigan has acted as the official home track of the Lagana brothers, serving as the location of some of the team’s greatest motorsports accomplishments. Bobby’s first four-second pass and first 300 mph run? Both took place at US 131. Dom’s professional drag racing debut? That too took place in Martin.


    Top Fuel returns to the IHRA Nitro Jam lineup this weekend in Michigan

    But of all of the accomplishments the team has enjoyed, perhaps their most noteworthy came at US 131 Motorsports Park just last year.

    Seeking their quickest and fastest lap ever as a team, the Lagana brothers traveled to IHRA’s annual Northern Nationals in 2013 hoping to make team history. Instead, the team skipped right past team history and right into the stratosphere of IHRA history.

    After a couple of noteworthy runs on Friday night at last year’s Northern Nationals, Dom and his team kicked things into overdrive and left it all on the track in front of a packed house the following evening, making the single fastest lap in IHRA and US 131 Motorsports history in the “Nitro Ninja” Top Fuel Dragster.

    With the header flames burning bright right through the finish line, the numbers popped up on the scoreboard – 4.663 seconds at 330.79 miles per hour. Others had been quicker, others had been faster in the sport, but none had been faster in annals of the International Hot Rod Association, the place where the Lagana brothers cut their teeth and learned the world’s fastest sport.

    Now the Lagana brothers, and four of IHRA’s most exciting professional classes, return to Michigan this Friday and Saturday for the annual IHRA Nitro Jam Northern Nationals at US 131 Motorsports Park.


    In 2013 Dom Lagana made the fastest pass in IHRA history at US 131 MSP

    “Looking back, that was an amazing night. We traveled to Michigan last year hoping to make our quickest pass ever in a Top Fuel car, but what we accomplished was our fastest pass ever and the fastest pass ever in IHRA,” Dom said. “It was such a cool feeling to put our names up there with so many legends that we have raced with in IHRA. To be listed with guys like Clay Millican, Bruce Litton, Shirley Muldowney, Doug Herbert – all drag racing legends – is amazing.”

    Now, just one year removed from that historical pass, Dom and his brother Bobby return to US 131 Motorsports Park for another go at the IHRA Nitro Jam Northern Nationals this Friday and Saturday. And this time, the eldest of the two brothers and one of IHRA’s most decorated racers, Bobby, will return to the cockpit of a Top Fuel machine alongside his brother in a Lagana family showdown at over 300 mph.

    On the agenda this time – the 4.5 second quarter-mile barrier – one of the toughest obstacles in Top Fuel racing.

    “We love going to US 131. We go there a couple times a year and we really enjoy racing on that track. When we get there, we will make some hits and get it dialed in, but if the conditions are right, we will try for the homerun,” Bobby said.

    If Bobby or Dom Lagana can get it done, it will be among the best passes in IHRA history. The current IHRA quarter-mile Top Fuel record is held by six-time IHRA champion Clay Millican at 4.484 seconds set at Rockingham Dragway in October of 2005. The speed record still stands with Millican at 328.14 mph, as Dom was not able to back up his run last year.


    Mountain Motor Pro Stock also returns to the Northern Nationals this weekend

    And that might not be the only history made this weekend.

    IHRA will also welcome back Mountain Motor Pro Stock to the quarter-mile this weekend at one of the fastest tracks in the country. All season long the Pro Stock teams have pushed the records in the class to new heights, with Missouri native John DeFlorian and the Black Diamond Motorsports team currently holding the record at 6.224 seconds at 226.70 mph set in April. In Martin, DeFlorian will be joined by a season-high car count as nearly a dozen teams look to secure a spot in the eight-car field with only two races remaining in 2014. DeFlorian currently sits second in the standings behind Goforth Racing’s Cary Goforth in his bright orange 2014 Chevrolet Camaro.

    Rounding out the Northern Nationals professional field will be the nitro classes of Nitro Harley and Nitro Altered, along with the US 131 Motorsports Park debut of the Larsen Motorsports all-female jet team.

    In Nitro Harley, Canadian Mike Scott leads the bike field in a close, four-rider race. Louisiana native Randal Andras is second, followed by Jay Turner and Mark Cox. In Nitro Altered, Ron Maroney in the “Blind Faith” entry holds a commanding lead over Don Blackshear. Finally, in Jet Dragster Elaine Larsen can close the deal on her first IHRA championship this weekend as she holds a firm lead over Dawn Perdue and Marisha Falk.

    The 2014 IHRA Northern Nationals will take place this Friday and Saturday at US 131 Motorsports Park. For more information on the event, visit www.nitrojam.com or call US 131 Motorsports Park at (269) 672-7800.

  • Championships can be clinched this weekend at IHRA Nitro Jam Pittsburgh Nationals


    With only three races remaining in the 2014 IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series season, championship points are at a premium.

    And that couldn’t be any more true than at this weekend’s pivotal stop at Pittsburgh Raceway Park as the stars of the IHRA return to the Steel City for the fourth annual IHRA Nitro Jam Pittsburgh Nationals presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports this Friday and Saturday.


    Jason Rupert can clinch the IHRA Funny Car championship this weekend

    Following a compelling race at Cordova Dragway Park two weeks ago that saw first-time winners in every professional category except one, fans and drivers are buzzing as the IHRA returns to the track this weekend with only three events remaining.

    “We saw an exceptional race at Cordova earlier this month and that has created a lot of attention on the IHRA and the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series. After what we saw in Illinois, I would expect similar results this weekend in Pittsburgh with another superior lineup heading to Pennsylvania,” said Scott Gardner, President of IHRA Motorsports. “I expect, with only a few races left, the competition and intensity will be at an all-time high which should make for an extremely compelling race this weekend.”

    Adding to the racing excitement itself, two unique variables will play a key role at this weekend’s event at Pittsburgh Raceway Park – track length and the crunch being placed on IHRA’s Nitro Funny Car teams.

    First up, Pittsburgh Raceway Park will host IHRA’s only event not contested on the quarter-mile this season. For safety reasons, the IHRA Pittsburgh Nationals will be shortened to 1,000 feet for all nitro classes creating an extra challenge for IHRA teams. While 320 less feet doesn’t sound like a lot, it could play a major role in the final outcomes with some teams better suited to shorter attacks.

    The second variable is the Nitro Funny Car schedule. With one less event on the schedule than all of the other pro classes, the IHRA Pittsburgh Nationals will serve as the next-to-last race of the season for Nitro Funny Car competitors, meaning championships can be clinched this weekend.


    One of the closest battles this season has taken place in Nitro Harley

    Breakout star Jason Rupert in the Bays and Rupert “Black Plague” ’69 Camaro can clinch his first IHRA Nitro Funny Car championship this weekend with a strong performance at the Pittsburgh Nationals as he holds a commanding 177-point lead over second place Mark Sanders. With four national event victories and a trip to the final round at every national event entered except one, Rupert can seal his first IHRA title and fourth career Nitro Funny Car championship in Pittsburgh.

    But it won’t be an easy task. Fellow 2014 national event winners John Hale in the “Mike Burkhart” tribute Camaro and Mike McIntire in the “McAttack” Camaro will join IHRA record holder and multi-time Pittsburgh winner Peter Gallen in trying add another Ironman to their collection. They will be joined in Pittsburgh by Sanders, Tim Boychuk, Bruce Litton, Mike Smith, Ronny Young, Greg Jacobsmeyer, Gary Kraus, John Crimmins and more.

    The remaining professional classes still face three races, giving them extra time to lock up their respective championships.

    One of the closest battles of 2014 is in Nitro Harley as Canadian Mike Scott sits just 15 points ahead of Louisiana native Randal Andras and a little over 100 points clear of fourth place Mark Cox. Multi-time IHRA champion Jay Turner sits in the middle in third. Scott leads the quartet with three wins this season, though he hasn’t hoisted an Ironman trophy since early June. Cox has two wins, while Andras has one.

    In Pro Stock, Oklahoma’s Cary Goforth leads the championship standings by 32 points over John DeFlorian. Goforth and DeFlorian began the season as the class of the field, but have not visited the winner’s circle since early April. They will look to regain momentum this weekend.


    Black Diamond Motorsports and Goforth Racing will continue their battle in Pittsburgh this weekend with both teams gunning for the title

    Goforth teammate Todd Hoerner sits third in the championship standings, followed by Kevin Bealko and Pete Berner. Dean Goforth is the most recent winner in the class, winning the Summer Nationals at Cordova earlier this month.

    Rounding out the pro classes are Nitro Altered and Jet Dragster as Ron Maroney brings a healthy lead in the AA/FA category in the “Blind Faith” machine over Don Blackshear in “Bullet Bob.” In Jet Dragster, Elaine Larsen leads the all-female lineup, just ahead of Dawn Perdue. 20-year-old Kat Moller, fourth in points, won her first career race last weekend in Cordova giving all four girls at the top of the standings a win this season.

    The 2014 IHRA Nitro Jam Pittsburgh Nationals presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports will take place this Friday and Saturday at Pittsburgh Raceway Park. Tickets can be purchased online at www.nitrojam.com or at the gate on the day of the show. For more information, visit www.nitrojam.com or call Pittsburgh Raceway Park at (724) 668-7600.

  • IHRA’s Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series debuts brand new, modernized website


    The International Hot Rod Association(TM) (IHRA) and IRG Sports + Entertainment(TM) (IRG) unveiled a brand-new website this week for the series’ popular Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series.

    With a fresh, modernized look, the new www.NitroJam.com features
    news, stats, photo galleries and more from IHRA’s popular national drag racing series.
    In addition to a new, easy-to-use interface, the new Nitro Jam website is also smart
    phone and tablet compatible and includes a number of new features which makes following your favorite drag racing series easier than ever.

    “As we continue to grow the IHRA and the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series, we need a
    website and supporting media that represent that growth and excitement,” said Scott
    Gardner, President of IHRA Motorsports. “The new Nitro Jam website is modern, it
    is exciting and it is easy to use. It is also a great tool in promoting and showcasing
    what the IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series is all about.”

    In addition to highlighting all of the latest news, results and upcoming events,
    the new Nitro Jam website also shines a spotlight on the drivers and cars of the
    IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series, as well as a glimpse into all of the great fan
    activities available at every IHRA Nitro Jam event.

    The website was designed and engineered by the marketing team at IRG, under the
    leadership of Aidy Alonzo, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, and Art
    Director Manfred Eissner.

    Visit the new site today to learn more about upcoming events, featured drivers,
    Fan Fest, past race results, news and much more at www.NitroJam.com.

  • Bowen, Goforth win big during return of IHRA Summer Nationals at Cordova Dragway Park

    Any question as to why the IHRA Summer Nationals at Cordova Dragway Park was the most anticipated IHRA national event of the season was answered Saturday night.
    With a massive crowd looking on and thousands around the world watching live via IHRA’s streaming webcast, Shawn Bowen and Dean Goforth collected big wins to highlight the return of IHRA national event drag racing to Cordova. Bowen won a thriller over Jason Rupert in Nitro Funny Car, his first with the IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series, while Goforth won for the first time since 2009 in Pro Stock to lead the way at the IHRA Summer Nationals at Cordova Dragway Park.
    Shawn Bowen bested Jason Rupert in an epic Nitro Funny Car showdown
    Mark Cox (Nitro Harley), Troy Martin (Nitro Altered) and Kat Moller (Jet Dragster) added wins in IHRA’s professional categories. In sportsman competition, Curt Fredrich (Top Sportsman), Anthony Layne (Top Dragster), Dean Mesenbring (Super Stock), Aaron Allison (Stock), Mike Eggleston (Quick Rod), Brian Folk (Super Rod) and Marc Erickson (Hot Rod) were all winners Saturday night.
    Bowen’s victory over Rupert in the finals of Nitro Funny Car proved one of the most exciting six seconds in the history of IHRA’s brand new Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series. Bowen, the 2013 champion with the DragRacingOnline.com AA/FC Challenge, and Rupert, a four-time national event winner this season and one of the most dominant cars in the sport, were heavy favorites entering the weekend and emerged as the final two contestants following a brutal weekend that saw more than a dozen drivers battling for one Ironman trophy.
    With the world watching, Bowen and Rupert put on a show in the finals of the nitro-burning nostalgia class with Bowen grabbing a narrow starting line advantage in the “Violator” 1977 Pontiac Firebird and turning that into a holeshot victory. Bowen crossed the finish line first with a 5.846-second pass at 244.74 miles per hour, besting Rupert’s quicker and faster 5.824 at 245.32.

    Dean Goforth won his first IHRA Pro Stock race since 2009 at Cordova
    “What a win and what a way to finish the weekend. To race Jason, I mean look at his track record. He is the most dominant car out there right now and to win against him means a lot,” Bowen said. “Even with his impressive resume, I tried not to think about it. I went out there, tried not to focus on my opponent and pictured my win light coming on. I try not to get worked up during a run, I just focus on what I need to do. When it left, it was going toward the center and I had to pedal. I reeled it back in, but I could hear him the whole way. When I saw my win light I thought, wow, how great is this.”
    Bowen’s victory was far from an upset as the Grand Blanc, Michigan driver placed the “Violator” Pontiac squarely at the top of the charts after two rounds of qualifying on Friday. On Saturday, however, Rupert fired back during the second round of eliminations with a head-turning 5.700-second pass. With both cars showing their hand early, it was truly anyone’s game when the green light lit for the final time.
    “In the semifinals Rupert ran that 5.70 and I thought, wow, this is going to be tough. To make matters worse, we slowed down from our first round and didn’t really know why. So we hopped it up for thefinal and went to work,” Bowen said.

    Kat Moller won her first career Jet Dragster race Saturday night
    Bowen collected wins over Mike McIntire Jr. and Paul Romine on his way to the final, winning both with relative ease with passes of 5.780 and 5.852.
    “I have been preparing myself for this race for the past few weeks. I came here just wanting to qualify and go a couple of rounds, those were my expectations,” Bowen said. “We qualified No. 1 and I really didn’t expect that. Then we ran really good during first round and I thought, hey, we might have a chance.
    “We don’t race a lot, so this was a great opportunity to come here with all of these guys and see where we stand. It is awesome to actually come away with the win.”
    Dean Goforth collected Saturday’s other big win as the veteran racer out of Holdenville, Oklahoma drove the Dean’s Casing Service 2014 Chevrolet Camaro to a surprising win in Pro Stock. Just a few months removed from surgery to repair damage to his ankle, Goforth bested one of the most dominant teams in Pro Stock to collect his first Ironman since 2009 in only his third race of the season.
    “It feels pretty good to win here today. It has been a struggle watching from the sidelines these past few months. It was great just to get behind the wheel again, but to win, that just makes it all the more special,” Goforth said. “When I had this surgery they told me I would be out 12 to 15 months, but the last time I went in my doctor said that I may just be the first person to get well in 10 months’ time. Now, here I am holding one of these.”

    Mark Cox found just enough consistency to get the win in Nitro Harley
    Goforth beat John DeFlorian Jr. in the finals of Pro Stock, running a 6.351 at 221.23 in the winning effort. DeFlorian drove the Black Diamond Motorsports Camaro to a 6.424 at 217.67 in finishing runner-up. Goforth added wins over teammate Todd Hoerner and Brad Waddle on his way to the win.
    Mark Cox, from Wilkesboro, N.C., claimed his second win of the season in another exciting final in Nitro Harley over Larry Brancaccio.
    With a number of the bike teams struggling during the weekend, Cox found enough to put down three consistent laps and take the win. In the final Cox had a 6.476 at 208.81 to Brancaccio’s 7.332 at 134.55. Cox also had wins over Lyle Newton and Mike Scott, turning laps of 6.556 and 6.476.
    In Nitro Altered, Troy Martin won for the very first time in the nostalgia class, besting Kyle Hough in a wild final. While Martin was busy coasting to a 6.811 at 167.45 to take the win, behind him Hough went up on two wheels, crossed the center stripe and lightly tagged the wall, handing the win by default to Martin.
    Finally, in Jet Dragster Kat Moller collected her first career victory over Elaine Larsen, running a 5.836 at 274.72 in the final to Larsen’s 5.746 at 276.07. Top qualifier Marisha Falk turned on the red light during both of her passes on Saturday after a solid effort on Friday.
    Next up for the IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series is a trip to Pittsburgh Raceway Park for the IHRA Nitro Jam Pittsburgh Nationals the weekend of August 1-2.

    Cordova, Ill. – Final results from the 2014 IHRA Nitro Jam Summer Nationals at Cordova Dragway Park
    AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car – Shawn Bowen, Grand Blanc, Mich., ’77 Firebird, 5.846, 244.74 def. Jason Rupert, Yorba Linda, Calif., ’69 Camaro, 5.824, 245.32
    Pro Stock – Dean Goforth, Holdenville, Okla., ’14 Camaro, 6.351, 221.23 def. John DeFlorian, Arnold, Mo., ’12 Camaro, 6.424, 217.67
    Nitro Harley – Mark Cox, Wilkesboro, N.C., nitro bike, 6.476, 208.81 def. Larry Brancaccio, Nutley, N.J., nitro bike, 7.332, 134.55
    Nitro Altered – Troy Martin, Pierceton, Ind., ’34 Ford, 6.811, 167.45 def. Kyle Hough, Las Vegas, Nev., ’23 Ford, DQ
    Jet Dragster – Kat Moller, Sarasota, Fla., dragster, 5.836, 274.72 def. Elaine Larsen, Daytona, Fla., dragster, 5.746, 276.07
    Good Vibrations Top Sportsman – Curt Fredrich, Burlington, Wis., ’68 Camaro, 6.822, 205.54 def. Lou Rausch, Traer, Iowa, ’95 Beretta, foul
    Good Vibrations Top Dragster – Anthony Layne, Coal Valley, Ill., dragster, 7.580, 170.82 def. Charlie Hamma, Davenport, Iowa, dragster, 7.458, 167.78
    Super Stock – Dean Mesenbring, Rochester, Minn., ’92 Camaro, 10.967, 120.63 def. Jeff Bryson, Morton, Ill., ’02 Olds Alero, 10.915, 118.18
    Stock – Aaron Allison, East Palestine, Ohio, ’76 Vega, 10.489, 122.07 def. Jim Petersen, Davenport, Iowa, ’80 Dodge Pickup, 13.156, 97.81
    Quick Rod – Mike Eggleston, Highland, Ill., dragster, 8.906, 173.23 def. Patrick Fitzpatrick, Peoria, Ill., dragster, 8.930, 145.30
    Super Rod – Brian Folk, Durand, Ill., 9.911, 149.10 def. Dave Johnson, Edwards, Ill., 9.877, 144.69
    Hot Rod – Marc Erickson, Rockford, Ill., ’01 S10, 10.912, 145.77 def. Russ Gibbel, Indianola, Iowa, ’78 Mustang, 10.898, 135.97
    Cordova, Ill. – Final round-by-round results from the 2014 IHRA Nitro Jam Summer Nationals at Cordova Dragway Park
    AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car
    Round 1 – Shawn Bowen, 5.780, 250.41 def. Mike McIntire Jr., 6.065, 227.84; Paul Romine, 5.921, 241.11 def. John Hale, 6.005, 239.19; Jason Rupert, 5.944, 242.80 def. Steve Nichols, 6.127, 232.55; Mark Sanders, 5.945, 245.40 def. Bruce Litton, 6.574, 182.26
    Semis – Bowen, 5.852, 248.20 def. Romine, 9.779, 88.64; Rupert, 5.700, 250.09 def. Sanders, 5.883, 245.58
    Final – Bowen, 5.846, 244.74 def. Rupert, 5.824, 245.32
    Pro Stock
    Round 1 – John DeFlorian, 6.400, 219.90 def. Cary Goforth, 11.122, 81.26; Kevin Bealko, 6.369, 220.62 def. Matt Bertsch, 7.259, 130.67; Brad Waddle, 6.584, 196.96 def. Pete Berner, 20.016, 54.16; Dean Goforth, 6.849, 162.27 def. Todd Hoerner 7.273, 143.41
    Semis – DeFlorian, 6.332, 221.31 def. Bealko, 6.357, 221.74; Goforth, 6.343, 219.12 def. Waddle, 6.843, 167.26
    Final – Goforth, 6.351, 221.23 def. DeFlorian, 6.424, 217.67
    Nitro Harley
    Round 1 – Mike Scott, 8.140, 184.77 def. Jay Turner, 10.978, 80.76; Mark Cox, 6.556, 233.80 def. Lyle Newton, 7.807, 138.91; Randal Andras, 6.467, 216.83 def. Alvin Kobernusz, 7.051, 188.94; Larry Brancaccio, 6.545, 208.46 def. Rocky Jackson, 7.419, 169.96
    Semis – Cox, 6.476, 209.56 def. Scott, 14.247, 66.73; Brancaccio, 8.149, 178.83 def. Andras, 12.855, 99.51
    Final – Cox, 6.476, 208.81 def. Brancaccio, 7.332, 134.55
    Nitro Altered
    Round 1 – Don Blackshear, 7.946, 127.26 def. Mike Hilsabeck, 13.867, 80.48; Troy Martin, 7.662, 127.74 def. Ron Hope, broke; Kyle Hough, 6.337, 204.29 def. Ron Maroney, 7.285, 162.63
    Consolation – Mike Hilsabeck, 6.730, 178.02 def. Bye; Ron Maroney, 6.719, 197.54 def. Don Blackshear, 15.082, 85.74
    Final – Martin, 6.811, 167.45 def. Hough, DQ
    Jet Dragster
    Round 1 – Elaine Larsen, 5.761, 276.86 def. Allison West, 5.962, 228.61; Kat Moller, 5.762, 280.43 def. Marisha Falk, foul
    Consolation – West, 5.973, 222.22 def. Falk, foul
    Final – Moller, 5.836, 274.72 def. Larsen, 5.746, 276.07

  • Pete Berner is Ready to Win Again

    PeteBerner_6It’s been a long road for the two-time IHRA Pro Stock World Champion. Although not too far from his days of hoisting trophies, Berner has been battling car demons for the better part of two and half seasons. The massive power in-house engine builder Jerry Janota put into each of Berner’s big block Chevy engines could not be harnessed no matter what combination the team tried.

    This past weekend at the IHRA President’s Cup Nationals, Berner and team decided to go back to the GXP that set the quarter-mile world record in 2010. A return to the GXP also meant a return to flying Summit Racing Equipment colors. And a return to a successful combination.

    “It was great to be back at Budds Creek,” relayed Berner. “The track was outstanding. It was a fun weekend. We were able to connect with fans that we hadn’t seen in years. The MIR fans were very excited to see Pro Stock back and to hear that we were going to be back again 2015.

    “We decided to put the same setup in the GXP from the engine back that set the benchmark in 2010, even down to the shocks. It really worked great. Unfortunately, there was still a learning curve, and we couldn’t capitalize on it as much as we wanted to in the limited time we had, but we were pleased with the results.”

    Berner qualified fourth with a 6.331 at 222.07 MPH. In round one he defeated a slowing Kevin Bealko by posting his best time of the weekend, a 6.307, even though Berner clicked off early. This paired Berner with number one qualifier Todd Hoerner in the semis. Berner got off to a great start with an incredible .014 light to Hoerner’s .082. Unfortunately, when Berner hit fourth gear, a transmission fitting broke and the GXP slowed to a 6.763, letting Hoerner squeak by with a 6.402 win.

    “We missed a great opportunity to run in the final,” told Berner. “We knew we would have our work cut out for us, running a guy that was capable of ‘20s, but my light should have showed just how determined I was. IHRA did a phenomenal job on the track. The car was telling us it wanted to go fast. The motor wanted more fuel and then would need more gear. On that run it could have run a mid to upper 6.20. Unfortunately, a five dollar part would end our chances at the final.

    “I’m excited for Adam [Drzayich, crew chief]. He spent this season, like we have the previous two years, working on a car that was impossible to fix. Thanks to him and many others we now have a great race car that will go down the track every time. We just ran out of time to perfect the combination this weekend.

    “We have a lot of people to thank,” Berner said of his program’s turnaround. “First, Jim Greenleaf [Motorsports and Event Manager at Summit] for giving us the opportunity to run Summit colors again. Eric at Penske for promptly getting our shocks back up to speed. Pat Norcia with Ram Clutches for being a sounding board of advice to us. And Jerry [Janota] for putting the motor back to where it was when we ran the 6.20 in such short notice.

    “Adam is doing a great job. He’s got a lot of heart. This has been a learning curve for him, too, since most of his success has come in working with 500 inch motors. He’s doing phenomenal, though.

    “I want to congratulate Todd on getting to the final and John [Konigshofer] for winning the event. They had to get past some issues themselves and it was good to see them win again. They’ll head into Canada with their heads held high.”

    Berner looks to continue this new path at his next stop on the IHRA tour, the Nitro Jam Summer Nationals in Cordova, Illinois, July 18-19.

    “We have something to race with now,” he concluded. “For a while we’ve just tried to be competitive. Now we want to win.”

  • Hale, Konigshofer highlight return of IHRA President’s Cup at Maryland Int’l Raceway


    2014 has not been kind to John Hale.

    A perennial favorite in the nostalgia Nitro Funny Car class for some time, Hale came into the season looking to seriously contend in the IHRA’s all-new Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series championship program and instead, Hale found himself in a situation very unfamiliar to him and his crew. DNQs, oil downs and an overall lack of consistency left Hale without even a single round win through four races and a disappointing sixth place in the championship standings.

    John Hale

    But on Saturday night, that all changed.

    With a complete overhaul of his nitro-fed ’69 Camaro between IHRA’s last race in Rockingham, N.C. and this weekend, Hale finally found the consistency that had been missing. In front of a crowd eager for the return of nitro, Hale drove the “Mike Burkhart” tribute nostalgia Nitro Funny Car to the win at the 20th annual IHRA Nitro Jam President’s Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway.

    “These past few months have been very frustrating for myself and for my team. I often tell people, you may lose your job, your house may burn down, you may wreck your car, but the people that rebound from adveristy the quickest are always the most successful,” Hale said. “I just made it my goal to rebound from this, get this thing off my back, and win a race. And that is exactly what we did here this weekend.”

    Joining Hale in the winner’s circle at MIR was John Konigshofer, who pulled the upset bid in Mountain Motor Pro Stock for the second race in a row, Mike Scott (Nitro Harley), Don Blackshear (Nitro Altered) and Elaine Larsen (Jet Dragster).


    John Konigshofer

    Sportsman winners during Saturday’s Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL race one were Kathy Gallo (Top Sportsman), Bobby Spence (Top Dragster), Kevin Clark (Super Stock), Bill Bricker (Stock), Jake Milstead (Quick Rod), Keith Mayers (Super Rod) and Robert Robertson (Hot Rod).

    Hale beat IHRA’s own three-time champion Peter Gallen in the final of Nitro Funny Car on a day that saw the entire field turned upside down when current points leader and top qualifier at every race this season, Jason Rupert, failed to make the field. With Rupert out, Gallen and Hale jumped at the opportunity, qualifying first and second Saturday afternoon.

    With the door open, Hale whittled the field down via wins over Tim Boychuk and Mike McIntire Jr., while Gallen took out Greg Jacobsmeyer and Mike Smith, setting up another epic final round between two of the top Funny Car teams in the country. With an Ironman on the line, Gallen got the jump at the line in the “Poverty Stricken” ’77 Vega, but quickly went up in a ball of fire while Hale pedaled in the other lane, taking the stripe with a 6.319-second pass at 237.05 mph. Gallen limped across the line with a 10.817, 84.95.

    “Pete is such a great driver. He has a great racecar and is capable of putting down some solid numbers. I was a little surprised that he took the left lane, I was ready for our car to do something goofy in that right lane and it did when we smoked the tires. I just happened to slap the pedal and recover it and cross the finish line first,” Hale said. “For once luck was on our side.”

    After the race, Hale gathered with his team and thanked each one of them for believing in him despite the trying start to the year.


    Elaine Larsen

    “I have to say that my crew stuck with me through all of the hurt motors, spinning tires, oiling the track and not qualifying. They never once hung their heads. Now we are going to celebrate together,” Hale said.

    John Konigshofer joined Hale in a surprise trip to the winner’s circle on Saturday when the Otterville, Ontario native took the Ironman in Pro Stock. Another driver not seeing the results he had hoped for, Konigshofer put together three solid runs after qualifying next-to-last on Saturday, eliminating the first, second and third place drivers in points to take the win Saturday evening.

    “This is very exciting for us. We were definitely the underdogs coming in here, all of the GMs are running really strong right now and we simply did what we could and came away with the win. We are pretty excited about what we accomplished here today,” Konigshofer said.

    After qualifying sixth on the ladder, Konigshofer defeated John DeFlorian, Cary Goforth and Todd Hoerner – the three most dominating cars to date – to take the win. In the final Konigshofer blasted down the track with a 6.296, 223.99 to Hoerner’s shaking 7.113, 146.89.

    “We tuned her up pretty good for the final. He and I both cut a good light, but we had a little bit more this time,” Konigshofer said. “Those guys have been running so strong all weekend. It is tough being the lone Ford in the battle with all of these GM guys, so it is quite a feeling with what we have accomplished.”

    Konigshofer had laps of 6.322, 6.290 and 6.296 on his way to the Ironman trophy.


    Don Blackshear

    Nitro Harley saw another incredible battle as Mike Scott and Randal Andras, who have combined to win three of the first four races, once again met in the final. Andras qualified first for the second race in a row and powered his way to the finals until an issue with the bike prevented him from making the final call. With a clean pass to victory, Scott put down a 6.350, 229.78 in the final to pick up his third win this season.

    Scott had wins over Larry Brancaccio and Mark Cox and had the most consistent weekend of the two-wheel competitors to claim his second Ironman in a row.

    In Nitro Altered, Don Blackshear picked up his second win of the season in similar anticlimactic fashion, making a solo pass for the win. Final round opponent Ron Maroney made the call, but couldn’t get the “Blind Faith” machine fired on the line, allowing Blackshear to make a leisurely 6.283, 213.70 pass in the “Bullet Bob” Altered for the win.

    Finally, in Jet Dragster Elaine Larsen bested Dawn Perdue in an incredible finale that saw Larsen post a 5.731, 276.01 to Perdue’s 5.766, 272.01 for her second win of the year.

    The IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series will be back in action June 20-22 at the IHRA Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals at the Grand Bend Motorplex in Ontario, Canada.


    Budds Creek, Md. – Final results from the 2014 IHRA Nitro Jam President’s Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway

    Nitro Funny Car – John Hale, Addison, Texas, ’69 Camaro, 6.319, 237.05 def. Peter Gallen, Broomall, Pa., ’77 Monza, 10.817, 84.95

    Pro Stock – John Konigshofer, Otterville, Ont., ’13 Mustang, 6.296, 223.99 def. Todd Hoerner, Forest, Va., ’11 GXP, 7.113, 146.89

    Nitro Harley – Mike Scott, Blind Bay, B.C., ’13 American, 6.350, 229.78 def. Randal Andras, Amelia, La., ’13 Weekend, broke

    Nitro Altered – Don Blackshear, Brookfield, Ohio, ’23 Roadster, 6.283, 213.70 def. Ron Maroney, Chandler, Ariz., ’32 Bantam, broke

    Jet Dragster – Elaine Larsen, Port Orange, Fla., dragster, 5.731, 276.01 def. Dawn Perdue, Oxford, Pa., dragster, 5.766, 272.01

    Top Sportsman – Kathy Gallo, Murrysville, Pa., ’96 Cutlass, 7.605, 171.77 def. Tommy Johns, Henrico, Va., ’63 Corvette, 7.451, 183.54

    Top Dragster – Bobby Spence, Woodbine, Md., dragster, 6.815, 200.77 def. Jason Hoff, Littlestown, Pa., dragster, 7.037, 186.43

    Super Stock – Kevin Clark, Alexandria, Va., ’86 Regal, 10.656, 121.22 def. Richard Preiser, Jackson, N.J., ’67 Mustang, 9.386, 134.07

    Stock – Bill Bricker, White Plains, Md., ’86 Camaro, 11.264, 117.03 def. Kevin Riner, Autryville, N.C., ’98 Camaro, 10.544, 120.24

    Quick Rod – Jake Milstead, Lexington Park, Md., dragster, 8.888, 159.83 def. Brett Nesbitt, Burlington, N.C., dragster, foul

    Super Rod – Keith Mayers, Middletown, Del., ’85 Porche, 9.959, 139.10 def. Jack Schnitzer, Butler, Pa., ’91 Daytona, foul

    Hot Rod – Robert Robertson, Laplata, Md., ’85 Camaro, 10.906, 147.10 def. Robbie Welch, Mechanicsville, Md., ’66 Fairlane, 10.885, 114.83


    Budds Creek, Md. – Final round-by-round results from the 2014 IHRA Nitro Jam President’s Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway

    Nitro Funny Car
    Round 1 – Peter Gallen, 5.803, 239.74 def. Greg Jacobsmeyer, 6.084, 231.87; Mike Smith, 5.831, 250.51 def. Bruce Litton, 5.924, 245.27; John Hale, 5.800, 250.41 def. Tim Boychuk, 11.075, 76.21; Mike McIntire Jr., 5.849, 238.26 def. Mark Sanders, 5.857, 244.60
    Semis – Gallen, 5.790, 245.18 def. Smith, 5.845, 243.90; Hale, 6.515, 191.27 def. McIntire, 6.850, 177.23
    Final – Hale, 6.319, 237.05 def. Gallen, 10.817, 84.95

    Pro Stock
    Round 1 – Todd Hoerner, 6.233, 225.79 def. Bye; Pete Berner, 6.307, 222.07 def. Kevin Bealko, 8.993, 102.52; Cary Goforth, 6.226, 225.82 def. Dean Goforth, 6.345, 220.91; John Konigshofer, 6.322, 222.66 def. John DeFlorian, 6.400, 217.56
    Semis – Hoerner, 6.402, 195.70 def. Berner, 6.763, 154.71; Konigshofer, 6.290, 224.02 def. Goforth, 7.247, 138.37
    Final – Konigshofer, 6.296, 223.99 def. Hoerner, 7.113, 146.89

    Nitro Harley
    Round 1 – Randal Andras, 6.454, 225.41 def. Takeshi Shigmatsu, 9.853, 100.16; Jay Turner, 6.405, 220.12 def. Tracy Kile, 6.444, 218.80; Mike Scott, 6.387, 229.16 def. Larry Brancaccio, 6.605, 175.37; Mark Cox, 6.515, 228.04 def. Alvin Kobernusz, broke
    Semis – Andras, 6.368, 226.24 def. Turner, broke; Scott, 6.374, 230.10 def. Cox, 6.470, 221.67
    Final – Scott, 6.350, 229.78 def. Andras, broke

    Nitro Altered
    Round 1 – Kyle Hough, 7.825, 129.49 def. Shane Harter, foul; Don Blackshear, 6.968, 126.64 def. Bye; Ron Maroney, 6.370, 216.03 def. Mike Hilsabeck, 9.163, 76.58
    Consolation – Harter, 6.417, 194.18 def. Hough, 7.418, 144.98
    Final – Blackshear 6.283, 213.70 def. Maroney, broke

    Jet Dragster
    Round 1 – Dawn Perdue, 5.813, 272.34 def. Kat Miller, 6.262, 246.93; Elaine Larsen, 5.748, 277.15 def. Marisha Falk, foul
    Consolation – Falk, 5.736, 279.44 def. Moller, 6.083, 260.56
    Final – Larsen, 5.731, 276.01 def. Perdue, 5.766, 272.01

  • IHRA returns to Maryland International Raceway for President’s Cup Nationals June


    After a three-year hiatus, the International Hot
    Rod Association is thrilled to welcome the return of the historical President’s
    Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway as the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series
    returns to the track the of weekend of June 13-14.


    The two-day President’s Cup Nationals will feature two full days of sportsman racing
    on the IHRA’s Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL in addition
    to two thrilling nights of nitro-powered drag racing action featuring the IHRA’s
    premier classes of Nitro Funny Car, Nitro Altered, Nitro Harley, Mountain Motor
    Pro Stock, Jet Dragster and much more.

    The historical IHRA President’s Cup Nationals return to Maryland International Raceway
    June 13-14 with the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series

    “One of the longest tenured events in the history of the IHRA is Maryland International
    Raceway’s President’s Cup and we are very excited to bring this amazing race back
    to fans in southern Maryland,” said Skooter Peaco, Vice President of IHRA Motorsports.
    “The all-new Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series is packed full of entertainment and great
    competition as we bring in classes unique to this series. We very much look forward
    to returning to the tradition and excellence of this great event once again in 2014.”

    The 2014 President’s Cup Nationals will include competition in a number of classes
    unique to the International Hot Rod Association and its Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series.
    Fans will enjoy championship competition in three nitro classes plus the world’s
    first Jet Dragster championship and the much anticipated return of Mountain Motor
    Pro Stock as drivers from across North America compete for points in the year-long
    battle for the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series championships.


    “We are thrilled to have nitro racing and the President’s Cup back at MIR,” said
    Royce Miller, President of Maryland International Raceway. “The new Friday and
    Saturday night format is very fan and family friendly and will be an awesome experience
    for everyone. The Miller family will be on the starting line to celebrate the return
    of the President’s Cup when the first nitro qualifying session roars to life. We
    invite all of the MIR fans to be there and celebrate with us.”

    The return of the President’s Cup Nationals will see a unique collection of classes
    including Nitro Funny Car, Pro Stock, Jet Dragsters and much more

    Nitro Funny Car and Nitro Harley will bring with it the best racers in the world
    in those two classes as racers in two of the most popular categories in the country
    compete for eight spots on the ladder on Friday followed by a three grueling rounds
    of eliminations on Saturday to determine the champion.

    The Nitro Funny Car class will be led by series points leader Jason Rupert in the
    “Bays & Rupert” ’69 Camaro following a dominating start to the season. The California
    native has won three out of four events to start the year and reset the IHRA elapsed
    time record on his way to his commanding start. He will be joined in Maryland by
    “Mr. Explosive” Mark Sanders, the legendary “Jungle Jim” Camaro driven by John
    Smith, Mike McIntire Jr. and the “McAttack” team, former IHRA Top Fuel world champion
    Bruce Litton in “U.S. Male” and more as a dozen nitro-powered Funny Cars do battle
    at a track known for its very fast surface.

    Rupert’s biggest threat, Peter Gallen in the “Poverty Stricken” nostalgia machine,
    will also return to action in Maryland. Two of the fastest Funny Cars in the world
    representing both coasts, Gallen and Rupert produced an epic battle at IHRA’s last
    stop and the two will once again fight for the right to be called IHRA’s top dog
    in Maryland.


    Mountain Motor Pro Stock – a longtime staple of the IHRA – will also to IHRA
    at the President’s Cup Nationals as many of the baddest racecars in the country
    compete for a spot on an eight-car ladder and a shot at a victory at one of America’s
    premier racing destinations. The Black Diamond Motorsports team, led by John DeFlorian
    and Kevin Bealko, will continue the fight against the recently announced three-car
    team of Goforth Racing with points leader Cary Goforth, father Dean Goforth and
    Todd Hoerner, along with two-time IHRA Pro Stock champion Pete Berner and more.

    The President’s Cup was last contested in Maryland in 2010.

    Nitro Altered and Jet Dragster will round out the competitive action as two classes
    unique to the IHRA do battle with the fastest of the fast walking away with the
    Ironman. Easily the most exciting addition to the IHRA in some time, the all-female
    Larsen Motorsports Jet Dragster team have been the talk of the series so far with
    close, side-by-side jet-powered racing and a unique pit area that welcomes fans
    to explore the world of jet racing.

    The professional action will be coupled with two days of sportsman racing on the
    Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour as the best racers in Division 1 do battle
    for valuable points on their way to clinching a spot in the year-end Summit Tournament
    of Champions.

    In addition to the on-track action, the 2014 IHRA Nitro Jam President’s Cup Nationals
    will feature an all-new and fully interactive Fan Fest pit experience. Fans can
    tour the pits, meet the drivers and take part in a number of fun family activities
    including the Larsen Motorsports Jet Technology Center and the Hollywood Cars of
    the Stars featuring real cars from famous movies and television series.

    Showtime is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday.

    One of the longest running races in IHRA history, the President’s Cup Nationals’
    inaugural race came in 1992 at Royce Miller’s Maryland International Raceway. The
    race was run annually for the next two decades with some of the most famous names
    in drag racing lore having made a pass at the President’s Cup event.

    Visit www.nitrojam.com for complete details as the President’s Cup returns to Maryland International Raceway
    June 13-14!

  • Goforth Racing expands to three cars on the heels of IHRA President’s Cup Nationals

    The Goforth Racing Team, currently first and third in the IHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock standings with the International Hot Rod Association’s Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series, announced this week that it will be expanding to a three-car operation beginning with next weekend’s IHRA Nitro Jam President’s Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway.

    Current IHRA points leader Cary Goforth and teammate Todd Hoerner will continue to field their current entries with the IHRA, while team patriarch Dean Goforth returns to the seat for the first time since undergoing surgery on his ankle in November. Dean and Cary Goforth will field a pair of brand new Jerry Haas-built Chevrolet Camaros, while Hoerner will continue in the Dean’s Casing Service 2011 Pontiac GXP. All three cars will feature EFI-equipped engines powered by Sonny’s Racing Engines.


    Goforth Racing has been a dominating force in Pro Stock this season, winning multiple races across two series led by Cary Goforth (pictured)

    With the announcement, the IHRA Nitro Jam President’s Cup Nationals will field the largest contingent of Mountain Motor Pro Stock cars so far this season as the class continues to grow in its return to quarter-mile competition with the IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series.

    “We are looking forward to having dad back in the seat. He took on the role of team owner pretty well, but it has been hard keeping him away from racing,” Goforth said. “The biggest part of this will be getting dad comfortable with being in the car again. We have been looking for an opportunity to make this happen over the past month or so, we had his gas pedal fit for his foot and switched the car to EFI which should be more forgiving. In the end, Maryland was the perfect place to make this happen and we are very much looking forward to that event and getting dad some seat time.”

    So far this season, the Goforth Racing Team has already proven a powerful force in the world of Mountain Motor Pro Stock. The team has four wins already in 2014, two with the IHRA and two more with the eighth-mile PDRA series.

    Now the team will try to continue that level of success with the addition of a third team car and another proven winner behind the wheel.


      Dean Goforth (pictured) won his one and only IHRA race in 2009

    “The season has gone great for us. We have had success with both of our cars and now with dad back behind the wheel, we can focus solely on racing again,” Goforth said. “As far as the team itself, we shouldn’t see too many changes. Everyone will take on the same roles as before and we will be adding a floater to go back and forth and make sure all of the teams are taken care of and that they have what they need.

    “All three cars are ready to go and we are excited to get back on the track and get dad back to racing.”

    In addition to getting behind the wheel for the first time in more than eight months, the race at Maryland International Raceway will mark Dean’s return to IHRA competition. Dean last ran with the IHRA in 2009, the last year the class ran fulltime with the series. He has one career win and looks forward to an opportunity to once again compete with the IHRA on the quarter-mile.

    “I am really looking forward to Maryland and seeing some great, tough competition. Everything is starting to turn around in this class, which is pretty exciting,” Goforth said. “If this had been anywhere else except the IHRA, we probably would have parked all of the cars except one, but the support we have received has been exceptional.

    “Bringing three cars out is a big deal for us, but we are really trying to show our support for this class and the IHRA in bringing Mountain Motor Pro Stock racing back to the forefront and where it belongs with the IHRA.”

    With the addition of the three-car Goforth Racing Team, the IHRA President’s Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway will feature a full field in the Mountain Motor Pro Stock division as the series comes off of a thrilling race in its last stop in North Carolina.

    After a dominating start to the season by the Black Diamond Motorsports team, made up of Kevin Bealko and John DeFlorian, and the Goforth Racing Team, a new face reached the finals at the IHRA Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway as Brad Waddle claimed the first win of his racing career in a major upset.

    Now the teams will try to keep that momentum going the weekend of June 13-14 at Maryland International Raceway, a track known for its longtime support of the Mountain Motor Pro Stock class.

    “It was great to see some new faces in the finals in Rockingham. To see those guys in the final was very gratifying for me, not as a racer, but as a fan of this class and the sport,” Goforth said. “It is not secret that I am out here to win everything I can, but at the same time it is nice to see fresh faces in the finals. Afterwards, though, I definitely told them not to get used to it because we were coming after them. I consider all of these guys my friends, but as they say, that means nothing on the racetrack.”

    Don’t miss the return of the International Hot Rod Association and the President’s Cup Nationals to Maryland International Raceway the weekend of June 13-14. In addition to the return of quarter-mile Mountain Motor Pro Stock racing, the President’s Cup Nationals will also feature professional competition in Nitro Funny Car, Nitro Harley, Nitro Altered and Jet Dragster.

    For more information on the 2014 IHRA Nitro Jam President’s Cup Nationals, visit www.nitrojam.com or call Maryland International Raceway at (301) 884-9833.

  • Rupert, Hoerner, Turner, Maroney, Larsen top qualifying at IHRA Palm Beach Nationals

    Up until the final pass of the night, it was beginning to look like another Goforth, DeFlorian showdown in Mountain Motor Pro Stock.

    That was until Todd Hoerner pulled to the line.

    With teammate Cary Goforth and rival John DeFlorian dominating every aspect of the Pro Stock season so far in 2014, Hoerner jumped into the conversation in a major way on Friday with a chart-topping 6.259-second lap at 223.91 mph, good enough for the top qualifying position in the popular doorslammer class during opening night at the IHRA Nitro Jam Palm Beach Nationals at Palm Beach International Raceway.

    Todd Hoerner topped the Pro Stock field Friday in West Palm Beach

    Jason Rupert qualified first for the fourth race in a row in Nitro Funny Car, while Jay Turner (Nitro Harley), Ron Maroney (Nitro Altered) and Elaine Larsen (Jet Dragster) all topped their respective classes Friday night.

    Hoerner’s 6.259 in the Dean’s Casing Service 2011 GXP was just enough to keep John DeFlorian Jr. from his second pole position of the season as DeFlorian clocked in with a 6.281 at 223.73 in the Black Diamond Motorsports 2012 Chevrolet Camaro. Pete Berner was third with a 6.346 at 222.62, followed by Cary Goforth and Kevin Bealko. With just .091 separating the five-car field, it is truly anyone’s game on Saturday.

    Jason Rupert proved Friday’s other major storyline as the Yorba Linda, California native drove the Bays and Rupert “Black Plague” Camaro to the top of the charts in Nitro Funny Car in an extremely tight field. Rupert’s 5.836 at 246.30 was just enough to hold John “Bodie” Smith in the “Jungle Jim” Camaro at bay with a 5.845 at 243.50. “Mr. Explosive” Mark Sanders made it a three-pack of drivers in the 5.80s with a 5.859 at 250.09.

    Tim Boychuk qualified fourth with a 5.937, followed by Mike McIntire Jr., Ronnie Young, Mike Smith and Wayne Mellinger. Young provided one of Friday’s scarier moments when the “Blue Max” nostalgia machine went up in flames just shy of the finish line and drove into the catch fencing at the top end. Young walked away from the accident.

    Tim Boychuk (near) and Mike McIntire Jr. survived a crazy night of qualifying in Nitro Funny Car

    Perhaps of even more interest, the list of drivers that didn’t qualify for Saturday’s eliminations in Nitro Funny Car provided their own surprises. Bruce Litton, John Hale and Mike Halstead all failed to qualify in the nostalgia field.

    North Carolina native Jay Turner led the nitro-fed motorcycle division, topping the Nitro Harley field with a 6.298-second pass at 224.25 mph. Floridian and local favorite Joey Sternotti was second with a 6.396 at 194.41 and Mike Pelrine was third with a 6.399 at 223.69. Most recent race winner Mark Cox qualified fourth with a 6.402, followed by points leader Randal Andras, Mike Scott, Larry Brancaccio and Alvin Kobernusz.

    In the final nitro-burning class Ron Maroney topped the wild Nitro Altered division in the “Blind Faith” entry with a 6.307 at 220.37, followed closely by last race winner Don Blackshear in the “Bullet Bob” AA/FA with a 6.315 at 209.59. Brian Hope qualified third, followed by Kyle Hough, Ron Hope and Terry Haddock.

    Elaine Larsen wrapped up Friday qualifying by topping the Jet Dragster class with a weekend-best pass of 5.781 at 277.77. Dawn Perdue was second and Marisha Falk and Kat Moller rounded out the four-car field.

    Racing will continue on Saturday with eliminations in all of the professional classes plus sportsman bracket racing throughout the day at the IHRA Nitro Jam Palm Beach Nationals at Palm Beach International Raceway.

      Elaine Larsen once again led the way in Jet Dragster 



    Jupiter, Fla. – Qualifying from the 2014 IHRA Nitro Jam Palm Beach Nationals at Palm Beach International Raceway


    Nitro Funny Car – 1. Jason Rupert, 5.836, 246.30; 2. John Smith, 5.845, 243.50; 3. Mark Sanders, 5.859, 250.09; 4. Tim Boychuk, 5.937, 243.63; 5. Mike McIntire Jr., 5.987, 235.80; 6. Ronnie Young, 6.008, 234.29; 7. Mike Smith, 6.015, 224.85; 8. Wayne Mellinger, 6.071, 202.06; 9. Bruce Litton, 6.109, 243.94; 10. John Hale, 6.175, 209.39; 11. Mike Halstead, 6.254, 231.08


    Pro Stock – 1. Todd Hoerner, 6.259, 223.91; 2. John DeFlorian Jr., 6.281, 223.73; 3. Pete Berner, 6.346, 222.62; 4. Cary Goforth, 6.346, 221.78; 5. Kevin Bealko, 6.350, 217.91


    Nitro Harley – 1. Jay Turner, 6.298, 224.25; 2. Joey Sternotti, 6.396, 194.41; 3. Mike Pelrine, 6.399, 223.69; 4. Mark Cox, 6.402, 215.00; 5. Randal Andras, 6.487, 217.21; 6. Mike Scott, 6.563, 206.76; 7. Larry Brancaccio, 7.147, 193.07; 8. Alvin Kobernusz, 7.153, 176.10


    Nitro Altered – 1. Ron Maroney, 6.307, 220.37; 2. Don Blackshear, 6.315, 209.59; 3. Brian Hope, 6.354, 229.90; 4. Kyle Hough, 6.392, 217.39; 5. Ron Hope, 6.612, 212.49; 6. Terry Haddock, 7.761, 123.87


    Jet Dragster – 1. Elaine Larsen, 5.781, 277.77; 2. Dawn Perdue, 5.807, 269.62; 3. Marisha Falk, 5.817, 276.18; 4. Kat Moller, 6.184, 253.47

  • Rio Vista Universal seals exclusive deal with International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) for Nitro Jam Series premiering on MAVTV in October

    IHRA-2014Hollywood, California-based Rio Vista Universal, whose recent success with season 1 of the new weekly tv series, “Gear Heads,” recently prompted an immediate season 2 order which will go into production later this year, announces an exclusive deal with the International Hot Rod Association to produce the IHRA’s Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series for broadcast exclusively beginning October on MAVTV. The deal was cemented this week between Jason Rittenberry, CEO, IRG Sports + Entertainment, Raymond Iddings, Show Creator, and James Ganiere, CEO of Rio Vista Universal.


    “We are excited to partner with Rio Vista Universal and Ray Iddings to produce our new IHRA Nitro Jam show,” stated Jason Rittenberry, CEO of IRG Sports + Entertainment. “Having worked with Ray on several shows in the past and with the success of Gear Heads, we feel confident in their ability to provide us with an entertaining show that will drive new fans to the IHRA Nitro Jam.”


    Featured in the series are top IHRA drivers Bruce Litton with his “U.S. Male” team and Mark Sanders with his “Mr. Explosive” Nostalgia Nitro Funny Car, Mountain Motor Pro Stock drivers Pete Berner and Cary Goforth and Larsen Motorsports’ all-female Jet Dragster Team of Elaine Larsen, Marisha Falk, Dawn Perdue and Kat Moller and many more of the top IHRA personalities. The series began shooting at the season opener in Tucson, Arizona at the IRG owned Southwestern International Raceway and will head to two billboard events in May. IHRA Nitro Jam will shoot on location at the Palm Beach Nationals at Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Florida (May 2-3) and the Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway in Rockingham, North Carolina on May 17-18.


    In June, the show heads to the Maryland Int’l Raceway for the President’s Cup Nationals (June 13-14) and the Grand Bend Motorplex in Ontario, Canada on June 20-21. July finds the Rio Vista Universal and IHRA still in Canada at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta (July 4-6) before heading back to the States and Cordova Dragway Park in Cordova, Illinois on July 18-19. Pittsburgh will be home base on August 1-2 as IHRA’s Nitro Jam spotlights the intense competition at Pittsburgh’s Raceway Park. They head to the Northern Nationals at US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan August 8-9 before wrapping the season at the Summit World Finals at the Memphis International Raceway October 10-11.


    Each show will take viewers in the pits and homes of the fierce competitors. For the first-time ever, racing devotees can see the action on and off the track from their living rooms … or via their mobile device wherever they may be in the world. In fact,this show puts you so close to the race teams it like being on the team. Creator of the IHRA Nitro Jam series, Raymond Iddings serves as both Executive Producer and Show Runner for the series with James Ganiere of Rio Vista Universal heading the production arm of the innovative series.