TUCSON, Ariz. (March 23, 2013) – Last year was a bit of an oddball season for IHRA rookie Kyle Hough.
Hough was good alright, visiting seven finals and winning the 2012 Nitro Jam Fuel Altered championship all in his first season behind the wheel. But, despite his championship producing season, Hough didn’t collect one victory. Not one.
That all changed Saturday night.
Fuel Altered driver Kyle Rough won his first career Nitro Jam Saturday at SIR
With consistency being key to Hough’s championship during his rookie campaign last season, Saturday Hough put it all on the line and let the numbers do the talking as the Las Vegas, Nevada native blasted to his first career Nitro Jam win behind the wheel of the famed “Nanook” machine at the Arizona Nitro Jam presented by CarSafe and Good Vibrations Motorsports at Southwestern International Raceway.
Hough joined AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car champion Jason Rupert, also collecting his first Nitro Jam win, and sportsman winners Vern Bolton (Top Dragster), Howard Gerstel (Top), John Nacis (Mod), Grant Jones (Junior Master) and Samantha Barajas (Junior Beginner).
Hough put together two solid laps on Saturday, blasting past Ron August Jr. in the “Pure Hell” machine in round one and adding another winning pass against the fan-favorite “Arizona Thunder” driven by Mike Hilsabeck. Knowing he had been to this point seven times in 2012 only to come up short, Nanook steered the “Nanook” Fuel Altered right down broadway with a 6.829, 198.52 in the final to collect his first career win over Hilsabeck who ran a 7.081, 160.21. The pair had identical .176 reaction times.
In the Fuel Altered consolation round Ron Maroney in “Blind Faith” drove around August in the “Pure Hell” entry.
Jason Rupert collected the win in AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car when opponent Steven Densham went red
Also picking up his first win on Saturday was California native Jason Rupert in his shiny new “Bays & Rupert” Camaro Funny Car. Rupert, the two-time defending NHRA Heritage Series champion, had the lane all to himself in round one against a broke Mike Halstead and used a red light from Steven Densham in the “Teachers Pet” Camaro to collect his first career Ironman. John Hale in the “Nitro Boss” Mustang won the consolation pairing over Halstead and the “Candies & Hughes” team with the best Funny Car pass of the night, a solid 5.903, 247.02
Saturday’s other big winner was Indianapolis, Indiana native Bruce Litton who drove his Top Fuel machine to two easy wins over Curt Eierdam in the “Invader” jet-powered dragster. While Eierdam closed the night with the fastest speed of the weekend, Litton’s 8,000 horsepower machine was too much off the line and easily coasted across the finish line for two round wins.
In sportsman action Roswell, New Mexico’s Vern Bolton went four big rounds on Saturday to win the Top Dragster shootout, defeating Tucson’s own Tom Koenen in the final with a near-perfect .001 light and a 7.92 on a 7.963 dial at 156.77 miles per hour.
Top winner Howard Gerstel, of Sahuarita, Arizona, drove his unique 1975 Ford Pinto six rounds on Saturday to pick up a win over Luis Martin who broke out, while John Nacis of Huachuca, Arizona won in Mod over Bruce Stone with a 10.80 on an 11.292 dial at 97.76 mph in his ’68 Chevy Camaro.
Bruce Litton brought the sold out crowd to its feet Saturday at Southwestern International Raceway
Rounding out Saturday’s big winners were Grant Jones who defeated Gabriel Brown in the Junior 13-17 category and Samantha Barajas who defeated Keeli Tatge in the Junior 8-12 category.
Next up for Nitro Jam is a trip to San Antonio Raceway for the biggest U.S.-based Nitro Jam of the year. Featuring Top Fuel Dragster, AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car, Fuel Altered, Nitro Harley, jet dragsters, jet funny cars, the 30,000 horsepower Super Shockwave jet truck, wheelstanders, fireworks and more, the San Antonio Nitro Jam presented by CarSafe and Good Vibrations Motorsports promises to be a night fans won’t soon forget.
The San Antonio Nitro Jam is April 5-6 at San Antonio Raceway. For tickets visit www.nitrojam.com.
Headquartered in Norwalk, Ohio, the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) promotes professional, semi-professional and local level racing for drivers of all levels. The Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series is a North American professional drag racing series comprised of events in major cities throughout the United States and Canada. The IHRA also oversees multiple sportsman racing programs including the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL, Summit Racing Equipment SuperSeries presented by AMSOIL and Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions presented by AMSOIL. For more information on IHRA Motorsports visit www.ihra.com.