• Tag Archives Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am tour
  • Racers enjoy rare Division 9 doubleheader weekend at Piedmont Dragway

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    After a rainout forced the postponement of the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL event at Rockingham Dragway earlier this year, racers were treated to a rare doubleheader over the weekend as Piedmont Dragway hosted the finale of the Rockingham competition plus its own Raiders Division race to the delight of southern race fans.

     

    With a rare double on the line, Mark Young and Greg Smith were the two who were able to reach two finals during the busy Piedmont race weekend, with Young taking a win and runner-up in Super Stock and Smith taking a pair of runner-up finishes in Top Dragster.

     

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    Mark Young

     

    Also taking wins over the weekend were Mike White (Top Sportsman), Michael White (Top Dragster), Mark Young (Super Stock), Richard Alford Jr. (Stock), Dale Harrison (Quick Rod), Brian Baker (Super Rod) and Kevin McLamb (Hot Rod) from the rained-delayed Rockingham race and Rick Whaley (Top Sportsman), David Barr (Top Dragster), Joel Warren (Super Stock), Terry Taylor (Stock), Brett Nesbitt (Quick Rod), Greg Slack (Super Rod) and Glenn Ferguson (Hot Rod) from the Piedmont competition.

     

    Junior Dragster winners were Josh Phelps (Masters), Jason Craft (Advanced) and Wallace Wilson and Tyler Duff (Beginner).

     

    Young survived a handful of rounds at Rockingham Dragway earlier this year before the rains came and pushed the event to later in the year, setting him up for a potential double. He then finished the job in Piedmont, taking a red-light victory over Mike Boyles and losing in a breakout on the second day to Joel Warren behind the wheel of his ’93 Mustang.

     

    Hodges, South Carolina native Greg Smith reached two finals as well, falling in a double-breakout to Michael White in the Rockingham final and losing by the narrowest of margins in the Piedmont final to David Barr. Barr produced a .012 reaction time with Smith just seven thousandths slower and both ran within a few tenths of their dial, with Barr taking the win by six thousandths at the line.

     

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    Greg Slack

     

    Both Josh Phelps (Pasadena, Md.) and Jason Craft (Wilson, N.C.) pulled double wins over the weekend. Phelps had wins over Breanna Wall and Brittney Dial, while Craft recorded final round wins over Nick Weaver both days to take home two Ironman trophies.

     

    Greg Slack won his second Division 9 race in a row with his Super Rod win over Sherlon Truelove, while Glenn Ferguson and his famous ’66 Fairlane returned to the IHRA winners circle with a win over Daryl Griffin.

     

    In one of the most exciting matchups of the weekend, veteran racer Brett Nesbitt faced defending Quick Rod World Champion and 18-year-old Corey Manuel in Sunday’s Quick Rod final, with Nesbitt showing his veteran prowess with a .006 light and a 5.747 on a 5.70, while Manuel broke out by six thousandths at the line.

     

    Raiders racers head to Farmington Dragway for their next IHRA Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL event August 9-11. The Farmington Pro-Am is a true doubleheader.

     

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    Top Sportsman final – Rick Whaley (far lane) vs. Jut Crumpler

     

    The following are final results from the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL, Raiders Division 9 events at Piedmont Dragway, including the rain-delayed race originally scheduled to be finished at Rockingham Dragway.

     

    ROCKINGHAM RACE

     

    GOOD VIBRATIONS TOP SPORTSMAN – Mike White, Arden, N.C., ’63 Corvette, 4.877, 139.31 def. Tim Fields, Abingdon, Va., ’02 Firebird, 5.284, 134.87.

     

    GOOD VIBRATIONS TOP DRAGSTER – Michael White, Arden, N.C., dragster, 4.709, 147.39 def. Greg Smith, Hodges, S.C., dragster, 4.673, 147.10.

     

    SUPER STOCK – Mark Young, Wake Forest, N.C., ’93 Mustang, PBA-2, 6.969, 72.02 def. Mike Boyles, King, N.C., ’57 Bel Air Wgn, PI-1, foul.

     

    STOCK ELIMINATOR – Richard Alford Jr., Raleigh, N.C., ’98 Camaro, D/CM, 6.714, 98.54 def. Ray Grice, Alken, S.C., ’86 Mustang, H/PS, 8.861, 74.44.

     

    QUICK ROD – Dale Harrison, Sanford, N.C., dragster, 5.707, 133.01 def. Smokey Dial, Pembroke, N.C., dragster, 5.621, 129.83.

     

    SUPER ROD – Brian Baker, Asheboro, N.C., ’71 Comet, 6.412, 114.62 def. Chip Johnson, Fayetteville, N.C., ’80 Monza, 6.394, 108.31.

     

    HOT ROD – Kevin McLamb, Maxton, N.C., ’87 Camaro, 7.003, 108.09 def. Michael Morton, Jacksonville, N.C., ’70 Nova, 7.004, 101.45.

     

    GOOD VIBRATIONS JUNIOR DRAGSTER MASTERS – Josh Phelps, Pasadena, Md., dragster, 7.906, 83.69 def. Breanna Wall, Kenly, N.C., dragster, 7.902, 84.53.

     

    GOOD VIBRATIONS JUNIOR DRAGSTER ADVANCED – Jason Craft, Wilson, N.C., dragster, 8.991, 72.92 def. Nick Weaver, Sanford, N.C., dragster, foul.

     

    GOOD VIBRATIONS JUNIOR DRAGSTER BEGINNER – Wallace Wilson, Taylors, S.C., dragster, 12.534, 53.70 def. Tyler Duff, Holly Ridge, N.C., dragster, 11.944, 53.60.

     

    PIEDMONT RACE

     

    GOOD VIBRATIONS TOP SPORTSMAN – Rick Whaley, Reidsville, N.C., ’90 Camaro, 5.016, 139.36 def. Jut Crumpler, Elm City, N.C., ’94 Beretta, 5.132, 136.61.

     

    GOOD VIBRATIONS TOP DRAGSTER – David Barr, Candler, N.C., dragster, 4.586, 151.74 def. Greg Smith, Hodges, S.C., dragster, 4.675, 145.34.

     

    SUPER STOCK – Joel Warren, Clinton, N.C., ’98 Firebird, GT/FA, 6.586, 99.94 def. Mark Young, Wake Forest, N.C., ’93 Mustang, PBA-2, 5.918, 116.03.

     

    STOCK ELIMINATOR – Terry Taylor, Lumberton, N.C., ’74 Corvette, I/CM, 6.783, 97.71 def. Junior Bryant, Stanley, N.C., ’73 Duster, H/CM, 6.877, 98.02.

     

    QUICK ROD – Brett Nesbitt, Burlington, N.C., dragster, 5.747, 129.16 def. Corey Manuel, Winston Salem, N.C., dragster, 5.694, 133.65.

     

    SUPER ROD – Greg Slack, Albemarle, N.C., ’70 Maverick, 6.497, 114.01 def. Sherlon Truelove, Dunn, N.C., ’82 Camaro, 6.435, 116.76.

     

    HOT ROD – Glenn Ferguson, Greensboro, N.C., ’66 Fairlane, 6.969, 109.03 def. Daryl Griffin, Pittsboro, N.C., ’69 Camaro, foul.

     

    GOOD VIBRATIONS JUNIOR DRAGSTER MASTERS – Josh Phelps, Pasadena, Md., dragster, 7.924, 79.45 def. Brittney Dial, Pembroke, N.C., dragster, 7.959, 82.04.

     

    GOOD VIBRATIONS JUNIOR DRAGSTER ADVANCED – Jason Craft, Wilson, N.C., dragster, 9.151, 69.79 def. Nick Weaver, Sanford, N.C., dragster, 9.488, 68.97.

     

    GOOD VIBRATIONS JUNIOR DRAGSTER BEGINNER – Tyler Duff, Holly Ridge, N.C., dragster, 12.389, 50.75 def. Mallory Logan, N. Chesterfield, Va., dragster, 12.247, 51.40.


  • An In-Depth Interview with IHRA President Aaron Polburn and CEO Jason Rittenberry

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    NORWALK, Ohio (February 14, 2013) – During the last weekend in January one of the biggest announcements in the history of the International Hot Rod Association was made as the ownership group at Palm Beach International Raceway and Memphis International Raceway headed by President and CEO Jason Rittenberry acquired 100 percent of the IHRA and its assets under the new name IHRA Entertainment.

     

    With Rittenberry and partners Michael Dezer, Joseph Lubeck and Edward Kobel at the helm big plans are in store for the IHRA and all of its series, but a lot of questions still remain. Are there other tracks on the ownership group’s radar? What does this mean for the racer and for Nitro Jam? What are the long-term plans for the company? With so many questions still on the table we decided to sit down with IHRA President and General Manager Aaron Polburn and IHRA Entertainment CEO Jason Rittenberry to ask those very questions and a few more.

     

    How did this deal come about?

     

    Aaron Polburn: It was an overnight deal that essentially took over two years to come together. Jason and the investors started to look at the company a couple of years ago about the time when we changed the sportsman and Nitro Jam formats. When we made the changes I think they were sitting back and waiting to see if we were going to fail or progress with the new look. But as we progressed, so did their interest.

     

    What made this entire thing so nice is that, in reality, we were never for sale. They pursued us which, when you think about it, makes total sense. They knew we were on the right track and beyond that they wanted to accumulate more tracks and also guarantee the content. We are the content so it really is a perfect match.

     

    Jason Rittenberry: As Aaron mentioned we as the ownership group decided we really wanted to branch out of just being a track operator and operating the facility here in Palm Beach. We really wanted to look at growing our company, reaching out to new ventures and one of those ventures happened to be the entertainment side of the business. We wanted not only the tracks but also the entertainment content to put at those tracks.

     

    Three years ago we really started looking at the options available to us and looked at the industry within the drag racing world, and there obviously weren’t many options available for us to try and acquire. But in March of 2010 we made contact with the folks at Feld through some contacts I had in the entertainment business and we scheduled a meeting in New York with Kenneth Feld and a few other folks and really started the conversation down the path we are on today.

     

    Our goal from day one was to be an all-encompassing company. We want to find quality tracks to acquire and to have our own quality content to put at those tracks. We also want to take some of the ideas that we have as a company and implement those through an established brand and the IHRA was the brand that we chose to really go after. We were very aggressive in going after the company and it took longer than we had hoped, but now almost three years later we were able to close the deal and consolidate the companies into what is IHRA Entertainment today.

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    IHRA Entertainment CEO Jason Rittenberry

     

    Tell me a little bit about yourself Jason?

     

    JR: I have been a track operator since 2000. I spent 10 years as Vice President and General Manager at Memphis Motorsports Park under the Dover Motorsports Company. Under our brand of companies we owned the Dover International Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, Memphis Motorsports Park and Gateway International Raceway and throughout the time I was with the company we also owned the Long Beach Grand Prix, the Denver Grand Prix and the St. Pete Grand Prix.

     

    I spent 10 years with that company running their Memphis operations prior to relocating to Palm Beach and taking this new position as President and CEO of Palm Beach International Raceway. Since then obviously we have acquired my old track in Memphis, renamed it Memphis International Raceway and we are thrilled to be operating that facility again. And now with the new acquisition of the IHRA, all of that falls under the one corporate umbrella of IHRA Entertainment.

     

    What has being a track owner taught you that you can bring over to the IHRA?

     

    JR: First and foremost is customer service. Customer service is paramount to success. That is the one thing from a sanctioning body standpoint and a track operator standpoint that has to be one and the same. I have seen it as a track operator over the years when a series comes into town once a year and customer service is not always high on their priority list. Most of the time when a series comes to town they have different priorities versus that of the track operators and that just can’t happen. Customer service has to be our number one priority because the racers that are coming to our track and the fans that are coming to our track are the same racers and fans that are going to be coming back the next week and the week after that. We have to do everything in our power to accommodate those racers and fans, give them a great environment and make sure we take care of them. Whether that is a friendly greeting or providing the services they need.

     

    From a track operator standpoint that is the one thing that we have to make sure we transition to. When we go into a local market those racers are not only our members as IHRA, but also they are the tracks local customers. These guys are shelling out their hard-earned dollars to come to our event and we have to treat them as such.

     

    How exciting is it to finally have the sole focus of an ownership group?

     

    AP: You have no idea how exciting this is. Through no fault of anybody, we were just a very small little creature in a big animal kingdom before and now we are the only animal. To have the resources available, to have guys involved that like drag racing to begin with, it is huge. The ability to get things done quickly is enormous. This is a very good thing for all of us to be the primary focus of an organization.

     

    What does this mean for the sportsman racer?

     

    AP: We have, in my opinion, one of the best sportsman programs, if not the best sportsman program in the world. What this means is a continuation and an interest in that level of racing. We understand, from the IHRA side, that that is our base. They understand that it is our base. And with Summit signing on for a number of more years, AMSOIL signing on for a number of more years, it means that sportsman racing is here to stay. They want to keep what we have and try to improve upon it like we have over the last few years. They understand what sportsman racing means to the IHRA and they want to keep it that way. They are focused on the big picture and that is making money. Whether that means increased membership, increased sponsorship, increased participation, and increased ticket sales – they are focused on taking that next step toward making the IHRA an even bigger company than it is today.

     

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    IHRA President and General Manager Aaron Polburn

     

    How exciting is it to have home tracks, especially ones as nice as Palm Beach International Raceway and Memphis International Raceway?

     

    AP: It really is nice. You always want a base of business and now we have a base of business in Florida. Obviously Florida is a huge market for us and Memphis is a great facility, but the other part in this deal is that we have accumulated some really good people. A business runs on the quality of its people and the staffs at Palm Beach and Memphis are top notch. Even before this whole thing came about I have said that there are many people inside that organization that I would like to bring here, and now, through the acquisition, we get to work with them side-by-side.

     

    And I don’t believe they are done snapping up race tracks just yet, either. That doesn’t mean we are going to buy tracks just to buy tracks; we are going to buy tracks to increase the value of the company and make some money.

     

    Tell me a little bit about the plans to expand the new IHRA Entertainment family of home tracks?

     

    JR: Yes, there are plans to add more tracks to the company. At this point we are looking at three or four additional race tracks. Ideally we would like to have six tracks spread throughout the country and the content with the IHRA series to be able to provide those six or so home tracks

     

    What is it going to mean as more and more tracks get added to the IHRA family?

     

    AP: What that means is it opens up a lot of doors. Instead of just being IHRA, now we are IHRA with this track and that track. It gives us an opportunity to create a North American package if not a global package that we can take to sponsors and say ‘look, you can get IHRA and all of its assets if you get on board plus the naming rights at Palm Beach, naming rights at Memphis and so on.’ Once you put all of those pieces together you can put together a pretty substantial package for a potential sponsor that we have never had before. We get to go after bigger fish is really what I am saying.

     

    So the new ownership group really bought into what the IHRA has been doing?

     

    AP: They like the business plan. They like the way the sportsman deal is going. They like the way the entertainment facet of this company is going. Joe Lubeck said that he wants IHRA to be the best Triple-A baseball team in the world. If you are not familiar with baseball, Triple-A is just a step away from the majors. It is fun, it is profitable and it is very cool and that is how we have to think of this thing.

     

    We are not NHRA. We have no interest to be NHRA and we certainly don’t want to participate in the kind of business plan that they have now because we have been there and we know what happens. These are guys that looked at us from a financial perspective and said, you know what, there is progress here and it is time to act and take this thing to the next level. That is what makes it so exciting.

     

    It sounds like this group can really bring a lot to the IHRA table.

     

    AP: The key guy here is Jason. I can tell you in this negotiation period he was the point guy. I knew Jason before, always respected what he did, but this guy has some business sense that I was not aware of. I knew we were getting a good guy in Jason, what we got is a great guy and a great group. These guys are big thinkers. They are not focused on the little things; they are focused on how we grow this thing and end up in China or someplace like that.

     

    What does this mean for Nitro Jam and the entertainment portion of the IHRA?

     

    JR: Bigger and better, that is our plan and that is our model moving forward. We want to take the current model that has been working for the IHRA, whether that is Nitro Jam, Thunder Jam or the Pro-Am Tour, and we want to take that model and make it bigger and better. We want to provide the groundwork that the sanctioning body needs to build those events and bring more fans and racers through the gate and give them more entertainment value for their dollar. More pyro, more jets, more Top Fuel, whatever it may be that we need to add to the show, that is our goal and that is what we want to do with the brand and with the company.

     

    AP: If we can think it up and it makes sense we finally have the resources to do it. For example we always talk about what is the next big thing in this sport. I have got some ideas on what that next big thing is, but it is going to take a certain amount of cash to formulate the idea and take it to market. Essentially whatever we can dream up that can grow this company the funding is there to do it. Honestly right now I can’t think as big as they do, but even at 61 I can still learn pretty quickly.  It is a really good time to be IHRA.

     

    What are your long-term plans for the IHRA?

     

    JR: Well, our short-term plans are to successfully operate the 2013 season as planned. The timing of the acquisition was not ideal, the IHRA was a little too far into the 2013 season as far as planning for us to implement much change. So our plan right now is to support the plans that are in place and make those as successful as possible and provide any additional tools and resources that are needed for the current plan that is in place.

     

    Our long term plans are to evaluate and elevate every facet of IHRA, Nitro Jam and Thunder Jam.  Our goal is to find that combination of competitive racing, motorsports entertainment and profitability that we can take to market and separate us from the other available products.  We have a lot of exciting plans for the future and we can’t wait to see where it takes us.

     

    About IHRA Motorsports

    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.


  • Largest car count ever at Immokalee nets first big winners of the year

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    NORWALK, Ohio (February 4, 2013) – In the largest car count ever at Immokalee Regional Raceway’s annual season opener, the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL attracted over 220 cars from an impressive 20 different states and from as far away as Minnesota and Nova Scotia to compete in the Division 2 Heat Wave season opener and Wild Card competition in Immokalee, Florida.

     

    Five different states were represented among the winners with Florida making up the bulk of the trophy holders. Drivers from Indiana, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia also took Ironman trophies home with them from the Pro-Am season opener.

     

    In the two-day competition 14 different drivers took victories in the big classes. Saturday’s winners were Norm Williams (Top Sportsman), Claude DeBonis (Top Dragster), Allen Wade (Super Stock), Jim Wahl (Stock), Jim Morrison (Quick Rod), Steve Garmon (Super Rod) and Mark Mullen (Hot Rod). Sunday’s winners were Chris Gulitti (Top Sportsman), Mark Smullen (Top Dragster), Anthony Bertozzi (Super Stock), Jeff Lewis (Stock), John Labbous Jr. (Quick Rod), Joseph Deluco (Super Rod) and Ralph Hester (Hot Rod).

     

    Junior Dragster winners from the weekend included Amanda Foley and Taylor Bouldry in Masters, Gage Burch and Autumn Greene in Advanced and Katie Craft in Beginner.

     

    To add to the excitement, the entire Pro-Am opener was broadcast live on IHRA.com by Motor Mania TV and the results were once again fantastic as thousands of people from around the globe tuned in to watch the best sportsman racers in the country do battle at Immokalee.

     

    “It was a great weekend and an incredible race. We couldn’t have been happier with the turnout and we hope this is a sign of things to come for the Pro-Am Tour in 2013,” said Frank Kohutek, IHRA Division 2 Director. “Ralph Hester always puts on a fantastic event and this was no exception. The track was exceptional, the racers had a great time and the live feed was an incredible bonus. It gave fans and racers an opportunity to see how the IHRA puts on an event.”

     

    Perhaps the weekend’s biggest winner was track operator Ralph Hester who not only put on a great event, but put his 1986 Chevrolet Camaro in the winner’s circle in Hot Rod on Sunday. In the second biggest field of the weekend behind Top Dragster, Hester went four rounds on Saturday and added a few more on Sunday before breaking through with a big win over Saturday’s winner Mark Mullen who broke out.

     

    Eight-time IHRA champion Anthony Bertozzi also continued his impressive streak at the IHRA season opener with his fifth win in the past five seasons at Immokalee Regional Raceway. After falling out in round one on Saturday, Bertozzi stormed back on Sunday and drove his familiar 1998 Grand-Am to a big win over Richard Preiser. Bertozzi was also runner-up in Stock on Saturday giving him two finals over the weekend.

     

    One of the biggest non-winners from the weekend was defending Top Sportsman World Champion Mike Thompson from nearby Naples, Florida. The 2012 champ drove his 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier to two runner-up finishes to Norm Williams on Saturday and Chris Gulitti on Sunday, but from a points perspective is off to another great start.

     

    Another Floridian to produce a strong start to the season was Meraitt Island’s Jim Morrison who visited two finals in Quick Rod and Super Rod on Saturday, winning in Quick Rod over Deborah Bogle.

     

    It was an incredible start to the year for the drivers of the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL as a strong contingent and superb Florida weather made for a memorable two days of racing.

     

    Racers in the Heat Wave Division will wait nearly two months before their next race as the IHRA Nitro Jam series makes its return to Bradenton Motorsports Park for a Pro-Am double-header April 19-21. The next event on the Pro-Am schedule is at State Capitol Raceway in Baton Rouge the weekend of March 8-10.

     

    About IHRA Motorsports

    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.


  • North Carolina’s Cameron Manuel headlines 2011 IHRA Summit Pro-Am champions

    NORWALK, Ohio (September 9, 2011) – Following a thrilling finish to the Summit
    Racing Equipment Pro-Am tour season this past weekend in South Carolina and Texas,
    dozens of drivers have emerged as champions including one driver who continued his
    reign of terror in the sportsman ranks by winning divisional championships in two
    different classes. Continue reading  Post ID 7450