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Maryland Int'l Raceway  •  27861 Budds Creek Road  •  Mechanicsville, MD  20659

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   MIR e-News Headline

Top Sportsman Pro’s vs. Joe’s a Huge Success


April 23, 2013


Press Release courtesy of:  Robbie Parlett


Always looking for a way to change the game, Royce Miller once again came up an intriguing way of increasing participation in a big money Top Sportsman race. Top Sportsman is quickly growing to be one of the most popular forms of drag racing. But as the class increases in popularity, the ET’s get lower and therefore the cost associated with the class grow leaving a lot of “regular” bracket racers in the stands during Top Sportsman. Looking for a way to get good car count, keep the quick cars interested and get some of the quicker regular bracket racers excited about racing in a Top Sportsman event, Royce came up the Pro’s vs. Joe’s concept. To appease the quick cars, regardless of car count, the quick 16 qualifiers, the “Pro’s”, go immediately to one side of a 32 car ladder, where they run down to a winner. All remaining cars, the “Joe’s”, dial-in and run qualifying eliminations down to 16 cars or less where they are then placed on the other side of the ladder. A seldom seen feature in the Top Sportsman racing world is first round re-entry. A staple of normal bracket racing, first round losers of the Pro’s bracket could re-enter with first round losers of the Joe’s race, into the Joe’s bracket race. All racers, Pro’s or Joe’s, get $100 per round, starting with first round losers once they make it to the ladder. The Joe’s run their ladder down to a winner, and the winner of the Joe’s then faces off with the winner of the Pro’s for the$5,000 winner’s purse, with $2,000 going to the runner up.

The ET break for all racers was 5.99 in the 1/8th mile. With many Top Sportsman regulars running sub 4.50’s there was a bit of apprehension from the Top Sportsman regulars about matching up with the slower bracket regulars. Breaking the class in two parts kept the really quick cars from having to match up against slower cars for the most part. Even with the concern, more than 75 cars entered Top Sportsman on Saturday. The bump for the Pro’s was a very quick 4.610, with Randy Primozic taking the pole with 4.253 in his ’01 Cavalier. In the semifinals, Marc Combs took down Chris Krajewski on the strength of a .023 starting line advantage. In the finals, Combs would meet up with Ed Foley who picked up a semifinal win over Gene Fries, after Fries had trouble down track. For Foley, things had been running his way, after qualifying just outside the field by .007, he got placed in the field with number 3 qualifier, Dennis Gaboriauh broke during qualifying. In the finals, Foley got the jump by .009 over Combs, but couldn’t quite run the number, giving Combs enough room to sneak past in the lights by .012 and pick up the Pro’s win in his ’08 Pontiac GXP, guaranteeing a minimum $2,000 payday.

In the Joe’s competition, two of the slowest cars in the class faced off in the semifinals. Richard Tyler from Richmond, VA, faced off with MIR regular Jeffrey Jones from King George, VA. Jones used a hole shot to pick up the win in his ’83 Omni, running 5.989 on his 5.94 dial. Another MIR regular, Jim Mumpower just broke the beams in his semifinal bye run. In the Joe’s final, Jones got the slightest hole shot with a .019 to Mumpower’s .020, and was able to run closer to his dial to pick up the win over Mumpower. This set up a very interesting Pro vs. Joe final, with Jones dialing right near the 5.99 limit, and Combs in his very quick mid 4.40’s GXP. Combs pulled to the line dialed 4.44 with Jones dialed a 5.93. The final was over very quickly when Jones had a malfunction and left way early and then broke his wheelie bar sending him towards the centerline. Combs, from New Windsor, MD, was on his game, as the lengthy handicap start had no affect on him as he was perfect on the tree, running two over his dial, picking up the MIR Iron Tree Trophy and the $5,000 payday in the very first Pro’s vs. Joe’s Top Sportsman format.

Parts attrition took its toll on Saturday, reducing the entries for Sunday’s race. But even with the breakage, there was still a very good car count. With just one qualifying session, some of the quicker cars didn’t make clean runs, and the bump for the Pro’s ended up at 4.838 with Randy Primozic from Willoughy Hills, OH again taking the pole with an even quicker 4.220 @ 169mph. Saturday’s finalists from the Pro’s, Marc Combs and Ed Foley were once again marching their way through the rounds, and both made it to the semifinals. First up, Combs, who had now one 7 rounds in a row, faced off with Don Rudd from VA. In one the best races of the day, Rudd was able to stop Combs winning streak. Both drivers were good on the tree with Rudd getting the slight advantage, .008 to Combs’ .014. At the stripe, Combs ran dead on his 4.45 dial, but still found himself .002 behind Rudd’s orange ’69 Yenko Camaro who ran 4.512 on his 4.50 dial. In the other semifinal pair, number 1 qualifier Primozic gave the win to Ed Foley when he turned it -.005 red, sending Foley to his second Pro’s final of the weekend. Foley wasn’t to be kept out the winner’s circle for two days in a row, where in the final he put together an impressive .021 package taking .006 at the stripe to take down Rudd who broke out.

For the Joe’s, Saturday’s winner, Jeffrey Jones was knocked out in round 4, second round on the ladder, by John Salzman. Salzman then met up David Cox in the semifinals. Cox had taken advantage of the re-entry policy of this race. After losing in round 1 of the Pro’s race, he re-entered working his way to and through the Joe’s ladder. He kept his good run going, knocking off Salzman in a tough double breakout race. In the Joe’s final he would meet up with Gary Pitts from Fredericksburg, VA who had a bye in the semifinals in his ’04 Cavalier. The final was over quickly when Cox turned it -.009 red in his ’07 Cobalt sending Pitts to the Pro’s vs. Joe’s runoff against Ed Foley. Foley from Warminster, PA got the slight .008 hole shot with his .028 light over Pitts. At the stripe Foley ran a dead-on 4.567 to take down Pitts who ran 1 over his 4.72 dial. For Foley, it was an outstanding weekend, with a runner up in the Pro’s category on Saturday and an overall event win and $5,000 on Sunday.

The event has to be considered a tremendous success with the number of cars taking part and the excellent racing on the track. The total purse for both days was $24,200 which also makes it one of the richest Top Sportsman races in the country. Both overall winners came from the Pro’s side of the ladder settling the debate of whether the slower cars would have an advantage over the big power, hard to handle “Pro” Top Sportsman cars. Cars from both the Pro’s and Joe’s consistently and regularly ran dead-on their dials at all hours of the day in both lanes. With the success of the event, this will prove to be another new concept from Royce Miller and MIR that will likely be seen for years to come.



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