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

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MIR Locals Take Home Ironmen at IHRA
Summit Pro-Am Tour Double Header


July 18, 2013


Press Release courtesy of:  Robbie Parlett

When racers started filing into Maryland Int’l Raceway early Friday morning, it was raining and the forecast for the weekend didn’t look too promising. But, being the last IHRA Division 1 Pro-Am stop for the year and a scheduled double header event, the racers came in droves, hoping to dodge rain showers and take their shot at taking home one or more of the IHRA Ironmen up for grabs over the weekend. In typical Budds Creek fashion, the showers that were hitting all around the area started to break up over the track, and by mid-afternoon on Friday, the rains had stopped and the track drying got underway. Racers started unloading their cars for the Test and Tune scheduled for the evening, but for a few racers there was more at stake.

At the first stop on the Division 1 Pro-Am tour at Richmond Dragway back in April, rains ended the day a little early on Sunday, leaving a handful of semifinals and finals to be run in the IHRA classes. A few MIR regulars had trekked down to Richmond in April and were still in contention when the final few pairs were set to go down the track at MIR. Since Richmond is an eighth mile track, these round would be completed on the 1/8th mile at MIR. Starting in the 7.00 index class of Hot Rod, Jake Milstead had already punched his way into the final back in April. But he was the last pass before the rains came, and two months later he finally found out who he would run in the final. John Dustin of Rockville, MD took down Chris Dean with a very stout .008 package, setting up an all Maryland final round. Dustin got the jump on the line with a .005 light to Milstead’s .017, but killed just a little too much at the stripe, giving Milstead just enough room to get back in front, by .002 running a dead on 7.001 on the 7.00 index. For Milstead this is his third Ironman in index racing in the since the start of the 2012 season, and first in Hot Rod. The 5.70 index class of Quick Rod was down to the final when the rains fell at Richmond. But Tommy Cable and Brett Nesbitt, a former Quick Rod World Champ, made their way to MIR to run for the Ironman. In a close race, Tommy was .002 behind on the tree, but won the race of who could get to the stripe second. With both racers setup to break out considerably, at the stripe both drivers got on the brakes with Tommy getting behind by .014. In a double breakout race, the winner is often the racer who gets to the stripe last, and this case was no different. Getting behind at the stripe worked out for Cable and he picked up the Quick Rod Ironman. In Top Dragster, racers still needed to complete the semifinals. Chad Traylor, a regular at MIR big money races, took down MIR ET Series regular David Cullison. Defending IHRA Top Dragster World Champ and two-time MIR Top ET Champ Wesley Washington Jr. singled his way to the final. In the final Wesley got the jump with a .008 to Chad’s .019, but ripped it a little too much at the stripe, giving the stripe up by .002 to Traylor who ran a 4.495 on his 4.49 dial to pick up the Ironman. By the end of the night Friday, three MIR regulars had already picked up Ironmen, and the event hadn’t even officially started.

There was a lot of racing to be completed Saturday, with one complete Pro-Am event and the MIR ET Series on the schedule. For the ET Series, racers were racing for IHRA Ironmen, in the Ironman Classic that comes to Budds Creek once a year. The Pro-Am got underway early, with racers hitting the track at 9AM sharp. Only one local was able to pick up an Ironman, but several locals made very deep runs in most of the classes. The lone winner was Norman Hall of Waldorf, MD. Norman picked up the win in Super Stock, taking down #5 in the world from last year, Michael Crumpler. Hall got the jump with a .019 light and dropped in the lights to pick up the win over Crumpler who broke out taking the stripe. In Hot Rod, Robbie Welch of Mechanicsville, MD, found his way to the semifinals. He took down the Mayor of Budds Creek, Charlie Yingling in the quarterfinals in a very tough race. Robbie was .002 to Charlie’s .003, and at the stripe Charlie got there by .007, but lost the tough double breakout race. Welch’s run ended in the semifinals to eventual winner Michael Schiberl. In Stock, Adam Keir, former Junior Dragster regular at MIR took the #1 qualifier bonus from ATI in his A/SA Nova. Keir went down in round 2 to Stephen McGrath who marched his way to the final where he would face off with MIR Mod ET regular Jeff Gardiner. Gardiner was .002 behind on the line, and dropped at the stripe running two over his dial, letting McGrath take the stripe by .016. Although he didn’t win the race, Gardiner made a nice showing with his runner up.

In Super Rod, Harvey Gates of Huntingtown, MD made his way to the finals where he would face off with Gerald Pierce. Gates ended the race early turning it -.004 red handing the automatic win to Pierce. Gates turned in the second runner up performance from a local racer. In Quick Rod, two MIR regulars faced off in the semifinals. Tommy Cable faced off with Tommy Norton. Both drivers were up on the tree as both went red at the start. For Norton, unfortunately he was just a little quicker on the light with a -.018 light to Cable’s -.007. Cable finished the run, making a dead-on 8.907 lap. In the final, Cable matched up with Vince Gregoire. Cable adjusted for the red light and was .008 in the final, but found himself .005 behind Gregoire’s .003. Both drivers were killing ET at the stripe and Cable found himself .008 behind in the lights, with both drivers running 1 over the 8.90 index. For Cable, getting behind at the stripe didn’t work out this time, and Gregoire picked up the win with a .014 package to Cable’s .022. In Top Dragster, several MIR regulars were making deep runs. Tommy Cable went down in the quarter finals as did Candi Derry, who lost to her brother-in-law Bobby Spence. In the semifinals, Bobby Crane went down to Cody Bayus, and Bobby Spence pulled off the ultra rare perfect run in his semifinal bye run. As rare as perfect runs are in bracket racing, there have been two at MIR in just the last few weeks. In the finals, Bayus got the win when Spence turned it -.017 red. Bayus was red behind him with a -.013 light but the win was already in the bag. With one Ironman and 4 runner-up performances along with a handful of semifinal performances on Day 1 of the Pro Am event, MIR locals had a nice day on the track.

In the ET Series Ironman Classic, racing was unable to be completed. A couple of lengthy cleanups and an hour rain delay pushed things just a little too long into the night. All but 3 pairs made it down the track by the nights end. Motorcycle and Juniors were able to complete their race for an Ironman. Anthony Buckson picked up the Ironman in Motorcycle with his win over Vincent Harris. In Juniors, three of the hottest drivers in the class battled it out for the Ironman. TJ Estevez knocked off Ray Snoots in the semifinals with a .004 light. Christopher Mattera singled his way to the final round. In the final, Estevez knocked the tree down once again with a .005 light and was able to hold off Mattera’s dead-on run to pick up his 3rd win of the season and the Hubble Motorsports Pro Purse yet again. In Mod ET, racers were able to complete the semifinals, but it was just too late to run the final pair. Before the semifinals it was decided the best light of the round would decide who took home the Ironman in Mod. Tony Mattera and Frank Thompson faced on in the lone semifinal pair. Both drivers were .049 on the tree but Thompson picked up the win in the light. In the semifinal bye run, IHRA Stock regular Sterling Simmons took his shot at the tree for the Ironman. Simmons turned it .045 on the tree, giving him a .004 edge over Thompson for the IHRA Ironman. In Top ET, racing was called for the night following 5th round. In 5th round, Rickey Nelson took down Robert Jones with a .008 light. Ray Holmes was .000 and dead-on 4 for a .004 package to take down Dale Smith’s .015 package. Charlie Yingling got past a red-lighting Antwon Chisley and Jake Milstead was .001 on the tree taking .003 at the stripe to take down Eddie Bolton. After the round, cards were drawn in the tower to determine who would take home the Ironman. Ray Holmes was the lucky winner of the Ironman.

On Sunday, racing got started early and with finally a completely clear day on tap and no rain on the radar, racing got started early with eliminations wrapping up early in the afternoon. A couple more MIR locals and regulars were able take home some Ironmen when racing was done for the day. The Cox brothers, Larry and David, made deep runs in the two fastest classes, Top Dragster and Top Sportsman. David Cox had made his way to the finals where he matched up with Vonnie Mills. David, who races at MIR nearly every weekend was set on kill for the final, but was just a little too tight on the tree, turning it -.001 red. At the top end he ran a 7.802 on his 7.80 dial and would have been very tough for Mills to take down with her .057 light. But for David, the red light secured the win for Mills, leaving Cox with a very respectable runner up in Top Sportsman. Larry Cox had raced his way to the semifinals in Top Dragster where he would face off with another MIR regular, Dale Smith. Larry had the advantage on the tree and picked up the easy win when Dale was only able to run 6 over his dial. In the other semifinal, Bobby Spence moved to his second TD final of the weekend with a .015 package to take down Kara Stricker in her sub-7 second dragster. In the final, the race was close all the way down the track. Both drivers were .015 on the tree and both struggled with some tire shake off the line. At the stripe, Larry prevailed as he was able to run just .002 closer to his dial than Spence, as both driver were more than .04 over their dials. An Ironman for Cox was a great way to wrap up the weekend, and two runner-up performances in the biggest class for Spence should also be considered an excellent weekend.

In Quick Rod, Mike Harbaugh picked up the win over John Dustin. Harbaugh took down Tommy Norton in the semifinals when Norton turned it red in the semifinals for the second day in a row. In the final, both drivers missed the tree, but Harbaugh was ahead with his .058 light to Dustin’s .067. At the stripe both drivers were killing a lot of ET, but Harbaugh was able to stay in front and pick up the win in the 8.90 class, running an 8.918. Harbaugh’s win was just another demonstration of how good the regulars are MIR. In Super Stock, Nick Chiles picked up the win over the toughest racer in IHRA history, Anthony Bertozzi. Bertozzi has made a living for years winning races and championships in almost every IHRA sportsman class. Chiles got the best of Bertozzi in first round Saturday in Super Stock, and Bertozzi was looking forward to the chance to redeem himself on Sunday. Chiles is a champion in his own right, as he is 4-time Junior Dragster champ at MIR and in the Raider ET Series. Chiles got the jump on Bertozzi on the line with a .041 to Bertozzi’s .054. At the stripe, Chiles was able hang on for the win by a mere .002. Bertozzi ran a dead-on 9.453 but was unable to overcome the starting line disadvantage. For Chiles, the Ironman was well deserved, as anyone who beats Anthony Bertozzi twice in one weekend, was definitely on their game. In Hot Rod, two MIR regulars faced off in the final. Dale Koncen and Dave Meador were both close on the tree with Koncen getting the slight holeshot with .022 to Dave’s .024. Both drivers spun a little coming off the stop, slowing them down, and both drivers ran two over the 10.90 index. Dale picked up the win by just .004, running .002 closer to the dial than Meador. And in Stock, Adam Keir was the number 1 qualifier again, and this time he made it to the finals. Keir, who had been knocking the tree down all day, missed the light with a .109, and that was more than enough for Saturday night’s Mod ET Ironman winner, Sterling Simmons, to pick up his second Ironman of the weekend. For Keir, it was a pretty good weekend, with two #1 qualifiers and a runner up.

At the end of the weekend, MIR regulars picked up 7 Ironmen in the IHRA classes. They also brought home 9 runner up performances in the IHRA classes, and more than a handful semifinal showings as well. Considering the level of competition on track for the IHRA Summit Pro-Am races, the locals once again proved they can race with the best in the country. Year after year, IHRA heavy hitters roll into Budds Creek expecting to walk out with big checks and trophies, but many of them are turned away by the same racers who run at MIR week after week. Congratulations to all the winners from the weekend, but most especially those who represented their home track so well.





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