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The Heart of Doorslammer Nation - Top Sportsman
Pros vs Joes Recap

  

April 17 , 2014

  

Story courtesy of:  Fabian Brown

 

Maryland International Raceway, since its very beginning in 1966, has always been a feature attraction to the hearts and minds of doorslammer racers and fans. Top Sportsman, known as the quickest door car class in the IHRA and the category that spawned what is now known as the phenomenon of Pro Modified, features a huge variety of race cars, engine combinations and driver personalities. Ever since Wild Bill Kuhlmann took the first Top Sportsman car over 200 MPH more than 25 years ago, the argument has never stopped on which style of car the fans and racers like better. Is it the high tech sleek looking new age Camaros, Corvettes, Mustangs or Avengers? Or is it the old school 1950's, 60's and 70's looking machines? No matter which side of the argument you agree with, one thing is always the same. Maryland International Raceway is the heart and soul of doorslammer nation.

JEFFREY JONES
SATURDAY TOP SPORTSMAN JOES WINNER

In 2013, MIR President and Promoter Royce Miller, conceived an idea that would allow racers with all types of machines and budgets to compete on one level playing field for a huge cash purse. Itís called the Top Sportsman 5K Pros vs Joes. The only requirement is that each car must be 5.99 and quicker in the 1/8 mile. After qualifying has been completed, the quickest 16 cars are placed on a ladder known as the Pros. The drivers who are not among the quick 16 are placed on the Joes side. Once down to 16 cars or less, the Joes are then placed on a ladder and run to a winner. In traditional Top Sportsman format, each driver must attempt to get to the finish line first without running quicker than their dial in. Once thereís one driver left standing on both the Pros and Joes side, they then race each other to determine the Pros vs Joes winner and along with the coveted MIR IronTree trophy, $5,000 cash is on the line to the winner. What makes this event truly special is that each day is a separate race, so a driver who didnít qualify for the Pros one day, gets another shot to do so on the second day, and another shot at $5,000.

PHIL STEWART
SATURDAY TOP SPORTSMAN PROS WINNER
SATURDAY T/S PROS VS JOES RUNOFF WINNER

 

Before the debut of the Pro vs Joes in 2013, many drivers were eager to be a part of this new concept. Many saying that it gives everyone who doesnít necessarily have the fastest car or the biggest budget to be able to come out and be a part of Top Sportsman level racing, while being on a level playing field and everyone having an equal chance at $5,000.

NATHANIEL YOUNT
SUNDAY TOP SPORTSMAN JOES WINNER

The 2014 Door Wars event brought together a huge gathering of talented veterans and rising stars amongst the Top Sportsman ranks, including a handful of MIR weekly racers. Randy Perkinson of South Chesterfield, VA, brought his 2009 Pontiac to MIR in the hopes of making a statement. He did just that by qualifying number 1 on both Saturday and Sunday at a 4.193 and 4.200 respectively. With a huge target on his back by being the quickest bracket racer on the property, Perkinson managed to make it to the finals of the Pros on Saturday, losing to eventual Saturday winner Phil Stewart and his 1968 Camaro from Linden, VA. Lightning would not strike twice for Perkinson as he suffered a first round loss on Sunday to fellow Virginia native Ricky Tibbs and his 1987 Ford Thunderbird.

MIKE ALEXANDER SR
SUNDAY TOP SPORTSMAN PROS WINNER
SUNDAY T/S PROS VS JOES RUNOFF WINNER

Martin Flegal of Ephrata, PA and his 1998 Chevy S-10 truck proved that you donít have to be a full out Top Sportsman car to be competitive. Flegal was not only competing in Top Sportsman on the 1/8 mile, but also the Mod ET class as well on the 1/4, all the while footbraking the truck in both classes. Going deep into the rounds of Mod ET both days, he managed to make it to the finals of the Sunday Joes.

The big Pros vs Joes winners from the 6th Annual Door Wars were Phil Stewart (Saturday) from Linden, VA in his 1968 Chevy Camaro and Mike Alexander Sr (Sunday) from Mechanicsville, VA and his 1963 Chevy Corvette. MIR regular Jeffrey Jones, behind the wheel of his 1983 Dodge Omni, managed to make it to the Saturday Pros vs Joes final for the second straight year. The Pros are 4 for 4 in the two years that the class has been run, but many of the drivers who qualified for the Joes brought some very game competition and solidified themselves as contenders to win, and Maryland International Raceway, its place on top of the mountain, in the Heart of Doorslammer Nation.


 

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