MDIR Performance at IHRA Summit Team Finals


October 04, 2018

   Story courtesy of:  MDIR



     The IHRA Summit Team Finals for 2018 had some fierce competition. This yearís attending tracks were Maryland International Raceway (MDIR), Capitol Raceway, US13 Dragway, Sumerduck Dragway, Richmond Dragway and Motor Mile Dragway. Gamblers Races were held on Friday and Saturday in all three of the sportsman classes: Top ET, Mod ET, and Junior Dragster. While MDIR had the home field advantage, it did not show in Fridayís Gamblers Races. Two of Team MDIRís racers were able to achieve runner ups, but there were no class winners. Steve Cross Sr. got the runner-up spot in the Mod ET race and was solid all night. Jordan Denny who has had a strong second half of the 2018 season, was also able to runner-up in Junior Dragster. Saturday, MDIRís luck changed. Jason Kirby was able to take the win in the Top ET Gamblers Race on Saturday in dominating fashion. Kirby was able to put in a perfect run. In the next round, Kirby followed up the perfect run, with another perfect light. Tony Mattera was able to take the runner-up spot in the Mod ET Gamblers Race.

     The IHRA Summit Team Finals is all about friendly competition and having fun. Saturday evening was just that. The children 10 and under who did not run in Junior Dragsters were able to take their shot at the tree and at the strip, with a Big Wheels race! Parents would get their kid on the Big Wheel and start coaching them on what to do. Some Junior Dragster drivers were up on the starting line coaching their siblings. At the end of the day, four were left standing with trophies and beaming faces.

     After the Big Wheel race came the most requested event of the weekend, the pit bike race. From golf cars to scooters, mini bikes to ATVs, a barstool go-kart and even a guy on a bicycle, there was a little bit of everything for everyone. In the end, it came down to two; MDIRís Junior Dragster driver AJ Jenkins on an ATV, and Capitolís Brad Keyton with his pit bike. Keyton was able to take home the victory and the huge gift box filled with a variety of items.

     At night, everything came together. Youíd see rival teams playing Cornhole and grabbing a bite to eat together. You could ride by and see some working on cars, or helping out a fellow racer. Kids would be playing football, or tossing a ball around under the overnight lights from the track. At night, the competitive side of the entire event fell apart. It was about family. Even with multiple tracks going against each other to see who had the best Sportsman Racers and who was going to Memphis, at night, it was never even a thought.

     Sunday morning, that all changed. Things started off early with the special awards judging. These vehicles were chosen by their peers to represent their track. The categories were: Best Engineered Open Body, Best Engineered Full Body, Best Appearing Open Body, Best Appearing Full Body, Best Engineered Junior Dragster and Best Appearing Junior Dragster. Team MDIR selected Jason Kirby for Best Engineered Open Body, Jake Milstead was voted for Best Engineered Fully Body, Bobby Jones was selected as Best Appearing Open Body, Doug Minter was chosen for Best Appearing Full Body, Tori Tayman was picked for Best Appearing Junior Dragster, and Jenna Cockrell was voted for Best Engineered Junior Dragster. These drivers had their vehicles judged against other racers who were selected by their corresponding tracks. Two of Team MDIRís racers were able to win their respective classes. Jason Kirby won Best Engineered Open Body, and Doug Minter was able to win Best Appearing Full Body.

     Royce Miller took the runner-up position in the Track Operators race, and it appeared to set the tone for the day for Team MDIR. With first round eliminations, the score was close across the board after Top ET and Mod ET. While Mod ET was fairly uneventful, there was one pair that stood out in Top ET. MDIR driver Ray Snoots and US13 racer Alex Bradford lined up next to each on the starting line. Both drivers turned on the pre-staged bulbs, then neither moved. In a classic staging duel both racers sat, waiting to see who would make the first move. After about a minute the starter told both drivers to put them in the beams and neither moved. At about the minute and a half mark both drivers bumped their dragsters into the beams and Snoots was able to take the stripe. The Junior Dragsters came up, and the entire point standing changed. 9 of the 10 Team MDIR Junior Dragsters took the stripe. At the end of Round 1, Team MDIR has a comfortable lead with 32 points, Team US13 sat in second with 19 points, Team Sumerduck in 3rd with 16 points, Team Capitol had 10 points for 4th, Team Richmond had 9 points good for 5th, and Motor Mile had 2 points.

     In Round 2, Team MDIR held their own. With a still comfortable lead, the points battle became tighter until the Juniors came up. The Juniors helped pull the lead back out once again, even with two Team MDIR drivers going head-to-head. It was the 2 drivers who were separated by one point in the Junior Dragster points standings at MDIR. As Jordan Denny and Hunter Groat lined up next to each other, everyone knew that either of these drivers could win the full event. Denny dialed in 8.01, and Groat with a 7.90. Denny cut the tree down with a .004 reaction time and the race was over from there. Groat went .061. Denny finished the hit with an 8.015 and Groat did everything he could to take the stripe, but ran it too quick going 7.889. At the end of Round 2, it looked like Team MDIR had a solid chance for its 3rd consecutive championship. Team MDIR had the lead with 48 points, Team US13 had 31 points, Team Sumerduck had 21 points, Capitol sat in 4th with 16 points, Team Richmond had 13, and Motor Mile had 3 points.

     In Round 3, things changed for Team MDIR. In Mod ET and in Top ET, a large chunk of the team was eliminated from competition, but the team continued to fight back refusing to give up. Then the Juniors came and padded the point lead. At the end of Round 3, Team MDIR continued to sit on top with 56 points, Team US13 sat second with 36 points, Team Sumerduck had 23 points, Team Capitol was able to get up to 21 points, Team Richmond was up to 16 points, and Team Motor Mile sat with 3 points.

     In Round 4, only one driver from Team MDIR was able to move to the next round in Mod ET, Francis Reynolds. Reynolds with his Maverick was able to beat Team Capitol driver Peter Kivett to get into the next round. In Top ET, Team MDIR ran into a similar issue. One driver was able to get out of the Round 4; Mickey Nelson, who was able to take the win over Team US13 driver Frank Lecates with a close win. With identical .003 reaction times, it all came down to how the drivers played the stripe. Nelson dialed 4.77 and Lecates dialed a 5.05. Nelson played the stripe better going 4.787 while Lecates ran 5.070. Nelson was able to move on to the next round. But in Junior dragsters, it was the opposite once again. 3 of the four remaining Juniors were from Team MDIR. Tori Tayman, Jenna Cockrell, and AJ Jenkins were all Team MDIR, and the sole driver who was not was Cole Foskey from Team US13. One thing was guaranteed. We would have a female junior dragster driver from Team MDIR in the final as Tori Tayman drew her teammate Jenna Cockrell, and AJ Jenkins was going to face Cole Foskey. Tayman and Cockrell lined up first. Both drivers dialed in at a 7.90. Tayman left with an awesome .019 reaction time and Cockrell left second with a .087 reaction time. Tayman fought all the way to stripe to go a 7.902 to Cockrellís 7.930. Tayman took the win was going to the finals but the opponent was not yet clear. Foskey and Jenkins lined up next. Foskey dialed an 8.90 to Jenkinsí 7.90. Jenkins would be playing catch up as Foskey would get a 1 second head start. As Foskey left with a .136 reaction, Jenkins nailed the tree with a .016 reaction time. Foskey stuck in it to break out with an 8.890 but Jenkins was able to get to the line first and take the win with a 7.981. At the end of Round 4, it seemed pretty evident that Team MDIR may be locking up its third consecutive Team Finals Championship. Team MDIR sat first with 60 points, Team US13 had 36, Team Capitol had moved itself up to third with 24 points, Team Sumerduck had moved down to 4th with 23 points, Team Richmond has 19 points, and Motor Mile continued to sit with 3.

     Round 5 was the end of the march for Francis Reynolds but it certainly was not from a lack of effort. Reynolds took on Richmond driver Chris Moren and had an extremely close race. Reynolds knocked down the tree with .014 light, to Morenís .020. Reynolds ran 7.848 on a 7.82 dial to Moren who ran 5.948 on a 5.93 dial. Moren took the win by a heart-breaking .0048 at the line. With one driver left in Top ET, the same heart-breaking moment did not happen. Mickey Nelson drew the bye on to the next round. In the Junior Dragster final, Tori Tayman and AJ Jenkins were going to see who would be going to Memphis. Jenkins was favored in this match up being the defending champion, but Tayman was confident going into the final round. Both drivers dialed in 7.90 meaning that this race could come down to the tree. Jenkins left first with a .037 and Tayman was on his heels with a .046. But Jenkins ran too quick going 7.892 and broke out compared to Tayman who ran 7.914. Tayman and Jenkins finished 1-2 for Team MDIR in the Junior Dragster category with Tayman going to Memphis! At the end of round 5, Team MDIR had a commanding 62 point lead for 1st place. Team US 13 sat second with 27, Team Capitol 3rd at 27, Team Sumerduck had 23, Richmond was fighting back with 22, and Motor Mile sat with 3.

     While it was an all-Richmond final in Mod ET, Mickey Nelson was able to get down to round 7, the final round for Top ET. Mickey Nelson was paired up with John Myers of Team Capitol, and was looking to take the second win of the day for Team MDIR. Dialed 4.77, he would be trailing Myers who dialed 6.21. Myers cut a light with a .001 and Nelson was hot on his heels with a .010. Both drivers played the stripe, but it was Myers who beat out Nelson on his 6.235 to Nelsonís 4.801.

     In the end, with Mickey Nelson battling through the field in Top ET to runner up, Francis Reynolds refusing to give up in Mod ET, and the sheer dominance shown by the Junior Dragsters for Team MDIR, MDIR was able to take home its 3rd consecutive Team Finals Championship in a row! Team MDIR had a commanding 63 points over Team US13 who had 37. Team Capitol fought hard to finish 3rd with 29 points. Team Richmond battled hard to move up to fourth with 25 points. Sumerduck dropped to fifth with 23 points and Motor Mile finished with 3. MDIR showed in the end why they had two back-to-back championships with the IHRA Summit Team Finals, and then followed it up with another. It was a tough fight round after round and not one round win came easy.

     We thank everyone that came out to race from all of the other tracks. You, the sportsman racers, are the heart of drag racing. We thank each of you for making the trip out to MDIR and hope to see you all again soon!