IHRA 2011

Results from the Summit Series event at Castrol Raceway.

Andy Closky had a great weekend as did Rae Caswell. Andy won two gamblers races and the No Box event on Saturday. Likely he took home over 5K for his efforts. Rae Caswell won the big Race Friday, earning a spot in the finals in Virginia in three weeks. He has the possibility of winning well over 25K in cash and prizes. Chloe Clarre (Andy's step daughter) was r/u in two races including the ROC race.

Bill Boult from Thunder Mountain was the Sunday gamblers race winner.


WIN DRIVER Rae Caswell TEAM Eagle DIAL 10.46 RT .037 ET 10.276 MPH 128.15
R/U Tim Richards Gimli 8.25 -.022 8.229 159.88


WIN DRIVER Dean Smith TEAM Gimli DIAL 9.47 RT .039 ET 9.46 MPH 143.08
R/U Chris Melnyk Castrol 10.55 -.004 10.55 125.17


1 Castrol Raceway Team 1 37
2 Castrol Raceway Team 2 36
3 Eagle Motorsports Park 17
4 Gimli Dragway 12
5 5 Alaska Raceway Park 9
6 6 Race City 9
7 7 HI Line 8
8 8 Thunder Mountain 0


WIN Natasha Cherchuk Castrol Team 2 7.75 -0.012 7.752 172.05
RU James Pahl Castrol Team 1 10.25 -0.024 10.274 129.42


WIN Andy Closkey Eagle Motorsports Park 10.16 0.066 10.154 127.19
RU Mark Bold Castrol Team 2 10.68 0.063 10.652 124.36


WIN Kristopher Bougher Castrol Team 1 11.51 0.038 11.546 54.68
RU Taylor Markarowski Castrol Team 2 8.05 0.067 8.147 75.45

WIN John Melnyk Castrol Team 1 9.94 0.018 9.94 122.00
RU Megan Caston Castrol Team 1 10.31 0.053 10.288 129.79

WIN Andy Closkey Eagle Motorsports Park 10.11 0.035 10.171 114.44
RU Jennifer Harding Race City 13.90 0.123 13.912 100.82

WIN Brayden Ochitwa Castrol Team 2 8.13 0.072 8.194 77.12
RU Chloe Carre Eagle Motorsports Park 8.20 0.237 8.239 78.54

WIN Ryan Strachan Castrol Team 1 10.54 0.185 10.528 60.13
RU Chloe Carre Eagle Motorsports Park 8.32 0.197 8.307 73.64

WIN Darren Ursell Castrol Team 2 10.43 0.003 10.431 126.4
RU Wesley Thomas Thunder Mountain Raceway 11.88 0.008 11.886 112.12

WIN Chris Melnyk Castrol Team 1 10.44 -0.370 10.435 127.62
RU Don Funk Gimli Dragway 11.95 -0.071 11.973 111.75

WIN Kasia Baskerville Castrol Team 2 8.10 0.053 8.082 77.49
RU McKenna Bold Castrol Team 2 9.27 0.087 9.242 72.02

WIN Bill Boult Thunder Mountain Raceway 8.80 0.023 8.839 151.46
RU Warren Neisch Castrol Team 2 9.48 0.017 9.478 140.51

WIN Andy Closkey Eagle Motorsports Park 10.08 0.019 10.069 131.61
RU Andre Keer Race City 14.68 0.036 14.666 89.77

WIN McKenna Bold Castrol Team 2 9.16 0.079 9.215 71.54
RU Reed Thomas Castrol Team 1 9.76 0.090 9.867 65.49


BEST APPEARING TEAM Eagle Motorsports Park
TRACK OPERATORS RACE Thunder Mountain Raceway

July 9-10 results


No Box (sorry no photo)

Marty Parsons Quensel BC 67 Dart .072rt 9.901/129.34 def. Nick McKay Surrey BC 02 Sentra .016rt 15.776/85.84


Andy Preston Fraser Lake BC 72 Chevelle .006rt 10.423/123.60 def. Rae Caswell Lower Nicola BC 27 Ford Roadster .020 9.786/134.32

Jr. Dragster

Kaelyn Bollinger Burnaby BC .085rt 8.183/79.67 def. Chloe Carre Quesnel BC .354rt 8.092/77.47

High School (sorry no photo)

Rylen Ross Kamloops BC .206rt 13.841/102.13 def. Sydney Glesbrecht 100 Mike House 2010 Chevy PU .094rt 16.376/76.33

NW Outlaws

Steve Kendall Penticton BC .112 6.598/208 def. Dane Lachelt Kelowna BC .017 red 6.589/200.71


No Box

Paul Karr Rosedale BC 63 Comet .165 12.095/110.56 def. Holly Clarke Rosedale BC 68 Nova 11.558/109.58


Andy Preston Fraser Lake BC 72 Chevelle .003rt 10.320/128.38 def. Al Quigley Aldergrove BC 98 Mustang .014rt 9.488/139.08

Jr Dragster

Travis Clarke Rosedale BC .021 rt8.087/80.53 def. Kaelyn Bollinger Surrey BC .159 8.078/81.42



Eagle Motorplex Pro Am results

April 24, 2011

Pittsburgh Pro Am

Saturday results (courtesy IHRA Media)

Photos courtesy Bob Wenzelburger

Weekend Gallery is here


After seven previous meetings and seven excruciating losses to Peter Gallen and the "Poverty Stricken" team Mike McIntire and the "McAttack" crew finally got their revenge on Saturday with a thrilling victory during the finale of the inaugural Pittsburgh Nitro Jam at Pittsburgh Raceway Park.

And he wasn't alone.

Saturday was a night for new winners as Michael Manners retook the Pro Fuel points lead with a victory over Friday winner Robin Samsel and Mike Scott, who traveled all the way from British Columbia to compete in Pittsburgh's Nitro Jam event, claimed a win over Nitro Harley newcomer Jake Stordeur.

"We knew we had an advantage here this weekend with the shorter distance and we felt this was our weekend to turn things around," McIntire said. "Ironically that didn't even come into play tonight as Peter and I both pedaled and we were lucky enough to cross the line first. It has been over a year since our last win and we are certainly excited to be back in victory lane."

McIntire and Gallen were once again the class of the Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car field Saturday in Pittsburgh as the pair put down the two quickest laps in round one to match up in the final for the second night in a row. Gallen lead the qualifying round with a solid 4.898 elapsed time at 228.54 miles per hour in a win over Greg Jacobsmeyer while McIntire recorded a 4.920, 222.55 in a win over Laurie Cannister.

In the final a much anticipated battle tuned into an old-fashioned pedal-fest as McIntire lost traction immediately off the line and Gallen smoked the tires at 330 feet setting up a battle to the 1,000 foot line.

Both cars traded the lead several times in the battle for the Ironman, but it was McIntire who was able to record the victory by a little over five tenths of a second. McIntire posted a 7.254, 170.58 in the win, snapping a streak of seven straight losses to the "Poverty Stricken" team. Gallen recorded a 7.701, 115.18 in the runner-up effort.

Cannister won the consolation round over Jacobsmeyer, her first career nitro round win.

In Pro Fuel Michael Manners in the "Shredder" dragster lead from start to finish culminating with a win over Friday night winner Robin Samsel in picking up his fourth victory of the year.

Manners drew Bill Evans in round one for the second night in a row and was able to reverse Friday's results with a 4.604, 250.42 to top the Pro Fuel charts. In the other opening round matchup Samsel posted a 4.670, 242.33 in a win over Cherissa Smallwood.

In the final Manners got off the line first with a huge holeshot and made a very nice run to pick up the win. Manners ran a 4.525, 253.24 in the victory, edging Samsel's 4.607, 243.51.

In the consolation Evans won his third round in four tries over Smallwood.

With Saturday's victory Manners also retook the points lead after Evans briefly topped the charts Friday night.

In Nitro Harley the final round participants from Friday were swapped out for Canadian Mike Scott and Nitro Jam newcomer Jake Stordeur and Scott was able to walk away a winner, his third of the season.

Scott traveled all the way from British Columbia for the Pittsburgh Nitro Jam and made the trip pay off with an Ironman

Stordeur lead round one with a weekend best 5.540, 201.61 in a win over Steve Dorn to take lane choice in the final against Scott who recorded a win over Friday winner Jay Turner.

In the final Stordeur got off the line first and appeared to be well on his way to picking up his first career Nitro Jam victory, but he lost power near halftrack and Scott was able to power past his opponent to take the win. Scott recorded a 5.625, 198.06 in the final to Stordeur's 6.236, 151.21.

In the consolation Dorn finally found his groove in a win over Turner.

Closing out the weekend was another great show by the Shockwave jet semi and Grave Digger, Megasaurus, the Chevy Rebellion wheelstander and much more.

Next up for Nitro Jam is a trip west for back-to-back races in Utah and Alberta, Canada. The western swing will begin the weekend of July 17-18 at the Salt Lake Nitro Jam at Rocky Mountain Raceways.

PITTSBURGH -- Saturday's final results from the IHRA Pittsburgh Nitro Jam at Pittsburgh Raceway Park. The race is the fifth of 10 in the 2011 Nitro Jam Series:

PRO FUEL DRAGSTER DAY TWO Michael Manners, Willis, Texas, dragster, 4.525, 253.24 def. Robin Samsel, Marion, Ind., dragster, 4.607, 243.51.

PROSTALGIA FUNNY CAR DAY TWO Mike McIntire, Chesterland, Ohio, '69 Camaro, 7.254, 170.58 def. Peter Gallen, Broomall, Pa., '74 Vega, 7.701, 115.18.

NITRO HARLEY DAY TWO Mike Scott, Blind Bay, B.C., 5.625, 198.06 def. Jake Stordeur, Loveland, Ohio, 6.236, 151.21.

JR DRAGSTER 13-17 Andrew Valentino, Hallwood, Pa., dragster, 7.962, 77.85 def. Mason Gross, Fairmont, W.V., dragster, 7.944, 83.18.

JUNIOR DRAGSTER 8-12 Brandon Butler, N. Huntington, Pa., dragster, 9.375, 57.95 def. Frank Pennington, Nicktown, Pa., dragster, 9.437, 67.63.

Friday results

For the fifth time this season Peter Gallen and Mike McIntire met in the finals of a Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car race.
And for the fifth time this season Gallen walked away the victor.

In front of a rambunctious Pittsburgh crowd in Gallen's home state, the driver of the "Poverty Stricken" Vega cruised to his fifth win of the season and seventh consecutive victory over McIntire in a thrilling race at the inaugural Pittsburgh Nitro Jam Friday night at Pittsburgh Raceway Park.

Gallen was joined in the winner's circle by Robin Samsel in Pro Fuel who upset new points leader Bill Evans and Jay Turner picked up his series-tying third win of the year in Nitro Harley over Steve Dorn.


"We were looking forward to this event being so close to our home and we made it count with another win over Mac tonight," Gallen said. "This was our first time at Pittsburgh and I feel like it went pretty well. We have some more work to do for tomorrow, but we are certainly enjoying ourselves and look forward to another big night on Saturday."

Gallen, who lives just a few hours east in Broomall, Pa., spent Thursday traveling across the state to attend his daughter's graduation before arriving at Pittsburgh Raceway Park Friday morning. Once at the track Gallen unloaded his well-known purple and gold nostalgia machine and went to work preparing for a big night at the closest Nitro Jam of the year to Gallen and his team.


After picking up four wins over the last four events at races spread across the southwest, Gallen picked right up where he left off Friday evening with a round one victory over Greg Jacobsmeyer with a solid 4.929 elapsed time at 228.08 miles per hour in the event-shortened 1,000 foot distance.

McIntire then surpassed his rival with a 4.716, 235.73 shot in a win over former world champion Laurie Cannister who was making her nitro debut behind the wheel of the "Bullet Bob" Pontiac.

In the final McIntire lit the tires and had to get out of the throttle early while Gallen raced right down broadway with a 4.880, 228.19 in picking up his 12th career victory.

In Pro Fuel Robin Samsel dominated the dragster class, leading the way from start to finish picking up his third career victory.

Samsel, piloting the "Predator" dragster, lead the qualifying round with a 4.601, 243.77 in a victory over Cherissa Smallwood, edging Evans for lane choice who ran a 4.615, 246.71 in a win over Michael Manners. With the round one win Evans overtook Manners in the championship standings.

In the final Samsel kept up his strong start with a 4.712, 212.56 run in the final as Evans smoked the tires and failed to find his groove and Samsel pulled away for an easy win.

Wrapping up professional competition was the insane riders of the Nitro Harley division as veteran and former champion Jay Turner picked up his third win of the season over points leader Steve Dorn.

Dorn lead qualifying with a 6.379, 130.59 shot in round one, but Turner wasn't far behind with a 6.921, 111.50 pass.

While both motorcycles were not running at their best, it was Dorn's machine that actually went south first when his machine flamed out at halftrack in the final and Turner pulled away for the win. Turner ran a 6.212, 131.50 in the victory to Dorn's 6.665, 116.97.

Finishing out the night was an incredible showdown between the Grave Digger monster truck and Shockwave jet semi, the Chevy Rebellion wheelstander and Megasaurus.

After a thrilling opening night at the inaugural Pittsburgh Nitro Jam on Friday, the teams will get back to work preparing for another big night of competition on Saturday. Saturday's schedule includes local bracket racing throughout the afternoon followed by FanFest at 6:30 p.m. and two more rounds of Nitro Jam Saturday beginning at 8 p.m.

April 12, 2011

Eagle Motorplex Pro Am Poster


January 29-30, 2010

Palm Beach International Raceway


Saturday and Weekend wrap-up

Photo gallery is here

courtesy Dean Murdoch (photos Pat Welsh)

(continued)........excellent....to be expected at a race track holding a major event for the first time ever. The car counts were not........139.... The total for the three pro class and the sportsman class cars (exhibition and Nitro Harleys numbers were not counted or reported). The brackets are not included in the total. This is not a back gate event to be sure. It is an event based on spectators, so the show is the most important aspect for the Nitro Jam series. My honest opinion is if the show is the same for the next few events as what it was this weekend, the deal will fail miserably. I know it is race one, but half the expected field for Pro (A/Fuel) Fuel showed up and they did not run well. Yes there were 5.40's, but these car run 5.20's at 94% in the conditions at Palm Beach. Bill Evans went to the final each day, and was the two day winner. The Nostalgia or Prostalgia Funny Car class did not perform even to conservative estimates. One 5 second pass out of 25+ laps. A fair bit of carnage also from the class. Peter Gallen and Steve Nichols were expected to be the two dominant cars and Gallen showed his cars potential with Top Fuel was okay, because of Bobby Lagana.

It was the Bobby Lagana show. The Paul Smith tuned Top Fuel cars with the last two IHRA world champions (Del Cox and Spencer Massey) drivers flat out fell on their faces Bruce Litton made one good run out of four, and Lagana was great with three of the four laps well in the 4 second 300mph range.

I think that the events at well established IHRA tracks may get a decent crowd for one day of the races, but unless they add more meaningful classes, such as Pro Mods (I know one or two will have Pro Mods), full fields of Pro Fuel and possibly eight car shows of Top Fuel, the experiment will not succeed. Edmonton will be solid (for the IHRA to say the crowd at Palm Beach was bigger than the Rocky Friday crowd....ah, I don't see it), so will Salt Lake, Grand Bend will be good, and Martin and Budd's Creek pretty good. I can't see Rockingham and Epping being all they can be..... But I have been wrong before.

Weekend pit notes Courtesy Pat Welsh (photos Pat Welsh)

Prostalgia Funny Car

Spoke with Jeff Diehl driver of Bob Floch's "Bullet Bob" Corvette the
morning after his raging inferno Friday evening. "The fuel pump
rattled shut, it blew the manifold gasket, and oil poured out. It lit
up when I let off the gas. I stayed calm and didn't want to do any
more damage. I got out on my own and I just have a little burn on my
arm. All the safety stuff worked."

He added, "It wasn't stupidity it's just one of those things that
happen. The body is damaged and it could be fixed but we ordered a new
one. The chassis is fine and the blower is ok."

Regarding the new IHRA format Jeff says, "It's a good thing for us.
It's still expensive to run one of these cars."

Tim Wood is the crew chief and the car is based out of Ohio.

Met up with Peter Gallen on Saturday and we talked about his car.

"This is an ex Scott Kalitta chassis made in 2007. It's a copy of a
McKinney made by Attac. The car only had 8 runs on it when we got it.
Bob Rosetty made the Vega body," Gallen said.

So what happened in the first round Friday when the car wouldn't start
with your run with Rick Kraaft I asked, "We let the fans come into the
pits to take photos next to the engine and it seems like someone
inadvertently hit the fuel shut off lever. We'll make sure that
doesn't happen again."


MIKE McINTIRE- McAttack Prostalgia FC
Regarding the new series Mike said, "We love it. It's a good thing for
match race guys to get out to a big venue like this. The idea is, I
think to create legends again. I'm a family guy and I like to bring
kids into the pits to look at the car. Folks are welcome in our pit
any time."

The car he's driving is a 2006 Murf McKinney chassis that he bought
from Jerry Toliver. The car was originally built for Ron Capps but
Toliver bought it.

"We are number one qualifier 6.14, 229. It hurt the motor on that
pass. We didn't correct for the altitude and we had to put a new
piston in," Mike said.

Mike is based out of Ohio and ran a fuel altered in 2009. His crew
chief is Mike McIntire Jr.

RICK KRAFFT - Chicago Fire Corvette Prostalgia FC
If the name Rick Krafft sounds familiar you may remember the Jays
Potato Chips funny car from the early 80's. It sticks out in my mind
because it had one of the tallest blowers that I'd ever seen. Rick is
from Valpraiso, IN.

I spoke at length with Mike Faser, owner of the Chicago Fire Funny Car.

Mike said, "We had ordered some 34" wide tires and when we got down
here to Florida they had brought 36" tires and they rubbed on the
body. We have just a little patching to do on the left side. Friday
evening we were paired up with Peter Gallen in the first round and he
had an issue getting the car started. We had the car fired up and
waited and we shouldn't have. It built too much heat, messed the
clutch up, and we burned one piston."

He added, "We were in the lanes for the second round but we decided to
pull it out and take time to look everything over and it was a smart

Regarding the IHRA series, "Love it! It's a great thing for the sport
of drag racing. Something had to be done and this will be a better
show for the fans. The only thing is I wish we had more time between
rounds to service the car," Mike said.

The Chicago Fire is a real nostalgia funny car. The chassis built by
Romeo Palamides has been brought up to current safety specs. The
swoopy Corvette body was built by Army Armstrong and it's just three
weeks old.

Mike's a cool guy, always has a smile on his face, and you can tell
that he digs racing a nitro car. I was asking Mike about his crew guys
and he pointed out Dan and Mike Minnick. Everyone remembers the
Chi-Town Hustler right?

I spoke to Mike regarding the new format and he said, "We like the
format. We're a small team and everyone has regular jobs. This new
format will work out well for us."

The team is based out of St. Louis, MO and they're committed to eight
IHRA Nitro Jam races this season.

When asked about the new format John said, "IHRA was looking for a new
way to market drag racing. They came up with what I call 'package
teams'. These cars run good, they have fire in the pipes, there's no
ding dongs here, and we make the fans scream and holler. This is going
to be great! The fans get to come see the races and we start fresh
each day. Racing over two days is just super. We're here to put on a
show. The big show cars are not show cars."

Regarding their approach to racing tonight John said, "We're going to
put a little more nitro in it and tickle the clutch."

I've heard about the beautiful Texas Jungle Jim funny car and I
finally got a chance to gaze my eyes upon it. A piece of art. The car,
a replica of the original Jungle Jim car is 125" long and owned by
Henry Gutierrez from San Antonio, TX. These guys carry two cars with
them: the one they race and the original car that Jungle Jim Liberman
drove. The original was found in Philadelphia, PA in 2001 and as Army
said, "It was in real bad shape."

Regarding the new series Army told me, "The fans love it and this will

Army lives in Lewistown, PA and runs the Funny Factory which build
funny car bodies along with other services.

Pro Fuel

When asked about the new format Mike told me, "It has a lot of
potential. We would have liked to have had some more practice hits but
the IHRA did their homework on this and last night we had a fantastic
crowd. With the 100% nitro in the tank the header flames improve and
we make a lot more horsepower. We're having fun and we're glad to be

He's driving a Spitzer chassis that he bought turn key from Tom
Conway. Mike is based in Houston, TX

Regarding the new format Jeff told me, "It's awesome. This is the
future of nitro injected cars. Right now we're struggling a little bit
with shake and it will take a few races to get adjusted."

Jeff is based out of Minneapolis, MN and his crew chief is Chuck Ericson.

Bob Ottow with Automan Technologies popped up and gave me a little
look into the technology that go into these IHRA Pro Fuel Dragsters.
Look on the top of most injected nitro dragsters and you'll see his

I asked him about the performance of these cars, "Four seconds, 300
mph. 4.90's will be easier than 300," Bob told me.

Top Fuel

Mitch says, "We have a new car with 16 runs on it. We have Spencer
Massey driving for us this weekend and Del Cox is with us. This new
series is good for the fans, good for IHRA, and it's good for the crew

"This IHRA deal is good for the fans, we get to put out a great show
and not blow stuff up. The timing for this is good."

(note) Spencer is currently looking for an NHRA ride in Top Fuel.

"This series is showing lots of promise. The fans dictate how well it
goes. Maybe they (IHRA) are onto something. IHRA is innovative and the
proof will show at the end of the year."

Mike Wolfarth is crew chief on the car and he has been with Bruce
Litton for 21 years.

IHRA communications weekend wrap up.........

All eyes were on Palm Beach International Raceway Friday and Saturday night as the Nitro Jam series opened its season with the first major motorsports event of 2010.
With Friday in the books as the largest opening night crowd in decades, Saturday produced even bigger results with a sold out event resulting in the largest crowd in Palm Beach International Raceway history and one of the biggest debut weekends for the IHRA at Palm Beach Nitro Jam.

"We are obviously pleased with the results this weekend. We came in here with a plan to put on an incredible show for the fans and we feel we did just that," said IHRA President Aaron Polburn. "This being a first time event we expected to have a big weekend, but this event exceeded our expectations in every way."

Traffic backed up for miles on the Beeline Highway and shuttles were brought in to transport the thousands of fans that packed PBIR Saturday night to see the nitro thrill show.

"It was a thrill to see the stands packed with thousands of excited fans enjoying this wonderful sport," said Polburn. "With results like these we could have run into problems, but Jason Rittenberry and his staff did a tremendous job making sure there were no issues and that everything flowed smoothly.

"What a tremendous way to open the year for IHRA Nitro Jam and Palm Beach International Raceway."

On the track a pair of repeat winners were crowned in Top Fuel and Pro Fuel while a new driver graced victory lane in Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car.

Longtime IHRA veteran Bobby Lagana Jr. (Scarsdale, N.Y.) swept Top Fuel with his second victory of the weekend, joining newcomer Bill Evans (Hialeah, Fla.) who doubled the feat in Pro Fuel. Steve Nichols (Newark, Del.) joined the club of first time Nitro Jam winners with the win in Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car.

Other winners from Saturday's Nitro Jam included Elite 8 champions John Benoit (Montpelier, Vt.) in Top Sportsman and Sheldon Bissessar (Marabella, Trinidad) in Top Dragster.

Sportsman winners from Saturday's IHRA Tournament of Champions qualifier included Mark Brown (Lake Worth, Fla.) in Top Dragster, Keith Russell (Jupiter, Fla.) in Top Sportsman, Scott Richardson (Barbousville, Ky.) in Super Stock, Michael Beard (Seagrove, N.C.) in Stock, David Bledsoe (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) in Quick Rod, Steve Furr (Harrisburg, N.C.) in Super Rod and R.L. Koontz (Sarasota, Fla.) in Hot Rod.

Saturday's race was a hit with the fans who had a chance to see racing throughout the day followed by an incredible show put on by the new stars of the IHRA.

And topping that list is Lagana.

Lagana, aptly dubbed the People's Champion, faced one of the toughest Top Fuel fields in years this weekend with the past three champions on hand battling it out for Top Fuel gold. Going against a trio of past champions Lagana defied all odds with back-to-back wins giving Lagana one of his most memorable moments in his decade long Top Fuel career.

"The number one reason why we race is that we love that race car and we love what gravitates to that car including the fans," said Lagana. "While we love this sport with or without a crowd, to see the stands packed like that was unbelievable. I can't explain how nervous I was. I haven't felt like that in years."

Lagana defeated 2009 champion Del Cox in the final despite having some trouble on his run. Lagana, who fired off three straight 300 mph passes and consistent elapsed times over the weekend, crossed the line with a 6.339, 136.52. Cox also had problems on his run.

While Lagana was clearly disappointed that he couldn't close the weekend with another solid run, he did enjoy the opportunity to put on a show under the new format.

"IHRA took a big chance on doing this and I am glad that they did. Kenneth Feld is an awesome man and I really appreciate the respect he has shown to the IHRA, to the racers and the fans," said Lagana. "He wanted to see something that works for everyone and it worked. I have to thank Mr. Feld for this opportunity."

Lagana reached the final with a first round win over Spencer Massey. Lagana ran a 4.635, 312.78 to Massey's 5.170, 216.27. Cox reached the final with a bye over Bruce Litton who broke on the starting line.

In the consolation round Litton got things worked out and took down Massey who finished without a round win on the weekend.

"We could not ask for a better weekend. I hope the fans are satisfied with the show they saw. We want them back twice fold next year," said Lagana. "This is incredible. If we don't win another thing the rest of the year, to win these first two races is unbelievable."

In the Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car IHRA debut Nichols became the first non-repeat winner with a victory over Friday winner Greg Jacobsmeyer.

"It feels great. It is this team, they get all the credit," said Nichols. "We knew to be successful we needed a great team and we have that. Hopefully we can keep this going."

Nichols ran a 6.217, 226.70 in the final to defeat Jacobsmeyer who ran a 6.235, 228.73.

"I was absolutely blown away at the crowd both nights. We have never been to an event like this," said Nichols. "I was amazed at the first timers. I sat there and signed autographs for a lot of children and a lot of them it was there first time.

"I have to thank IHRA for taking a chance with this and giving us a shot."

Nichols reached the final with a first round win over Peter Gallen with the second lowest E.T. of the round at 6.425, 218.05. Jacobsmeyer produced the lowest time at 6.217, 229.82 in a win over Mike McIntire.

In the consolation rounds John Dunn defeated McIntire and Gallen defeated Army Armstrong. First round winners included Jacobsmeyer, Dunn, Armstrong and Nichols.

In Pro Fuel Evans continued his undefeated streak at Palm Beach International with a win over Michael Manners to win the first two Pro Fuel races in IHRA history.

"It is great. One thing about it we will always be the ones that won the very first Pro Fuel race - and we won two of them," said Evans. "My guys are ecstatic. This is actually the first race I have had this crew so it is like taking four rookies and going and winning the Super Bowl."

Evans ran a solid 5.498, 263.26 to defeat Manners who struggled off the line.

In the consolation round Robin Samsel defeated Jeff Hamelink with a super 5.454, 257.04.

In the first ever Elite 8 showdown Benoit and Bissessar walked away winners.

Benoit won the Top Sportsman edition of the Quick 8 shootout with a victory over Matthew Buck, while Bissessar, the IHRA's fastest sportsman, won the Top Dragster shootout over Edward Careccia.

Benoit defeated Buck with a 6.512, 212.49. He reached the final with a victory over Gary Bingham and a bye run.

Top Dragster champion Bissessar defeated Careccia with a blistering 5.820, 233.56. He also claimed wins over Dean Brazell and Daniel Seidel.

With the first Nitro Jam of the season in the books the series moves to Baton Rouge for the Mardi Gras Nitro Jam March 6-7.

Saturday's final results from the IHRA Palm Beach Nitro Jam at Palm Beach International Raceway. The race is the first of 10 in the 2010 Nitro Jam Series:

Top Fuel Dragster -- Bobby Lagana Jr., 6.339 seconds, 136.52 mph def. Del Cox Jr., 10.158 seconds, 80.78 mph.

Prostalgia Funny Car -- Steve Nichols, Chevy Camaro, 6.217, 226.70 def. Greg Jacobsmeyer, Dodge Challenger, 6.235, 228.73.

Pro Fuel Dragster -- Bill Evans, 5.498, 263.26 def. Michael Manners, 9.445, 95.79.

Elite 8 Top Sportsman -- John Benoit, Chevy Camaro, 6.512, 212.49 def. Matthew Buck, Pontiac Firebird, 7.148, 167.22.

Elite 8 Top Dragster -- Sheldon Bissessar, Dragster, 5.820, 233.56 def. Edward Careccia, Dragster, broke.

Top Dragster -- Mark Brown, Dragster, 6.996, 183.77 def. Charlie Cullotto, Dragster, 6.912, 199.88.

Top Sportsman -- Keith Russell, Chevy Camaro, 7.571, 181.81 def. Wayne King, Pontiac Firebird, foul.

Quick Rod -- David Bledsoe, Dragster, 15.037, 156.46 def. Deborah Bogle, Dragster, 8.891, 160.79.

Super Rod -- Steve Furr, Chevy Camaro, 9.917, 160.38 def. Steve Corker, Chevy Cavalier, 9.916, 159.12.

Hot Rod -- R.L. Koontz, Chevy Beretta, 10.904, 141.40 def. Rick Nowlan, Chevy Vega, 10.857, 130.27.

Super Stock -- Scott Richardson, Oldsmobile Achieva, 9.531, 134.60 def. Anthony Bertozzi, Pontiac Grand Am, 9.104, 145.52.

Stock Eliminator -- Michael Beard, Plymouth Volare, 11.205, 114.55 def. JJ Carnero, Pontiac Firebird, 11.970, 109.93.

ET Bracket -- Bobby Taylor Jr., Chevy Camaro, 10.272, 128.11 def. Mike Lago, Dragster, 7.133, 188.73.

Top ET -- Mike Lago, Dragster, 7.172, 186.54 def. Kenny Underwood, Chevy Camaro 9.459, 139.93.

Mod ET -- Bobby Taylor Jr., Chevy Camaro, 10.295, 125.95 def. Adam Holmes, Chevy S-10, 10.067, 132.74.

Friday wrap up

Courtesy Pat Welch (photos courtesy Pat Welsh)

The place was PACKED! Crowds started rolling in around 5:30 pm and there weren't many seats left by the end of the evening, after one day I would say so far so good.

Possibly the coolest thing was starting all of the nitro cars at once in the pits (6:30 pm I think). It was cool. REAL COOL. Lots of nitro in the air.

Highlights from the on track action saw Peter Gallen in the Poverty Stricken ran a 2nd round 5.82, 246.62. I asked him about the pass. "It was beautiful, but the car got a little loose and skated around" Gallen said. His career best run was at the Geezers at the Grove last year where he ran a 5.80, 246.

Jeff Diehl driving the Bullet Bob Corvette blew it up BIG TIME in his second round matchup. The car ignited in a big fireball at the finish. The flames went down but erupted again. The car ended up in the sand trap at the end of the track. No report on his condition.

Pit notes:

- Spencer Massey was on hand driving Mitch King's car.

For the 4 pro calsses there were four Top Fuel, four Pro Fuel (A/FD's) and eight Prostalgia FC's on the grounds.

Had a good chat with Steve Nichols. That guy IS A FUNNY CAR DRIVER. Loves the class and likes this deal. It was the 1st race with the hemi. "The new motor seems good, sounds different," Steve says. We prefer the Chevy. We made the switch to keep up with the other nostalgia FC's. Hemi heads are easier and quicker to work on."
- They're going to put the Chevy back in later in the season, at select races.
Prior to the event, They came down and made 3 testing passes (300' shutoff, engine was real rich; 60' pass; last pass they ran through the clutch)
- Steve says, "without his crew racing wouldn't be possible."

When asked about the new series, "Fantastic! IHRA's made this move at the right place and time for this."
- "He noted, It's not cheap to run. In our economy racing is becoming unaffordable. But this puts it in reach for the fans. IHRA has done a great job promoting this (Nitro Jam)."

Also had a chance to chat with PETER GALLEN in the Poverty Stricken Vega

A few career highlights from Peter:
- National record holder in A/A 1977.
They ran nine 5 second passes in 2009 in NFC.
- Regarding new series, "Making it a show is fantastic. But he has his reservations. The rule, he thinks, that should be changed is the point mag. It's 1970's technology and it has a reliability issue and requires extra maintenance. Only 2 guys sell the point magneto."
- He seems happy with the new series and "Aaron Polburn has great ideas," he says. There's a guaranteed payout, a rain guarantee, and a bonus for winners. He's running the same setup that he had in 2009.
Peter noted, "We have a rivalry with Steve Nichols".

BRUCE LITTON has a new crew chief, Mike Wolfarth, has 3 years experience.

ROBIN SAMSEL, PRO FUEL DRAGSTER on the new series, "If the IHRA fans like it, then we like it."
- The team is commited to run entire season, including Canada.
He noted, "Our car runs better on 100%. It's a lot easier on parts."

BILL EVANS, - Running entire season plus Gainesville and Bradenton to keep NHRA license active.
Regarding the IHRA series, "We prefer running 2 days as opposed to 4 days."
He noted, "Pro Fuel Dragsters are capable of 4.90 something, but I don't think 300 mph will happen due to the wheel speed. But it might."

Friday wrap up courtesy IHRA media


Welcome to the new age in professional drag racing.
Despite the doubts of some, the voices of many echoed loud and clear Friday night as the debut of the new IHRA Nitro Jam series packed the house at Palm Beach International Raceway resulting in the largest opening night turnout in IHRA history.

"I think we made one heck of a statement here tonight. What we proved tonight is that if you believe in what you are doing and put the fans and drivers first you will succeed in a big way," said IHRA President Aaron Polburn. "We knew what we are doing was going to work, we just didn't know how quickly it would take off.

"I think we can officially say mission accomplished."

While Saturday events have typically been the biggest draw at IHRA events, Nitro Jam's new format gave way to a new look that drew thousands to the West Palm Beach track.

Spectators lined the Beeline Highway Friday night for a chance to see the debut of the new Nitro Jam series and nearly two dozen nitro-burning vehicles race two rounds and plenty of extras including jet vehicles, the Cool Bus wheelstanding school bus, Top Dragster and Top Sportsman action and plenty of pyrotechnics.

When the smoke finally settled on the biggest night in IHRA drag racing history three drivers stood at the summit as the first three winners under the new format were crowned in Top Fuel, Pro Fuel and Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car.

Those winners were Bobby Lagana Jr. (Top Fuel), Bill Evans (Pro Fuel) and Greg Jacobsmeyer (Prostalgia NFC).


"We are absolutely thrilled to have a packed house on the first night of Nitro Jam at Palm Beach International Raceway," said Jason Rittenberry, president and CEO of Palm Beach International Raceway. "Not only did we have a great turn out, but the fans were treated to a tremendous show put on by the IHRA racers. I'm really excited to see what Saturday brings."

Along with the new classes fans also saw only the second ever side-by-side jet truck drag race and the debut of Fan Fest.

With sportsman racers running throughout the day, racing was stopped in the early evening hours for a two-hour fan spectacular that included autograph sessions, family activities and the most exciting few minutes in motorsports - Thunder in the Pits.

As Fan Fest came to a close spectators were invited to stand in the pits and experience the sights, sounds and smells as every nitro-burning vehicle on the property warmed up at the same time.

"From Fan Fest to the on-track action we are very pleased with our first outing and things are looking even better for Saturday," said Polburn. "I do realize that this is just one night at one event and you can't forecast the future based on just one event, but what a start this has been."

On the track fans were treated to some immediate excitement with a pair of first-round upsets in Top Fuel that set up an unlikely matchup in the finals.

In the final Bobby Lagana Jr. defeated Bruce Litton after the pair defeated the last two IHRA Top Fuel champions. Lagana ran a 4.700, 305.63 as Litton had some trouble just after hitting the throttle.


"What a win. We came out here with the goal of coming away with a win and we accomplished that goal," said Lagana. "It has been a while for us, but we will take it however we can get it."

Even more interesting, Lagana's victory comes on the same night he debuted a new writable body used in Fan Fest. Hundreds of fans signed Lagana's car moments before he made back-to-back 300 mile-per-hour passes on his way to picking up the win.

"It was great to be a part of Fan Fest and to have all those people sign the car and then to go out and win it is just great," said Lagana. "I don't know that we will take this wrap off for a while after tonight."

With the last two IHRA world champions back together for the first time in two years many thought that the tandem of Spencer Massey and Del Cox would make up the final Friday night at PBIR, but two others had something to say about that.

Bruce Litton, who finished runner-up in the championship standings the past two seasons behind Massey and Cox, finally got the better of the two Friday as he defeated Cox with a blistering 4.615 pass at 321.73 miles per hour under the pristine Florida conditions.

Litton's opponent in the final, fan favorite Bobby Lagana, pulled off the other upset with a victory over 2009 NHRA Rookie of the Year Massey. Lagana ran a 4.744 at 302.75 while Massey lit the tires.

In the consolation round Cox defeated teammate Massey.

In the highly anticipated Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car debut Greg Jacobsmeyer claimed the first ever win in the class over Jeff Diehl with a 6.209 elapsed time at 227.57 mph. Diehl took the place of Mike McIntire who broke prior to the final.

"What a way to start the year. With a new format and us being new out here it is great to walk away from here with the first ever win," said Jacobsmeyer.

Diehl reached the final with a victory over Army Armstrong while Jacobsmeyer eliminated Steve Nichols. McIntire originally held the spot in the final with the low E.T. of the round in a victory over John Dunn, but he could not make the call.

Other first round winners in Prostalgia NFC included Jeff Diehl and Rick Kraft. In the consolation rounds Dunn defeated Armstrong and Peter Gallen, running one of the fastest Nostalgia passes ever, defeated Nichols with a 5.82, 247.

In Pro Fuel Bill Evans kept his win streak at Palm Beach International alive with a victory over Jeff Hammelink. Evans, who has won several exhibition races at the track, ran a 5.469, 267.43 to Hammelink's 5.538, 238.64 to claim the first ever victory in the new IHRA class.

"We are thrilled to be out here and to pick up the win is just great. Now we have a chance to do it all again tomorrow," Evans said.

Evans defeated Mike Manners in the opening round while Hammelink got by Robin Samsel. In the consolation round Samsel defeated Manners.

All three professional classes and all of the exhibitions will be back in action on Saturday at Palm Beach International Raceway.

Friday's final results from the IHRA Palm Beach Nitro Jam at Palm Beach International Raceway. The race is the first of 10 in the 2010 Nitro Jam Series:

Top Fuel Dragster -- Bobby Lagana Jr., 4.700 seconds, 305.63 mph def. Bruce Litton, 12.244 seconds, 84.60 mph.

Prostalgia Funny Car -- Greg Jacobsmeyer, Dodge Challenger, 6.209, 227.57 def. Jeff Diehl, Chevy Corvette, broke.

Pro Fuel Dragster -- Bill Evans, Spitzer, 5.469, 267.43 def. Jeff Hamelink, Dragster, 5.538, 238.64.


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