Three of IHRA’s five Nitro Jam classes have already sewn up their championships with Jason Rupert (AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car), Ron Maroney (Nitro Altered) and Elaine Larsen (Jet Dragster) claiming the championship Ironman in their respective categories. What is left is a four-man race for the Nitro Harley championship and the finale to a spectacular season in Mountain Motor Pro Stock, combined with the championships for IHRA’s 10 sportsman classes, during IHRA’s biggest race weekend of the year.
“This season we have seen a lot of great performances in a lot of classes. We have seen records reset in Nitro Funny Car, Pro Stock and Nitro Harley and some new stars emerge in each of our classes,” said Scott Gardner, President of IHRA Motorsports. “In Memphis, we will culminate an amazing season with our first champions under the return-to-racing format. We will also see some of our biggest and best fields of the season during the Summit World Finals, which should make for one of our most exciting events of the year.”
AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car will take center stage at the Summit World Finals with one of IHRA’s best lineups to date. Current champion Jason Rupert will bring the “Black Plague” 1969 Camaro into the event having won four races this season as he goes head-to-head against three-time defending IHRA champion Peter Gallen in the “Poverty Stricken” Vega, multi-time DRO champion Shawn Bowen in the “Violator” Pontiac and 2014 race winners Mike McIntire Jr. in “McAttack” and John Hale in the “Mike Burkhart” tribute Camaro. Hale, Bowen and McIntire have one win apiece.
Others in competition in Memphis include Bruce Litton in “U.S. Male,” Mark Sanders in “Mr. Explosive,” Tim Boychuk in “Forever Forward,” Ronnie Young in “Blue Max,” Mike Smith in “Hard Guys,” Jake Crimmins in “Crazy Jake” and Greg Jacobsmeyer in “All-Star Dodge.”
While Rupert has already sealed up the championship, there is still plenty of positioning to be obtained. Two points races will take place during the Summit World Finals weekend, with the drivers remaining in competition from a rainout at Pittsburgh Raceway Park earlier this year completing their race on Friday, followed by eliminations for the World Finals on Saturday.
IHRA’s popular Nitro Harley class will also feature two points-paying races in Memphis. The riders of the nitro-powered motorcycle class will make up the Pittsburgh rainout from earlier this season on Friday, followed by regular eliminations on Saturday.
Entering the event, four drivers are eligible for the Nitro Harley championship with Louisiana native Randal Andras bringing a six-point lead over Canadian Mike Scott into the event. Mark Cox, atop the Bojangles-backed bike, sits third 89 points back of the leader and IHRA veteran and North Carolina native Jay Turner is fourth.
Pro Stock will feature IHRA’s only other un-claimed championship, as Oklahoma native Cary Goforth brings a healthy 99-point margin over John DeFlorian into the final event of the season. Goforth, in the Dean’s Casing Service 2014 Chevrolet Camaro, has amassed three wins in 2014, while DeFlorian, in the AMSOIL-sponsored Black Diamond Motorsports Camaro, has one win and reset to IHRA Pro Stock elapsed time and mile per hour records earlier this year.
The pair will be joined in Memphis by Goforth Racing teammates Todd Hoerner and Dean Goforth, Black Diamond Racing’s Kevin Bealko, Scott Hintz, Brad Waddle, Matt Bertsch, John Konigshofer and more.
Finally, both Nitro Altered and Jet Dragster will enter the World Finals with their championships already decided.
Ron Maroney, in the “Blind Faith” Altered, wrapped up the championship in the nostalgia class off the strength of three wins in 2014. He will be joined in Memphis by Kyle Hough in “Nanook,” Mike Hilsabeck in “Arizona Thunder,” Don Blackshear in “Bullet Bob,” Troy Martin in “Missing Pieces” and Ron Hope in “Rat Trap.”
In addition to incredible, side-by-side competition that this class is known for, for the third time this season Ron Hope will bring back the legendary fire burnout during Saturday night’s Nitro Jam final round. Hope will light up the sky with a spectacular fire show prior to his run.
Finally in Jet Dragster, Larsen Motorsports’ lead driver Elaine Larsen enters the final race of the season having already clinched the championship in the Miller Welding jet-powered dragster. She will be joined by popular racers Marisha Falk, Allison West and Kat Moller.
The IHRA Summit Racing Equipment World Finals will take place October 10-11 at Memphis International Raceway. For more information on the IHRA season finale, visit www.nitrojam.com or call Memphis International Raceway at (901) 969-7223.