Martin: Round seven preview

Action-packed Northern Nationals set for U.S. 131 Motorsports Park Professional and sportsman racers alike are hoping that the seventh race on the 2009 IHRA Nitro Jam schedule will bring them a measure of luck as they compete for championships...

Action-packed Northern Nationals set for U.S. 131 Motorsports Park

Professional and sportsman racers alike are hoping that the seventh race on the 2009 IHRA Nitro Jam schedule will bring them a measure of luck as they compete for championships and lots more.

The IHRA Northern Nationals, scheduled for the weekend of July 31 -- August 2 at Martin, Michigan's US 131 Motorsports Park, just might be a make-or-break point for many of those in title contention.

Heading into Martin Bruce Litton holds a 68-point lead in Top Fuel over rookie standout Del Cox, Jr., while battles in Elite Motorsports Pro Stock and Pro Modified are much closer.

In Pro Mod, veteran Ed Hoover holds an 11 points lead over defending champ Kenny Lang while things are even tighter in Elite Motorsports Pro Stock, where Frank Gugliotta has a slim six-point advantage over John Montecalvo.

In fact, the first four drivers in the always tough Pro Stock class are separated by a mere 23 points, or roughly one round of competition.

One of the highlights of the event will be the running of the Moser Engineering Axle Mania Sportsman Showdown. Points were accumulated at Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Races last season and the top four racers in each of the seven sportsman classes are qualified to compete. In addition, the top four fifth-place finishers, regardless of class in the 2008 point standings, will comprise a "Wild Card" group that will complete the 32-car field. Up for grabs is a $51,000 purse.

There's even more excitement on the sportsman front, as there are still plenty of chances left to qualify for the "Tournament of Champions," the new world championship system for sportsman racers.

This season, Nitro Jam national events, as well as select other events, were considered individual tournaments, with the winner of each tournament getting a spot in a field of competitors who will race each other for the world championship at the end of the year. This race, which will take place during the World Finals at Rockingham in October, will crown national champions as well as the national top 10 in each class.

Sure to be a huge hit with US 131 fans will be the appearance of "Bullet Bob" Floch's '32 Bantam, driven by Nitro Funny Car pilot Jeff Diehl, and Mike Faser's '23 T "Chicago Fire" with Rick Krafft behind the wheel. These supercharged, short-coupled, 2,000 horsepower beasts are wild, powerful, and unpredictable to the max.

And best of all, they gulp 85 percent nitromethane and belch fire as they rocket down the track. These cars have long been regarded as the meanest, nastiest, hardest-to-handle machines that have ever been raced. Come to Martin and see why the cars, and their drivers, command the utmost respect from fans and fellow racers alike.

In addition to all this motorized mayhem, the IHRA's best Top Fuels teams will be in action, lighting up the skies with towering nitro-fed header flames. For flopper fans, the big weekend will also feature an eight-car Alcohol Funny Car shootout. Capping off Friday's qualifying and Saturday's Night of Fire will be Joe "Pepi" Urban's "Xtreme Machine" jet-powered Freightliner semi.

Add in some of the closest door car racing on the planet in the always volatile Pro Modified and Pro Stock classes and you have one weekend that simply can't be missed.

It promises to be an outstanding event at one of the IHRA's premier facilities, so make sure your summer is complete by planning a trip to this year's Northern Nationals.

To purchase tickets online, log on to www.ihra.com.

-credit: ihra

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Drag
Drivers Bruce Litton , Ed Hoover , Jeff Diehl , Kenny Lang , Frank Gugliotta