Hall, Johnson win Summit SuperSeries titles
Utah and North Carolina represented in finals
PETERSBURG, Va. (October 16, 2010) - It is one of the most lucrative and prestigious awards in sportsman drag racing today and on Saturday night two drivers from completely opposite ends of the country added their names to the list of champions of the IHRA Summit SuperSeries.
Chris Hall, all the way from the mountains of Utah, and Chip Johnson, from just down the road in North Carolina, both claimed Summit SuperSeries World Championships in front of a packed house Saturday night at the World Finals Nitro Jam at Virginia Motorsports Park and in doing so added their names to a prestigious list of past winners of one of the richest sportsman drag races in the nation.
"This is a dream come true. I can't even describe this and what it means to me and my crew," Hall said. "I never in my wildest dreams thought when I started racing that I could be here doing this and now here we are and we are the best in the country. It is a wonderful feeling."
Hall, representing Rocky Mountain Raceways in Salt Lake City, made the long haul from Utah after being selected as an at-large representative to participate in the eight car Summit SuperSeries field. Hall joined seven other racers that won their respective Summit SuperSeries divisions in a runoff held earlier this year.
Now Hall, a talented racer who never dreamt his talents would leave the state of Utah, can add World Champion to his name after defeating Steve Alford in the No Box championship Saturday night in Virginia.
"A certain person back home in Utah told me that the trip back, despite how treacherous it would be, would be so much nicer when we win this thing. I laughed at the time, but I am not laughing now," Hall said.
Hall claimed the No Box title with an exciting weekend capped by a win over Alford. Hall ran a 10.303 time on a 10.28 dial, while Alford broke out by seven thousandths of a second. Hall also defeated Ray Thurston and Jay Robinson on his way to the championship all from the sixth qualifying position.
"I really had a rough first and second round. I have never run in altitude and the car would actually go way fast if I didn't back it off and I just didn't know what to expect in the first few time trials," Hall said. "We bombed the first few runs, but we were able to make some adjustments and things came around in a big way."
The rest of the No Box field included Kevin Pollard, Dennis Burgeron, Nicholas Kay and Andrew DiPiazza.
"I really have to thank my good friend Jessie Sanderson back in Salt Lake City. We have been battling it out every year and he was my prime competition and me racing him all these years actually prepared me for this," Hall said.
In the Box final Johnson, from Fayetteville, N.C., claimed the title with a steady day capped by a win over Tom Scott. Both cars nearly hit their dial with Johnson being the closest by five thousandths of a second to bring home the title for Division 9.
"The only thing in life we have is respect among our peers and to be a champion gives us that respect," Johnson said. "I always say we race for jackets, hats and trophies because the money is spent before we ever get it, but when you win a race of this stature it definitely means so much more."
Johnson, representing Rockingham Dragway, ran a 9.942 on a 9.89 dial while Scott hit a 8.607 on a 8.55 dial.
"Normally I get really fired up for a race, but for some reason I was very laid back today," Johnson said. "Normally I am pacing and going over the car all afternoon and today, I don't know, I just took it easy. We were great on the tree all day and we just had a great weekend and now we are champions. And to have my wife and daughter here with me today to be a part of this just means so much more."
And what a win it was for Johnson after being forced to sell one of his cars earlier this year, leaving a bit of uncertainly as to his future in the sport. But after selling his Miller dragster to help keep his racing operation alive, Johnson will now take home a brand new one as part of his win championship prize package.
"We have our own business and this past winter we lost a couple of our larger accounts and I was forced to sell one of our other cars," Johnson said. "I figured I would keep the door car because I run Hot Rod and I would sell the Miller dragster. I never thought I would drive a dragster again after that and now to win one as part of this championship means the world to me. I can't put into words how it feels."
Johnson reached the Summit SuperSeries via a victory in the Division 9 runoff and defeated Scott, Wayne Van Beek and Billy Brewster from the eighth qualifying position to take home the win.
Other participants in the Box class included Brad Roberts, Chris Carnahan, Dion Degnitz and Monica Mills, the first ever woman participant in the Summit SuperSeries championships.
"We started out the year really well. We went to Rockingham and joined their points system and won a couple of big races during the year, but we really struggled during the summer," Johnson said. "We didn't have any luck at all and we just never got it together. And then I went to this runoff and got to be in this deal and this is so much bigger than I ever dreamed. To be a World Champion is hard to put into words."
Summit SuperSeries winners will take home a lucrative prize package that includes over $10,000 each from Summit Racing Equipment, a dragster courtesy of Miller Race Cars powered by World Products, a Haulmark trailer and all the spoils that come with being a World Champion.