Series news 2009-04-01

Top Sportsman/Top Dragster world records to be established at Rockingham Beginning with the upcoming IHRA Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway, IHRA will establish World Records in both the Top Sportsman and Top Dragster classes. This will...

Top Sportsman/Top Dragster world records to be established at Rockingham

Beginning with the upcoming IHRA Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway, IHRA will establish World Records in both the Top Sportsman and Top Dragster classes. This will be the first recognition of official E.T. and speed records since IHRA created the categories.

"These classes have evolved into the two quickest, fastest, and most elite of the sportsman classes," said IHRA Vice President of Racing Operations Skooter Peaco. "Last season the competitors wanted 32-car fields and we made that change, which really elevated the level of competition. These classes showed more solid car counts last year than any other classes we have, despite the thinking by some that the 32-car qualified fields would discourage competitors from coming out.

"We ran these classes at set times last season behind the pro rounds and we were able to gauge fan reaction to what they were watching," Peaco said. "This season we have made an adjustment to the schedule and will run both classes during the professional rounds. At the season opener at Baton Rouge, the crowd was very enthusiastic and responded well to both classes. Since these classes are the stepping stones to the pro categories, we felt adding the record-setting feature to officially recognize outstanding performances was the next logical step.

"Competitors are always looking to sanctioning bodies to help expose their classes to the spectators, and that's exactly what we are doing this season with these categories," Peaco said. "They have a prime time spot in the pro round now. Our hope is that we will have minimal oildown issues while showcasing the classes to spectators who may not have been in the grandstands when they were running in the past. We hope to gain some new fans for these exciting classes."

Records will only be set on the quarter-mile and only at Nitro Jam national events for the 2009 season. Records must be backed-up within 1 percent and any ties will be broken by speed.

"We wanted to begin this new program for Top Sportsman and Top Dragster in Rockingham because the Rock has been the site of the quickest fields for both these categories during the last several years," said IHRA Senior Director of Racing Operations Mike Baker. "Last season, the IHRA Spring Nationals saw a bump of 7.06 in Top Sportsman and 6.80 in Top Dragster. Keep in mind that these Rockingham bumps are two-tenths quicker (or more) in both categories than at any other Nitro Jam event. Everyone talks about the Rockingham fields all season long and it is always fun to watch these competitors try and make this very elite field," said Baker.

The IHRA Spring Nationals take place April 24-26 at Rockingham Dragway, with Top Sportsman and Top Dragster scheduled for three runs Friday. First round of eliminations take place during the Saturday afternoon pro session at 3 p.m., with second round action kicking off the Saturday Night Of Fire at 6:30 p.m.

-credit: ihra

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