IHRA Unveils "Best of Both Worlds" Events For Sportsman Racers
IHRA has announced the creation of a new "Best of Both Worlds" program, aimed at making competing for the Hooters Series National Championship easier for sportsman racers. This new program gives sportsman racers competing at select Mr. Gasket Pro-Am events the ability to gain both Mr. Gasket Pro-Am points and Hooters National event points at the same event.
"It'll be like racing at two events for the cost of one, making it 'the Best of Both Worlds,'" said IHRA Director of Racing Operations Skooter Peaco. "A lot of sportsman racers that I've talked with or raced with over the last few years have continually said that they have had trouble getting in their last few national event claims to compete for the national championship because of travel distance, cost, or time off work. I sat down with Tom Kreager, Director of Track Development and Services and Mike Baker, Director of Competition and Technical Services to come up with a creative way to offer more opportunities to sportsman who want to chase a national championship."
Peaco sees it as a way of taking some of the burden off of sportsman racers. "If you want to compete for the championship, or finish in the top ten in the world, then you have to make both a time and money commitment to the series. This is one way that we can help sportsman racers get the most out of the commitment and sacrifice they make to this sport. The approach is different than a sportsman national event because their score will reflect running two events for the cost and the wear and tear on the equipment of one event."
Peaco stated, "We are going to target admission fees and payout to be that of a Mr. Gasket Pro-Am event for 2005. We are working on an increased contingency package for these special events, but it's too soon to announce anything. We are not going to get too wild with the format during the first year because the host tracks need to see what the potential of these events are. We want to start to build a foundation this year, then move these forward with the support of the racers, sponsors and the host tracks."
Three sites are confirmed, with two more in the development stage. The tracks are located in regions where it is difficult for racers to attend enough national events to compete for a World Championship. Confirmed events are Tulsa Raceway Park, July 1-3; San Antonio Raceway, August 5-7; and Cordova Dragway Park, May 13-15.
Peaco is hoping the idea gains momentum among sportsman racers. "I hope to lock up at least two more locations in a different region within the next few weeks. If the sportsman like this idea and support the events, then we will continue to run them where it makes the most sense," said Peaco.
Event information will be released on www.ihra.com and in Drag Review as it becomes available.