Martin: Mania Sportsman Showdown preview

Moser Engineering Axle Mania Sportsman Showdown a big part of Northern Nationals Always one of the biggest events on the IHRA schedule, the Moser Engineering Axle Mania Sportsman Showdown is back and more competitive than ever as the who's who...

Moser Engineering Axle Mania Sportsman Showdown a big part of Northern Nationals

Always one of the biggest events on the IHRA schedule, the Moser Engineering Axle Mania Sportsman Showdown is back and more competitive than ever as the who's who of sportsman racers converge on U.S. 131 Motorsports Park's legendary quarter-mile July 31-August 2 as a part of the IHRA Northern Nationals in Martin, Michigan.

With a $51,000 purse and yearlong bragging rights at stake, the Moser Axle Mania Sportsman Showdown, featuring some of the best sportsman racers in the world, is always one of the biggest and most exciting races of the year.

"IHRA is very proud to be partnered with such a great company as Moser Engineering. For years Rob and his family have supported the sportsman racers at IHRA with safe, reliable and affordable components," said IHRA National Sales Director Tommy Dupree. "For almost a decade they have been rewarding those same racers with the best sportsman bonus program in the country.

"Nobody else puts $51,000 up for grabs just for using their product."

Points were accumulated at Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am races in the same manner as IHRA Drag Racing Series championship points. The top four racers in each of the seven sportsman classes (Hot Rod, Super Rod, Quick Rod, Stock, Super Stock, Top Sportsman and Top Dragster) that meet the requirements will qualify.

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.

All will compete for the $51,000 purse. Points reflect the 2008 participants' positions for the 2009 Moser Axle Mania competition.

"The Moser Axle Mania program is just one of the ways Moser continues to support the IHRA sportsman competitors," said Director of Competition Mike Baker. "The format always makes it a very interesting program for our qualifiers. It is for the most part the only event where all of our sportsman classes compete head to head to determine who is the 'best of the best' by producing one winner from all of our diverse categories."

TOP DRAGSTER -- 1
1. Steve Furr 395
2. Greg Smith 384
3. Jason Lynch 380
4. J.J. Brock 377

Top Dragster's contingent of talent includes multi-time world champion Steve Furr, Greg Smith, Jason Lynch, who also qualified in Top Sportsman, and 2005 Box E.T. champ J.J. Brock. Furr won two Summit Pro-Ams and back-to-back national events with his Hoosier/Bearden Oil backed dragster last year. He will tackle Jason Lynch in the opening frame. Top Dragster rookie Smith is a quick study who earned runner-up in the 2008 Heat Wave points. Ironically, his first round opponent will be a fellow Carolina Dragway racer in Brock, who has parlayed his Summit world championship experience into great success on the national stage.

TOP SPORTSMAN -- 2
1. 1. Bruce Thrift 406
2. 2. Mike Bloomfield 339
3. 3. Jason Lynch 326
4. 4. Frank Teague 306

Bruce Thrift leads the Top Sportsman charge in the Moser Axle Mania tilt. Thrift earned his position with a win at State Capitol last year in his '96 Beretta, plus the final rounds at Immokalee and Pittsburgh, not to mention a victory at the 2008 Mopar Canadian Nationals. In the first round he will face Jason Lynch, driving his Bullet Motorsports/Abruzzi Racing Transmissions and Converters Cavalier. Mike Bloomfield, who won at Milan last year, rolls out from the second qualifying position in his Bloomfield Interiors '08 Cobalt, matching up with Frank Teague's Koffel's Place '00 Avenger. Teague most recently won at Farmington in 2008.

QUICK ROD -- 3
1. 1. Britt Cummings 448
2. 2. Jacob Elrod 436
3. 3. Luke Bogacki 404
4. 4. Greg Slack 395

As the top four 8.90 racers descend on US 131 for the Moser Axle Mania race, Britt Cummings and the Moser-backed pipe buggy will be leading the charge. In fact, the top two entries in the class are both backed by the event sponsor. Jacob Elrod and the Ohio-based Moser dragster will be gunning for the top spot and his share of the posted $51,000 in prize money. The final two positions in the class are held by Luke Bogacki and Greg Slack. Bogacki and his American Racecars dragster sponsored by This is Bracket Racing will attempt to teach an expensive lesson to his fellow racers. Slack will look to make a triumphant return to the winner's circle by knocking off the best racers in the land.

SUPER STOCK -- 4
1. 1. Missy Phillips 386
2. 2. Darrell Ciaravino 355
3. 3. Slate Cummings 332
4. 4. Gil Carty Jr. 299

Missy Phillips tops the Super Stock field with her William Taylor Auto Sales '68 Nova on the strength of a win and a runner-up on the Summit Pro-Am Tour last year, leading to a fourth place finish in the Heat Wave points. Phillips will be playing cat-and-mouse in the first round with the very quick Moser Engineered '08 Cavalier of former world champion Slate Cummings. Cummings is still eager to add his sponsor's unique Axle Mania trophy to his collection. Multi-time North Stars Super Stock champion Darrell Ciaravino rolls out his class record-holding '67 Camaro from the second qualifying position to take on Gil Carty Jr. Carty is a former Moser Axle Mania Champion.

HOT ROD -- 5
1. 1. Glenn Ferguson Jr. 497
2. 2. Rob Bower 408
3. 3. Mark McKay 404
4. 4. Tim Watson 394

Four-time world champion Glenn Ferguson would like to cap his 2008 season of dominance with a win at the Moser Axle Mania program. Don't be fooled by his rod class history, Ferguson has the bracket race experience to wheel his Ford Fairlane through the field of top gun sportsman racers. Rob Bower made a big splash in IHRA competition last year. He made multiple Hot Rod final round appearances, especially at Pittsburgh during the triple-header event. One final Bower desires to add to his resume is the Moser Axle race at US 131. Mark McKay and Tim Watson would also like a slice of the big money pie that is up for grabs. We will see if the door car guys outlast the fast dragsters.

WILD CARD -- 6
1. 1. Slate Cummings (STK) 388
2. 2. Danny Waters Jr. (QR) 382
3. 3. Tim Butler (HR) 376
4. 4. Luke Bogacki (TD) 373

The Wild Card segment pits drivers from different classes against one another right off the bat. This year, those qualifiers include Moser Engineered-backed Slate Cummings, who represents Stock, his Moser teammate and defending Moser Axle Mania Champion Danny Waters Jr. (Quick Rod), Heat Wave division Hot Rod champion Tim Butler, along with professional sportsman racers Luke Bogacki (Top Dragster), who is backed by Jegs, BTE, Huntsville Engines and Mickey Thompson. In the opening rounds, the door cars of Cummings and Butler will square off, while the American Race Cars dragsters of Waters and Bogacki will see who can get to the finish line last.

STOCK -- 7
1. 1. Nick Folk 491
2. 2. Billy Wilson 457
3. 3. Scott Macy 426
4. 4. Myron Piatek 394

Stock Eliminator's best will be at Martin. Reigning champion Nick Folk has already qualified for the Tournament of Champions with his Folk Race Cars/Wegner Automotive Camaro. He will have to get past Scott Macy's eighth-mile bracket talent in the first round. Macy won two Pro-Ams last year in the Pirate Marine Volare. Billy Wilson won the Raiders championship last year with the "Good Ol' Mr. Wilson" '66 Bel Air Wagon. Wilson will spar with 2006 world champ Myron Piatek, who drives the Daytona State College/Holeshot Wheels/Amsoil '75 Dart Sport.

SUPER ROD -- 8
1. 1. Todd Thompson 478
2. 2. Brian Folk 394
3. 3. Todd Comer 369
4. 4. Greg Slack 350

Todd Thompson finished fourth in the world championship hunt last year, yet he tops the points chart in Super Rod. Running out of the Heat Wave division, Thompson will have a somewhat lengthy drive to arrive in Michigan. But he surely wants to make the winners circle his final destination. All too familiar with that hot spot is Brian Folk. Folk knows what it takes to win big events and can do so in any car. Todd Comer and Greg Slack would prefer to trailer Folk early, as they round out the final two competitors in 9.90.

-credit: ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Greg Smith