Gulitti named IHRA Sportsman Driver of Year When Chris Gulitti began the 2009 racing season he knew he had a car that could be competitive. What he didn't know, however, was that he would have the kind of season that would garner him national...
Gulitti named IHRA Sportsman Driver of Year
When Chris Gulitti began the 2009 racing season he knew he had a car that could be competitive.
What he didn't know, however, was that he would have the kind of season that would garner him national attention and one of the most prestigious awards in IHRA sportsman competition.
Gulitti, behind the wheel of his '98 Firebird Top Sportsman machine, did all that and more this season with two national event victories, a win in the Summit All-Stars race and a second place finish in the Renegades Division on the Summit Pro-Am Tour. And all of that has led to Gulitti being named the 2009 IHRA Sportsman Driver of the Year.
"This means a lot to us. My team, myself, my father, my wife, Raymond Goodkowski and Ed Williams -- everyone that has helped us this season, this is just an incredible honor," Gulitti said. "We have worked really hard on our program and we stuck to what we felt was working and it has really paid off.
"We are not always the fastest guys out there, but we can certainly be competitive and when we have to we will get in there and make some noise."
Gulitti (Spring, Texas) had a remarkable season on both a national and regional level, winning two national events at Dallas Raceway and Pine Valley Raceway and winning the Summit All-Star race at the Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway in April.
He also finished runner-up at the season opening Mardi Gras Nationals in Baton Rouge.
Gulitti capped off his incredible season with two Summit Pro-Am victories and a second place finish in the Renegades Division.
Thanks to that incredible season Gulitti not only qualified for the inaugural Tournament of Champions, but he eliminated four additional positions on the Top Sportsman ladder thanks to his career defining year.
He will next try to cap his season with a world championship when the Tournament of Champions gets underway.
"It would be an incredible accomplishment if we could cap our season with a championship. When we were in Rockingham and we saw the level of competition that we were going to be up against, going up against all of the guys you read about all year in DRM and on the IHRA site, that would mean a lot to get a win against that group," Gulitti said. "We already went up against that level of competition once before in the All-Star race and to take down the titans of the class earlier this year was pretty amazing.
"That win gives us a lot of confidence and if we can go in there and win the tournament it would be an incredible end to an amazing year."
Gulitti admits that none of this would have been possible without the support of his family and the hard work of everyone involved with his race team.
"Without my wife and my dad and my team none of this would be possible," Gulitti said. "During the season when times are tough you are working hard and you are racing it is tough to say thanks, but I am very grateful for these guys. My brother also got into the tournament and between us it really is a family operation.
"I also wanted to thank Abruzzi Racing Transmission, Marco Abruzzi, Torque Tools Incorporated, PMS Excavation, Richard Patterson and All-Star Properties. I can't wait for the tournament to get underway and to get started with 2010."