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Major IHRA event looks to attract bracket racers

Jeff Birchfield • Jun 27, 2018 at 12:44 AM

A major racing event will return to Wilkes County, N.C., this weekend, and the International Hot Rod Association is looking to attract bracket racers from throughout East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina.

The IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular will host a double-race weekend Friday through Sunday at Wilkesboro Dragway. The drag racing event features huge payouts with $10,000-to-win Saturday and $5,000-to-win on Sunday. IHRA Ironman trophies and large championship checks will be presented to event champions on Saturday and Sunday.

The IHRA was founded by Bristol Motor Speedway founder Larry Carrier in 1970. The organization has been based in West Palm Beach, Fla., since 2013.

The IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular was created to produce a fun double-race weekend with increased purses that are affordable for grassroots, bracket-racing competitors who support their local tracks each week.

On-site entry fees are $150 for Moser Engineering Saturday with a $10,000-to-win payout, $2,000 for the runner-up, $1,000 for the semifinals and $100 per round starting with Round 3 winners. For Sunday, entry fees are $100 with a $5,000-to-win payout, $1,000 for the runner-up, $500 for the semifinals and $100 per round starting with Round 3 winners.

In addition, the Summit Sportsman Spectacular events feature cash bonuses for the Summit SuperSeries member that goes the furthest in eliminations or wins the event. The national contingency program is also available for all IHRA members who advance to the final two rounds each day.

The Friday program includes a test and tune, a racer appreciation cookout and a golf cart race. The race weekend features prizes awarded to the best losing package of first through third rounds. Runner-up finishers will receive medals as part of their prize package.

Each race is set up where Box cars (those with an electronic delay box) will race other Box cars, and No Box cars (those without the delay box) are matched up until there are no other No Box cars left. The final No Box racer wins a $1,000 bonus Saturday and a $500 bonus Sunday.

Also, to keep things fair, dragsters are lined up with other dragsters and door cars race other door cars through the early rounds.

All valid competition licenses and chassis certifications are honored at the Summit Sportsman Spectacular events regardless of sanction. All drivers running 0-6.39 in the one-eighth-mile must have an IHRA, NHRA or accepted competition license.

Competitors obtaining an IHRA license for the first time are encouraged to complete the licensing process through the IHRA membership department at [email protected] prior to the event to ensure all documents are acceptable.


Jonesborough racer Ethan Ford had a .005 reaction time in the Junior Dragster Division 3 final to win Sunday in the DER Bracket Series at Bristol Dragway. Other Junior Dragster winners were Forrest Radford of Radford, Va., and Andrew Joyce of Richlands.

With the big cars, Larry Price of Elizabethton was the Sportsman winner. Additional winners on Sunday included Seth Street of Richlands (Super Pro), John Nelson of Bristol (Pro) and CJ Elsea of Bristol (Trophy).

Russell Justus of Knoxville won the Motorcycle division. A round-3 matchup featured Elisabeth Armstrong of Jonesborough winning against her father, Tim. All of Saturday’s racing was stopped for rain, resulting in a split of the winner’s purse.

Bristol Dragway will have its popular Street Fights program this Saturday, and the DER Bracket Series will return on July 27-29 for its next set of weekend races.


Kingsport Speedway has another weekly program scheduled for this Friday night with a Vintage car race as part of the schedule. Two-time and defending track champion Kres VanDyke of Abingdon took over the points lead last Friday night after Johnson City’s Zeke Shell had a rough outing and was disqualified at the end of the night.

Volunteer Speedway also has its weekly championship points racing scheduled for Saturday night with the Crate Late Model, Sportsman Late Model and Steel Head Late Model classes featured.

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