IHRA Summer Nationals at Cordova Dragway Park
by Mike Sopko Jr.
Bruce Litton piloting the U.S. Male at the Summer Nats. photo by Mike Sopko Sr.
There's nothing better on a lightly buttered piece of bread than a heaping helping of Nitro JAM. Nostalgia Drag World was on hand as the IHRA returned to Cordova Dragway Park. Cordova best known for its World Series of Drag Racing is quickly becoming the "Midwestern Place to Race," especially in terms of AA/FC. Nicknamed the "Clash at Cordova" this event was a combination Drag Racing Online and IHRA event for the funny cars. This brought a total of 13 fuel coupes on the property with some of IHRA's best versus some of DRO's best. In attendance were Steve Nichols (Mill Road Boys), Paul Romine (Man O War), Shawn Bowen (Violator), Doc Halladay (Telstar), Mark Sanders (Mr. Explosive), Bruce Litton (U.S. Male), John Hale (Mike Burkhart), Tim Boychuck (Forever, Forward, Faster), Mike McIntire Jr. (McAttack), Jason Rupert (Bays & Rupert), Marc White (Flashback), Baz Young (Down Under Thunder), and Jim Young (Crop Duster).
Ron Hope (Rat Trap) photo by Dan Ricks
The floppers weren't the only nostalgia hot rods in attendance as the Nitro Altered class was also well represented with six of the baddest hot rods on the planet. Troy Martin (Missing Pieces), Ron Hope (Rat Trap), Don Blackshear (Bullet Bob), Ron Maroney (Blind Faith), Kyle Hough (Nanook), and Mike Hilsabeck (Arizona Thunder) brought the evil handling, short wheelbase, nitro burners to the track for some fuel altered hi jinks at its best.
The Summer Nationals was comprised of two qualifying sessions on Friday night and race day (night) Saturday starting at 7 p.m. under the lights. After Friday's sessions Shawn Bowen paced the funny car field with a 5.819. In Nitro Altered Mike Hilsabeck was the #1 qualifier with a 6.738 as the fuel altered pilots struggled to keep the cars under power and pointed in the right direction. Whoever said, "Drag racers only go straight" has surely never seen a fuel altered pass.
Nitro Funny Car
Steve Nichols (Mill Rod boys) photo by Dan Ricks
Mike McIntire Jr. (McAttack) photo by Mike Sopko Sr.
Eliminations took place with surprisingly unsummer like weather in the Midwest. Known for high humidity and temps the weather was fairly comfortable and surely conducive to make plenty of horsepower. Funny car ran first. Number one qualifier Bowen took out McIntire's "McAttack," Sanders defeated Litton, Rupert beat Nichols and Romine was victorious over Hale. Bowen bested his low qualifier pass with a 5.78.
The second round brought the big hitters out. In a battle of former DRO champs Bowen defeated Romine with a strong but softer 5.85 as Romine lifted early and coasted through the traps. Then came the pass of the weekend, with Rupert in the right lane against Sanders in the left. Both cars left together, but the Rupert horsepower proved too much as he set low ET of the meet with a 5.70 elapsed time to a still strong but not enough 5.88 for Sanders. That set the stage for the defending Heritage Series champion, Rupert against the defending DRO champ, Bowen.
Paul Romine (Man O' War) photo by Mike Sopko Jr.
Mark Sanders (Mr. Explosive) photo by Dan Ricks
Continued on next page...
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