MEMPHIS, TN – The International Hot Rod Association’s™ (IHRA) Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series formally wrapped up its season during a special awards celebration held earlier this week at Minglewood Hall in Memphis.
IHRA recognized all of the 2014 Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series champions and handed out a number of special awards following a successful season that spanned eight months and 12 venues across the United States and Canada.
“The 2014 Nitro Jam season provided plenty of drama, excitement and even a few record-breaking performances. It was a big year for the IHRA and IRG as we look to put this series back on the map,” said IRG Sports + Entertainment CEO Jason Rittenberry. “Congratulations to all of the 2014 Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series champions and special award winners. It was a historical season on a number of levels and we look forward to an even bigger and brighter 2015.”
by Todd Veney/Pro Sportsman Association
With a Manzo-like late-season charge, Steve Harker clinched the 2014 Top Alcohol Funny Car championship with a month left in the season and became the first driver from outside North American ever to win an NHRA championship in any category.
The Australian veteran, who barely raced last year, didn’t race at all the two years before that, and insisted all along that 2014 was just a “test year,” got faster and faster as the year wore on and claimed a championship that once seemed destined to go to Dale Brand. A Top 5 driver in each of his last three full seasons (2008-10), and the number 2 driver of 2008 and 2009, Harker reached the final at six of his last seven starts (all but the U.S. Nationals) and won all six – Norwalk, St. Louis, Bowling Green, Dallas, Charlotte, and Reading.
Pro Sled Rider Jessica Tourloukis – Fifth Place
Known as the Psycho Princess, Tourloukis qualified and raced in all PBSS events during the year and placed fifth in Championship Point Award Series.
Presented by Wiseco Performance Products, the PBSS recently finished its fourth year of competition.
Riding her 2002 Arctic Cat, Tourloukis’ season was highlighted with a semi-round appearance at Empire Dragway. Her sled is capable of running in the low nine-second range at speeds of up to 130 mph on the quarter-mile. The Arctic Cat is powered by a 1000-cc engine.
DALLAS, TX – Popular driver Shane Tucker wants to experience sustained success at the highest level of drag racing — the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series — and he has a firm plan in place to reach that goal.
The 29-year-old native of Gold Coast, Australia, whet his appetite in 2014 with a part-time slate of 10 Pro Stock races, highlighted by a semifinal finish in Chicago. Racking up thousands of frequent-flyer miles along the way, Tucker’s toe dip in the shark tank that is the factory hot rod class made him realize very quickly that NHRA drag racing is serious business.
“It had been a dream of our family for a long time to come to the United States and race against the best drivers in the world,” said Tucker, an accomplished driver in Australia. “A few years ago we thought it was going to happen but nothing came to fruition, which turned out to be OK because there was still a little bit of unfinished business back home with our ANDRA efforts.
“In the end we made it here, and we’re glad we did. Drag racing is such a big production in the U.S. In Australia, we had maybe 10,000 people in the stands at tracks much smaller than these NHRA facilities. Coming here and racing at places like Charlotte or Vegas, it’s clear how important fans are to this sport and to attracting sponsors. It makes us glad to be a part of something so unique yet so competitive.”
2014 NMCA Flowmaster Drag Racing Series & Chevrolet Performance LSX Challenge Series Come To A Close at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indy
Santa Ana, CA – Cool October weather set the stage for big performances at the NMCA’s final race of the year at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, and as expected, records fell in a number of classes and numerous upsets made for an exciting finale of the Flowmaster series at the 13th Annual FEL-PRO NMCA World Finals. Race teams put it all on the line to win the Aerospace Components NHRA Unleashed Wally and collect as many points as possible to achieve championship status.
Kooks Pro Mod saw four cars qualify in the 5.80-5.90 range – a feat that had never occurred before in NMCA competition. As these ultra-fast machines went through the rounds, Steve Summers’ parachutes failed to deploy after his semifinal win. A subsequent thrash ensued and he made the lane call to square off against Michael Biehle II in the final. Biehle’s Boss Mustang Pro Mod was at the top of its game this weekend, and secured the event win with a 5.89 at 251 mph pass, while Summers broke traction early in the run.
HOLLYWOOD, FL – Victor Cagnazzi, Robert Van Winkle AKA Vanilla Ice, and Steve Reyes all join host Joe Castello, along with the NHRA’s Alan Reinhart, on WFO Radio Nitro. To listen now, go to http://www.wforadio.com
Victor Cagnazzi, Managing Director of Gray Motorsports, stops by WFO for a wide ranging conversation. Cagnazzi goes in depth about the Gray Motorsports COPO Camaro program, the Pro Stock teams, his thoughts on the future of Pro Stock, and his own recent driving experience in Reading, PA.
Robert Van Winkle, A.K.A. Vanilla Ice, takes time from the Darrell Gwynn Foundation White Party to talk about his passion for NHRA racing, fast cars, and helping children.
The Grainy Brothers – Fifth Place
With Jack driving and his brother Sonny as crew chief, the team started its season well with a final round showing at Grand Bend, losing in the final to former PMRA champion Bruce Boland of Stoney Creek, Ontario.
Driving the 1967 Chevy Camaro Pro Modified, the team struggled a bit with the rest of the season, but did qualify for several events and made some rounds. The G-Force Race Cars product is powered by a Mike Stawicki Racing 521-cubic inch Brad Anderson (BAE) Supercharged Hemi coupled to a Lenco three-speed with a PSI screw supercharger. The car is capable of running the quarter-mile in the low six-second range at speeds of over 200 mph.