With the 2017 Midwest racing season fast approaching, it was time to have some fun before the racing gets serious. Wait a minute, I'm talking about racers, THIS WAS SERIOUS! With competition and bragging rights on the line, there was a lot of good-natured smack talk going around! The third annual Ingalls Park Practice Tree Nationals was on! This event is to benefit the Route 66 Raceway Junior Dragster Program. Bob and Becky Churchill are the primary organizers with help from a lot of people. I would be remiss not to thank the sponsors: Good
Vibrations Motorsports, Crybabies Tap, Shep's Tavern, Ingalls Park A.C. and Route 66 Raceway. Thank you!
The event began with an hour of good food and socializing.
At 2:00 p.m., practice and qualifying began in the three classes: Pro, Sportsman and Junior Sportsman. Route 66 Raceway announcer, Sportsman ET Bracket racer and a 2016 Practice Tree Nationals Champion Bill Larson accepted the role as the Practice Tree Nationals Announcer.
During the Qualifying, Joe Zolper (Velocity Channel's Garage Squad and Prison City Choppers) went head to head against his wife Jenny. To say there is a family racing rivalry would be an understatement! This day belonged to Joe as he out-qualified Jenny. As Joe was walking away, he was heard to say, "It's going to be a long ride home!" All in fun!!
The qualifying was hot and heavy with family members and friends going up against each other for bragging rights.
The top qualifiers were:
Pro - Terry Stapleton - .001
Sportsman - Bill Larson - .016
Jr. Sportsman - David Kovar Jr. - .015
Terry is the crew chief on Rocky Ausec's Solid Rock nostalgic funny car. Bill Larson drives a red Mustang in the Sportsman Class and David drives a Jr. Dragster in the JDRL.
After the qualifying, the racing began in earnest. There was good racing, good sportsmanship and the typical racing banter!
In the Finals, in the Pro Class it was Terry Stapleton taking the win over Don Edelstein. In Sportsman, it was Miranda Lawson over Ryan Campbell. In the Jr. Sportsman, it was Jack Nolan over Jesse Lasik. Congratulations to our Finalists and Champions!
After the official racing was completed, there were a couple of grudge races: Joe Zolper vs Dave Harris and Terry Stapleton vs Jeff Stapleton.
Joe took Dave and Dad (Terry) beat Son (Jeff).
This was a great event and fun for all for a good cause. The Junior Dragsters are the future of the sport. Anything that can be done to support them is a good thing. Thanks go out to Churchill Motorsports (Bob, Becky and Bobby), Rocky Ausec, Bill Larson, Leslie Harris-Kranz, and everyone that contributed and helped to support the kids.
To see all the images from the event, please click here.