Summit Tournament of Champions Preview – Super Rod
By IHRA Media
Sep 25, 2012
The second most populous field at this year’s Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions presented by AMSOIL lies in Super Rod.
A total of 25 drivers are currently qualified for this year’s field with one spot still yet to be filled at the Summit Sportsman Spectacular in Memphis. But while the field is certainly full of talent, two names rise to the top as the cream of the 2012 Super Rod crop.
Steve Furr, the four-time IHRA champion and defending Super Rod title holder, enters the 2012 Summit Tournament of Champions with a divisional championship and two big race wins already this year. Furr, from Harrisburg, N.C., took the Heat Wave division by 20 points over Michael Ruff behind the wheel of his familiar ’68 Camaro and also claimed big wins at the Summit Sportsman Spectacular at Maryland International Raceway and at the Farmington Pro-Am/TOC qualifier proving once again that Furr is one of the best in the business when a big win is on the line.
The other Super Rod stud entering the 2012 Tournament of Champions is the man everyone is talking about – Harrod, Ohio’s Jacob Elrod. Elrod, driving a ’02 Corvette, won a grand total of seven races in nine finals in an unprecedented five different classes in 2012 with three of those victories coming in Super Rod. Thanks to that success, Elrod ran away with the North Stars divisional championship over Chris Yates and enters the Tournament of Champions as the man no one wants to face. Elrod’s biggest accomplishment to date is winning three classes in one event at the Grand Bend Nitro Jam in August.
And of course, no one is looking past Joe Collier either. The Hamlin, Texas native has three event wins in 2012 – all in a row at the San Antonio and Dallas events – to lockup the Super Rod title in his 2000 Monte Carlo in the Renegades Division over Shannon Brinkley early in the season. Other than Elrod, Collier is the winningest Pro-Am driver in Super Rod entering the championship tournament.
Overall 25 drivers have earned their way into the 9.90 class. The field has one of the most diverse lineups of any in 2012 with two former World Champions and drivers hailing from 13 different states and provinces. North Carolina has the most representatives with four drivers, followed by British Columbia, Florida and Texas with three drivers each, New York, Ontario and Virginia with two drivers apiece and one each from Alberta, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio and Utah.
While Furr is the most recognizable former champion in the group, don’t overlook two-time Super Rod champion Bernard Weaver. The 2001 and 2005 title holder from Madison, Va. won the Patriots Division championship by a narrow margin over Charlie Kenopic with one win on the season at the Richmond Pro-Am and looks poised to add a third Ironman trophy to his collection behind the wheel of his unique ’84 Daytona.
Jeff Estep from Iron Station, N.C. is another driver with plenty of potential in this year’s field, winning twice at the Piedmont and Rockingham events – two of the toughest races on the tour – on his way to taking the always tough Raiders Division championship driving a ’63 Corvette. Rounding out the divisional champions is Border Bandits winner and Kelowna, British Columbia native Chad Barclay whose one win in and two finals propelled him to the title over Dale Dryden behind the wheel of his 1999 Avenger.
Jacob Elrod is the only driver in the class to have a shot at more than one championship at the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment World Finals, adding a spot in the Top Dragster field as well. While anyone can certainly take the title, recent history suggests that the favorites tend to walk away on top in the 9.90 class. Furr won the title last year and Cameron Manuel the year prior.
Other non-divisional champions to watch out for in 2012 include Renegades runner-up Shannon Brinkley who visited three finals in 2012 with two wins, Donald Brown who finished a disappointing third place in Division 9 despite two wins and the always tough Clayton Nance who has one win in two finals this season.
While Barclay, Collier, Elrod, Estep, Furr and Weaver were busy winning divisional titles, those drivers that finished just behind in the divisional race in the runner-up spot are Charlie Kenopic (D1), Michael Ruff (D2), Chris Yates (D3), Shannon Brinkley (D4), Dale Dryden (D6) and T.G. Paschal (D9). Divisional third place finishers were Vince Gregoire (D1), Jason McCandless (D2), Jeff Southerland (D3), Clayton Nance (D4), Mike Shannon (D6) and Donald Brown (D9).
Rounding out the Super Rod field are the winners of the 2012 Tournament of Champions qualifier races, of which there were several, including Tommy Corbett (Richmond), Joe Ferrari (Grand Bend), Will Hinkston (Pittsburgh), Ed Olpin (Salt Lake), Mick Rice (Immokalee), Floyd Russo (Baton Rouge) and Dave Stobbe (Edmonton).
The 2012 Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions will take place October 12-14 as part of the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment World Finals at Memphis International Raceway.
NAME (TOC Qual, Hometown) – 2012 Pro-Am Finals
Chad Barclay (D6 1
, Kelowna, BC) 1 win, 1 runner-up
Shannon Brinkley (D4 2
, Highland, TX) 2 wins, 1 runner-up
Donald Brown (D9 3
, Currie, NC) 2 wins
Joe Collier (D4 1
/San Antonio, Hamlin, TX) 3 wins
Tommy Corbett (Richmond, Hampton, VA) 1 win
Dale Dryden (D6 2
, Stettler, ALB) 1 win
Jacob Elrod (D3 1
/Martin, Harrod, OH) 7 wins, 2 runner-ups
Jeff Estep (D9 1
, Iron Station, NC) 2 wins, 1 runner-up
Joe Ferrari (Grand Bend, Stouffville, ONT) 1 win
Steve Furr (D2 1
/Maryland/Farmington, Harrisburg, NC) 1 win, 3 runner-ups
Vince Gregoire (D1 3
, Lakeview, NY) 1 win
Will Hinkston (Pittsburgh, Fuquay Varina, NC) 1 win
Charlie Kenopic (D1 2
, Renfrew, ONT) 1 win
Jason McCandless (D2 3
, Naples, FL) 2 wins
Clayton Nance (D4 3
, Anson, TX) 1 win, 1 runner-up
Ed Olpin (Salt Lake, Pleasant Grove, UT)
T.G. Paschal (D9 2
, Greensboro, NC) 1 win
Mick Rice (Immokalee, Naples, FL) 1 win
Michael Ruff (D2 2
, Orlando, FL) 2 wins
Floyd Russo (Baton Rouge, Gonzales, LA) 1 win
Mike Shannon (D6 3
, Kelowna, BC) 1 runner-up
Jeff Southerland (D3 3
, Andover, IL) 1 runner-up
Dave Stobbe (Edmonton, Kamloops, BC) 1 win
Bernard Weaver (D1 1
, Madison, VA) 1 win
Chris Yates (D3 2
, Lambertville, MI) 2 runner-ups