All The Marbles: Saturday IHRA Summit World Finals Notebook
By IHRA Media
Oct 13, 2012
Junior Dragster racer Josh Jones is focused on bringing home a championship
It is race day at Memphis International Raceway and that means one thing – the crowning of all 2012 IHRA World Champions.
And you have the weather to thank for such a big day of racing.
With a less than favorable forecast set for Sunday, the conclusion of the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment World Finals has been moved up today. That means that the Sportsman Spectacular, Summit SuperSeries and Summit Tournament of Champions will all be run today!
That is a lot of racing between a lot of great cars, but it should make for some spectacular television. And speaking of watching live…
Mia Tedesco is one of the many drivers enjoying the live TV coverage this weekend
THE WORLD IS WATCHING
As you may have seen the IHRA is broadcasting the entire IHRA World Finals weekend live this weekend through a unique partnership with Motor Mania TV.
The great folks at Motor Mania TV have four separate cameras set up around the track and have been broadcasting live video, live audio and live timing all weekend long concluding with today’s season finale. And while the IHRA certainly expected a lot of positive exposure, what they didn’t expect was just how much exposure they would receive.
Thanks to Motor Mania TV and websites like Competition Plus that are streaming the weekend live, in addition to being found right here on the IHRA homepage, the number of spectators tuning in on Friday was confirmed at nearly 10,000 people from a dozen – yes 12 – different countries.
“We were certainly excited to broadcast this incredible weekend live, but the results have far exceeded our expectations so far,” said Skooter Peaco, IHRA VP of Race Operations. “To know that thousands of people around the world are tuning in to watch this incredible competition is really exciting and says a lot about the prestige of this event.”
Even the local media is in on the act with Memphis area television stations stopping by throughout the weekend to see what this World Finals thing is all about.
The numbers from Saturday are not in just yet, but you can be certain that they won’t disappoint – especially with 10 world champions still yet to be crowned!
ALL SHOOK UP
Sometimes you are just born a fan of something. And then again, sometimes you become one.
Shannon Brinkley will be the first to admit that he wasn’t always a big Elvis fan. Sure he liked to listen to ‘The King’ and enjoyed visiting Graceland from time to time, but what Brinkley didn’t know was that he was already a diehard fan – and he didn’t even know it.
“I was a mediocre fan at first to be honest with you, but now I am a huge Elvis fan,” Brinkley laughed. “Now I collect all sorts of Elvis memorabilia and, of course, with a trip to Memphis this weekend we definitely checked out Graceland when we had the chance.”
So how did Brinkley go from casual Elvis listener to taking on the man’s name as a nickname? Well, it would probably be best to let him explain.
“Well, the nickname Elvis came from a dear friend of ours that passed away. He was the Division 4 announcer for NHRA,” Brinkley said. “When we started drag racing in the 90s I got a license plate from Graceland that said Elvis on it and had it on my ’69 Camaro. From then on everyone just started calling me Elvis and it caught fire.”
Now Elvis isn’t just a license plate on the front of the man’s two racecars, it is the name on the side as well.
So it is only fitting that Shannon “Elvis” Brinkley put his skills on the line and compete for a World Championship in the The King’s backyard of Memphis, Tenn. this weekend. Brinkley already has a runner-up to his credit in Quick Rod during the Sportsman Spectacular and now the Highlands, Texas native will attempt to chase down a world championship – all at the luckiest place for a man named Elvis.
Brinkley will battle for the Super Rod championship today after already piloting his other car to a runner-up finish earlier in the day, something Brinkley will admit isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
“Running two cars can be both good and bad. Most of the time it helps us because it helps get you in sync with the track and the conditions,” Brinkley said. “But when you get late rounds with both cars it can hinder you quite a bit because you are already thinking about the other class before you even get to the staging lanes.”
But if anyone can do it this weekend, it is Elvis.
Joseph Tinsley and his mom Joanna
ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID NO MORE
It wasn’t the most ideal of situations, but 20-year-old Joseph Tinsley knew that if he had made it this far, he had better hold on for a little while longer.
It would probably be just another runner-up, Joseph thought, but maybe, just maybe, this race would be different.
What began as a late night drive at the San Antonio Nitro Jam back in March quickly turned into an early morning marathon. This race was running late into the night – or early into the morning by that point – and Tinsley was determined to see it through.
As a little light fog began to roll into the area, Tinsley finally got the call. It was his turn. Glory or defeat sat just 1,320 feet away and all he had to do was stay focused for another seven seconds of Top Dragster action. Tinsley, from Melvin, Texas, bumped into the beams. Right beside him Larry Eidson from Mineral Wells, Texas did the same. Four bulbs later the two were away, Tinsley with a .035 reaction time and Eidson with a .052 bulb.
A few moments later Tinsley blasted across the finish line with a 7.704/157.40 on a 7.62 dial. Eidson, on the other hand, ran into trouble and had to back off, finishing nearly a second off the pace with a 7.567/155.49 on a 6.57 dial. Finally, after coming so close so many times, Tinsley was in victory lane at San Antonio Raceway – at almost 2 a.m.
“Racing so late into the morning was getting hard,” Tinsley said. “At that point my biggest issue was trying to concentrate due to being so tired. But with a win on the line, I had to remain focused. And when I finally got to the burnout box I couldn’t keep the excitement from overcoming me. I kept telling myself that it was just one more round.
“Once I left the line I turned my head looking for my opponent to see how far behind he was or how fast he was approaching, but he never came into sight. When my win light came on I was really happy, especially after all those times being runner-up.
“After I crossed that line I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to get up to the winner’s circle and see my family and share my excitement with them.”
And family is what Tinsley is banking will get him through this weekend in Memphis with mom Joanna on hand and the family rooting him on. After winning the San Antonio Nitro Jam in March, Joseph and his mom Joanna, a competitor in Top Dragster as well, began grooming the young driver for his shot at a world championship just a few months after winning his very first race.
So what would it mean for young Tinsley to take a World Championship home with him to Texas?
“It would be the world,” Joseph said. “This is a big weekend for me and I can’t wait to see how it goes.”
Maybe Tinsley can make a habit out of this winning thing.