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IHRA Honors Tournament of Champions Winners at the Summit World Finals

Monday, 24 October 2016

The world’s best sportsman racers took center stage at the Summit World Finals in Memphis, Tenn., Oct. 20 – 22 with hundreds of drivers representing 27 states and four Canadian provinces gathering at Memphis International Raceway in Tennessee to compete in the Summit Tournament of Champions and the Summit SuperSeries. Eleven champions were crowned during the weekend.

The Summit Tournament of Champions was comprised of the top-three finishers from each IHRA division from the year-long Summit Pro-Am Tour program. Qualified drivers in their respective classes went head-to-head for the World Championship at the Summit World Finals.

The Summit Tournament of Champions winners were: Paul Mosley (Top Sportsman), Steve Furr (Top Dragster), Pete D'Agnolo (Super Stock), Dan Young (Stock), Dave Schmidt (Quick Rod), Jacob Elrod (Super Rod), Dennis Clark (Hot Rod) and Gage Burch (Junior Dragster). Cash prizes totaling $117,800 was awarded following the Summit Tournament of Champions.

Summit Tournament of Champions Final Eliminations (1/4 Mile):

Summit Tournament of Champions Top Sportsman: Paul Mosley, Inman, S.C., ’63 Corvette, 7.393 secs. at 186.69 mph (.025 rt) - def Roger Massey, Gilmer, Texas, ’03 Cavalier, 6.983 secs at 198.64 mph (.012 rt)

Mosley on his victory: “When that win light came on, I couldn’t stop screaming. It’s unexplainable – you can’t put it into words. That’s why I’m almost hoarse. I felt proud for the family and the crew. My son works his tail off on that car, and I just wanted to do them proud and make my wife proud and all the sponsors. Thanks to everybody that supports me – all of my sponsors. It’s been a good weekend; my birthday’s today. I couldn’t ask for a better birthday present. It’s just been a good day with IHRA and Summit; we couldn’t do it without them. I’ve been very blessed this year. It’s my first time running Top Sportsman. I stated with another car, and middle of the year, I bought this Corvette and went with it. I’ve only had it four or five months. Everything was great; I’ve had no problems. I’m from Spartanburg, S.C.; Division 9 is the toughest division I know of. I’m not knocking any of the rest of them, but the boys are bad in Division 9. You look at the top four in Top Dragster, three of them were Division 9.”

Summit Tournament of Champions Top Dragster: Steve Furr, Harrisburg, N.C., ’13 American, 6.288 secss at 204.05 mph (.039 rt) - def Matthew McDaniel, Forest City, N.C., ’06 Racetech, 7.407 secs. at 176.60 mph (.033 rt)

Furr on his Victory: “It makes me feel good. My car was good, and I drove fairly well except for the final; it wasn’t a great race. I ran dead on - the car was really good. Anytime you can come to a race that everybody across the country that has done well all year long comes to one race, and you come out on top – you’ve gotta be happy about that. There’s tons of good racers in the Carolinas, and I’ve been racing in that same area since 1994 with IHRA. We really didn’t have any problems. I had both cars in the TOC so I was running in Super Rod and Top Dragster. Unfortunately, I red lighted in first round in Super Rod. I’ve done well in Super Rod; I have four Super Rod World Championships. This is my first one in Top Dragster so it’s cool to get one in a different class. We do this for fun. None of us are crazy enough to think we’re gonna make a whole lot of money doing this. Summit put up $10,000 to win this race, and that’s spectacular. But only one dude’s gonna get the 10 grand. Most of the time, we’re running for a whole lot less so if you’re trying to do this to make money, you’re kind of crazy. So you do it for fun, and you do it for competition. That’s what it’s all about.”

Summit Tournament of Champions Super Stock: Pete D'Agnolo, Rochester, N.Y., ’67 Camaro, 9.701 secs. at 132.28 mph (.023 rt) - def Scott Stillings, Floyds Knobs, Ind., ’98 Grand Am, 8.606 secs. at 155.87 mph (.043)

D'Agnolo on his Victory: “I feel incredible. It’s a surreal feeling; it’s amazing. I really can’t describe it. When the win light came on, it was an incredible feeling. I was screaming all the way through the shutdown area – it’s an unbelievable, amazing feeling. We were fortunate the car ran good all weekend, and we didn’t have any problems. We’ve had some bad luck here in the past, but it’s started to turn around. Two years ago, we blew up in the final so that was a heart breaker so it’s very gratifying to finally seal the deal. Everybody’s here for a reason; they didn’t just show up – you had to earn it all year. That big trophy will make the 16-hour trip home seem a lot shorter.”

Summit Tournament of Champions Stock: Dan Young, Palm Harbor, Fla., ’95 Camaro, 10.609 secs. at 120.26 mph (.086 rt) - def Jeffrey Gardiner, Waldorf, Mo., ’86 Olds Cutlass, 10.926 secs at 114.93 mph (.091 rt)

Young on his Victory: “It felt really good to see that win light come on; it was a little shocking. I thought I was gonna lose. I was late, and when I got through the gears, I looked over and thought, ‘I don’t know if I’m gonna have this.’ As we got down the track, I started pulling ahead. The car was flawless; this car is always a great piece. Joel Warren and everybody else at Lucas Oil always helps me through everything; they make this thing run really well. I think Florida has the best racers in the south; that’s where all the big guys come from. Thanks to Lucas Oil, Warren Race Engines, Joel Warren, my Mom, my Dad, my brother, my girlfriend and the good Lord above.”

Summit Tournament of Champions Quick Rod: Dave Schmidt, Flintstone, Ga., Miller, 8.901 secs. at 175.75 mph (.029 rt) - def Vernon Rowland, Blanchard, Okla., ’13 Dragster, 8.926 secs. at 165.33 mph (.005 rt)

Schmidt on his Victory: “I was screaming in my helmet (when the win light came on). It was great. Great day and a great year! Everything went well; a little luck went my way. I had luck when I needed it and actually drove when I needed to so it was good. We didn’t have any problems; everything was good this weekend. I’ve been doing this on and off for a long time; I started in 1970, raised a family and came back out here. Dr. Dave is a nickname that has stuck with me for a long time. They started calling me that, but I’m not a doctor.”  

Summit Tournament of Champions Hot Rod: Dennis Clark, Pasadena, Texas, ’68 Camaro, 10.936 secs. at 130.35 mph, (.014 rt) - def James Pahl, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada, ’86 Coronet, 10.913 secs. at 130.15 mph (.049 rt)

Clark on his Victory: “It wasn’t easy; it’s never easy with all these guys. We took the car to east Texas Race Cars about a month ago. Dwayne reworked the whole rear end, and the car worked flawless. It was the best I could have asked for; I’m really impressed with everything. We’re Division 4 guys so we race here. It seems like every time I come to Memphis, I have problems, but this was the smoothest race I’ve been to. Everything went like a dream, really. You couldn’t have asked for anything better. To win the Division championship, I needed to go three rounds. I went red on Saturday first round and red on Sunday first round so I’ve had a lot of heart ache, but this makes up for all of it. I feel great, but I miss my wife, and I miss my daughter because they couldn’t come. They sacrifice so much for us to come out here, but they never get enough credit.”

Summit Tournament of Champions Super Rod: Jacob Elrod, Harrod, Ohio, ’92 Corvette, 9.897 secs. at 165.15 mph, (.008 rt) - def Charlie Stewart, Azlo, Texas, ’63 Vette Roadster, 9.896 secs. at 164.07 mph, (.016 rt)

Elrod on his Victory: “Our goal was to make sure we got both cars qualified for the TOC in IHRA because when you get here, everybody that’s here is someone. Summit puts up the money, and if it wasn’t for Summit, we wouldn’t have a way to shine. Everybody that gets here has done something. They say, ‘to be the best, you have to beat the best,’ and that’s surely what they’ve got here. The goal is always to make our sponsors look good. Our goal is to always put a winning image out there because we don’t win every race. So the idea is to always put forward a winning image, and IHRA gives us that opportunity with the way they run double eliminations and double events. We can go to one weekend and run two races before we leave. Even if you do bad that first day, you’ve got a shot in a whole new race on Sunday. That’s unique for Sportsman. Every one of our races is double, and that works great for us because we only pay the fuel bill once. We’ve been running this TOC for like eight years. I think myself and Mark Nowicki in Super Stock are the only two that have qualified for it every year. It’s been a while since I qualified for it in two cars – I think it’s been three years. I’ve come in feeling like I have a great shot, but it always gets away from me. I miss the tree or I do something stupid, and I always feel like it’s always me. So going into it this year, I just tried to hit the tree.”

Summit Tournament of Champions Junior Dragster: Gage Burch, Palmetto, Fla., Halfscale, 8.474 secs. at 59.39 mph (-.007 rt) - def Kaelie Morton, Fort. St. John, British Columbia, Canada, 7.959 secs. at 82.21 mph (-.018 rt)

Burch on his Victory: “I’ve been driving Junior Dragster for eight years. I’ve already started driving big cars, but I can stay in Junior Dragster for another two years. It’s a huge advantage to race Junior Dragster before you get into a big car because you learn everything at a young age so it just comes naturally after that. I’d really like to go into a professional category, but in the end if that doesn’t work out, Sportsman racing is where I’ll be. I’m not really picky – I think anything is really cool, but I think Pro Stock is a really cool class. I’m pretty calm. I feel good about it (winning the TOC), but at the same time, I’m humble. At the end of the day, it’s just a good day, and it worked out for me. I’ve had this car for three years, and we’ve had different motors on it. Nonstop, me and my Dad work on it, and I can’t thank him enough for all he does. He’s always tuning it and making it better. We got here and didn’t know what kind of setup we wanted to put on it. It ended up working out; the car was nasty all day.”

Last modified on Monday, 24 October 2016
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