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Myron Piatek Beats Stock Field & Hurricane Irma to Win World Title, Driver of the Year Honors

Monday, 02 October 2017

Winning an International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) World Championship is difficult no matter the circumstances; throw in a battle with Mother Nature, and the task becomes even more daunting.  IHRA Stock World Champion Myron Piatek was set to compete at the season’s final two events at Dragway 42 in West Salem, Ohio on Sept. 23 and 24, but Hurricane Irma apparently had other ideas for the Holly Hill, Fla., driver.

Piatek entered the season’s final weekend with a 129-point lead in the IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship Stock point standings.  He knew second-place Jimmy Hidalgo, Jr. needed at least a win and a runner-up finish to take the title, but he decided to race at Dragway 42 to protect the championship he had almost won.  Enter Hurricane Irma. 

“Irma ruined my weekend,” Piatek said.  “I had my plans all laid out – even took an extra day off from work to visit my home town (Garfield Heights, Ohio) and the house I grew up in; the owner said I could swing by.  Then the Hurricane came, and while I didn’t suffer a lot of damage, the cleanup, roof repairs and other things made it impractical to race at Dragway 42.  I was tired, and I didn’t feel I was in the best condition to go and make a difference so I stayed home and hoped the championship would work out.  I kept my fingers crossed.  I was very disappointed, but it was out of my hands – I had no control.  Then during race weekend, I had no idea what was going on.  It was a helpless feeling.”

In today’s social media world of instant information, most have come to expect news almost instantly, but that was impossible during Hurricane Irma.  Piatek had no power or internet connection and had no idea what was going on nearly a thousand miles north. He had no way of knowing his second IHRA Stock World Championship was secure. 

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“It’s overwhelming,” Piatek said.  “I didn’t find out until Saturday night of the Dragway 42 weekend when a friend of mine called and said Hidalgo lost early.  Since the time I knew I couldn’t get to the races to have some sort of influence, I felt helpless.  I had no internet connection so I didn’t know what was going on. I just had to wait and hope somebody would let me know.  This championship wouldn't be possible without the commitment of Summit Racing Equipment for sponsoring the series and IHRA for putting it all together. I’ve had the best time, met the best people and accomplished more than I ever imagined. I thank God for the ability, resources & health to do it.

A few days after Piatek was crowned the Stock World Champion, he celebrated his 60th birthday and was named the Trick Flow “Top Performer” – the Summit Sportsman National Championship Driver of the Year.

I’ve been speechless one time after another because of how things have gone.  This has basically been a career-topping season for me, and I never dreamed things would fall in place for me the way they did. I could never do this without Holeshot Wheels, Southern Racing Fuels/Sunoco, JW Performance Transmissions, Hoosier Racing Tires, TTI Exhaust, Autometer, Milodon, Ishihara-Johnson Crank Scrapers, Harland Sharp, Gary’s Driveline, Volusia Drivetrain, Al's Signs, Ocala Tire, Pioneer, Ronnie Robinson, Moser Engineering, Holley Performance, Quick Fuel Technology, Altronics Weather Stations and of course, Summit Racing Equipment.

In his seven points claims, the 60-year-old employee of Daytona (Fla.) State College.  recorded three wins, three runner-ups and a semifinal.  That’s a pretty stout performance – especially with a season that had its share of uncertainty.

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“From the get-go, I was concerned because I had to get my engine freshened.  Dwayne Hagle at Performance Products & Machine got it done just in time to make Immokalee (season-opening race in Immokalee, Fla.),” Piatek said.  “I went to West Palm, and during test & tune, I broke a ring and pinion; usually that takes a transmission out, but I had no choice because I didn’t have a spare transmission.  I crossed my fingers and put a new gear set in, and the transmission held up.  I ended up winning Saturday at West Palm.”

“Sunday was cancelled, and that date made Darlington a triple header.  During the Darlington test & tune, the transmission finally broke, but because it was during test & tune and not the race, I didn’t lose any claims so I was able to withdraw without having to claim an event as a first-round loser.  I wasn’t planning to go to Piedmont (Piedmont Dragway in Julian, N.C.) because I’d never done that well there.  Because of the timing and my breakages, I went to Piedmont and swept the event, and both days were six-round races which gave more points.”

Sometimes, things are just meant to be.  

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