Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 4039 38 Troy Williams, Jr. has done just about everything in the Sportsman drag racing arena and has more than $1 Million in earnings to show for his efforts – that includes a million in one 1998 race. He’s an IHRA World Champion and a multi-time IHRA Division Champion, he has three Moroso 5-Day Points Championships to his credit; he is a B&M Series World Champion and a Tenn-Tuck Triple Crown Bracket Series Champ. Add to that list multiple national event wins, and you have a Sportsman racer that’s pretty much done it all. But this year, the Deland, Fla., driver has his sights set on something new – the IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship – a new championship for sportsman-class racers that will be determined using points claims from the best seven of the first 10 events in which a driver competes. Racers will accrue points based on a national points system and may race at whatever events they choose regardless of regional boundaries. “I really like the format; I prefer it to the single-race championship of the past few years,” Williams said. “I think you get a truer champion when every race counts. Without great companies like Summit Racing Equipment sponsoring the series, we wouldn’t have a whole lot to race for. TROY WILLIAMS, JR. It’s great for a company like that to get behind IHRA and try to get it back where it used to be with the sanctioning body on a level playing field with NHRA – I think it’s big.” And so is the way the 44-year-old Florida native started the 2017 season. He won both races in Hot Rod and recorded runner-up finishes in both Top Dragster races at Immokalee Regional Raceway during the season’s opening weekend. The following weekend at Palm Beach International Raceway, Williams added a victory in Top Dragster. “Going into the season prepared has been the key so far – we were fortunate to do some testing early on,” Williams added. “I think a lot of people were getting on the track for the first time maybe after redoing a combination or freshening things.” In his real job, Williams is the marketing and sales administrator for FTI Performance, a company that builds performance transmissions and torque convertors for any form of Motorsports that allows automatic transmissions – that means company research and development can also benefit the race team. “We actually rented Orlando’s race track and tested for a couple of days trying to invent a better mouse trap as far as torque conversion goes so I was able to get quite a DRIVER SPOTLIGHT Nick Ferraro, 15, is off to a fast start in the IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship Junior Dragster class. Just three races into the 2017 season, Ferraro has two wins and a quarterfinal to show for his efforts – not bad for high school kid from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He swept the two races on the season’s opening weekend at Florida’s Immokalee Regional Raceway and added a quarterfinal showing the next weekend at Palm Beach International Raceway. “That first weekend at Immokalee was pretty much perfect,” Nick Ferraro said. “It was great. The car was running good all weekend, I was hitting the tree pretty good all weekend, and it felt great. Going all those rounds made me happy.” “His wins are 10 times better than any wins I’ve ever had, absolutely,” Nick’s father, Mike said. “I just kind of hold my breath, hope for the best and wait for him to step out of the throttle.” NICK FERRARO But neither success in racing nor success in other sports is new to the Ferraro family. In fact, the family includes three IHRA racers who own 13 IHRA Iron Man trophies among them. Nick, an excellent high school baseball second baseman, has six to his credit. His father, Mike, has six from his driving days, and his older brother, Bailey, who’s aged out of Junior Dragster and now competes in Top Dragster, has one. While he wouldn’t mind getting back into the car, these days, Mike has neither a car nor the time to drive it. Bailey is currently driving Dad’s car while Dad serves as crew chief for both sons. These are busy times for the Ferraro family. “Yeah, sometimes it’s busy with both of them racing, but other times, things just fall into place,” Mike Ferraro said. “They’re both teenagers now so they have their own responsibilities with what to do with the cars. Sometimes I can just sit down, watch and act like I know what I’m doing. It’s worked out because they’ve been around it for so long.” “My whole family races so it runs in the family,” Nick added. “We all love going fast and judging the stripe at the end. I definitely count on my Dad to answer questions. He talks to me about hitting the tree and how to judge the finish line – you have to concentrate a lot and stay focused. Hitting the tree is probably my biggest strength; as long as I stay focused, I hit it pretty good.” With so much early racing success, one might think the youngest Ferraro would have professional racing aspirations, but not Nick Ferraro. He wants to keep bracket racing all his life and leave a lifetime of future options open. “We’re all pretty realistic,” Dad added. “Racing isn’t something he wants to do for a living; it’s something we all enjoy doing on the weekends. I don’t think he has any professional aspirations.” This year, Nick hopes to have a shot at winning the IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship Junior Dragster title and its $15,000 prize from Summit Racing Equipment. And if, on the season’s final weekend at Dragway 42 in West Salem, Ohio, Junior Dragster is one of the two classes selected for the champion to win a vacation on the island of Aruba? “We’ll see how I do at the Darlington races and go from there,” Nick said. “But it would be pretty awesome to win the whole thing. That Aruba vacation would be sweet!” DRIVER SPOTLIGHT BY ROB GOODMAN Left: Nick Ferraro, then 13, checks air pressure during a 2015 event. Above: Nick Ferraro, left, and his brother, Bailey, display a fish they caught off Fort Lauderdale Beach. (Photos Courtesy: Ferraro Family) BY ROB GOODMAN bit of data. So we just went into the season really prepared, and that was the biggest thing. We couldn’t race without our partners at FTI, Steve Schmidt Racing Engines, Renegade Race Fuels, Mickey Thompson Tires, Autometer, APD Fuel Systems and Milodon and Alliance Racewear – we appreciate their support.” Should Williams win the IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship in one of his classes, he’ll take home a $15,000 prize from Summit and maybe even a vacation on the island of Aruba. Two of the eight class winners will also earn the Aruba vacation; the classes that win a vacation with a championship will be determined in a drawing prior to the final race of the season. Perhaps that Aruba vacation will be a first for a driver that’s done just about everything else.