He certainly was caught off-guard when he doubled his pleasure and picked up his second IHRA Ironman trophy by winning in the Top division at the IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular season-opener at Farmington (N.C.) Dragway. What did it mean to win the Moser Engineering Race at your first IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular event? “It’s a dream come true,” Robertson said. “The first one was at our home track at Wilkesboro. I’ve done well there and was a track champion in 2012. The night before, they had a Gambler’s race and I thought I would enter that because it would be good practice for the big race. “I won the Gambler’s race so when I went in the IHRA trailer to pick up my check, I said, ‘Too bad it’s not tomorrow’s race with the big payout. I sure would love to get that check.’ She was like maybe, ‘You’ll come back.’ I thought what’s that chance?” “Lo and behold, I didn’t lose a round on won the whole deal. It was the first time I’d ever won an Ironman. I was thrilled. I got the helmet (specially designed by Jerron Settles of Imagine That Customs) and a bonus check of $500 for being an IHRA member. It was the biggest thrill of my all my years racing.” Then, you came back and won the season- opening race at Farmington. What did you have to do to the car? “I put the car away at the end of the season. It sat in my basement on jack stands all winter. I really did nothing to it, but put on a new set of slicks. I roll it out, put it on the trailer for the Summit Sportsman Spectacular race. I went out and won the Sunday event. It was just crazy.” As a longtime IHRA member, what’s it like for you as a competitor? “I’ve run my Top car now for about 15 years. I had a Camaro first and then sold it and got this Nova. It’s got a 565 (cubic inch), big-block Chevy motor built by Andy Beal. It’s just deadly consistent. It stayed on the number the entire weekend (at the IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular race). “Overall, I’ve had a ball and met a lot of good people, made a lot of good friends through racing. With my business, it’s a family business with my wife and son, and we feel like all our employees are part of our family too. It’s the same way with racing. We’ll all check in with each other to see who’s going racing and where are we going this week.” Where you live in North Carolina is famous for the ski resorts. Do you ever get on the slopes? “I did for years and actually used to teach skiing. I’m getting older so I don’t do that, but I still do watersports. We have a lake house on Watauga Lake across the border in Tennessee. If I’m not at the drag strip, I’m at the lake. We like to fish, swim, water tube, play with the grandkids. We water ski and knee board. I like to fish a lot and love to catch largemouth bass. We have a big time with all that.” What is it about racing that you still have a passion after all these years? “I like to go fast and going fast is fun. It’s the thrill of it all. I’m not a mechanic, but I’ve got a good group of guys around me. I’m a driver and own the car. I can change the oil, change spark plugs and all that kind of stuff, but with the other things, I have great friends who are good mechanics. “Tim Turbyfill, who’s a great drag racer from Boone, has basically built my car for me. At the spur of the moment, he will help me almost anytime. I’m lucky to have a lot of great friends like that. That’s the best part about drag racing. If you’re in need they’re there and we help each other out. Plus, we like to have a good time together.” RACER PROFILE The 59-year-old from Blowing Rock, N.C., is the owner of a home and garden store named the Last Straw. He has been racing since his high school days and he talks about the experience of winning the big races and some of the other activities he enjoys in this Drag Review Magazine exclusive. ROGER ROBERTSON DIDN’T EXPECT TO WIN HIS FIRST INTERNATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION SUMMIT SPORTSMAN SPECTACULAR RACE LAST JUNE. 31 30