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Mechanical Engineer Adding Ironmen Trophies – Will Sixth Title Follow?

Friday, 07 July 2017

Wikipedia defines Mechanical Engineering as a discipline that “applies engineering, physics and material science principles to design, analyze, manufacture and maintain mechanical systems.”  International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) Summit Sportsman National Championship driver Steve Furr applies the skills he uses in his vocation as a mechanical engineer to his advantage in his avocation: Drag Racing.

One would think a mechanical engineering background would be helpful in designing, building and tuning race cars, and one would probably be right.  Steve Furr races in Top Dragster and Super Rod, and the Harrisburg, N.C. driver is on a tear in Super Rod.  He posted two wins and a runner-up in the last four Summit Sportsman National Championship races in North Carolina last month and charged to the top of the point standings.

At Farmington Dragway in Mocksville, N.C., June 10 and 11, he advanced to the third round of eliminations on Saturday and won the Sunday Super Rod title.  Two weeks later at Piedmont Dragway in Julian, N.C., Furr won the Saturday race and posted a runner-up finish on Sunday.  He also posted low elapsed time of the race in Top Dragster on both Saturday and Sunday. 


“I won at Farmington in Super Rod and won and runner-ed up at Piedmont Dragway.  I won Saturday and red lit Sunday; I should have won both days,” Furr said.  “I was very disappointed in myself.  I was driving really well that weekend, and when you’re running that well, you really have to win those races.  I just gave it away.”

Furr’s three IHRA wins this season have pushed the number of Ironman Trophies at his house to nearly 60, and he has five IHRA World Championships to his credit including last year’s Top Dragster title, his first outside of Super Rod.  Could he add another world title in September at Dragway 42 in West Salem, Ohio?


“Winning the Super Rod championship this year hasn’t crossed my mind really,” Furr said.  “I’ve won it a few times, so if it happens, it happens.  I went to my first race at Darlington and made a couple rounds but didn’t do anything to speak of, but I had a good month with the North Carolina races.  I’m going to Budds Creek (Maryland International Raceway) soon, and if things work out there, I think I’ll have a decent chance to at least finish in the top few.  If I luck up and win it, that’ll be number six.”

Two winners of this year’s IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship will earn fabulous trips to the island of Aruba.  The Aruba vacations are in addition to a $15,000 cash prize for the champion in each of the eight classes courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment. The trips will be awarded at the final weekend of the Summit Sportsman National Championship at Dragway 42 in West Salem, Ohio Sept. 22-24, 2017. 


To determine which of the eight Summit Sportsman World Champions can pack their bags for Aruba, a blind draw will be held prior to the start of the final event.  Champions of the two classes drawn live on ESPN3 will win the Aruba vacation prize packages. The Aruba vacations are made possible by partnerships with AroundArubaTours.com, El Gaucho restaurant, Tropicana Resorts – TropClub casino, More 4 Less car rentals and the Don Flip Racing. 

“I’ve never been to Aruba, but I’d love to take my wife to Aruba,” Furr added.  “We’ve been to a lot of places but have not yet been to Aruba.  That would be fun.” 

The driver/mechanical engineer started racing with his older brother, John, back in the 1980s when they were in high school.  John Furr won IHRA Hot Rod World Championships in 1992, ’93 and ’96; the three-time champion passed away last year.


“My brother got me interested in cars,” the younger brother added.  “It wasn’t like kids these days.  There weren’t any junior dragsters back then. I wasn’t even in a car until I was like a junior in high school.  For me, it’s all about the competition.  I was an athlete in high school, and I played a little bit of basketball in college (University of North Carolina at Charlotte). I played basketball and baseball – the competition is what does it for me.  I’m too old to be competitive in those sports now so I try to take out my competition on the race track.  I like cars, too. 

“I actually probably like the Super Rod car better.  I like throttle stop racing, and the pro tree is fun.  I probably like that all around the most.  The Top Dragster piece has kind of grown on me, especially since I put a pro charger on it last year, and it made my dragster a lot more exciting to drive.  Both of them are a lot of fun right now.” 

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