IHRA NEW 2022        
navbar bottom

Richards Takes It to the Limit to Win IHRA Summit SuperSeries Sportsman Championship

Thursday, 12 October 2023

The classic Eagles song, “Take it to the Limit,” would have been the perfect theme for Aaron Richards at the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals presented by Strange Engineering. 

Richards, representing US 41 Dragstrip, used the advice from his father to win the Sportsman championship in a final-round matchup over fellow Indiana driver Gary Blankenship, who represented Muncie Dragway. 

His father’s motto is “red light or win.” So in the final round, Richards posted a .008 reaction time to get a .026 advantage at the start. He continued to push down the track, finishing in 7.571 seconds at 89.07 mph against a 7.57 dial-in.


There’s always the danger of pushing too far as Richards knows all too well. He made it to the World Finals in 2022 after winning the IHRA Division 5 (Thunder) Summit Team Finals, but was eliminated early. Since then, he’s worked hard to find that fine line between a great start and going red, especially when you’re at the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals, facing the best bracket racers in North America.

“Keeping my composure is something I’ve worked on the past year,” he said. “I came here last year and didn’t do too hot. I mentally prepared myself for this moment. I heard my dad say, ‘Red light or win.’ It’s something we live by and it will get you far.”

Richards, a 24-year-old behavior therapist, also got the holeshot against Derek Simon, the IHRA Sportsman Spectacular winner from Muncie, in the semifinal. Like the final, Richards posted another strong run all the way down the track with a 7.587 elapsed time on a 7.58 dial. He went red by -.001 in the quarterfinal, but it was OK since he was unopposed on a bye run.


Even though he and Blankenship both hail from the Hoosier State, Richards didn’t remember them racing each other before the World Finals.

His father, James, has a huge influence on Richards. He’s the one who does most of the work on the 1978 red Ford Fairmont with a 306-cubic inch motor. It’s an attention grabber with the unique FoMoCoLoCo signage, which stands for Ford Motor Company crazy, on the doors.

“We had the car dialed in because of my dad,” Richards said. “He does so much work and I try to help when I can. He keeps the show running and I just drive.”

As the Sportsman champion, Richards received a $7,000 big check from Summit Racing Equipment, an IHRA Gold Card, a World Champion Diamond Ring and a prestigious IHRA World Champion Ironman Trophy. There was also the grand prize of a 20-foot, wood-floor flatbed car hauler made of the finest construction from B&C Trailer Services. 

While he was certainly impressed with the overall prize package, it was the honor of becoming an IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Champion which meant the most to him.

“It means the world to be World Champion. It’s something I’ve wanted to win for a long time,” Richards said. “I’ve seen other people do it and you consistently want to be the best. This is a dream come true.”

Social Media Banner IHRA BACKGROUND 300px x 149px

DRM Sidebar Banner



Sunoco Race Fuels Banner

 Facebook IHRA NEW  Instagram IHRA NEW  Twitter IHRA NEW  Youtube IHRA NEW

IHRA calendarheader

Summit Team Finals D6 - Thunder Valley Dragways
Thunder Valley Dragway
Thursday, August 22nd - Saturday, August 24th
Summit Team Finals D1 - Roxboro Motorsports Park
Roxboro Motorsports Park
Thursday, September 5th - Saturday, September 7th
Summit Team Finals D2 - Holly Springs Motorsports
Holly Springs Motorsports
Thursday, September 12th - Saturday, September 14th
Summit Team Finals D3 - Quaker City Motorsports Park
Quaker City Motorsports Park
Thursday, September 19th - Saturday, September 21st
Summit Team Finals D5 - US41 Dragstrip
US41 Dragstrip
Thursday, September 19th - Saturday, September 21st