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IHRA wraps up 2014 season with crowning of champions at IHRA Summit World Finals

Monday, October 13, 2014

The International Hot Rod Association wrapped up its 2014 season Sunday with the crowning of champions in 15 IHRA classes during a busy weekend at the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment World Finals at Memphis International Raceway.





Mike Koontz (pictured) was one of 15 IHRA world champions crowned Sunday at Memphis International Raceway

Records were broken and trophies were handed out in 15 IHRA classes on a beautiful Sunday afternoon just outside of Memphis, Tenn. After a washout on Saturday, IHRA finally got on track on championship Sunday and put on quite a show for the thousands of fans watching around the world on the IHRA live feed. When all was said and done, Peter Gallen (Nitro Funny Car), Brad Waddle (Pro Stock) and Jay Turner (Nitro Harley) claimed wins in IHRA's Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series and a total of 15 world champions were formally crowned across three IHRA series.

IHRA's professional champions for 2014 are Jason Rupert (Nitro Funny Car), Cary Goforth (Pro Stock), Mike Scott (Nitro Harley), Ron Maroney (Nitro Altered) and Elaine Larsen (Jet Dragster). IHRA sportsman champions for 2014 are Mike Koontz (Top Sportsman), Kevin Brannon (Top Dragster), Scotty Stillings (Super Stock), Jimmie Hutto (Stock), Jeremy Mason (Quick Rod), Michael Ruff (Super Rod), Tony Jones (Hot Rod), Cody Bayus (Top ET), Mark Pressey (Mod ET) and John Tolisano (Junior Dragster).



Peter Gallen won his first Ironman of 2014 in Nitro Funny Car over Mark Sanders

"Man, this is just a dream come true. You try year-after-year to win one of these things and to finally get it done, to win a championship with the IHRA, it is really unbelievable. I don't have the words to describe how exciting this is," said Jeremy Mason, 2014 IHRA Quick Rod World Champion.

And that sentiment was echoed throughout the pits among both sportsman and Nitro Jam drivers.

Three-time IHRA champion Peter Gallen was one of those drivers, winning his first IHRA race of the season in Memphis while besting new IHRA record holder Mark Sanders in the process. With Sanders setting a new AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car mile-per-hour record one run earlier at 254.38 mph, Gallen was undeterred and put together a stout 5.801-second pass at 249.07 mph in the Nitro Funny Car final to take home his first Ironman of the season.

"Obviously this was a very good group out here racing this weekend, but we got it done with some luck. Our car was not performing properly at all this weekend. We struggled in a number of areas and it simply did not run what it is capable of," Gallen said. "But we were able to rally around my car chief John Benigni and get the win for him. John lost his father on Friday night and he wanted to stay here and see it out. I wanted to send him home on a plane, but he wanted to stay. That is really something and I dedicate this trophy to him and his family."



Michael Ruff won his second Super Rod championship in three years Sunday

Gallen got the best of a stout field on Sunday, a field that included Sanders, Shawn Bowen and Mike McIntire Jr., who collected an Ironman of his own on Sunday. McIntire won the rain-delayed race from Pittsburgh earlier this year and, in the process, finished second in the Funny Car standings behind Jason Rupert, who clinched the championship earlier this year.

By far the most exciting battle of the weekend in the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series took place in Nitro Harley, with four riders entering the event within reach of the championship. After a grueling weekend, Jay Turner Racing teammates Jay Turner, Randal Andras and Mike Scott were the only ones left standing and Turner's victory over Andras in the final secured the championship for Scott, his first.

Adding to the drama, Andras blew a motor in the semifinals, but all three riders pitched in to help him make the call. In the end Andras held his own fate in his hands, but he couldn't get around Turner who ran a 6.295 at 220.48 mph, sealing the championship for Scott. Andras ran a 6.351 at 223.47 to finish second in the race and in the championship standings.



Jay Turner won Sunday's Nitro Harley race and in the process helped teammate Mike Scott clinch the championship in the class, his first

"Jay (Turner) is simply the best. I am here because Jay helped me get here. They gave me a bike that won races all year long and even though I didn't ride well today, Jay helped get it back for me," Scott said. "In that final we talked about it and Jay could have gone out and made that run a bye for himself. But we are a team and we win as a team and lose as a team. In the end, we all pitched in to help (Randal) make that final."

Finally in Pro Stock, Cary Goforth did the unthinkable by winning two championships in one weekend with the IHRA and PDRA racing series. Goforth made the start Friday in Richmond, Va. with the PDRA, clinching the championship with that organization, before boarding a plane and making the trip back to Memphis, Tenn. for the IHRA World Finals. When Goforth secured his spot in the field in Memphis, Goforth officially clinched his second Pro Stock championship of the weekend and fifth overall title in the class.

"Crazy is a good description for this weekend. It was certainly not the most ideal of situations, but we knew this is something we had to do," Goforth said. "We knew when we took on this ambitious schedule that this was a possibility, but luckily I have a dad who is just as crazy as any 20-year-old trying to do this. He likes to think outside of the box and I am appreciative of that. Everything he has done for us has been a blessing."



Mark Pressey was one of three Summit SuperSeries champions, winning Mod ET

Despite the ultimate outcome of the weekend, Goforth ended up going out in the first round, setting the stage for a final between Brad Waddle and Kevin Bealko. Bealko left early on the tree, handing Waddle his second win of the season. But it was Goforth's amazing ride that captured headlines on Sunday.

"I don't know if something like this is ever going to happen again, so we are really going to embrace this," Goforth added. "What really hit me was winning five championships, that is really something special. There are not a lot of people who can say that. That is the big time and that is really what hits home for me."

IHRA's other Nitro Jam classes, Nitro Altered and Jet Dragster, did not compete on Sunday. Ron Maroney sealed the Nitro Altered championship earlier this year, joining Jet Dragster champion Elaine Larsen.

In the sportsman classes, Mike Koontz, Kevin Brannon, Scotty Stillings, Jimmie Hutto, Jeremy Mason, Michael Ruff and Tony Jones were winners of IHRA's Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions presented by AMSOIL, while Cody Bayus, Mark Pressey and John Tolisano won with the Summit SuperSeries presented by AMSOIL.



Brad Waddle (pictured) won his second IHRA race of the season while Cary Goforth went on to clinch the Pro Stock title, his second championships of the weekend

Sunday's race officially concluded the 2014 IHRA racing season. Check back with www.ihra.com for additional stories and features on the 2014 collection of IHRA champions.

FINAL ELIMINATIONS

Millington, Tenn.. - Final results from the 2014 IHRA Summit Racing Equipment World Finals at Memphis International Raceway

AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car - Peter Gallen, Broomall, Pa., '77 Monza, 5.801, 249.07 def. Mark Sanders, Maple Valley, Wash., '70 Mustang, 5.932, 245.85

Pro Stock - Brad Waddle, Salina, Kan., '13 Mustang, 9.473, 96.42 def. Kevin Bealko, Bridgeport, W.Va., '14 Camaro, foul

Nitro Harley - Jay Turner, Julian, N.C., '14 Weekend, 6.295, 220.48 def. Randal Andras, Amelia, La., '14 Weekend, 6.351, 223.47

Summit Tournament of Champions Top Sportsman - Mike Koontz, Warrenton, Va., '00 S10, 7.537, 183.42 def. Calvin Snow, Reidville, S.C., '71 Nova, foul

Summit Tournament of Champions Top Dragster - Kevin Brannon, Boiling Springs, S.C., '12 Maddox, 6.964, 184.47 def. Chris Cadle, Monroe, Mich., '11 Diamond, 7.527, 173.41

Summit Tournament of Champions Super Stock - Scotty Stillings, Floyds Knobs, Ind., '99 Grand Am, 9.039, 129.24 def. Pete D'Agnolo, Rochester, N.Y., '67 Camaro, 9.986, 114.65

Summit Tournament of Champions Stock - Jimmie Hutto, Houston, Texas, '69 Camaro, 10.023, 131.34 def. Kevin Locklear, Sanford, N.C., '71 Duster, 10.803, 119.24

Summit Tournament of Champions Quick Rod - Jeremy Mason, Waco, Ky., '07 Undercover, 8.913, 153.63 def. Randal Langley, Naples, Fla., '01 Mullis, 8.907, 172.65

Summit Tournament of Champions Super Rod - Michael Ruff, Orlando, Fla., '67 Camaro, 9.911, 149.75 def. Paul Brown, Cass City, Mich., '22 Roadster, 9.917, 159.63

Summit Tournament of Champions Hot Rod - Tony Jones, Gilmer, Texas, '67 Camaro, 10.911, 140.39 def. Greg Fowler, Point Pleasant, W.Va., '80 Camaro, 10.898, 142.81

Summit SuperSeries Top ET - Cody Bayus, Warren, Ohio, '04 Worthy, 7.666, 169.74 def. Shane Maddox, Piedmont, S.C., '13 Maddox, 7.343, 178.92

Summit SuperSeries Mod ET - Mark Pressey, Newport, Mich., '71 Dart, 10.159, 129.74 def. Benny Gossett, San Angelo, Texas, '27 Ford, 9.175, 140.33

Summit SuperSeries Junior Dragster - John Tolisano III, Jupiter, Fla., dragster, 7.992, 79.84 def. Michael Turman, Thorndale, Texas, dragster, 7.915, 81.46

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