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Profile of the Top Sportsman Drag Racers in the Country

Straight Line Spotlight

Bruce Biegler Nov 10, 2016
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Clutch in Chicago

2000 Chevy Corvette Wheelie 2/4

Competing at NHRA’s annual national event at Route 66 Raceway in Chicago always seems to bring out the best in racers. That was certainly the case last summer when Louisiana’s Slate Cummings came close to scoring an extremely rare “triple crown” at the same event. Cummings, who is a key member of the dynamic and (seven car deep!) all-Chevrolet drag racing camp presented by Moser Engineering, first won the event’s highly prestigious JEGS Allstars race for Super Stock. That came driving his SS/BS 2003 Chevy Cavalier, which features a 317ci engine program, as Slate topped the best-of-the-best in that annual Super Stock racing national congregation. A day later, during competition for the K&N Filters Route 66 Nationals event title, Cummings racked up another big win. This time it was in Stock Eliminator racing his B/SA 2000 Corvette. Slate carved out a final round win with his fuel-injected small-block entry over fellow Chevy-brand racer Brian Herem, who was the designated driver for the Massel Racing COPO Camaro. Cummings came close to his third event trophy with a semi-final round placing in Super Stock on Sunday, also driving his SS/BS Cavalier. That event effort was one of the most notable of the season overall within the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Sportsman national racing scene.

A Natural Hat Trick!

1969 Camaro Funny Car 3/4

That famous NHL scoring reference can also now certainly be applied to ace California-based second-generation drag racer Jason Rupert after his 2016 racing season. Driving a very cool-looking and fan favorite U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds-themed nitro Nostalgia Camaro Funny Car, Rupert landed a third-straight World Championship title within the IHRA’s AMSOIL-sponsored division. Jason clinched that title after prevailing in yet another seesaw season-long points battle with another Camaro driver, Ohio’s Mike McIntire, who also for the third season in a row, finished Second in IHRA World points. Mathematically, this title chase came down to the final round of the season-ending event held at US 131 Motorsports Park in Michigan. Then dramatically, and probably appropriately, Rupert put an exclamation point on his title with an IHRA World Record-setting 5.522 e.t. at 262.54 mph victory lap!

Newest Mandell Marvel

2016 Chevy Corvette Burnout 4/4

Tennessee’s Bob Mandell, who is the founder and owner of Pro-Fab Race Cars, continued his propensity and reputation for building awesome drag racing vehicles during 2016. His newest creation is a fantastic 2016 Corvette, which he and his son Bob Jr. handbuilt in about a 60-day period then unveiled to the racing public mid-season last year. Purpose-built for Top Sportsman class racing, this machine features an alcohol-burning, supercharged 500ci BAE engine program and a TH400 transmission with a Coan torque converter. This Corvette, which is fully capable of low 6-second elapsed times, made an immediate impact with fans and officials, too. During its debut at the JEGS SPORTSnationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the car, which features a paint scheme by Jeff Hodgkin, garnered that event’s prestigious Best Appearing Award. Bob has dedicated his newest creation to the memory of his wife, Paula, who unfortunately passed away the previous year.

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