- Published on Saturday, 18 May 2013 15:11
It’s one huge drag racing family party!
NORWALK, Ohio – Hard core metal mashing thrilled a record single-day crowd of more than 40,000 on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at the Mickey Mart Rewards Cavalcade of Stars presented by Budweiser at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
The racers competing in the National Hot Rod Association Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the new NHRA Harley-Davidson Drag Racing Series responded by demolishing track records, including a new Cavalcade car count record of 607 mechanical beasts.
And Jet Dragsters, a Jet Kenworth, Top Fuel Harley-Davidsons, Top Alcohol Dragsters, Top Alcohol Funny Cars, and a stunning selection of sportsman racing machines blasted the excitement level throughout the park.
In a prerace ceremony fans and racers warmly welcomed Leo Taugher as the Grand Marshal of the Mickey Mart Rewards Cavalcade of Stars presented by Budweiser.
The National Hot Rod Association North Central Division official announcer since 1988, Leo Taugher launched his vocal presence at Quaker City Dragway in Salem, Ohio.
“Leo Taugher has given 40 years of his life to a sport we all love -- drag racing,” said Bill Bader Jr., president of Summit Motorsports Park, adding he educated and entertained everyone at the tracks.
“Thank you for making our sportsman racers feel special, and thank you for making us laugh,” Bill Bader Jr. said. “I think I speak for everybody: We love you Leo.”
In honor of Armed Forces Day, Summit Motorsports Park unfurled a 60-foot-by-90-foot American Flag in the middle of the dragstrip.
Also during the prerace ceremony, Bill Bader Jr. introduced Jeff Hipp, president of Maple City Ice Co., as the Budweiser presenting sponsor for the Cavalcade of Stars, and Jason Appel, vendor relations for Coles Engergy Inc., the parent company for 30 Mickey Mart convenience stores in a 90-mile radius around Summit Motorsports Park.
Mickey Mart Rewards, the title sponsor for the Mickey Mart Rewards Cavalcade of Stars presented by Budweiser, is a key tag that racers and fans can use to win free items and save money at Mickey Marts.
The racing piqued with Winner’s Circle celebrations as a result of a race within the race.
To hike the excitement at the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, Wiseco Performance Products, Mentor, Ohio, sponsored two $1,000 winner-take-all purses in the Wiseco Fast Four Top Dragster and Top Sportsman races.
The top four qualifiers in the first two qualifying sessions in both classes raced it off at 7 p.m. Saturday, with the final rounds about 9 p.m. Saturday.
Glenn Butcher, Doylestown, Ohio, claimed the Top Sportsman purse in a 1969 Camaro with a reaction time of 0.073 seconds, an elapsed time of 6.521 seconds and 213 mph, over Ronald Proctor, Harpers Ferry, W.Va., in a 2009 Mustang, who set down a 0.007-second reaction time, a 6.832-second elapsed time and 201 mph.
After asking fans to cheer if they love Chevys, Bill Bader Jr., president of Summit Motorsports Park, said, “This is the baddest Chevy on the property.”
Over the last 1½ years, Glenn Butcher and his crew built the Camaro. Two weeks ago, Glenn Butcher nosed the Camaro up to the tree for its first run.
In the Wiseco Fast Four Top Dragster, Keith McLennan, Toledo, Ohio staked a claim before the race began.
When Bill Bader Jr. asked Keith McLennan if he were entering the Wiseco Fast Four, Keith McLennan said, “Enter it…I’m going to win it!”
Not only did Keith McLennan qualify number one in the Koffel’s Place Lake Erie Monster dragster, he bagged the win on a 0.018-second reaction time and a 6.095-second elapsed time at 201 mph over Michael Smith, Owosso, Mich., with a 0.077-second reaction time and a 7.844-second elapsed time and 125 mph.
Fans weighed in on their favorite part of the Mickey Mart Rewards Cavalcade of Stars presented by Budweiser.
Rae, Don and Lee Waugh, Orville, Ohio stood along the Budweiser trackside fence during the evening show and experienced Bob Motz and his 200 mph Jet Kenworth semi truck.
“It’s awesome,” Rae Waugh said. “We try to come here every year.”
Carol Potter, Wellington, Ohio and her son, Daniel Potter, 18, chose different favorites.
“The bikes,” Carol Potter said, adding she’d love to hop on the back of a Nitro Harley-Davidson for a 225 mph ride. “Yes, I would, in a second.”
Dan Potter enjoys Bob Motz, too.
“I like how he walks it,” Dan Potter said. “And I want to see him burn that sign down. I like how it’s the fastest semi in the world.”
Strolling through the staging lanes after the event, Beth Humphreys and Gwyneth Humphreys, 11, LaGrange, Ohio lined up for photographs by the billboard with Rick Mills, Wellington, Ohio recalling the Cavalcade of Stars.
“This was great,” Beth Humphreys said, adding her faves are the motorcycles.
“It’s been 20 or 30 years since we’ve been out here,” Rick Mills said. “It’s changed a lot. It’s nice.”
“I like the track,” said Gwyneth Humphreys, a fifth grader.
“I think she liked the Dots the best,” Beth Humphreys said. “This is her second one.”
“The fireworks we liked the best,” Rick Mills said. “It was the best I’ve seen in a long time.”
The Cavalcade of Stars also impressed Brennan Hale, 17, and Cody Abernathy, 16, both from Greenwich, Ohio.
“It was awesome,” Brennan Hale said.
“It was amazing,” Cody Abernathy said. “It was my first time, too. My favorite was the Jet Cars and the Jet Semi. I just liked the show they put on: How the fire spits out of it and they turned the lights off.”
A group of friends met in the midway on the Summit side of the race track.
Alex Rush, 19, Wellington, Ohio, active since August in the United States Marines, visits home until July 22 then leaves for South Korea on his first tour out of the country.
Alex Rush tagged jet engines as his favorites.
“The power,” Alex Rush said. “Love the torque.”
Brad Waterbury, 18, Amherst, Ohio, in the United States Army for five months, chose the Jet Kenworth of Bob Motz as his favorite.
Jesse Jones, 19, Amherst, Ohio, who does car bodywork and paint, appreciates the street cars and hot rods.
Andrew Conrady, 19, Amherst, visited a Night Under Fire before, and decided to try the Mickey Mart Rewards Cavalcade of Stars presented by Budweiser.
Along the Summit track fence, Tom Mallak, Spencerville, Ohio, an electrical engineer for Crown Lift Trucks, New Breman, Ohio, caught the action with his son, Tyler Chapman, 15, a high school freshman.
A former Junior Dragster driver, Tyler Chapman gave the thrill nod to Top Alcohol Dragsters.
Other than driving his own Super Comp dragster, Tom Mallak liked best the Nitro Harleys.
“My wife is a racer, too,” Tom Mallak said. “Bev Mallak, she drives a 1981 Camaro in Super Street. Our team is M2 Racing. My Super Comp car broke last week. And I build my own motors and transmissions.”
Not quite old enough to be endowed with a driver’s license, Tyler Chapman doesn’t have a race track ride now.
“He wants to get in my dragster,” Tom Mallak said. “It goes six or seven seconds. We’re not sure about that.”
Tom Mallak caught the Cavalcade of Stars homestyle excitement.
“It’s one of our favorite tracks to come to,” Tom Mallak said. “We used to be in Division 5. We’ve been around a lot of tracks, and this is by far the very best.”
Walking through the water box area, Jeff Gerber, Massilon, Ohio, races a red 1927 Ford Roadster in Super Gas and his son, Adam Gerber, runs Super Comp in an American Race Cars dragster.
“The people in the stands are unbelievable,” Jeff Gerber said. “This is just a points race. I’ve been doing this for 25 years, racing in points races in the district, and I can’t believe the people (Bill Bader Jr.) brings in here. He puts on a good show, that’s for sure.”
To rev your racing appetite for Championship Sunday, we added some qualifying placements provided by the National Hot Rod Association. If you want, print the list, stick it in a wallet and bring it along.
The eight qualifiers in Top Alcohol Dragster include: 1. Brandon Booher, Urbana, Ill., Elapsed Time 5.386 seconds, qualifying mph 267. 2. Kyle Michalek, Louisville, Ohio, 5.398, 259. 3. Robin Samsel, Marion, Ind., 5.402, 256. 4. Bill Reichert, Owosso, Mich., 5.419, 263. 5. Marty Thacker, Robinson, Ill., 5.419, 261. 6. Ken Perry, Markham, Ontario, 5.425, 262. 7. Jeff Veale, Stoney Creek, Ontario, 5.503, 269. 8. Paul Fishburn, Rensselaer, Ind., 5.532, 256.
The eight qualifiers in Top Alcohol Funny Car include: 1. John Anderika, Wyoming, Pa., 5.632, 255. 2. Chris Foster, Davenport, Iowa, 5.644, 256. 3. Paul Noakes, London, Ontario, 5.654, 252. 4. Andy Bohl, Racine, Wisc., 5.660, 259. 5. Cassie Simonton, Brooklyn Park, Minn., 5.661, 254. 6. Mickey Ferro, Stanford, Conn., 5.663, 252. 7. Ray Drew, Hales Corners, Wisc., 5.667, 257. 8. John Bojec, Mentor, Ohio, 5.757, 251.
The eight qualifiers in Top Fuel Harley motorcycles include: 1. Douglas Horne, Aberdeen, Md., 6.266, 225. 2. Tommy Grimes, Clemmon, N.C., 6.276, 220. 3. Chris Streeter, Cleveland, 6.296, 205. 4. Mark Cox, Wilkesboro, N.C. 6.351, 228. 5. Brook McCabe, Roanoke Rapids, N.C., 6.460, 224. 6. Steve Dorn, Milwaukee, Or., 6.496, 221. 7. Jay Turner, Julian, N.C., 6.519, 210. 8. Larry Brancaccio, Nutley, N.J., 6.522, 216.
The four qualifiers in Pro Dragster motorcycles include: 1. Dale Nilles, Purlear, N.C., 7.397, 169. 2. Janette Thornley, Sacramento, Calif., 7.480, 165. 3. Rich Vreeland, Bloomsburg, Pa., 7.624, 164. 4. Clint Pleasant, Kokomo, Ind., 7.645, 152.