NORWALK, Ohio --
With the price of diesel fuel at near-record levels IHRA has designed its 2008 Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by Mr. Gasket schedules with economy and value in mind. Adding to its industry changing "two race in one weekend" concept developed two years ago, IHRA will help racers' wallets by scheduling back to back racing at two Knoll Gas Nitro Jam national events while both Division 1 and 3 schedule will feature double race weekends exclusively.
Kicking off Division 3 will be Milan Dragway May 30 - June 1, following the 2008 Motor City Nationals which are scheduled for May 23-25. This will allow racers to stay and save on travel costs.
"Even if the racers want to go home between events they will be able to leave their rigs, cars and equipment at the track," IHRA Division 3 director Joel Thompson said. "This way they can keep their rigs at a secure location and not have to tow them back and forth. This also should help them get solid information at the national event to use during the Pro-Am."
The second event of the series will take place in Clay City, Kentucky, home of Mt Park Dragway.the 2007 Division 3 Pro-Am Track of the Year. Hosting the event during Fourth of July weekend has been a long standing tradition at Mt Park Dragway, allowing them to treat the racers and fans to a fabulous fireworks show on Saturday night. This event brings out the entire community as they watch the thrill of Pro-Am racing combined with exhibition Jet Cars followed by the spectacular fireworks show.
"This event is always a blast," Thompson said of the Mt. Park Pro-Am. "Jared Kennon, Dallas Clark and their staff always do a tremendous job of turning this event into a huge party. It really is a great way to celebrate the holiday."
The third stop will be at Knoll Gas Motorsports Park, August 8 - 10, following the Torco Race Fuels Northern Nationals. Once again, racers will have the opportunity to stay over following the National Event and compete in the Pro-Am race.
The final stop for Divsion 3 will be Grand Bend Motorplex, August 22 - 24. Track operators Paul Spriet and Ron Biekx were committed to making the Pro-Am Tour International and aggressively pursued a Pro-Am Tour date for the 2008 season.
"Grand Bend is a really cool little resort town on the southern coast of Lake Huron," Thompson said. "There is plenty to do there for the entire family. I think this is the ideal place to have a Pro-Am race in Canada."
As with Division 3, four double race weekends will make up the Division 1 (Patriots) Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by Mr. Gasket schedule. The first stop will be Maryland International Raceway, where track operator Royce Miller will host a "Frantic 7's Heads-Up" event in addition to the two Pro-Am events. Pro cars will also be able to test for free provided they preregister with the track.
"Royce has had some weather challenges over the last couple of years," Thompson said. "He always puts together a great schedule, but sometimes the rain spoils things. We're looking forward to getting both races in without any problems this season."
The second event on the Division 1 schedule will take racers to Pittsburgh Raceway Park July 11-13.the future site of a Knoll Gas Nitro Jam national event in 2009. The Tedesco family is continually upgrading the facility and this event typically brings out all the big hitters in sportsman drag racing.
New on the Division 1 slate this season will be the 2007 IHRA Sportsman Track of the Year, Skyview Drags. The event, scheduled for July 25-27, will be the only 1/8th mile event run in Division 1 in 2008.
"George Swansborgh and Amy Culver have done a great job of turning Skyview Drags into something special," Thompson said. "This is a great addition to the Division 1 Pro-Am schedule."
Closing out the Division 1 slate will be a return to Quaker City Raceway Aug. 15-17. Last year Quaker City celebrated its 50th anniversary by running an O'Reilly Thunder Jam in conjunction with the its Anniversary race. This year track operator Dan Swindell will bring that excitement to his Summit Pro-Am double race weekend.
Quaker City Raceway recently rejoined the IHRA family of member tracks and Swindell is looking forward to a full season of racing action at his track in Northeast Ohio.
"Dan is very excited," IHRA vice president of marketing Jim Marchyshyn said. "Quaker City is a track steeped in history and we at IHRA are thrilled the place is thriving. We look forward to great things this season."
Division 3 (North Stars) 2007 Summit Pro-Am schedule May 30-June 1 Milan Dragway July 4-6 Mt. Park Aug. 8-10 Knoll Gas Motorsports Park Aug. 22-24 Grand Bend Motorplex Division 1 (Patriots) 2007 Summit Pro-Am schedule April 11-13 Maryland International Raceway July 11-13 Pittsburgh Raceway Park July 25-27 Skyview Drags Aug. 15-17 Quaker City Raceway