NORWALK, Ohio --
"We want to applaud Byron Dragway and owners Ron Leek and BJ Vangsness for stepping up and making a major commitment to our Thunder division competitors," IHRA director of competition and technical services Mike Baker said. "With the recent shake-up in this division, it's great to see such dedication from one of our member tracks.
"Ron, BJ, (US 131 Motorsports Park manager) Jason Peterson and our management team are going to continue to make a solid investment in the region to insure that we continue to provide options to our competitors in the Midwest."
"It would have been easy for Byron to take the financial deal that NHRA has been offering all of our facilities to switch," said Skooter Peaco, IHRA vice president of racing operations. "Make no mistake about it, there is a full blown game of 'deal or no deal' that has been going on for the past several months between NHRA division directors and our member tracks. Clearly some tracks have taken the financial incentives and switched, but the vast majority have not. There are always going to be people offering and looking for the best deal. That's just business. We want tracks to be with IHRA because they believe in the product and not because they can save some money on sanction fees or event fees this year. Ron and BJ in particular have never been afraid of a challenge and are continuing to support the Thunder competitors and the IHRA.
"Additionally, we want to thank all of the division 5 participants for the phone calls and e-mails of support. The fact that there are racers in that region that see the value in the IHRA double-event format is what will keep this division going. The best way to thank Ron, BJ and Jason for their commitment now is to simply attend the events."
The two Byron Dragway dates will consist of a double-event each time, meaning racers can travel to the track twice and claim points up to four times. The US 131 Motorsports Park event will be a multiple-division double-event, in which competitors may claim it as either North Star or Thunder division.
"Ideally we wanted to have more separation between the first two events, but the available weekends were very limited without running into a conflict this year," added Baker.
The 2007 Thunder Division Summit Pro-Am Schedule
May 19 Byron Dragway 1/4
* May 26 US 131 Motorsports Park 1/4
July 21 Byron Dragway 1/4
* Multiple Division Events
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