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Thu, 16 Dec 2010, 01:04 PM

Summit Racing Assumes Role as Title Sponsor of IHRA Tournament of Champions
Courtesy of IHRA Communications

NORWALK, Ohio --

In an effort to further strengthen its commitment to sportsman drag racing, Tallmadge, Ohio based automotive retailer Summit Racing Equipment announced today its plans to assume the role as title sponsor of the International Hot Rod Association's Tournament of Champions sportsman championship program.

The Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions is held at the conclusion of each season and features a runoff of the top sportsman drivers in each of IHRA's seven sportsman classes to decide the world champions in each class. It is one of the most unique championship programs in the country and has received much praise for its ability to decide championships on the track and give all racers an even playing field regardless of their geographic location or financial ability to travel.

"Summit Racing is very excited to assume the title sponsorship of the IHRA Tournament of Champions," said Jim Greenleaf, Summit Racing Equipment's Motorsports and Event Manager. "We have watched the intense level of competition at the previous TOC events as every round matches up the heavy hitters of sportsman racing in a battle for the championship."

Debuting in 2009, the Tournament of Champions has been an overwhelming hit among the majority of racers and with the added support of Summit Racing Equipment, the TOC program should continue to evolve into one of the premier sportsman programs in the country. Entry into the Summit Racing Tournament of Champions is earned through a national event victory on the Nitro Jam tour, a victory in a special Summit Racing TOC qualifier or by finishing in the top three in one of the six divisions on the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am tour. To add to the value of competing on the Summit Pro-Am Tour, all Summit Pro-Am champions also earn a first round bye in the tournament.

The qualified drivers are then placed on a ladder and the competitors compete head-to-head with the winner being named world champion in their respective class.

"The Tournament of Champions was designed to give all drivers, regardless of financial circumstances, location or other outside factors, an even playing field when it comes to competing for an IHRA world championship. The bottom line is that traditionally a champion was crowned based heavily on how many races they could attend, where they lived versus where the events were held and how much they could spend. Now a champion is one that has been victorious during the year and comes to the World Finals and beats everyone else on the track," said IHRA President Aaron Polburn. "We've been able to level the playing field and actually race for the championship with the new TOC. And now, with the added weight and support of Summit Racing Equipment behind this incredible program, I don't know how any sportsman racer could pass up on an opportunity to be involved in this program.

"It is an exciting time to be a part of the IHRA as we continue to grow and expand our sportsman programs and find new ways to provide maximum value for all of our competitors."

>From a return on investment standpoint, the Tournament of Champions is the most lucrative sportsman world championship program in drag racing. Each sportsman class world champion receives $10,000 cash in addition to other perks befitting a champion without the tremendous costs associated with a traditional points chase. Instead of just the usual few drivers winning world championship prize money, the top eight in each IHRA sportsman class all share in the $125,000 year end point fund.

Summit Racing Equipment's involvement in the Tournament of Champions is just another example of Summit's continued dedication to sportsman racing across the nation. In addition to sponsoring the Tournament of Champions and Summit Pro-Am tour, Summit Racing Equipment also supports the Summit SuperSeries and Summit Team Finals, two very important programs that recognize racers at the grassroots level.

Summit's latest move will replace the Summit Racing Allstars program as the Summit Racing Tournament of Champions expands and takes on the new role as the biggest sportsman program of the year.

"We feel stepping up to the title sponsorship of the TOC will allow us to increase our involvement with a larger number of IHRA sportsman racers," Greenleaf said. "We are working with the IHRA to increase the awards available to these sportsman racers."

In 2011 the Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions will take place at the World Finals at the conclusion of the Summit Pro-Am and Nitro Jam seasons. For the first time, this World Finals weekend will be dedicated entirely to the sportsman racer. The championship weekend will also feature the new Sportsman Spectacular event which will be a final TOC qualifier as well as the Summit SuperSeries World Championship and other special programs throughout the weekend.

"We are very fortunate to have a great partner in sportsman racing like Summit. Their commitment to all of IHRA sportsman racing is tremendous," Polburn said. "Summit Racing supports those that support them - the hard working racers that put in all that time to be able to do what they love.

"Summit's commitment and support for IHRA sportsman programs only helps to reaffirm that sportsman racing at IHRA will be around for a long time."

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