I-57 Dragstrip once again played host to the “Biggest Little Door Car Race in the Midwest” last weekend, as the 7th annual JEGS Summer Door Car Shootout made its return to the southern Illinois facility. Nearly 230 door car drivers from all across the continent converged on the small facility to do battle for more than $100,000 in cash and prizes.
Ohio Crankshaft Friday:
A massive thunderstorm late Thursday night and into Friday morning delayed the start of Friday’s Ohio Crankshaft Pre-game, and forced the $10,000 plus purse to be split among the Saturday and Sunday main event prizes. In its place, event promoters instead held a 100 percent payback Gamblers race on Friday night. The impromptu event became the Ohio Crankshaft Pre-gamblers race, and featured over 170 entrants to create a purse in excess of $13,000!
Tennessee racer Bobby Hunter wheeled his beautiful S-10 to the Friday night win and $6,800 winner’s purse when he defeated the Oldsmobile Calais of Missouri-based Jeremy McKague in the final round. The final was McKague’s 5th JEGS Summer Door Car Shootout final round appearance (he and Jeremy Jensen have appeared in more SDCS finals than any other racer).
Angelo Belosi was the lone semi-finalist, while Wes May, Shawna Whitworth, and Bob Gilmore each advanced to the quarterfinal round.
BRODIX Saturday Main Event:
With the BRODIX Saturday main event purse increased from $7500 to $10,000-to-win, and a growing number of spectators gathering to see the conclusion, the on track action was intense. Seven drivers remained in round 7, where young Iowa-based driver Alix Risse drove her Beretta to a quarterfinal victory over Randy Rice. Jeremy Jensen wheeled his topless Corvette to victory over Ed Neimec, and Rick Harless dispatched Gary May, while Dave Angelly advanced with the quarterfinal bye run.
In the semi-final round, Angelly’s Mopar fell victim to Risse’s Beretta, while Jensen earned his own fifth trip to the JEGS Summer Door Car Shootout Final Round by defeating Harless’s Kentucky-based Firebird. In the final, Risse scored one for the ladies, claiming her first JEGS Summer Door Car Shootout victory, and the first $10,000 windfall of her racing career.
Specialty and “Door” Prizes, a staple of the event, were combined between Friday and Saturday’s main event, meaning literally 100 plus competitors left with lucrative prizes in hand. Some highlights include: Bottom Bulb Bonus winners Corey Wood (Weekend entry to the 2017 Labor Day No Box Classic) and David Bell (weekend entry to the 2016 Southern Footbrake Challenge); Buy Back Bonus Award winners Melvin Morrison (Digital Delay Mega 450 delay box) and John Bode (Racepak Sportsman Data Logger); Lucky Dog award winners Randy Seale (K&R Twin dial boards w/ controller) and Jason Grams (Flo-Fast Fluid Transfer System); “Oh So Close” Award winners DJ Anderson (Set of Hoosier Slicks) and Dalton Stearman ($500 BTE Gift Certificate); and “Be .50, take .00” award winners David Mascaro (APD Belt Drive Fuel System) and Ronnie Maggart ($500 FTI Gift Certificate).
Nitrous Express Quick 16
2017 provided the quickest field in JEGS Summer Door Car Shootout history, led by Scott Carman’s 4.585 ET and anchored by the 5.128 qualifying effort of Larry Conn.
At night’s end, Greg Dawson drove his SBC powered, stack injected Opel to the Quick 16 victory for a second consecutive season after defeating Michigan based Mike Nitzsche in the final round. In addition to winning back-to-back NX Quick 16 titles, Dawson, who makes the drive to I-57 Dragstrip from Alabama each season, is also a past King Of Illinois finalist.
Nitrous Express Quick 16 semi-finalists were Kyle Ellis and Larry Conn.
ThisIsBracketRacing ELITE King of Illinois
A record number of competitors entered the King Of Illinois Hi-Roller shootout, a race that features a $500 entry fee, with 100 percent of the entries paid out in a winner-take-all format. With 44 entrants, the race within a race paid a whopping $22,000 to the last racer standing!
Six rounds later, that cash went back to Tennessee with Travis Eaton, who got the victory behind the wheel of his friend Kenny Pease’s Chevy II wagon. Eaton defeated Indiana’s Aaron Vail in the final round. Steve Hohimer was the lone semi-finalist, while Jeremy McKague, Angelo Belosi, and Hunter Anderson fell in the quarterfinal round.
JEGS Wheelie Wagon & Mickey Thompson Burnout Contests
One unique feature of the JEGS Summer Door Car Shootout is the fans. This season, over 1200 spectators crammed into the small southern Illinois facility on Saturday night, and the racers of the SDCS put on a show! During the BRODIX main event, Frisbees were tossed into the crowd with the name of each of the last 27 competitors remaining in competition. At night’s end, the lucky fan holding the Frisbee of winner Alix Risse walked away with $500 cash!
In addition, the racers of the JEGS Summer Door Car Shootout proved that they have a little showmanship in them. As part of the Saturday night Fan Appreciation program, finalists in the Mickey Thompson Burnout contest and JEGS Wheelie Wagon Contest got to show out in front of the huge crowd. Lucas Walker took the JEGS Wheelie Wagon crown following an epic all-Kentucky driver battle with Chris Butcher. In the Mickey Thompson Burnout contest, it was another Kentucky racer Rick Harless getting the nod over Jeff Baldridge and defending burnout champ Brian Whitworth.
Sunday Moser Engineering $10,000 Main Event
Sunday action began with the annual JEGS Dial for Dollars to benefit the JEGS Foundation for Cancer Research. Racers raised nearly $2500 for the charity, and co-promoters Luke Bogacki and Scott Bailey chipped in to make the total contribution an even $3,000! Rich McCarty laid down a perfect run during the Dial-for-Dollars (driving a car that he had made just three passes in previously) to win the top prize: a $500 JEGS Gift Certificate. Local racers Tim Melvin and Ron Cunningham each posted .003 packages to earn the 2nd and 3rd place prizes: a custom -5 fire jacket from Alliance Racewear, and a Flo-Fast fluid transfer system.
Cunningham wasn’t done earning prizes there. Just hours later, he was drawn for the Sunday Portatree Buyback bonus, taking home a Portatree gift basket loaded with various practice trees and accessories. Sunday’s Wiseco “Oh So Close” award sent Timmy Lucas home with a set of Wiseco Pistons, while Wes May earned a $500 FTI gift certificate for posting the first “Be .50, take .00” lap of eliminations. California Car Cover “Cool Car” Awards went to Jared Pennington, Todd Story, Jake Heminover, Hunter Anderson, and Dan Hobbs. Rob Meservier made the trek to I-57 all the way from Thunder Bay, ON (930+ miles) to earn the RacePak Long Distance Award (a Racepak Sportsman Data Logger) for a fourth consecutive season. Lastly, hard luck awards (randomly awarded to competitors who were defeated in round 3 on BOTH days of the main event) went to Brent Vincent (Brent actually won two Hard Luck Awards: an entry to the I-57 Labor Day $5k event, and a $500 BTE Gift certificate) and James Tyler Moffitt, who score an AirTek Pressure Monitoring system.
The weekend action came to a close with Tony Atchison driving his Chevrolet Monte Carlo to the $10,000 Moser main event victory over a red-lighting John DiPiazza. David Bell footbraked his way to a semi-final finish, earning Bottom Bulb Bonus honors (an entry to the 2018 No Box Nationals) along the way. Quarterfinalists included Zach Schlumpf, Saturday winner Alix Risse, and Terry Rawson.