NEW ALEXANDRIA, Pa. — Three-time International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) World Champion Michael Beard returned to the winners circle Saturday at the IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular event at Keystone Raceway Park.
Beard from Galloway, Ohio flexed his Mopar muscle, driving his 1980 Plymouth Volare to the Mod division victory. He won on a holeshot with a .019 reaction time to best JT Harrold from Pittsburgh.
Beard posted a 6.604-second pass at 101.10 mph against a 6.61 dial-in. Harrold in a 1971 Chevy Nova went 6.524 at 104.80 against a 6.53 dial-in.
Hometown driver Matt Powell doubled up by winning the Moser Engineering Sunday $5,000-to-win top prize for the Top division and also winning the Motorcycle class.
Powell drove his Oldsmobile Cutlass to the Top victory when final-round opponent Nick Bowman from Delmont, Pa., red-lighted. Powell had a 7.298 elapsed time at 93.44 mph against a 7.31 dial-in. Bowman, looking to repeat after his 2018 win at Keystone, had a 7.947-second pass in his Plymouth Duster after his foul.
It was a good weekend for Powell on two wheels as well, winning another race when his final-round opponent fouled. His pass on an Electric Zero was 7.640 seconds at 98.43 mph against a 7.65 dial-in. Joseph Devola from Ruffs Dale, Pa., went down the track in 6.886 seconds at 106.94 mph on his Suzuki GSXR 750.
There were two Junior Dragster classes and another hometown racer, Abigail Romeo, became a third-generation IHRA Ironman winner in the 8-11 category with a holeshot victory over Levi Lear. Romeo went 12.345 at 51.40 mph against a 12.34 dial-in, along with a .044 start. Lear from Uniontown, Pa., went 9.326 seconds at 71.60 mph with a .073 reaction time.
West Virginia racer Maicy Stewart won the Junior Dragster 12-17 competition with a holeshot. She had an 8.047 elapsed time at 76.37 mph against a 7.95 dial-in, along with a .035 reaction time. Samantha Geiser from Apollo, Pa., finished in 7.899 seconds at 82.30 mph, coupled with a .259 start.
In the Street division, Joe Tharp Jr. from Waynesburg, Pa., raced his Oldsmobile 442 to the victory with a 7.997-second pass at 82.71 against a 7.99 dial-in. Runner-up Mark Vasbinder from New Stanton, Pa., had a slightly quicker reaction time .048 to .049, but lost the close race in his Ford Mustang, going 7.470 seconds at 90.38 mph with a 7.50 dial-in.
AJ Casini from Hunker, Pa., captured the Top division on Battle Born Batteries Sunday when his final-round opponent Rich Coury from Pittsburgh red-lighted. Casini had a 6.166-second elapsed time at 85.34 mph with a .013 reaction time. Coury had a solid effort with a 5.035-second pass at 135.95 mph with a 5.03 dial-in, but fouled by just -.006 second.
Mason Fix from Amherst, N.Y., took the Mod trophy after a .005 reaction time and a 7.372-second elapsed time at 88.06 mph against a 7.38 dial-in. Tharp scored a runner-up finish with a 7.963-second run at 85.31 mph with a 7.98 dial-in.
Tharp missed out on doubling up in the Street class, finishing runner-up to Glenn Perrin from Latrobe, Pa., who had 7.667-second pass at 87.33 mph against a 7.66 dial-in. Tharp had much better reaction time .003 to .067, but lost out with an elapsed time of 8.047 seconds at 82.75 mph with a 7.97 dial-in.
Devola improved on his Saturday effort by one spot, taking the Motorcycle win, matching his dial-in with a 6.891-second pass at 102.20 mph and a .075 reaction time. Gary Garritano from Sarver, Pa., had a 5.442-second elapsed time at 124.14 mph and a .096 reaction time.
Quick starts helped determine the Junior Dragster races as well.
In the 8-11 class, Isabella Ritchey from Ebensburg, Pa., won the reaction time battle .080 to .127 over Saltsburg, Pa., racer Cody Shondelmyer. Ritchey also did a great job going down the track at 9.073 seconds and 70.70 mph against a 9.07 dial-in. Shondelmyer finished in 8.995 seconds and 73.51 mph with an 8.97 dial-in.
Kyle Penn from Tarentum, Pa., won the Junior Dragster 12-17 race on a holeshot. He had a .046 reaction time with a 7.988 elapsed time and 77.11 mph against a 7.92 dial-in. Zoe Moser from Murrysville, Pa., went 7.958 seconds at 79.55 mph against a 7.95 dial-in with a .174 reaction time.
The next IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular weekend is scheduled for July 12-14 at US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan.