WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Any good partnership has to be beneficial to both parties.
In the case of the International Hot Rod Assocation (IHRA) and Summit Racing Equipment, the longest series partnership in drag racing is beneficial well beyond themselves.
Tracks and their racers reap the benefits of the IHRA Summit SuperSeries, the IHRA Summit Team Finals and the IHRA Summit World Finals programs.
The IHRA Summit SuperSeries is the most prestigious championship in grassroots, sportsman bracket racing. The $200,000 program is the world championship for over 12,000 IHRA-member racers held at nearly 100 IHRA-sanctioned tracks.
The program crowns World Champions in Top (Box), Mod (No Box), Sportsman and Junior Dragster. In 2021, the program was the first to nationally recognize electric vehicles in a world championship format.
Top and Mod World Champions receive $20,000, while the payout is $10,000 for Juniors and $7,000 for Sportsman. In addition, all champions receive a prestigious IHRA Ironman Trophy, a World Championship Diamond Ring and an IHRA Gold Card. Competitors receive $300 tow money and pay no entry fee to compete for the points fund.
Jimmie Barrett has a long history with the IHRA Summit SuperSeries, winning an IHRA Division Mod (No Box) title in 2003. His track switched sanctioning bodies the next year, but he was thrilled when they returned to IHRA.
In 2021, Barrett drove his 1979 Chevy Camaro to a runner-up finish in the Sportsman class at the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals. He has a deep appreciation for the support IHRA and Summit Racing Equipment shows to the bracket racers.
“I think the Summit SuperSeries is the coolest thing in the world,” he said. “For Summit and IHRA to do that is fantastic. IHRA and Summit hands down, takes care of the bracket racers.
“I appreciate that more than they can ever know. Anybody who has went rounds at the IHRA World Finals, knows how great that money is. Even when you get beat first round in IHRA, you feel like you’ve accomplished something. It makes a big difference. To me, IHRA and Summit do an amazing job.”
Racers, who are IHRA members, can qualify for the World Finals by winning a Summit SuperSeries track championship at a participating IHRA-member track or by winning an IHRA Summit Team Finals main event.
For track owners, the IHRA Summit SuperSeries is a great way to encourage participation in their weekly programs. It’s certainly the case at Mid-Michigan Motorplex which competes in the IHRA Division 5 (Thunder) Summit Team Finals at US 131 Motorsports Park.
“For us, the biggest deal is IHRA is bracket-race friendly,” Ledford said. “That’s what our program is based on. The Summit SuperSeries is obviously a huge deal. We’ve sent racers from every class to compete in the Summit SuperSeries (World Finals) every year that we’ve been a part of it.
“It helps for us convenience-wise and logistically the bracket finals are 90 miles from our track. It’s easy to get our people there. It’s mainly IHRA is more racer-friendly than anything we had before.”
Zach Livingston drove his 1968 Camaro to runner-up in the Mod (No Box) class at the 2021 IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals. He has qualified for the world finals three straight years, the last two times as winner of the Midwest Team Finals at Eddyville (Iowa) Raceway Park.
“I think the Summit Team Finals are even more fun than the World Finals,” he said. “You have a lot of good friends you know and can compete with as a team. It’s fun to keep track of the (team) points and all that. At the World Finals, you’re more on your own other than the people who went with you.
“But, I’ve made a lot of friends at the World Finals the last three years. That’s been fun. It’s a great opportunity to compete against the best racers in the country.”
Click here or call 561-337-3446 to join the fun by becoming an IHRA member and participating in the IHRA Summit SuperSeries program.