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Drag Illustrated Reveals Winners of Inaugural DI Awards

Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings champion Ryan Martin was named the Drag Illustrated Racer of the Year for 2021, the magazine announced Wednesday evening during a special awards show livestream. Martin and the winners in 14 other categories are also recognized in the new DI Awards Issue, which was released digitally Wednesday evening, with print copies reaching subscribers this week.

Martin was chosen as the Racer of the Year by the DI editorial team due to his relentless pursuit of greatness on and off the track. In addition to winning his second consecutive Street Outlaws: No Prep Kingschampionship in 2021, Martin served as a positive ambassador for the sport.

The other nominees for the Racer of the Year Award were NHRA Pro Stock world champion Greg Anderson, PDRA Pro Boost driver and tuner Todd Tutterow, NHRA Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence, and NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Matt Smith.

“All of the drivers nominated for the Racer of the Year Award are incredible competitors and they each made their own unique, significant impacts on the sport in 2021,” said Wes Buck, founder and editorial director, Drag Illustrated. “But we couldn’t ignore the massive movement that was the Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings scene last year, and right at the front of that movement was Ryan Martin. With millions of people watching, he raced through a grueling schedule and outlasted increasingly tough competition to win his second consecutive championship. We’re proud to name Ryan Martin the first-ever DI Racer of the Year.”

The DI Awards also include Sportsman Racer of the Year, Outlaw Racer of the Year, and Breakout Racer of the Year. Categories like Tuner of the Year, Crew of the Year, and Promoter of the Year recognize the people who made an impact on the sport outside of the driver’s seat. The Pass of the Year, Race of the Year, and Moment of the Year Awards focus on the moments that made 2021 so memorable.

“We wanted to cover as many bases as possible with this first-ever DI Awards program,” said Nate Van Wagnen, editor-in-chief, Drag Illustrated. “It’s not just about the big-name, pro-level drivers whose names appear in the headlines every week. This is also about recognizing the events, the places, and of course the people, who played a part in the biggest stories of 2021.  Our whole team stepped up to produce this special issue – and an incredible live awards show to go with it – because we believe so strongly in the DI Awards and the winners we selected.”

The DI Awards livestream is available for replay on the Drag Illustrated Facebook and YouTube pages.

The DI Awards Issue also includes features on the first-ever inductees into the new DI Hall of Fame. The Class of 2022 includes Don “The Snake” Prudhomme & Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen, Don Garlits, Wally Parks, Bob Glidden, and John Force.

“Since the beginning, Drag Illustrated has focused on highlighting the efforts of the newsmakers, the trendsetters, and the rising stars of drag racing,” Buck said. “However, we also believe strongly in paying tribute to the people who paved the way for the sport to reach its currently high levels. In a nod to those men and women, we’ve created the Drag Illustrated Hall of Fame, which will become an ongoing effort to recognize the efforts of those who built the sport from the ground up.”

The DI Awards Issue is available to read for free at

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Racer of the Year: Ryan Martin
Nominees: Greg Anderson, Todd Tutterow, Steve Torrence, and Matt Smith

Sportsman Racer of the Year: Jeff Serra
Nominees: Luke Bogacki, Tyler Bohannon, Sean Bellemeur, and Christopher Dodd

Outlaw Racer of the Year: Ken Quartuccio
Nominees: Manny Buginga, Stevie Jackson, Tim Essick, and Rob Goss

Breakout Racer of the Year: Dallas Glenn
Nominees: Lyle Barnett, Kyle Koretsky, Josh Hart, and Justin Swanstrom

Pass of the Year: Daniel Pharris’ 3.49 in Radial vs. the World at Sweet 16
Nominees: Brittany Force’s 3.637 at 335 mph in Top Fuel at Texas NHRA FallNationals, Todd Tutterow’s 3.58 at 211 mph in Outlaw Pro Mod at U.S. Street Nationals, Manny Buginga’s 5.75 in Outlaw vs. Extreme at World Cup Finals, John DeFlorian’s 4.000 in Extreme Pro Stock at PDRA World Finals

Race of the Year: 50th Annual Snowbird Outlaw Nationals
Nominees: NHRA Texas FallNationals/Stampede of Speed, PDRA World Finals, NHRA Gatornationals, World Doorslammer Nationals

Crew of the Year: The “Capco Boys”
Nominees: Fireball Racing, KB Racing, GALOT Motorsports, the “Capco Boys,” Elite Motorsports

Tuner of the Year: Steve Petty
Nominees: Jeff Pierce, Brandon Switzer, Bobby Lagana, Jake Hairston

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John Force Showmanship Award: Scott Palmer
Nominees: Alex Laughlin, Stevie “Fast” Jackson, Matt Hagan, Lyle Barnett

Special Award for Ambassadors to the Sport of Drag Racing: Brian Lohnes
Nominees: Dr. Jamie Meyer, Clay Millican, Ron Capps, Jim Hughes

Promoter of the Year: Victor Alvarez
Nominees: Andy Carter, Tyler Crossnoe, Bill Bader, Sam Korkis

Track of the Year: Texas Motorplex
Nominees: Bradenton Motorsports Park, Summit Motorsports Park, Virginia Motorsports Park, Bandimere Speedway

Moment of the Year: Lyle Barnett Wins in NHRA Pro Mod at Dallas
Nominees: Bruno Massel vs. Mason McGaha Staging Duel at Topeka, Justin Kirk Wins in XPS at Bowling Green, John and Brittany Force Win Together at Topeka, Troy Coughlin Jr. Defeats Greg Anderson at Las Vegas, JR Todd’s Throttle Whack to Stage at Indy

Rivalry of the Year: KB Racing vs. Elite Motorsports
Nominees: Matt Smith Racing vs. Vance & Hines, John Force vs. Matt Hagan, Jim Halsey vs. Tommy Franklin, Justin Swanstrom vs. Everyone but Team X

Social Media Influencer of the Year: Leah Pruett
Nominees: Justin Swanstrom, Alex Taylor, Clay Millican, Alex Laughlin

This story was originally published on February 17, 2022. Drag Illustrated

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Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.