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Hefler, Lockhart, Richards, Leung and Austin Crowned IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Champions

Five racers — Jeromy Hefler, Wes Lockhart, Aaron Richards, Kane Austin and AJ Leung —  were crowned best of the best as winners of the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals presented by Strange Engineering.

The annual gathering of bracket racing champions across North America was more competitive than ever before. It featured individual IHRA Summit SuperSeries track champions, divisional champions from the IHRA Summit Team Finals, winners of the IHRA Sportsman Spectacular presented by Moser Engineering and FuelTech events, and former IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Champions.

Hefler, representing Xtreme Raceway Park, defeated Tony Petersen from Onawa Dragway in a battle of Chevy II cars in the Top (Box) final. Petersen left -.014 too quick, leaving Hefler to post a 6.386 second-run at 107.27 mph. Petersen finished in 5.560 seconds at 122.68 mph as the top four drivers were in door cars.

For his efforts, Hefler earned $20,000 in prize money from Summit Racing Equipment, an IHRA Gold Card, a World Champion Diamond Ring, the prestigious IHRA World Champion Ironman Trophy plus the grand prize of an Ezell Race Cars custom-built dragster. 

It was a dream matchup in the Mod (No Box) final with Lockhart getting the best of Grant Zimmerman. Lockhart, who won track championships at both Gleason Raceway Park and Beacon Dragway as well as the Mod title at the IHRA Division 2 Summit Team Finals, had a .007 start in his Chevy along with a 5.907-second pass at 113.67 mph against a 5.90 dial-in. Zimmerman, the 2022 IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Champion, finished in 6.271 seconds at 103.95 mph after a .022 reaction time. A day earlier, Zimmerman reached the final in Mod and semifinals in Top at Friday’s Race of Champions

Lockhart took home $20,000 in prize money, an IHRA Gold Card, a World Champion Diamond Ring and a prestigious IHRA World Champion Ironman Trophy. He was thrilled to win a 28-foot InTech enclosed trailer made of an all-aluminum frame supplied by Flying A Motorsports. 

Richards from US41 Dragstrip won an all-Indiana final over Gary Blankenship representing Muncie Dragway in the Sportsman class. Richards had a great .008 reaction time and then was dead-on, plus one with a 7.571 run at 89.07 in his red Ford. Blankenship, driving a Chevy Camaro, finished in 7.512 seconds at 90.43 mph on a 7.50 dial-in 

For his victory, Richards received $7,000 in prize money, an IHRA Gold Card, a World Champion Diamond Ring and a prestigious IHRA World Champion Ironman Trophy. The Sportsman grand prize was a 20-foot, wood-floor flatbed car hauler made of the finest construction from B&C Trailer Services. 

Leung, representing Wisconsin International Raceway, was the Junior Dragster champion, beating the accomplished Tyler Janousek from Little River Dragway in the final round. Janousek was the first to trigger the red light. Facing no pressure, Leung raced down the drag strip in 7.723 seconds at 83.66 mph against a 7.74 dial-in.

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The Junior Dragster prize package included $10,000 in prize money, an IHRA Gold Card, a World Champion Diamond Ring and a prestigious IHRA World Champion Ironman Trophy. Dart’s Carts provided a Club Car 48V golf cart as the Junior Dragster grand prize.

Austin from Music City Dragway completed the list of 2023 World Champions. After finishing runner-up in Friday’s Race of Champions, Austin put together a winning package of 5.795 seconds at 117.52 mph on a 5.77 dial-in, along with a .009 reaction time. Runner-up William Keele Jr. from Edinburg Motorsports Park broke out with a 5.680-second pass at 120.19 mph on a 5.69 dial-in with a .018 reaction time. 

The Motorcycle champion prize package for Austin included an IHRA Gold Card, a World Champion Diamond ring and a prestigious IHRA World Champion Ironman Trophy.  Evil SwingArms provided a grand prize with the option of a basic swingarm or $575 towards the purchase of a more expensive swingarm.

For the third straight year, Todd Payne was the top Electric Vehicle finisher. Driving a white Tesla, the Wilkesboro Dragway racer advanced to the quarterfinals of No Box eliminations.

Rewatch the entire event in the IHRA TV channel on YouTube.

Jr. Dragster champion, AJ Leung

Top runner-up, Tony Petersen

Sportsman champion, Aaron Richards

Sportsman runner-up, Gary Blankenship

Motorcycle runner-up, William Keele Jr

Motorcycle champion, Kane Austin

Mod runner-up, Grant Zimmerman

Mod champion, Wesley Lockhart

Jr. Dragster runner-up, Ty Janousek

This story was originally published on October 9, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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