Top Dragster driver and Top Fuel crew member Matt Sackman will make his NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster debut this weekend at Route 66 Raceway’s Burndown at Sundown NHRA Division 3 event, July 13-15. With support from Gemini Farms and Hangsterfer’s Metalworking Lubricants, Sackman will drive a nitromethane-injected A/Fuel dragster out of the Kansas-based Randy Meyer Racing camp.
“Entering a race in Top Alcohol Dragster is something my dad and I have always wanted to do, but my race schedule and the regional race schedules just never lined up,” said Sackman, 25, who earned his Top Alcohol Dragster license after the Las Vegas national event in November of 2015. “This year we realized our home race was on one of my off weekends from the NHRA Mello Yello Series schedule, then Randy had one of his cars available, so it worked out great.”
Sackman will drive the Meyer-built Randy Meyer Racing entry typically fielded by Justin Ashley, who sits in the No. 11 spot in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series national points standings with a regional event victory at Virginia in April.
“I feel very lucky, honestly,” said Sackman, a cylinder head specialist on Antron Brown’s Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster. “Randy has one of the best A/Fuel programs out there. To be able to show up to the race and drive a competitive car like that is a huge opportunity and I feel very fortunate.”
Sackman, who made test passes in one of Meyer’s cars in Las Vegas last fall, will compete alongside Randy Meyer Racing driver Julie Nataas.
“We are honored to partner up with the Sackman family for the Chicago regional race,” Meyer said. “Matt has shown talent as a driver and as a crewman and is the right fit for our team. We are excited for Matt and Julie to race together this weekend and carry the momentum from our previous wins this year. These kids are the future of our team and our sport, and they will carry us in the right direction with their passion and skills for drag racing.”
The Sackman family, based in nearby Channahon, Ill., will have two chances at collecting a trophy this weekend, as 22-year-old Zach Sackman will be driving the Hangsterfer’s Metalworking Lubricants supercharged Top Dragster.
“Zach and I haven’t raced together at an event since we moved out of Jr. Dragsters, so that will be something new,” Matt said. “We’re both racing at our home track where we used to race in Jr. Dragsters and watch the alcohol cars and pros race at the Route 66 Nationals. We have a lot of friends and family coming out to watch on Saturday too.”
While Sackman has modest expectations for the weekend, he realizes the considerable possibility of the two brothers racing late into eliminations.
“Randy’s cars are so competitive and they’re capable of winning any event they enter,” Sackman said. “Zach has been driving well – he won the only two Division 3 races he’s entered this year – so I don’t think it’s crazy to imagine (winning together). That would be a dream weekend. Even if we both just go rounds, that would be pretty cool.”
Zach Sackman and the Hangsterfer’s Metalworking Lubricants Top Dragster enter the Burndown at Sundown sitting in the top 5 in NHRA Division 3 Top Dragster points after winning the Cavalcade of Stars event in Norwalk, Ohio, in May, and the Summer Spectacle in Indianapolis last weekend. He’s also competed in five NHRA national events this season, while Matt drove the car at four races so far, most recently at the PDRA Firecracker Nationals in Virginia.
“It’s exciting to win two in a row for Hangsterfer’s and all of our supporters,” said Zach, who won the 2017 NHRA Route 66 Nationals. “I usually drive well at my home track, so hopefully I can keep this momentum going. My confidence is pretty high and I’m feeling good about this weekend.”
Matt Sackman and the Gemini Farms/Hangsterfer’s Metalworking Lubricants A/Fuel dragster will hit the Route 66 Raceway quarter-mile for the first qualifying session at 4:30 p.m. Friday, while Zach Sackman and the Hangsterfer’s Top Dragster will begin qualifying at 3 p.m. Friday. Top Dragster eliminations are scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m. Saturday night. First round of eliminations for Top Alcohol Dragster will begin Sunday at noon.