In what was the most lucrative win of his career and in Top Sportsman history, Terry Teets didn’t have to go far to get it June 22, as he capped off a terrific day with a winning 4.444 at 163.59 miles per hour in the final round of the Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman “Clash of the Titans,” held as part of the American Drag Racing League’s (ADRL’s) U.S. Drags V at Virginia Motorsports Park.
Other winners at the U.S. Drags at VMP included Mick Snyder (Pro Extreme), Doug Riesterer (Pro Nitrous), Brad Brand (Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5), Casey Stemper (Pro Extreme Motorcycle), Richie Stevens Jr. (Extreme Pro Stock) and Fredy Scriba (Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified).
The win against Richmond-area native William Brown III netted Teets a Top Sportsman-record $10,000 prize and one massive winner’s circle smile.
“This is the biggest win I’ve ever had. I love Summit and the ADRL for putting this on,” said Teets, who also credited tuner Wayne Rogers, stepdaughter Sidney Spence and his son, Chris Teets. “It’s a big deal, too, because my brother (Glenn) won (in Top Sportsman) last year here, so we kept it in the family.”
Driving a Jerry Haas Race Cars ’04 Cavalier, Teets qualified No. 15 in the 32-car qualifying field and then persevered through five rounds of eliminations before topping Brown in a memorable and historic final.
“William is a great guy and a tough racer, so it’s also nice to keep this in the state of Virginia,” Teets said. “The car ran great all weekend and we just took it a round at a time. Getting to go out last and run as the final pair was really great.”
Mick Snyder made Pro Extreme history on Saturday, becoming the first driver in PX history to win three straight races. This time, Snyder won it on the line, using an .043 reaction time to have his 3.665 at 208.23 mph hold up in a holeshot win against Tim Tindle and his career-best 3.646. The win stretched Snyder’s points lead and also gave him a significant first in the class.
“We’ve done it three different ways. My dad gave me one (win) with some awesome horsepower, we won one on a single and this one, I got to do it. A holeshot win is always cool,” Snyder said. “To get three in a row, it’s just crazy.”
Snyder was his usual consistent self in the Powersource Transportation Corvette and stayed in the 3.60s the entire weekend, making six passes just on Saturday alone. Tindle, though, nearly matched him with an outstanding run in his first PX finals appearance.
“It rattled the tires and got out of the groove a little, but I just kept driving. It was a great race,” Snyder said. “It was the most passes I’ve ever made in one day, but this is all of us working together.”
Doug Riesterer again delivered a masterful performance in Pro Nitrous, winning for the second straight race for the first time in his ADRL career by running an unbelievable 3.75 at 195.11 mph to also beat Burton Auxier, who ran a strong 3.824, for a second straight time.
The career-best pass is just off Auxier’s record pass of 3.74 set in 2011 at VMP, and came after some considerable adversity. Riesterer didn’t make a qualifying pass until the final session, just getting into the field with a 4.24. He turned it on late, running a 3.84 and 3.85 to reach the finals, capping off a truly memorable day with the brilliant pass.
“It was definitely the best win I’ve ever had, putting together a run like that in the finals. Getting back-to-back wins is so hard and Burton is as tough as they come. To run that kind of number, it’s just amazing,” said Riesterer, who thanked Reher-Morrison and Switzer Dynamics.
“We had it hopped up, but I didn’t think it was going to run that. It held the front end up forever, but to get that is just unbelievable. It’s just an awesome feeling.”
Richie Stevens won the Extreme Pro Stock “Battle For The Belts” in 2011, but his first official event win came in the U.S. Drags V after he reeled in Dean Goforth with a 4.091 at 176.33 mph in the final, picking a perfect time to run his quickest and fastest time of the weekend.
Afterward, he dedicated the win to team sponsor and CarSafe owner Mark Eckman.
“This feels awesome. Everybody out here is great and the competition is just incredible, so this means a lot to me. But it meant even more to get this win for Mark,” Stevens said. “This trophy is going right to his house.”
Stevens put together back-to-back 4.09s in his Jerry Haas Race Cars Mustang to finish his day, which followed a lucky break when he pedaled to a win in the quarterfinals against Pete Berner.
“We had a good day and a couple lucky breaks, but you need that,” Stevens said.
“(Crew chief) Tom (Pierson) gave me a great car and we pulled it together when we had to. It was a good effort by everybody.”
A blown head gasket almost cost Casey Stemper in the Pro Extreme Motorcycle final, but he was determined not to let it get the best of him. It might have cost some parts on the bike, but Stemper continued to fight even as his bike caught fire in the finals against Eric McKinney, holding onto the win with an impressive 4.034 at 164.77 mph.
“I was not going to let up. I felt the flames on my arm, but if I was that close to the win, I wasn’t going to give it up in the last 100 feet. When I saw that win light come on, it was just awesome,” Stemper said. “It was so close at the end and I thought he might get me, but that was just incredible.”
Stemper also went 4.034 to qualify No. 1 and picking up his second victory in 2012 also put him closer to points leader McKinney in the championship chase.
“Eric’s a great rider and we’re always trying to chase him down. You always want to beat the best,” Stemper said.
Brad Brand broke through for his first ADRL victory in Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5, just avoiding the left guardwall en route to a 3.949 at 185.72 mph to beat Alan Pittman in a highly-entertaining come-from-behind victory.
Brand qualified No. 2 with a 3.938 and his turbo-charged RJ Race Cars Mustang went 3.972 to beat Chuck Ulsch and advance to the final. Pittman left first on Brand, but Brand never lifted despite a scare with the wall to end up with a highly-satisfying victory.
“We had been to two finals and had not won, so that felt really good,” Brand said.
“We had the low round every round in eliminations, too. We wanted to get aggressive, but we did what had to be done. We just had to work with the track and it was definitely a satisfying win.”
Fredy Scriba had an impressive run for his first ADRL victory, knocking out stalwarts Rickie Smith and Todd Tutterow in Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified. Scriba went 3.981 at 188.25 to beat Smith, the No. 1 qualifier, in the semifinals and then stepped up with a 3.972 at 188.96 to chase down Tutterow and win by two feet in the final round.
Racing in a final of his fourth different ADRL class, Tutterow knocked out Jeff Naiser and points leader Mike Castellana – handing him his first ADRL loss in 2012 – but Scriba overcame Tutterow’s starting-line advantage.
“This was really cool. It was definitely a tuner’s weekend, but all the hard work we put in really paid off,” Scriba said.
“I’ve got a good group of guys and things really came together. We had to play our own game and just run our race. We were running pretty consistent, going rounds and we just stuck to the gameplan. We had a lot of fun and I’m really glad they (ADRL) added this class.”
Bo Butner won for the third time in five races for the ADRL’s new SuperCar Showdown, running a career-best 5.798 at 118.87 in the final to outdistance Chris Holbrook.
In Pro Junior Dragster, Robert Vogler won with a 7.917 at 80.53 mph.
The sixth and next stop on the 10-race 2012 ADRL Tour takes place July 13-14, with the Summer Drags VIII at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan.
(Photos by Ian Tocher; Click to Enlarge)