Success seems to come easy to Dewayne Silance, but behind the 3,000 hogs at Silance Hog Farm and three Silance Service Centers across Jacksonville, North Carolina, behind the now nine divisional and national championships is years of hard work and dedication.
Silance won two IHRA Top Sportsman World Championships and a couple of divisional championships back in the early 2000s, but took a break from TS competition a few years later, switching to try his hand with a Pro Mod. During that time he racked up four championships with the EOPM. But the workload and price tag of Pro Mod made the self-supported racer return to his roots. TS called his name again and last year Silance made his PDRA debut. “I was a little bit rusty,” Silance confessed. “I got some practice in and this year was fantastic. I had a real good year this year. The first race I didn’t do good, but after that I started winning.”
After that first event, Silance quickly put himself in championship chase mode, going to a semi-final at GALOT Motorsports Park and then winning at Darlington Dragway, one of his home stops on the tour. As is often the case in Top Sportsman, the points battle remained close all through the year. SIlance used another win in Indy and a second semi-final at GALOT to pull out front of Randy Perkinson and Henry Underwood.
Everyone wants to win at Indy. The historical facility holds a place in the industry that few tracks can compete with. “I hadn’t ever been to Indy,” Silance said. “I had heard a lot about it, of course. We won Indy, and that was a good time. That was a highlight.”
That win would be a major factor in Silance becoming the 2017 MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman World Champion.
“First I want to thank my wife, Zonnie, and my three kids, Chaz, Kenna and Emma. I got two guys that go with me all the time, Jeremy Evans and Tommy Doss. They help me and Chaz a lot at the race. I want to thank Cameron Torque Converter Specialities, Charlie Buck and Jerry Bickel Race Cars.”
There were over 100 cars entered in PDRA Top Sportsman at the World Finals. The class is popular for a reason. The new format of having an Elite 16 and then a secondary 16 or 32 car field (based on the number of entries) means the class still holds prestige and, at the same time, allows a greater number of cars to participate.
I think it’s pretty good myself,” Silance said of the new Top Sportsman format. “I want to run the Elite Top Sportsman. Now with IHRA folded up, having the two categories gives people a place to run.”
Silance is keeping his 2010 Jerry Bickel Camaro for next year, but already has a bigger Charlie Buck powerplant in the works. He’s upgrading from his 762 to an 888 to take on the intense Elite competition. He’ll be back to defend his title in 2018, with son Chaz racing alongside him in Top Dragster. They’ll continue to race together as a family, and, if history repeats itself, continue to find a lot of success along the way.