This weekend was a historic one in Martin, Michigan. Despite lengthy rain delays and a damaged tower due to lightning strikes, all the weekend’s races went off, and by Sunday evening, there were new records made, and championships clinched.
The girl power we mentioned Friday ended up working out better than most would have imagined. On Sunday, Kristen Dennis and the “Ladies First” team took home their first Ironman trophy in the Pro Fuel class; Cherissa Smallwood, behind the wheel of the “Nitro and Lace” dragster took her first Pro Fuel win on Friday.
Lisa Bolton took a big win in the Axle-Mania Sportsman Showdown. The $51,000 purse she claimed made for the biggest payout in IHRA Sportsman history. Bolton faced Cameron Manuel for the Axle-Mania final. Both drivers had identical .012 lights, and in the end, Bolton claimed the victory by just two feet.
“I was very, very nervous about racing him. I knew he was going to be extremely tough and I only hoped I could keep doing what I was doing and give him a decent race,” Bolton said. “I knew throughout the run that it was close, but when I saw the (win) lights I was in disbelief.”
The weekend’s sportsman winners were Rob Harvischak (Top Sportsman), Tony Myers (Top Dragster), Rod Boertman (Super Stock), Michael Beard (Stock), Nick Folk (Quick Rod), Chris Yates (Super Rod), Craig Meyer (Hot Rod), Rusty Baad (Box) and Tony Whitehead (No Box).
Peter Gallen made quite the story over the weekend in his Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car. Though he had already claimed the Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car championship before the weekend started, he wasn’t giving away any races. He nabbed two more wins, a world record pass, and the fastest pass in nostalgia nitro funny car history by the time the weekend was over.
Gallen said his record pass of 5.709 at 244.60 on Friday was, “just the icing on the cake.” Sunday, he went on to surpass that time with a 5.557 pass at 251.67.
By the end of the weekend, a total of four championships were claimed. Mike Manners took his first career championship in Pro Fuel, joining Ron Maroney in Nostalgia Fuel Altered, Gallen in Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car and Dorn in Nitro Harley.