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This is the first in a three-part series looking at the current Tournament of Champions qualifiers from the seven IHRA sportsman categories. Throughout the series we will be detailing the drivers making up the Rod categories, Stock categories and Top Dragster and Top Sportsman categories. For Part Two, click here. For Part Three, click here.
Of all the categories making up the IHRA’s sportsman ranks, perhaps none has been more competitive this season than the Rod classes. In all, 36 different drivers have combined to fill 42 spots with a potential 66 more positions up for grabs over the next two months.
Among its ranks the Rod categories already have six former world champions and one former Summit SuperSeries champion who have punched their ticket to the finals in Rockingham, but there is still plenty of time for other heavy hitters to join the fight.
“We have been absolutely thrilled with the competition we have seen out of all of our classes this season, but the Rod categories have really put on a show,” said Skooter Peaco, Vice President of Racing Operations. “Some of the initial fears of this new format have been addressed because competitors are not qualifying for the tournament and then not racing with us anymore. Most of them seem to be actually running more events and some have qualified multiple times.
“Also, this field is not made up of the ‘one-race wonders’ as some thought. The list of drivers that have qualified is packed with talent and past world champions. When you factor in the top three in each division, this will be a tournament that will have the who’s who of Rod racers in it.
Peaco continued, “This many world champions have never been in one place at one time in head-to-head competition. I really can’t wait to see what happens when you take all of these talented drivers and put them in one big tournament with a world championship and a big check on the line.”
Headlining the qualifying drivers from the Quick Rod, Super Rod and Hot Rod classes are former world champions Luke Bogacki (QR), Brett Nesbitt (QR), Jim Linter (SR), Kenny Underwood (HR) and Glenn Ferguson (HR).
Former Summit SuperSeries world champ J.J. Brock (HR) has also booked his spot in Rockingham.
Bogacki (above) qualified via a win at the season opening Mardi Gras Nationals in Baton Rouge, while Nesbitt claimed a victory in Rockingham. Linter won in Michigan, Ferguson won in Rockingham, Brock won at Carolina Dragway and Linter claimed his spot via a win at the Summit All-Star race back in April.