Ladies night at Northern Nitro Jam
Nitro Jam Media
Aug 14, 2011
Dennis (left) and Smallwood
There were championships on the line, big wins at stake and lots of great racing highlighting the Northern Nitro Jam at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park over the weekend, but when all was said and done a handful of ladies essentially stole the show.
Just two nights after Cherissa Smallwood claimed her very first win in Pro Fuel on Friday, Kristen Dennis did the same with her first career Ironman trophy on Sunday. Throw in an incredible victory by Lisa Bolton in one of the richest sportsman races in the country later that night and you have one incredible weekend for female racers everywhere.
“What can I say, it was a woman’s weekend. I am a bit overwhelmed, but very excited,” Dennis said. “I am so happy for Mike (Manners) winning the championship and for us to win the event as well just made for a wonderful weekend. Weekends like this prove that anything is possible when you set your mind to it.”
Joining Dennis in victory lane Sunday afternoon was Peter Gallen who easily had the biggest weekend of his career with a sweep of the Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car category, a new world record and a shiny new championship trophy traveling home with him to Pennsylvania.. Other pro winners from Sunday’s finale were Steve Dorn (Nitro Harley) and Tom Padilla (Fuel Altered).
Four championships were also decided on Sunday in the professional categories as Mike Manners claimed 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.
Sunday’s other big winner was Lisa Bolton who won the $51,000 Moser Axle-Mania Sportsman Showdown on Sunday, defeating Cameron Manuel in the final to claim the biggest payday in IHRA sportsman racing.
Nitro Jam sportsman winners were Rob Harvischak (Top Sportsman), Tony Myers (Top Dragster), Bob Lowry (Super Stock), Michael Beard (Stock), Nick Folk (Quick Rod), Chris Yates (Super Rod), Craig Meyer (Hot Rod), Rusty Baad (Box) and Steve Mesik (No Box).
“It was a long weekend, but it was worth every minute when we were handed that trophy,” Dennis said. “There were so many great fans out here in Michigan and I really wanted to make a good showing for them and to take that a step further and actually win was incredible.”
Dennis, behind the wheel of the aptly named “Ladies First” dragster, bested teammate and newly crowned champion Mike Manners in the final as Manners’ machine immediately ran into trouble. Dennis, on the other hand, powered right down Broadway with a 5.631, 252.10 to take the win. Dennis was also the No. 1 qualifier entering the finals, running a weekend-best 5.289, 266.53 in round one.
Adding to the drama was the fact that Dennis’ opening round shot prevented defending champion Bill Evans from making the final and provided enough cushion for Manners to clinch his first title.
“We were so nervous in the weeks leading up to this race and the weather only added to the pressure as we waited for our chance to clinch the title,” Manners said. “It was such a relief to just get out there and do what we needed to do to win it. It was also such a thrill to have Kristen here with us this weekend and her win just completes a perfect weekend for us.
“Our hats off to Bill and his team for another great year. It was certainly a weekend to remember.”
Evans came into the event just three points behind “The Shredder” team, but a loss to Manners on Friday and a run just shy of the finals on Sunday allowed Manners to seal the title.
While Pro Fuel provided plenty of drama, the person with the most hardware collected over the course of the weekend was Peter Gallen. Gallen, who had already sealed the 2011 Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car championship entering the event, added two additional wins, a new world record and the quickest pass in nostalgia nitro funny car history to his resume in Martin.
Gallen set the record with a 5.709 lap on Friday and amazingly ran even quicker on Sunday with a mind-blowing 5.557, 251.67 pass in Sunday’s final round win over Laurie Cannister. While the lap won’t count as an official record, it was an impressive statement from the “Poverty Stricken” team as they continue to make their claim as nostalgia racing’s top dog.
“We came here to set the record and break into the 60s. We had the championship already locked up before we ever loaded the car on the trailer and coming here we just wanted to put icing on the cake with a statement run this weekend,” Gallen said. “We left a lot on the track on Friday and knew we could better those numbers which was our goal today. Even I was blown away when I saw what we ran. That thing carried the front end nearly half the track and was really getting after it. What a way to end the season.”
In addition to the 5.557 lap on Sunday, Gallen added two more laps in the low 70s to wrap up an unforgettable weekend.
“This championship means a lot to us. I took nearly 20 years off from racing and a few years ago I decided I wanted to see if I still had it,” Gallen said. “To turn that challenge into a championship really is a great feeling.”
Steve Dorn was another driver who doubled up on Sunday with a championship and a victory in the Nitro Harley category. Dorn entered the Nitro Jam finale with his championship sealed up, but that didn’t stop him from putting together another great weekend culminating with a victory over Jake Stordeur in the Nitro Harley final. Dorn ran a 6.527, 218.80 in picking up the win, one of his best laps of the year.
“This has been a great year racing with the IHRA. We really enjoyed ourselves and had a great time competing against some of the best riders in the country,” Dorn said. “I am just so thrilled to get this trophy. It represents a lot of hard work and sacrifice from a lot of people.”
Wrapping up the professional categories was Tom Padilla who picked up his first career IHRA Ironman with a victory over Jason Richey in the Nostalgia Fuel Altered final. Padilla ran a 6.326, 220.15 in the win. In the consolation pairing Ron Maroney and the “Nanook” team topped their season with their first Fuel Altered championship, a monumental feat for a driver who had long dreamed of having an opportunity to drive such a legendary machine.
“When I was a kid I idolized ‘Nanook’ and that team. So when I got the call asking if I wanted to drive it decades later I was beside myself,” Maroney said. “And to turn that dream into the first ever championship for this incredible car truly is a dream come true. You will have to pinch me to make sure this really is happening.”
In sportsman competition Lisa Bolton of Mechanicsville, Md. claimed a victory in one of the richest sportsman races in the country, besting Cameron Manuel to win her share of the Moser Axle-Mania Sportsman Showdown. Bolton bested a field of 32 of the best sportsman drag racers in the country to take home a cool $22,500.
Sunday’s final wrapped up a long weekend for everyone involved at the Nitro Jam season finale as two days of rain and a few lightning strikes to the tower threatened to ruin an exciting weekend of racing. But after plenty of long hours and late nights put in by IHRA and track officials the weekend concluded on a high note with a thrilling evening of racing at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park.
MARTIN, Mich. -- Sunday's final results from the IHRA Northern Nitro Jam at US 131 Motorsports Park. The race is the ninth of 10 in the 2011 Nitro Jam Series:
PROSTALGIA FUNNY CAR DAY TWO
Peter Gallen, Broomall, Pa., '74 Vega, 5.557, 251.67 def. John Dunn, Monticello, Ill., '73 Duster, 7.593, 128.38.
PRO FUEL DRAGSTER DAY TWO
Kristen Dennis, Magnolia, Texas, dragster, 5.631, 252.10 def. Michael Manners, Willis, Texas, dragster, 8.039, 158.00.
FUEL ALTERED DAY TWO
Tom Padilla, Arlington, Wash., '23 roadster, 6.326, 220.15 def. Jason Richey, Pleasonton, Calif., '32 Bantam, 12.237, 74.50.
NITRO HARLEY DAY TWO
Steve Dorn, Milwaukie, Ore., 6.527, 218.80 def. Jake Stordeur, Loveland, Ohio, 8.866, 167.72.
MOSER 'AXLE MANIA'
Lisa Bolton, Mechanicsville, Md., '73 Dart, 7.186, 93.49 def. Cameron Manuel, Winston-Salem, N.C., '04 Corvette, 6.699, 112.10.
Tony Myers, Dowagiac, Mich., dragster, 6.755, 201.43 def. Steve Furr, Harrisburg, N.C., dragster, 7.039, 182.58.
Rob Harvischak, Warren, Ohio, '68 Camaro, 7.032, 189.44 def. Ricky Adkins, Milan, Mich., '37 Chevy, 7.094, 191.13.
Bob Lowry, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, '84 Corvette, 9.370, 140.81 def. Rod Boertman, Muskegon, Mich., '86 Camaro, 10.223, 123.19.
Michael Beard, Seagrove, N.C., '74 Dart, H/CM, 11.275, 116.04 def. Rod Boertman, Muskegon, Mich., '97 Camaro, C/FIA, 11.294, 113.34.
Nick Folk, Durand, Ill., dragster, 9.445, 131.05 def. Bryan Richardson, Woodburn, Ind., dragster, foul.
Chris Yates, Lambertville, Mich., '34 Chevy, 9.900, 134.34 def. Steve Hoyt, Ft Wayne, Ind., '63 Corvette, 9.914, 159.99.
Craig Meyer, Kendallville, Ind., '62 Fury, 10.853, 134.51 def. Joe Bauman, Chessaning, Mich., '72 Nova, 10.847, 126.55.
Russ Baad, Mattawan, Mich., dragster, 8.264, 151.56 def. Steve Mesik, Plainwell, Mich., '77 Skyhawk, 11.739, 106.57.
Rusty Baad, Mattawan, Mich., '68 Camaro, 8.273, 155.99 def. Rick Baad, Mattawan, Mich., dragster, 7.774, 172.32.
NO BOX ET
Steve Mesik, Plainwell, Mich., '77 Skyhawk, 11.776, 107.18 def. Tony Whitehead, Middleville, Mich., '78 Monza, 10.093, 128.40.
MARTIN, Mich. -- Final round-by-round results from the IHRA Northern Nitro Jam at US 131 Motorsports Park, the ninth of 10 events in the 2011 Nitro Jam Series:
PRO FUEL DRAGSTER DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- Bill Evans, Spitzer, 5.549, 258.67 def. Robin Samsel, Dragster, 8.657, 101.74; Kristen Dennis, Monden, 5.289, 266.53 def. Cherissa Smallwood, Innovative, 5.589, 261.22; Michael Manners, Spitzer, 5.320, 269.40 def. Dave Hill, Ameling, foul;
CONSOLATION -- C. Smallwood, 5.644, 262.74 def. D. Hill, broke; R. Samsel, 5.363, 262.59 def. B. Evans, 8.277, 126.03;
FINAL -- K. Dennis, 5.631, 252.10 def. M. Manners, 8.039, 158.00.
PROSTALGIA FUNNY CAR DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- John Dunn, Plymouth Duster, 6.597, 166.93 was unopposed; Peter Gallen, Chevy Vega, 5.710, 245.32 def. Laurie Cannister, Pontiav Trans Am, 6.048, 188.44;
CONSOLATION -- L. Cannister, 27.807, 33.30 was unopposed;
FINAL -- P. Gallen, 5.557, 251.67 def. J. Dunn, 7.593, 128.38.
NITRO HARLEY DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- Jake Stordeur, 6.897, 196.76 def. Mike Pelrine, 6.611, 199.73; Steve Dorn, 6.505, 106.35 def. Jay Turner, 6.479, 216.62;
CONSOLATION -- J. Turner, 6.581, 213.23 def. M. Pelrine, 7.262, 144.44;
FINAL -- S. Dorn, 6.527, 218.80 def. J. Stordeur, 8.866, 167.72.
FUEL ALTERED DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- Tom Padilla, '-T Ford, 6.258, 224.96 def. Ron W. Maroney, '-T Ford, 9.447, 95.87; Jason Richey, Bantam, 9.476, 87.53 def. Jim Maroney, Bantam, broke; Tom Padilla, '-T Ford, 6.258, 224.96 def. Ron W. Maroney, '-T Ford, 9.447, 95.87; Jason Richey, Bantam, 9.476, 87.53 def. Jim Maroney, Bantam, broke;
CONSOLATION -- R. Maroney, 6.305, 227.50 def. J. Maroney, 6.419, 210.21;
FINAL -- T. Padilla, 6.326, 220.15 def. J. Richey, 12.237, 74.50.