BUDDS CREEK, Md. – When it comes to big races, no one does it better than Steve Furr.
Furr, the defending Super Rod World Champion from Harrisburg, N.C., traveled to Maryland Int’l Raceway over the weekend for the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Spectacular presented by AMSOIL and battled his way through one of the toughest fields of the year en route to winning the Super Rod title and reaching the finals in Top Dragster as over 400 cars – a record for this event – came to play in the IHRA’s biggest sportsman race of the year.
Furr won the Super Rod Ironman over Mike Daymude and reached the finals in Top Dragster against Tommy Cable, but heavy rains moved in just as the pair were set to fire leaving the only undecided race of the weekend to be made up at a later date.
The rest of the winners from the $5,000 to win Summit Sportsman Spectacular at MIR were Donny Urban (TS), Pete D’Agnolo (SS), Joe Santangelo (ST), Jake Milstead (QR) and Doug Wood (HR).
Easily the most successful weekend belonged to the Division 9 regular and two-time world champion as Furr punched his ticket to the Summit Tournament of Champions later this year and stands to possibly collect over $10,000 when all is said and done if he manages the double.
Dodging spotty showers throughout the weekend, Furr began the weekend in the unexpected position of nearly last on the qualifying charts sitting in 25th place Saturday night. Six rounds and 24 hours later Furr sat in victory lane with his first Sportsman Spectacular victory of his career and a spot in the 2012 Tournament of Champions as he tries to repeat as champion in the Super Rod class.
Behind the wheel of his famous ’68 Camaro with the No. 1 adorning the side, Furr defeated Steven Klock Jr., Robert Robertson, George Donhauser and Cameron Manuel on his way to victory, eventually meeting Mike Daymude in the final. With the big win on the line Daymude left the line first with a .016 reaction time to Furr’s .030, but Furr was able to make it up on the other end in the 9.90 class in a double breakout victory, running a 9.885/157.28 to Daymude’s 9.855/148.31.
Furr’s big weekend continued in Top Dragster as the North Carolinian dispatched of Tarrell Sinkler, Clint Mills, Wayne Colbert and Sinkler again before matching up with Tommy Cable of Hughesville, Md. in the final. Whittling down the nearly 60 car field to only two, Furr and Cable were just about to fire in the final race of the weekend when rain moved into the area and forced the postponement of the race. The two will meet to decide it all later this year.
Another former champion to visit victory lane over the weekend was 2009 Top Dragster champ Donny Urban of Pittsboro, N.C. who drove his brand new 2006 Cobalt to an Ironman in Top Sportsman.
Urban, who recently made the move to the doorslammer class, qualified seventh on Saturday and went six rounds on Sunday against Mike Koontz, Bob Phillips, Vonnie Mills and Koontz again to take home the win and a spot in the TOC.
In the Stock classes Pete D’Agnolo of Rochester, N.Y. and Joe Santangelo of Marlborough, Conn. claimed wins, although they didn’t take the same route to get there.
IHRA veteran D’Agnolo traveled the more traditional path to victory, qualifying 16th and powering past Harry Golliday, Doug Hobgood, Brian Martel, Herbie Null Jr. and Larry Miller Jr. to pick up the win behind the wheel of his ’67 Camaro. In the final Miller had the advantage at the tree with a .018 reaction time, but he took too much at the tree running a 9.915/128.20 on a 9.94 dial while D’Agnolo ran a spot-on 9.431/133.79 on a 9.42 dial.
In the Stock final Santangelo was the only driver to use the re-entry round and come out on top in the class. Santangelo lost in round one to Mike Longhany, but bought his way back into the race via the re-entry round, defeating Michelle Chiles in the loser round and returning to defeat A.J. Currie, Jeff Gardiner, Mike Johnson and Myron Piatek to get the win. In the final Piatek was going for four in a row at MIR and look poised to do it, but Santangelo provided the upset bid as Piatek took too much at the stripe by .007 and Santangelo’s 10.615/109.32 on a 10.58 proved enough to get the win in his ’69 Camaro.
Wrapping up the weekend was Rod category winners Jake Milstead of Lexington Park, Md. in Quick Rod and Doug Wood of Massillon, Ohio in Hot Rod.