News & Car Culture

IHRA 2017 Changes Include TV & Live-Streaming Deal, 1-Year Suspension of Pro Racing, and New Sportsman Nat’l Champ

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The International Hot Rod Association will announce a new television deal in early 2017, is suspending U.S. pro-series point racing until 2018, and is introducing a new national sportsman championship with larger payouts as part of its ongoing changes to position itself for long-term success.

IHRA’s parent company, West Palm Beach, FL-based IRG Sports + Entertainment, will announce its new media partnership in the coming weeks, which will bring IHRA drag racing to mass media for the first time since the 1990s, according to IRGSE’s inaugural “State of the State” document.

Economic turnarounds aren’t spontaneous and require a “nothing is sacred” approach to the future, the IRGSE report says.

Shelving points racing for the pro classes in 2017 was necessary as part of the ongoing realignment—“One step back for two forward…,” the report said.

“The short answer on why the 2017 year is being deferred for the professional series events is between the timing of obligations to be 100% sure of quality IHRA top-fuel teams in concert with our pending street racing plans for future IHRA USA-based national championship point races, the timelines and commitments became increasingly difficult to assure our board, managers, and collective new stakeholders that going for the sake of simply going forward was not a risk acceptable to a reasonable business person and we are in no hurry to fail,” IRGSE officials said.

The New IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship and SuperSeries

IHRA sportsman class racing will move away from a regional structure and convert into a national one, which will increase purses, make IHRA bracket racing more competitive, and crown a national sportsman champion in seven racing classes.

summitsportsmannats“It takes the entire family of IHRA racers, member tracks, sanctioning body staff and Summit Racing Equipment working together to move the sportsman racing component of IHRA Drag Racing to the incredible level of support and enthusiasm we have today,” said Jim Greenleaf, Summit Racing’s Motorsports and Events Manager. “We are thrilled to have just completed the 15th season of the Summit SuperSeries and we are looking forward to seeing how the new format of the Summit Sportsman National Championship is received by the class racers.”

The Summit Racing Equipment SuperSeries will feature the same format and structure introduced in 2016, but with a national purse and winner.

Top and Mod winners will get $20,000. The Junior Dragster champ with get a new turnkey racecar and $3,000.

The IHRA Summit Sportsman National Champions will get $15,000. Find the rest of the details and racing schedule here.

“IHRA continues to build, value and showcase sportsman racing programs at every level and the Summit programs are the foundation on which the IHRA thrives,” said IHRA vice president Skooter Peaco. “No matter what changes a new racing season may bring our way, our member tracks and sportsman racing programs consistently remain at the top of our priority list. 2017 will be another great season of racing within the IHRA member track family and I’m looking forward to seeing the hard work that our team puts into these programs come to life in less than 60 days from now.”

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One Comment

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