The Bader family knows how to put on a show.

The longtime track owners and promotors, including team leader Bill Bader Jr. and his sister Bobbie, have hosted the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals for eleven years, and this season’s event took place June 22-25 at illustrious Summit Motorsports Park. Spectators enjoyed a pound of ice cream for a buck while watching side-by-side racing in some of the most pleasant weather conditions that the Mello Yello Drag Racing tour has seen all year, and on Friday night, the annual fireworks display was just as spectacular as one would expect from the facility known for providing over-the-top thrilling entertainment.

The main attraction, though, is the action that takes place on-track as drivers in multiple categories compete for hardware and bragging rights. At the heart of each NHRA event are the Lucas Oil Sportsman competitors, and a multitude of drivers across a variety of categories brought their best equipment and high hopes to SMP.

Take a look.


NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League participants made exhibition passes throughout the weekend at Summit Motorsports Park. At each event on this year’s NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour, select young drivers will have their half-scale dragsters on display in celebration of 25 years of Summit Racing-backed youth league, where kids age 5-17 compete.


Longtime Pro Stock driver Larry Morgan (near lane), driving Eugene Kelly’s B/A Dodge Neon, and Larry Pritchett, in his A/SM Pontiac Sunfire were among the drivers vying for the Competition Eliminator trophy at Summit Motorsports Park. Morgan wheeled his way to the final round, where he was ousted by Bruno Massel.

Stephen Bell and his ’15 Chevrolet COPO Camaro, powered by a Stanfield Racing Engine, were among the Factory Stock Showdown competitors. Bell cut a cool .004 light against Charles Watson but was relieved of duties when the eventual event winner got around him down-track.

Bill Foder raced his GT/HA ’69 Corvette in Super Stock at the event. The Canton, Mich., based driver was victorious in a first-round battle with Brina Splingaire, who broke out by .001.  Herbie Null Jr. got the nod over Foder in round two.

The scoreboards at Summit Motorsports Park conveyed results at the 11th annual NHRA Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. Competitors in 16 categories raced for coveted Wally trophies at the 12th race of 24 on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Bruno Massel belted into his DD/AT Chevy Cobalt before the final round of Competition Eliminator. Massel, an NHRA on FOX correspondent and championship Sportsman racer, won the event. It was his 12th victory overall in Sportsman competition and 11th in the challenging Comp category.

We caught Tim Irwin in the staging lanes in his No. 3002 AA Gasser before making an exhibition run. The 1948 Ford Anglia, affectionately known as Crazy Man’s Toy, boasts a 427-cid big block Chevrolet.

Dan Keough and his 1967 Chevrolet Nova Nostalgia AA Gasser played up the old school vibe in Norwalk, right down to the backup girl. Check out the beginning of Keough’s relationship with his cool Chevy in this video feature from 2013.

The Follow A Dream race team, led by owner and crew chief Jay Blake, wait to make a run with their Permatex Top Alcohol Funny Car. Blake, who is totally blind, is a premier crew chief in the category and won the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in 2014 with then-driver Todd Veney. Phil Burkart Jr. now pilots the swift orange and blue alcohol-fueled beast.
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Author: Kelly Wade