Zaskowski, Lagos, Bertsch Among Favorites in IHRA Season Finale at US 131

MARTIN, Mich. – Outside of Grand Blanc’s Shawn Bowen, whose “Violator” 1971 Dodge Challenger is one of the favorites in Nitro Funny Car, and Tecumseh’s Matt Bertsch, the defending champion in Pro Stock, the host state’s best chance for a victory celebration in this week’s IHRA Northern Nationals at US 131 Motorsports Park may lie with Kevin Zaskowski of Grand Rapids and Mike Lagos of Cass City.

Zaskowski is the defending event champion in Stock Eliminator while Lagos, in addition to winning the Northern Nationals Super Rod title, is the reigning IHRA Super Rod World Champion.

They will be among 350-odd sportsman racers competing this week along with Bowen and defending pro champions Jason Rupert of Yorba Linda, Calif. (Nitro Funny Car), Jay Turner of Julian, N.C. (Nitro Harley) and Bill Lutz of Canal Winchester, Ohio (Pro Modified).

“So much of the game is mental,” Zaskowski said of racing in Stock Eliminator.  “It’s like every other sport. It’s not just who has the fastest car. If you have a bad reaction time, you’re done.  It’s like the NCAA (basketball) Tournament.  You have seven rounds, but if you lose the in the first round, you go home with nothing.”

In addition to the aforementioned categories, champions also will be crowned in Pro Stock, Hot Rod, Quick Rod, Super Stock, Top Dragster, Top Sportsman and three Jr. Dragster classes.

Pro qualifying at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday with elimination rounds at 5, 7 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday.  Adult admission at the gate is $25 Friday and $30 Saturday but a $5 discount is available each day to those who purchase in advance.  Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by a ticketed adult.