Smiths, Laughlin Among Weekend Race Winners at US 131 Motorsports Park


What the 2017 ADRL Summer Drags lacked in quantity, it delivered in quality at US 131 Motorsports Park where event champions included 11-time world champion Rickie Smith, his son Matt Smith and Texan Alex Laughlin, all three of them World Championship contenders on the NHRA Mello Yello pro tour.

While a seemingly ageless Rickie Smith dispatched veteran Billy Harper as expected in the Pro Modified final round with a solid 5.800 from his IDG Chevy Camaro, Matt Smith made the most of his weekend away from Pro Stock Motorcycle competition to drive a second RSR Chevy to victory in the Outlaw Pro Mod class.

It was Rickie Smith’s second major win in three weeks after he scored in the NHRA Summernationals in New Jersey on June 11.  Matt Smith, a two-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ, just missed a tour victory last week at Norwalk, Ohio, where he was runner-up to point leader L.E. Tonglet after qualifying No. 1.

As for Laughlin, he followed up his June 18 NHRA Pro Stock win at Bristol, Tennessee, by celebrating a Top Alcohol Dragster title at US 131.

Other winners included Jason Pridemore of Garrettsville, Ohio, who upset No. 1 qualifier “Billy Jack” Jackson in the Top Fuel Harley final, Janette Thornley of Statesville, North Carolina, in Pro Fuel Harley, Jim Davis of Baroda, Michigan, in Top Sportsman and Matt Sackman of Channahon, Illinois, in Top Dragster.

The NHRA pro tour theme even extended to the Nostalgia Pro Stock arena where Kevin Prior of Warrenton, Missouri, drove his Warren Johnson tribute Oldsmobile Firenza past the 1979 “Bob Glidden” Plymouth Arrow owned and driven by Rick Cassel.

Cassel, from Fredonia, Wisconsin, is a former Top Fuel, Funny Car and Top Alcohol tuner and crew chief who has found a home on the nostalgia tour.  The 58-year-old formerly turned the wrenches for such fuel notables as Cruz Pedregon and Bob Vandergriff Jr.

Fans also were treated to the car-crushing antics of Alan Peso and “The Predator” monster truck and to an autograph signing session with James Goad and Ryan Martin, two stars of the Discovery Channel’s popular Street Outlaws TV series.


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MARTIN, Mich. – Final round results from the 2017 ADRL Summer Drags at US 131 Motorsports Park:

PRO MODIFIED – Rickie Smith, King, N.C., 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, .044, 5.800, 249.45 mph, def. Billy Harper, Paducah, Ky., 2000 Dodge Viper, .044, 14.476, 57.12 mph.

TOP FUEL HARLEY – Jason Pridemore, Garrettsville, Ohio, .142, 6.713, 165.08 mph, def. Billy “Billy Jack” Jackson, Honeybrooke, Pa., .149, 8.750, 103.71 mph.

PRO FUEL HARLEY – Janette Thornley, Statesville, N.C., .423, 7.373, 171.30 mph, def. Gary Stroud, Valparaiso, Mich., .105, 7.916, 161.70 mph.

OUTLAW PRO MOD – Matt Smith, King, N.C., 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, NA, 3.800, 200.09 mph, def. Jason Kalso, Clarkson, Mich., 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, broke.

TOP SPORTSMAN – Jim Davis, Baroda, Mich., .008, 5.148 on a 5.130, 128.31 mph, def. Shane Cowan, Pittsboro, Ind., .019, 4.714 on a 4.700, 148.42 mph;

TOP DRAGSTER – Matt Sackman, Channahon, Ill., .002, 3.935 on a 3.890, 168.35 mph, def. Al Peavler, Olney, Ill., .045, 4.139 on a 4.120, 173.14 mph.

TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER – Alex Laughlin, Bluffdale, Texas, .042, 5.302, 268.02 mph, def. Marina Anderson, Lombard, Ill., .071, 5.788, 228.43 mph.

PRO JR. DRAGSTER – Brooke Paquette, Howell, Mich., .065, 7.911 on a 7.900, 80.63 mph, def. Peyten Jimenez, Waterford, Mich., .068, 7.935 on a 7.900, 81.11 mph.

TOP JR. DRAGSTER – Adam Jakupcak, Streator, Ill., .014, 8.192 on an 8.170, 77.71 mph, def. Alex Kish, Kalamazoo, Mich., .057, 8.460 on an 8.460, 75.08 mph.

TOP BRACKET – Richard Motycka, Kalamazoo, Mich., NA, 4.823 on a 4.840, 142.81 mph, def. David Sherbondy, Laporte, Ind., foul.

NOSTALGIA PRO STOCK – Kevin Prior, Warrenton, Mo., “Warren Johnson” 1985 Oldsmobile Firenza, .006, 7.682, 177.30, def. Rick Cassel, Fredonia, Wis., “Bob Glidden” 1979 Plymouth Arrow, foul.