Nitro Funny Car, Nitro Harley, Pro Mod Titles Also on Line in IHRA Northern Nationals
MARTIN, Mich. – Matt Bertsch’s passion for Mountain Motor Pro Stock racing is rooted in family. His dad, Bob Bertsch, was a standout in the class before turning the reins over to his son. Now, the younger Bertsch, a resident of Tecumseh, is poised to salvage his 2016 season by successfully defending his championship in the IHRA Northern Nationals at US 131 Motorsports Park.
Bertsch upset multiple-time series champ Cary Goforth of Holdenville, Okla., to win last year’s Pro Stock title and provide the host state with its only pro victory.
The win was somewhat bittersweet, however, because of the technical and moral support Goforth and his team provided when Matt and his dad were struggling with their 2007 Ford Mustang.
“We owe a lot to Team Goforth,” Bertsch said. “When we were having problems, Cary and Dean (Goforth) and ‘Lump’ (crew chief Brian Self) all asked what they could do to help. They wanted to see us do well.”
Maybe not quite as well as they did, though, particularly at US 131, Bertsch’s home track, the one on which he earned his pro license and earned his biggest victory to date.
Before climbing into the cockpit, Bertsch was a crewman on his dad’s Pro Stock car but before that, he raced brackets and sportsman cars at US 131.
“I’m a door car guy and Pro Stock is the class you want to compete in if you’re a door car guy,” Bertsch said. “I’m very thankful for the opportunity and for the friendship and help I’ve gotten from everyone in the class.”
In addition to Pro Stock, Northern Nationals champions will be crowned in Nitro Funny Car, Nitro Harley and Pro Modified. Sportsman titles on the line include Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, Super Rod, Quick Rod, Hot Rod, Super Stock and Stock.
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.