Benton, IL: The newly renovated I-57 “Hollywood” Dragstrip hosted the 5th annual JEGS “Fall” Door Car Shootout last weekend, welcoming nearly 200 of the best door car racers from throughout the Midwest through it’s gates for the prestigious door car-only event. Action began Friday night with the $5,000-to-win Auto Meter Pregame. After 9 rounds of grueling competition, Chicago-area racer Andrew DiPiazza emerged from the field with the lion’s share of the purse after he defeated another Chicago-area competitor, Bruce Boyle in the final round. Boyle’s runner-up performance won him the Milodon Friday bonus, and a complimentary Milodon oil pan, pump and pickup. The win extended an impressive streak for DiPiazza, who won the BRODIX Sunday main event at last season’s JEGS Summer Door Car Shootout. When he smiled for the cameras holding the $5,000 Auto Meter Pregame check, he had accumulated 18 straight JEGS Summer Door Car Shootout round wins!
Friday’s lone semi-finalist was Mike Harville. Rob Kropfeld and Steve Beckmeyer were quarterfinalists.
Saturday brought the BRODIX $7500-to-win main event, as well as some of the fun on-track contests and off-track camaraderie for which the JEGS Fall Door Car Shootout is known. The day began with complimentary coffee and donuts for everyone in the pits, courtesy of Nitroplate. Larry McCaleb collected the JEGS Wheelie Wagon Award for the consistently beautiful wheelies from his Chevelle that neared the half-track mark. The Mickey Thompson burnout contest (held during the second round of eliminations) was wildly entertaining. Several racers including Mike Luedke, Jeremy McKague, David Hearn, Ronnie Egner, and Matt Ellis made valiant (and entertaining) efforts at the prize – a free set of Mickey Thompson slicks – but no one could top the burnout of Candian Rob Meservier, who smoked out the facility with his Top Sportsman Chevelle, taking his burnout nearly to the 1/8th mile finish line! Meservier, who made the tow all the way from Thunder Bay, Ontario also won the Long Tow award for the third consecutive season, claiming a $500 Crane Cams gift certificate.
The BRODIX Main Event was won by Zach Schlumpf, who drove his “spare car,” a 1970 Camaro, to the $7500 victory over the Monza of former Million Dollar Race winner Jeff Rucks. In addition to their prize money, both finalists also collected lucrative gift certificates courtesy of BRODIX. Brent Vincent was the lone semi-finalist, and also won the Milodon Saturday Bonus. Quarterfinalists included Bryan Robinson, Ken Jones, and George Atchison.
Track officials capped the day with the Holley Racer’s Appreciation Barbecue, a delicious feast that was free to all competitors and weekend spectators.
Sunday action began with the annual “Dial for Dollars” to benefit the JEGS Foundation for Cancer Research. Every competitor donated $10 to make their run, with 100% of the donations being passed on to the JEGS Foundation. The three best packages were awarded with great prizes courtesy of event sponsors. Rod Schaeffer won the “Dial for Dollars” with a great .006 package, and took home a $500 JEGS Gift Certificate. Bryan Robinson’s .008 package was good for second, netting him a $402 gift certificate from Mark Sullens E85 Carburetors. Brian Lampton earned third place honors with a .009 package, and received a fluid transfer system from Flo-Fast. In all, $2500 was raised for the JEGS Foundation for Cancer Research by the racers of the JEGS Fall Door Car Shootout, bringing the event’s 3-year total donation to over $7500! If you are interested on these types of cars, get in contact with the polaris dealers mn.
The Moser Sunday Main Event was won by a familiar name in JEGS Door Car Shootout history, as Ohio-based Rob Kropfeld drove to his second event victory. Kropfeld, who won at the inaugural JEGS Summer Door Car Shootout in 2011, became just the second 2-time main event champion, joining Jeremy Jensen in that elite group. After wheeling his familiar Vega station wagon to the win back in 2011, Kropfeld put his ’63 Corvette roadster into the winner’s circle this season. He defeated the Malibu of Jon Tignor in the final round, earning the $7500 main event winner’s check, as well as a new set of axles compliments of Moser Engineering. Jeremy McKague drove Bryan Robinson’s Oldsmobile Calais to the semi-finals. Jeff Solomon and Ronnie Egner were the quarterfinalists.
Sunday also saw the completion of the Sunset Performance Engines Quick 16 and the coveted Ohio Crankshaft King of Illinois Hi-Rollers Shootout. The Sunset Performance Engines Quick 16 produced the quickest field in JEGS Door Car Shootout history, with a bump spot of 5.25. When the smoke cleared, it was the gorgeous ’57 Chevrolet of Ronnie Egner taking home the $1,000 purse and $1,000 Sunset Performance gift certificate with a final round victory over Dave Angelly. Bethany Crick and Kevin Reid were the semi-final finishers.
The Ohio Crankshaft King of Illinois saw 18 competitors pony up $500 in entry fees, to make the 100% payback, winner-take-all payout the richest of the weekend: $9,000-to-win! Indiana-based racer Wes May continued what has been a banner season with a victory in the elite Hi-Rollers event, where he beat out Bryan Robinson in the final round. Robinson’s runner-up marked his second runner-up in the King of Illinois event in as many years, as he dropped last season’s final to Todd Senseney.
Sunday also brought the 2nd annual Butch Daugherty Memorial Ice Cream Social, presented by Racing RV’s. As the deck opened and the freezer of ice cream treats began to be distributed, the sun appeared for the first time all weekend; no doubt Butch was looking over all of his friends at the JEGS Fall Door Car Shootout. Thanks to Racing RV’s, every competitor was welcome to a pair of complimentary ice cream treats!
As is customary at the event, several racers left the JEGS Fall Door Car Shootout with lucrative prizes. Random “Lucky Dog” awards were drawn daily. Joe Davis took home twin dial boards with controller from K&R Performance Engineering on Friday. An APD belt drive fuel system went home with Ray Young on Saturday, and Andrew DiPiazza walked away with a $500 BTE gift certificate on Sunday.
California Car Cover presented five “Cool Car” awards, with each recipient earning a California Car Duster and a car care kit from Golden Shine. Winners included the unique Dodge Colt of Lynn Bignell, the gorgeous Dodge Challenger of Scott Carmen, the 4.90 Opel of Alabama racer Greg Dawson, the blown Corvette roadster of Mark Berkaw, and the low slung Chevy II of Indiana racer Darrell Gray.
Hard Luck awards were presented to racers who were eliminated in round three (the round before the money) in both the BRODIX and Moser Engineering main events. Bill Frank won a free entry to the 2016 big bucks event of his choice at I-57 Dragstrip. Ken Norup won a free weekend entry to the 2016 Moser Engineering Great American Bracket Race, and Terry Lacey took home a Flo-Fast Fluid Transfer system.
Folk Racing Promotions presented the driver who posted the best package in each day of the event with free weekend entries to the 2016 Mini-Million in Piedmont, NC. Winners included Bobby Stephens (Friday), Rob Kropfeld (Saturday) and Andrew DiPiazza (Sunday).
No Box racers were a big part of the JEGS Fall Door Car Shootout as well, and the farthest advancing bottom bulb racer earned a daily Bottom Bulb Bonus prize. Paul Mitchell took those honors on both Friday and Saturday, earning a Mark Sullens E85 Carburetors $402 gift certificate, and a free entry to the 2016 Southern Footbrake Challenge in Holly Springs, MS. Bill Hooker earned Sunday’s Bottom Bulb Bonus, and went away with a free weekend entry to the 2016 Ohio Crankshaft No Box Nationals in Lyons, IN.
The first racer to drop out of competition in round 2 by .001-of-a-second or less earned daily “Oh So Close” awards. Friday’s prize went to Chris Damico. For his .001 loss, he walked away with a fresh set of Hoosier Racing slicks courtesy of Maggart’s Automotive. Saturday’s “Oh So Close” award winner was Bill Hooker, who dropped a double breakout by less than .001-of-a-second. For his efforts, Bill left with a $500 BTE gift certificate. On Sunday, Jack Camden, Jr. went down with a heartbreaking .001-breakout. Although his win light wasn’t on, Jack still won a set of Wiseco pistons.
Finally, FTI and AirTek presented daily “Be .50, take .00” awards to the first driver to pair a .50x reaction time with a .00x finish margin in eliminations. Friday, Corey Wood picked up the AirTek pressure monitoring system. FTI then presented $500 gift certificates to the Saturday and Sunday winners, Dean Karns and Josh Harper.
In addition, more than $20,000 worth of “Door” Prizes were distributed to competitors who lost in round 2 or round 3 in each day’s events via random drawing. In total, more than 180 “Door” prizes were distributed to JEGS Fall Door Car Shootout competitors courtesy of event sponsors that included Coan Racing, California Car Cover, BTE, JEGS, Tinnin Drag Race Suspension, ThisIsBracketRacing.com, RacerSwag, CollectorTethers.com, Auto Meter, Dedenbear, Jiffy-Tite, Tuffpaw, Fastronix Solutions, SHARP Stuff, Nitroplate, Huntsville Engine & Performance, Digital Delay, Dixie Racing Products, Yukon Gear & Axle, 2 Boyz Coatings, Accelerated Graphics, Todd’s Extreme Paint, Renegade Racing Fuels, Manley Performance, J&J Engine Diapers, APD, 1st Ayd, K&N Engineering, Abruzzi Transmissions and Converters, Folk Race Cars, Jesel, and Dramatic Effects Photography.
The JEGS Fall Door Car Shootout staff would like to thank all of the racers, spectators, and sponsors who helped truly make this event the “Biggest little door car race in the Midwest!” Plans are already being prepared for the 6th annual JEGS Door Car Shootout, which will be held at I-57 Dragstrip in 2016. Stay tuned for details.