IHRA's Summit Pro-Am opener this weekend at Immokalee to provide early season test
NORWALK, Ohio (January 28, 2013) – Want to know what you can expect to see at Immokalee Regional Raceway this weekend?
Lots of the numbers one and two.
Thompson Sr. will have one on his car. So will Michael Beard and
Michael Ruff, Donny Urban and B.J. Bianchi. So what do they all have in
common? All five drivers finished either first or second in the final
IHRA national standings last year at the Summit Racing Equipment
Tournament of Champions and all five call Division 2 home.
Mike Thompson (near) and Rick McDonough were part of an incredible battle last season
And that's not all.
unlikely as it may seem, the Heat Wave Division had three world
champions, two runner-ups and one more racer finish on the podium in
2012. That is far and away the most success any one division enjoyed at
the season-ending championship tournament last year. And all are
expected to be back to begin their title defenses when the 2013 Summit
Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL kicks off its season
this weekend at Immokalee Regional Raceway. This double points meet is
located in the heart of Division 2 country, but is actually open to
racers from any division.
can I say, as far as the competition goes, you won't find a tougher
division," said Rick McDonough, driver of the McDonough Motorsports 2001
Chevrolet S-10 Top Sportsman machine. "We are very excited about the
division opener this weekend. We have been working tirelessly to make
sure we have everything ready to go with no hiccups as we try to go
head-to-head against these guys once again."
was part of one of the most unlikely championship scenarios you will
ever find last season. McDonough, from Southwest Ranches, Florida,
finished third in the final Division 2 Top Sportsman Pro-Am standings
behind division champion Donny Urban and runner-up Mike Thompson Sr.
McDonough says last season's performance proves just how tough Division 2 has become
all three advancing to the year-end Summit Tournament of Champions via a
top three points finish, one would expect that the trio might meet
again in Memphis. But when they each found themselves all alone in the
semifinals, it became quite clear that the path to the Top Sportsman
world championship rested solely in the Heat Wave division.
says a lot about the competition in Division 2," McDonough said. "The
three of us finished first, second and third in the division and went on
to finish first, second and third in the world. I don't know that any
other division could claim such an awesome achievement. That is
something we are really proud of, to represent our division like that on
the national stage."
the trio of McDonough, Urban and Thompson did go on to finish top three
in the final year-end standings, with Mike Thompson driving his 2003
Cavalier to the winner's circle and Donny Urban coming home second and
But that isn't the end to this incredible story.
2 Super Stock champion Michael Beard went on to claim the world
championship in Memphis, joining divisional runner-up Michael Ruff in
the winner's circle in Super Rod. Division 2 Stock champion B.J. Bianchi
finished second in the world as well.
Thompson didn't win the division, but he did win the IHRA World Championship in Top Sportsman
is quite a winning percentage for the division with one of the largest
regional footprints. Competition in Division 2 stretches from south
Florida to the Carolinas, but it counts among its racers some of the
most loyal and competitive drivers in the business.
had a good year last year battling Donny for the championship. We had a
few wins, finished second in the division and that is how we got to the
TOC," Thompson said. "Racing in Division 2 is a lot of fun and it is
very competitive. Having it all come down to the three of us for the
championship last year was a big deal for the group."
the battle for divisional supremacy will once again get underway this
weekend in southern Florida as Immokalee Regional Raceway hosts not only
the heavy hitters who call D2 home, but also all racers who want a
chance to test their talents early in the year. The event is open to all
IHRA racers with in-division claims on the line for all.
ironically, the two drivers who started the season off with the first
wins of the year in 2012? Rick McDonough and Mike Thompson, who took
home wins at Immokalee last season.
fact is not lost on me. I know how important it is to get off to a good
start, especially with divisional points counting even more this year,"
McDonough said. "I guess we will just have to tighten those straps a
bit tighter this season and try to make a move on those guys. Maybe this
year is our year, but I am sure there are a lot of extremely talented
racers and friends that will try to spoil my plans."