IRA Interstate Racing Association
TRAVELER BLACKHURST TAKES BUMPER TO BUMPER IRA CHAMPIONSHIP
Young Illinois driver Jake Blackhurst and his father Paul made the best of their long tows each weekend this race season, in their first year following the entire Bumper To Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series schedule full time, by capturing the season championship. Blackhurst edged Scotty Thiel for the title after a dramatic back and forth season long battle which went down to the final checkered flag of the year. Statistics between the two young chargers were nearly identical, both winning 4 features and each gathering 17 top ten finishes. Ironically Thiel had 13 top five finishes compared to Blackhurst’s 12, though a Thiel DNS following a heat race engine failure late in the season proved to be more than could be overcome due to the season long consistency turned in by Blackhurst’s #25 entry. Just 7 points separated the pair in the final standings. Points were awarded 23 nights. IRA additionally sanctioned 2 non-point events. Several others from the original 34 scheduled fell to weather and one to a unforeseen circumstance.
11 different drivers visited IRA victory lane. Joining Blackhurst and Thiel with 4 wins each were 8-time series champion Bill Balog, and traveler Kerry Madsen. Other winners included Steve Meyer, Matt Vandervere, Jordan Goldesberry, Brooke Tatnell, and Parker Price-Miller who each scored single wins. Ryan Smith and Aaron Reutzel captured the two completed co-sanctioned events with the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions, while a third fell victim to weather just prior to the A-main. 37 drivers scored top 5 finishes of the 133 different drivers that competed in IRA point paying shows. The IRA scheduled races at 19 different tracks in 4 states (WI, IL, IA, MN).
Multi-time area 360 champion Brandon McMullen earned Rookie of the Year honors, topping fellow rookies Hunter Custer, and Nick Matuszewski.
The top 20 in Bumper To Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series points were;
Jake Blackhurst 2896, Scotty Thiel 2889, Jeremy Schultz 2740, Bill Balog 2551, Steve Meyer 2379, Scotty Neitzel 2356, Russel Borland 2270, Brandon McMullen 2258, Scott Uttech 2164, Kris Spitz 2122, Wayne Modjeski 2079, Ben Schmidt 2013, Mike Reinke 1916, Mike Decker 1846, Hunter Custer 1837, Nick Matuszewski 1642, Scott Biertzer 1537, Jordan Goldesberry 1297, Jereme Schroeder 1213, Matt Vandervere 1205.
Article Credit: Steve Sinclair
Submitted By: Kim Tennyson