By IHRA Media
Sep 27, 2012
Jimmy Hidalgo Jr.
It is drag racing’s most basic class and to some, it is this sport’s most exciting class.
There is nothing more “drag racing” than two Stockers doing battle on the quarter-mile and this year’s class of Stock racers in the 2012 Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions presented by AMSOIL certainly will not disappoint.
Three former Stock champions and multiple bracket racing and big money racing champions count themselves among the mix and five of the top 10 finishers in last year’s Tournament of Champions are back once again to do battle.
Among them are 2011 Stock World Champion Phil Combs, from Demosville, Ky., who barely won his way into the field with a third place finish in the North Stars Division, and runner-up and third place finisher from last year’s tournament Brent Darroch and Michael Beard.
Darroch, from Monaca, Pa., has been the most successful of last year’s Stock Top 10, finishing first in the North Stars division by 54 points over Rob Bihl behind the strength of two wins and 1 runner-up finish in his all white ’94 Camaro. Darroch had wins at Mountain Park and U.S. 131 Motorsports Park to help him take the divisional crown. This year Darroch hopes to take that a step further by finishing one spot higher and claiming his first career world championship
Beard, a two-time Stock World Champion from Seagrove, N.C., finished third in last year’s tournament and picked right back up where he left off in 2012 with an incredible six final rounds this season in his various “Duck Tape” sponsored rides. In Stock Beard had one win this season at the Pittsburgh Nitro Jam to qualify him for the tournament.
B.J. Bianchi, from Palmetto, Fla., also had a strong 2012 coming off of a seventh place finish in last year’s tournament, winning the Heat Wave Division by 59 points over former Stock World Champion Myron Piatek. Driving an ’89 Mustang, Bianchi had three wins at three different tracks at Bradenton Motorsports Park, Carolina Dragway and Darlington Dragway over the course of the year.
Overall 23 drivers have earned their way into the Stock class with one spot still yet to be filled at the Summit Sportsman Spectacular at Memphis International Raceway the day before the Tournament of Champions. This year 13 different states are represented in the class lead by North Carolina with six drivers, New York with three drivers, Florida, Kentucky and Louisiana with two drivers apiece and Alberta, Arizona, British Columbia, Maryland, Pennsyviania, Texas, Utah and Washington with one qualifier each.
In addition to former champions Combs and Beard 2006 Stock World Champion Myron Piatek is also qualified for this year’s field via a second place finish in the Heat Wave Division. Piatek, from Holly Hill, Fla., had two wins this season at Immokalee Regional Raceway to open the year back in February and Carolina Dragway in June.
2011 Mod ET World Champion from the Summit SuperSeries Matt Hawk, from Tucson, Ariz., will have a shot at back-to-back championships as he qualified for the Tournament of Champions with a win at the San Antonio Sportsman Spectacular in May.
Among the remaining divisional champions Jimmy Hidalgo Jr. had the biggest season racking up two wins and a runner-up finish to finish 69 points ahead of Jacob Pitt in the Renegades Division. Hidalgo, from Donaldsonville, La., had wins at San Antonio and Memphis this season behind the wheel of his wildly designed 2002 Firebird. Hidalgo’s father, Jimmy Hidalgo Sr., finished third in the division with one win and qualified first at every race in Division 4 in 2012.
Mark Faul from the Border Bandits Division joined Michael Beard as the only driver to qualify in another class in addition to Stock, with both drivers earning their way into the Super Stock field as well. In Stock Faul, all the way from Tacoma, Wash., drove his ’69 Chevelle to two wins at Eagle Motorplex and Castrol Raceway to take a 48 point divisional championship over Tom Skjonsberg.
Thomas Fletcher and Tim Sloan round out the divisional champions with Fletcher taking the Patriots Division by 24 points over Stephen McGrath and Sloan winning the Raiders Division by 24 points over Michael Lee Truell. Fletcher, from Churchville, N.Y., had one win and one runner-up behind the wheel of his ’69 Chevelle, taking the win at Skyview. Sloan drove his ’82 Camaro to a win at Farmington Dragway.
While Bianchi, Darroch, Faul, Fletcher, Hidalgo and Sloan were busy winning divisional titles, those drivers that finished just behind in the divisional race in the runner-up spot are Stephen McGrath (D1), Myron Piatek (D2), Rob Bihl (D3), Jacob Pitt (D4), Tom Skjonsberg (D6) and Michael Lee Truell (D9). Divisional third place finishers were Jeffrey Gardiner (D1), Missy Phillips (D2), Phil Combs (D3), Jimmy Hidalgo Sr. (D4), Sean Ferguson (D6) and Ed Longhany (D9).
Rounding out the Stock field are the winners of the 2012 Tournament of Champions qualifier races including Matt Hawk (San Antonio), Michael Beard (Pittsburgh), Anthony Platania (Grand Bend), Jesse Sanderson (Salt Lake) and Joel Warren (Richmond).
The 2012 Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions will take place October 12-14 as part of the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment World Finals at Memphis International Raceway.
NAME (TOC Qual, Hometown) – 2012 Pro-Am Finals
Michael Beard (Pittsburgh, Seagrove, NC) 2 wins, 4 runner-ups
B.J. Bianchi (D2 1 st , Palmetto, FL) 3 wins
Rob Bihl (D3 2 nd , Ashland, KY) 1 win, 1 runner-up
Phil Combs (D3 3 rd , Demossville, KY) 1 win, 1 runner-up
Brent Darroch (D3 1 st /Martin, Monaca, PA) 2 wins, 1 runner-up
Mark Faul (D6 1 st /Edmonton, Tacoma, WA) 4 wins
Sean Ferguson (D6 3 rd , Lampley, BC) 1 win
Thomas Fletcher (D1 1 st , Churchville, NY) 1 win, 1 runner-up
Jeffrey Gardiner (D1 3 rd , Waldorf, MD)
Matt Hawk (San Antonio SS, Tucson, AZ)
Jimmy Hidalgo Sr. (D4 3 rd /Baton Rouge, Donaldsonville, LA) 1 win
Jimmy Hidalgo Jr. (D4 1 st /San Antonio, Donaldsonville, LA) 2 wins, 1 runner-up
Ed Longhany (D9 3 rd , Godwin, NC) 1 win
Stephen McGrath (D1 2 nd , Rochester, NY) 1 win, 1 runner-up
Missy Phillips (D2 3 rd , Lumberton, NC) 2 runner-ups
Myron Piatek (D2 2 nd /Immokalee, Holly Hill, FL) 2 wins
Jacob Pitt (D4 2 nd , Mansfield, TX) 1 win, 2 runner-ups
Anthony Platania (Grand Bend, Rochester, NY) 1 win
Jesse Sanderson (Salt Lake, West Jordan, UT)
Tom Skjonsberg (D6 2 nd , Red Deer, ALB) 1 win
Tim Sloan (D9 1 st /Farmington, Sanford, NC) 1 win
Michael Lee Truell (D9 2 nd , Lexington, NC) 1 win, 1 runner-up
Joel Warren (Richmond, Clinton, NC) 1 win, 1 runner-up