There is something harmonious about watching a racer at the top of their game, crushing the opposition. My background is in helping my husband, John Herman, bump start his motorcycle in the pits of the Pacific Northwest race tracks and sprint car racing media on a national level. Most motorsport racers are small compared to stick-and-ball sport athletes but huge on attitude. They know their capabilities and the limits of their equipment. What I have observed is a big part of a driver’s success is mental. They train hard physically and practice with their equipment. They believe deep down in the bottom of their soul that they are undisputedly the best. They believe they are deserving of the top spot, with a divine right to be number one. There is a level of cockiness that is notable, but in many ways, that is simply an air of extreme confidence.
Over 150 cars from as far as Enid, Okla. came on Saturday night to the SRCA drag strip in Great Bend to run their weekly program along with a King of the Track race. The NHRA Summit King of the Track Championship is a onetime special event held at NHRA member tracks in conjunction with a weekly racing event. Winners compete head to head with dials to become the Summit King of the Track champion, who will receive an NHRA Wally trophy and King of the Track hat. The winner of each of the six classes will race head-to-head for this one winner take – all recognition. The King of the Track can come from any class. It will be the driver who understands their car, the track conditions and the science underneath the weather better than everyone else.
Class winners for the evening were: Super Pro Chad Gordine (Salina); Pro ET Gordon Myers (Medicine Lodge); Sportsman Brett Beck (Beloit); Motorcycles Patrick Roetto (Wichita); Street Legal Ron Potts (Ellinwood); High School Devin Burger (Garfield); Jr Dragster (10-17 yo) Lauren Dodd (Wichita) and (8-9 yo) Aiden Peres (Galva).
The winners of the six major classes drew for match ups to begin the King of the Track competition. There was no way to know who would be in the first flight as the pairings were truly made by the “luck of the draw.” Larned High School sophomore, Devin Burger, lined up his ’87 Dakota (Chev 350) against Pro ET driver Gordon Myers in his ’71 Opel GT (Chev 406). The 16 year old would win at the light with a .097 reaction time to Myers’ .177. Burger would repeat for the win in second round competition against Street Legal driver Ron Potts driving a ’00 Lightning powered by a Ford 5.4L motor with a .033 reaction to Potts’ .155. Now the kid had everyone’s attention as he lined up for the finals against Super Pro Chad Gordine and his ’78 Malibu. Devin held solid and beat his opponent once again at the light with a .058 to .453.
Devin’s dad and mechanic, Jeremy, originally built the truck to run. Instead he built a dragster and Devin started racing the Dakota in May of this year. I asked how a driver who is running out of the home garage faces and beats faster cars. Devin said, “I thought about my light. I didn’t want to spin and I didn’t worry about the other car until the 1/8th mile.” When asked what his thoughts were on beating obviously better funded and sponsored cars Devin was quick to respond, “We worked too hard not to win. We deserve it.”
The next SRCA season race is Oct. 14, Test and Tune & Gamblers Race. Gates open at 6 p.m. Oct. 15, is NHRA Summit Points Race #9. The SRCA race schedule can be found at www.srcadragstrip.com.