NHRA Lucas Oil sportsman champions crowned at the JEGS SPORTSnationals at National Trail Raceway. DragChamp has full race results.
HEBRON, OH – The JEGS SPORTSnationals raced to conclusion September 22 at National Trail Raceway. At the end of the day, nine racers were holding special edition copper Wally trophies.
The JEGS SPORTSnationals is a unique national event format reserved entirely for the NHRA Lucas Oil sportsman classes. In all, nine different classes competed over the race weekend.
Winners included Terry Smith (Comp), Dan Steed (SS), Jeff Taylor (STK), Ed Jirousek (SC), Scott Deffenbaugh (SG), Jim Unum (SST), Scott Wasko (TS), Danny Nelson (TD), and Michael Nash (MC).
In addition to the limited edition copper trophies, each of the nine champions will be eligible for the JEGS Crown in 2020. The JEGS Crown is a special bonus awarded to any racer that wins back-to-back SPORTSnationals titles.
2019 JEGS SPORTSnationals Champions
To claim his second NHRA national event win, Terry Smith played the Comp Eliminator game to perfection. After qualifying sixth at -.521 under his A/DA index, Smith never ran more than -.449 under to reach the final.
This allowed him to save his index for the final round. There he posted his quickest run of the weekend, a -.609 under 6.461 to take the win over class hitter Brian Browell. Browell’s -.559 under 7.211 in his D/D was no match for Smith’s dragster.
The key round of the race was between Browell and Robert Bailey. Browell was forced to use up some index to move past Bailey. His -.571 under lap cost him a .07 penalty for the final round which sealed his fate.
Dan Steed drove through a super tough Super Stock field to claim his first NHRA national event win. Steed defeated a host of talented racers over the weekend including Bill Rink, Jeff Niceswanger, Jimmy Hildalgo, Ricky Decker, and Jeff Dona.
In the final round, Steed met up with Matt Morris. After a .023 to .039 reaction time advantage, Steed drove his SS/KA ’66 Chevy II to a dead-on 10.521 lap to force Morris under by -.021 in his GT/HA ’02 Cavalier.
Jeff Taylor proved why he’s a four-time world champion after collecting national event win number 46 at the JEGS SPORTSnationals. Taylor, driving his FS/D ’15 COPO Camaro, defeated first time finalist Bill Sempsrott in the final round.
Taylor was solid at the tree averaging a .032 reaction through seven rounds of competition. In the final, Taylor used a huge holeshot, .035 to .147, to collect Wally number 46. Prior to the final, Sempsrott’s K/S ’66 Nova had been super consistent posting four 11.74 elapsed times through six rounds.
Ed Jirousek had a huge weekend at National Trail Raceway. On Saturday he earned runner up honors in the K&N Shootout. Sunday, he did one better, winning Super Comp for his first NHRA national event victory.
Jirousek’s dragster was dialed-in to the famed Ohio racetrack posting four dead-on 8.90x elapsed times in six rounds. After opening eliminations with a #1 qualifying 8.903 lap, Jirsousek posted three straight 8.90’s in rounds four, five, and six.
In the final round, his .021 package, .016 RT and 8.905 ET, left opponent Rick Pistole mathematically ineligible after he let go .022 at the tree. Pistole took the stripe by .002 to go -.003 under the 8.90 index.
Scott Deffenbaugh continued his successful 2019 campaign picking up his third win of the season. Deffenbaugh drove his beautiful ’66 Nova past a talented group of racers including Steve Hoyt, Steve Eckard, Ray Sawyer, Dwight Nuest, and Jeremy Mason to reach the final.
Both Ray Sawyer and Jeremy Mason are currently locked in a battle for the national championship. That didn’t stop Deffenbaugh from shutting them down. He used a dead on 9.900 to defeat Mason in round five to earn the bye to the final. That round, a two-for-one, was huge for Mason’s championship hopes.
In the final round, Deffenbaugh defeated former class champ Jacob Elrod. Jacob was .020 take .016 to be -.006 under the 9.90 index. Scott posted a .019 light and a 9.911 to earn his first national event Wally.
Jim Unum drove his ’69 Camaro to victory lane for the first time at a NHRA national event at the JEGS SPORTSnationals. Unum laid down a terrific .011-pack in the final to turn back 2017 event winner Gary Horstmann.
In six rounds, Unum posted four 10.90 laps. In addition, he was never worst than .017 at the tree excluding his second round bye run. For his first national event win, Unum put on a show!
Scott Wasko had an eventful day at National Trail Raceway. After missing the field with at 34th best 7.391 in qualifying, Wasko got into the field as an alternate. He then claimed his first NHRA national event Wally and seconds later parked his ’11 GXP in the sand trap after the chutes failed to deploy.
Wasko endured several high’s and low’s within the weekend but eventually parked his GXP in the winners circle sans the front end! After making the field as an alternate, Wasko drove past a who’s who of Top Sportsman drivers.
Those included Jerry Albert, Jeff Sexton, and Gary Wojnowski before defeating perennial Top 10 racer Sandy Wilkins in the final. Speaking of the final, Wasko was brilliant posting a .010 light and taking .004 stripe to take down Wilkins. Wilkins was .037 dead eight in the loss.
Moments after turning on the final win light, Wasko found himself in a bind. His chutes failed to deploy sending him into the sand trap. The highs of a first win were tainted by a damaged race car. In the end, Wasko was unhurt and he and his hot rod made a winners circle appearance.
The star of the weekend had to be Danny Nelson who won for the third time in recent weeks. Danny won the Bowling Green LODRS, posted a semifinal finish at the U.S. Nationals, won the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Norwalk, and captured the copper Wally at the SPORTSnationals.
To top off Danny’s recent success, he was .00 take .00 for the second final in a row. In claiming his fourth national event victory, Nelson was .001 take .008 for the win. His .036 over 6.136 more than covered David Maggard’s .015 over 6.715.
The win moved Nelson into the points lead in the national standings. With two races left to improve his score, Danny is in the drivers seat in the race for the World Championship.
Two Division 4 racers met in the Sportsman Motorcycle final at National Trail Raceway. The final saw Michael Nash get the win over Dave Gautreaux. Nash was .018 and four above his 8.03 dial for the win while Gautreaux was .030 and ran nine over his 9.00 dial.
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