Kyle Bigley, the Division 1 JEGS Allstars Super Comp representative, discusses his race weekend at Route 66 Raceway.
Two weeks ago I attended the NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Chicago and represented Division 1 at the infamous JEGS Allstars race. This event is special because it’s been home to the Allstars race for over a decade.
The JEGS Allstars event is really about highlighting the “best of the best” as I borrow a quote from NHRA President Glen Cromwell.
For many racers, getting to represent their Division at the JEGS Allstars is a dream come true. It’s something many look to cross off the bucket list, while few ever do. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to experience and achieve this feat, you know how special and difficult it is.
I feel fortunate that I was able to represent Division 1 in Super Comp for the 2019 JEGS Allstars. I’ll be the first to admit, it was surreal. The atmosphere is something else at Chicago and from the moment you arrive, you’re treated like one of the Professional teams.
From our own special stacking line and priority parking on the pavement, to being reimbursed for our travels, to driver introductions (or lack of, in 2019) and everything in between. It really is a special event for all of the champions and qualifiers representing their respective divisions.
The National Event
Taking a step back for a moment we’ll find our focus on the Route 66 Nationals. With qualifying on Thursday, we had an opportunity to get the car setup and dialed in for eliminations. It was our first-time racing at this facility and racing in Division 3 (which I enjoyed a lot).
By the end of the day we had made our passes and felt good about our setup for Friday morning’s first round. As with many National Events, the sportsman schedule follows round 1 and 2 Friday, 3 and 4 Saturday, and 5 and 6 on Sunday.
Friday morning comes along and it’s random pairing for round one. I draw Tim Foley who I defeated in a double breakout race. My .019 and 8.874 was enough to turn on the win light against his .032, 8.862.
Tom Clark and I square off in round two for a spot in Saturday’s program. For me, it was all about making it to round three so I had a morning shot before the JEGS Allstars. The tree drops and Tom hit’s a nice .005 to my .017. As we speed down the quarter mile Tom breaks out -.005 to my 8.922.
On Saturday morning round three is called to the lanes at the crack of dawn. This time around I have Cody Webber. I’m .008 out of the gate to his .027 and close the stripe up to .003 taking another double breakout win 8.897 to an 8.881.
In round four I find myself across from Division 3 young’in and fellow Finance Student Megan Strassweg as we battle for a spot into the Finals for Sunday. The tree drops and I run out of talent leaving second to Megan’s .011 with a .031, my worst light of the week. I put it on an 8.915 giving Megan one hundredth of stripe to work with as she best’s my time with an 8.921 for the win.
JEGS Allstars Event
The Allstars took place on Saturday about 30 minutes after round four of the national event. With pending thunderstorms rolling in, the pace was definitely a bit rushed. That combined with coming off a fourth round loss didn’t help the rhythm I had going an hour earlier.
Heading into round one, my teammate Mike Robilotto (Division 1 blocker) and I had successfully qualified on opposite ends of the ladder (perfect). Mike draws Ray Ray Miller for round one and comes up short after a late .040 reaction time and a down track timing issue.
I now had to face off against Division 6 representative Randy Beck. I was put into the left lane and unfortunately due to a variety of factors, which we’ll save for another conversation, missed the tree. I flinched to go red which ended my shot at both the double-up and winning the Allstars.
Although neither the National Event nor the JEGS Allstars went the way I had planned and hoped, it was still a great experience. It was also a good showing to start the season long points chase.
I look forward to the next time I get to represent Division 1 in the JEGS Allstars. I can’t wait for my shot at redemption, but until then, catch me at the Norwalk National Event coming up in a couple of weeks.
About the Author: Kyle Bigley began his drag racing career at the age of 10 in a Jr. dragster. He quickly rose through the ranks before moving into Super Comp. In 2018, Kyle captured the NHRA Division 1 Super Comp championship, secured a spot on the JEGS Allstar team, and was recognized as the Division 1 Driver of the Year. For 2019, the recent Penn State University graduate added a Super Street Firebird to the team.