Monday, April 15, 2024

Demers Wins Again, claims INDY Top Sportsman Title

Larry Demers followed his recent victory at the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd with a history-making win in Top Sportsman at the U.S. Nationals.

INDY – Larry Demers goes back-to-back winning the Top Sportsman class at the U.S. Nationals two weeks after his victory at the Lucas Oil Nationals. His latest victory etched his name in the history books as the first-ever Top Sportsman champion at the U.S. Nationals.

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Like Top Dragster, this was the first time the fast doorcar class was added to the INDY lineup. Racers from across the country flocked to INDY for a chance at history.

Although the race ended on a high for Demers, the Iowa-based runner actually didn’t qualify for the super quick field. His 6.743 left him 33rd in the 32-car qualified field. Fortunately, someone broke allowing Demers to move into the field as an alternate.


That was all the help Demers needed to claim his second consecutive national event victory. Demers combined solid reactions with a ultra consistent racecar to earn his third NHRA national event win in four final round appearances. His ’10 Cobalt opened eliminations with three 6.77s and a 6.769.

In round one, Demers received a competition single when Ed Foley broke prior to staging. He used a .030 reaction and a dead-on 6.769 to move past Bryan LaFlam in round two.

Larry used an .011 to .022 starting line advantage over Glenn Butcher in round three to advance. His .012 over 6.772 covered Butcher’s .021 over 6.451. That setup a semifinal match up with Paul Pittman.

Pittman defeated a list of hitters to reach the semifinals. This included Joe Roubicek, Sandy Wilkins, and Lester Johnson. With a shot at history in the balance, Demers turned an .009 to .029 reaction time advantage into a .006 margin of victory. Although Pittman ran dead three to his 6.51 dial, Demers .017 over 6.777 proved enough to advance.

Belva Brinegar reached his first national event final at the U.S. Nationals. The Ohio-based racer moved past the red-light starts of Jimmy Lewis and Dave Slatten on his path to the final. He also narrowly survived his round three encounter with Jeff Connelly. Although Connelly was well off the pace, Brinegar ran dead six to his 6.64 dial-in to advance.

In the final round, Demers .019 reaction was slightly better than Brinegar’s .021. At the stripe, Demers ran dead two to his 6.75 dial-in to claim the historic win after Brinegar ran 6.669 on his 6.65 dial-in.

Congratulations to Larry Demers and his family on his historic U.S. Nationals Top Sportsman victory as well as his second straight win!

For more NHRA Lucas Oil drag race results from the U.S. Nationals, click here.

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