This week we continue our 2019 year end Top 10 Lists by class. The focus this week is on the fast bracket classes of Top Dragster and Top Sportsman.
1/1/20 – The only weekly sportsman racing Top 10 List is back for another edition. This week we have a special 2019 Top Dragster / Top Sportsman Top 10 List for you. We are ranking the top performers for the year in the fast bracket classes.
In the coming weeks we’ll do 2019 Top 10 List for Top Bulb, Bottom Bulb, Jr.’s, and finally an overall Top 10 for 2019.
The weekly DragChamp Top 10 List highlights the top performers in sportsman drag racing! We look for the best performers at events across the country and rank them each week.
Special thanks to DragChamp Nation and your help each week putting this list together. We couldn’t do it without the nominations submitted to our Facebook page.
2019 Top Dragster / Top Sportsman Top 10 List
1 – Danny Nelson
2019 Top Dragster World Champion Danny Nelson went on an epic run over the summer which secured the top spot on our 2019 Top 10 List. After a slow start to the season, Nelson got hot winning two nationals and two divisional races. He added a semifinal appearance at the U.S. Nationals and also had success on the Mid-West Pro Mod Series.
2 – Sandy Wilkins
After years of contending for the national championship, Sandy Wilkins got it done in 2019 winning the Top Sportsman World Championship. Sandy has been a constant fixture in the NHRA championship hunt for years.
He made three national event finals and won the prestigious Gatornationals. In addition, Wilkins raced to three LODRS event wins to earn the season championship.
3 – Larry Demers
Larry Demers had a dream season driving his Top Sportsman Chevrolet Cobalt entry. In a thirty day span, Demers won the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, the U.S. Nationals, and the LODRS race at Great Bend. He also added a win at the Vegas LODRS in November to wrap up his successful season.
4 – Jeff Strickland
Strick was ultra competitive in his Top Dragster ride throughout the season. Although he lost a close battle with Danny Nelson for the championship, Strickland had a great season.
Jeff had a big weekend at the Atlanta LODRS winning both Top Dragster and Stock. He almost repeated this feat on two other occasions later in the season. At the Route 66 Nationals in Chicago, Strickland earned a runner-up in TD and a semifinal finish in Stock.
A few weeks later, he once again made two finals with both coming at the Tulsa LODRS. There he won TD and was runner-up in Stock.
5 – Rusty Baxter
Rusty Baxter will go down in history as the first Top Dragster winner at the NHRA U.S. Nationals! In an epic event, which included a 6.23 bump and some unbelievable performances, Baxter stood tall on Monday night.
Baxter added a runner-up and two semifinal appearances in LODRS competition to finish #5 nationally.
6 – Kimberly Messer
Although we don’t keep up 100% with the PDRA, one nomination stood out from the series organizer Tyler Crossnoe. He nominated Kimberly Messer who won their Top Dragster 32 season championship in her rookie season.
And when I say rookie season, Kimberly was driving juniors last year! That’s a huge step from juniors to Top Dragster.
For more on Kimberly, listen to her interview on the Fast Brackets Podcast here.
7 – Lester Johnson
Lester Johnson could have made the list just based on his cool ride. Johnson’s procharged ’55 Chevy is one of the fastest and unique cars in Top Sportsman. By the way, it’s also a winner!
Lester earned the seven spot primarily due to his big weekend at the Route 66 Nationals / JEGS Allstars. For the second consecutive season, Johnson made the TS final in both races. After winning the Allstars race in 2018, he clipped a cone in the Sunday final to just miss the weekend double.
Fast forward to 2019, Lester just missed going back-to-back at the Allstars race but this time he sealed the deal on Sunday to earn the Route 66 title.
Johnson added a runner-up and two semifinal appearances at the divisional level to finish 9th nationally.
8 – Jeff Taylor
Jeff Taylor earned the eight spot on the strength of his $50,000 bracket race win at the SFG Big Fun race in Tucson. Taylor drove his Top Dragster to the huge win on a cold, damp track proving just how good he and his car are.
In addition to his bracket racing success, Jeff earned a semifinal finish at the Arizona Nationals. He added a win and a runner-up on the divisional level to finish 12th nationally.
Check out Jeff’s interview on the Fast Brackets Podcast here.
9 – Doug Crumlich
For the second consecutive season, Doug Crumlich missed the national championship by about three win lights! After finishing 3rd in 2018, Crumlich finished 2nd in 2019 to earn his spot on the list.
Crumlich opened the season with semifinal finishes at the Winternationals and the Arizona Nationals. At the Four-Wide Nationals in Vegas, Doug made his way to the winners circle.
He also added a win at the Fontana LODRS to secure his 2nd place finish nationally and earn the Division 7 championship.
10 – Allen Firestone
Allen Firestone had a big season which resulted in a Division 5 TS championship. Firestone, based out of Division 4, claimed points in D5 this season which proved to be a smart move.
Firestone’s best showing on the nationally level was a runner-up finish at the Midwest Nationals in St. Louis. Allen also scored divisional event wins at Brainerd and Earlville which earned him a 3rd place finish nationally.
Just because they weren’t ranked, they still deserve some love for their amazing performances. Here’s a little something extra!
JB Strassweg drove his nitrous-powered Top Dragster to the $10,000 Pro 16 win at the World Series of Pro Mod event in Brainerd. He also won the Norwalk LODRS race and finished 18th nationally.
Jay Oakley is not only a great engine builder but can drive just as well. Oakley earned the 2019 JEGS Super Quick championship.
Johnny Brooks gets a shout out after his TS win at the Thunder Valley Nationals. He followed that win with a semifinal finish at his very next national. Brooks also won numerous times locally and even competed in the Million Dollar Race in his TS car.
Brooke Warren-Foley gets a nod for winning her first NHRA Wally at the VMP LODRS race. The next week she drove to the TD final round at the Carolina Nationals only to come up just shy of her first national event win.
We want to hear from you!
Let us what you think about the DragChamp Top 10 List? We want to hear from you. Check us out on Facebook, share it with your friends.
And remember, look for our DragChamp Top 10 List nominations Facebook post every Monday evening. You can nominate your favorites in the comments of the post for consideration on the list.
If you nominate a racer, please include their name, their accomplishment, which track(s), and a winners circle photo. Some racers have missed the list because we didn’t have enough information and couldn’t find anything online.
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