Current Track Champions
Allen Moore motored to a 2016 Track Championship
If you ask Allen Moore how he felt when he climbed into a junior dragster as a child, he’ll tell you that he was “immediately comfortable,” and if you ask him how he felt when he climbed into a full size dragster as a young man, he’ll — again — tell you that he was “immediately comfortable.”
He sees that as a sign that the cockpit of a dragster is where he wants to be and where he should be, and apparently, he’s right, as he immediately began going rounds and earned his first win at Summit Motorsports Park in 2013.
His exact words right after that accomplishment, some may remember, were actually “Holy crap! I just won at Norwalk!”
It was, he said, a reason to relish as well as a reason to be relieved, considering how tough his fellow competitors were, and how they could win here, win there and win everywhere.
At that point knowing that he could, too, he began going into each race with extra enthusiasm and extra energy, and told himself that he would take it round by round.
And in the process, he told himself that win or lose, he has come a long way.
Indeed he has.
Allen, a student at Akron CNC Training Center, and a skilled bowler, went more rounds in 2016 than he ever has, and with him every step of the way were his dad, Mike, and his mom, Laura.
Mike O'Rourke, Sr. Sails to a Pro Championship
It may have been riddled with rust and it may have been what he referred to as a hooptie, but when Mike O’Rourke saw the 1978 Firebird for sale in 1993, he wanted it.
So, he paid the $1,800 asking price, fired up the big-block Chevy engine under the hood and hit the street.
By the following year, he wanted to hit the strip, too, and whether that engine was just tired or Mike asked too much of it too soon, he hurt it the second time out.
He promptly replaced it with another big-block Chevy engine, though, and took the car — various-colored panels and all — back to the track.
Racking up round wins by the year 2000 and wanting the car to look good for when he earned a trip to the winner’s circle, he had it painted primer black, and a few years later, he had it painted the bright and beautiful GM Torch Red that it is now.
After joining Summit Motorsports Park’s points program in 2015, he finished twenty-fifth, and wanting to wind up closer to the top, he came out of the gate running in 2016.
He was going round after round — or, as he puts it, “letting go of the button, driving the stripe and getting lucky” — but of great meaning to him was lining up alongside his son, Mikey, for a semifinal, and of even greater meaning to him was the fact that Mikey won.
That speaks volumes about the Redford Township, Michigan resident who drives a gravel hauler for a living and likens racing to playing chess at 140 mph.
Rick McWaters recognized as Super Bike Champion
While some of Rick McWaters’ friends and fellow riders wondered whether he would feel pressure to back up his 2014 Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Bike championship with another championship, they soon found out he wouldn’t.
In fact, he has remained focused on the tree and the track before him, and he has taken things one twist of the throttle at a time. As a result, he has continued to rack up round wins in the consistently competitive category.
After riding his eight-second Suzuki to a win in the spring, Rick — a former Summit Motorsports Park Sportsman of the Year — pushed past first round at the remaining points races in 2016
Still revved up and raring to go in the fall, he earned another win at the Halloween Classic presented by Harland Sharp in October at Summit Motorsports Park.
As it turns out, that win was every bit as meaningful to him as his win in May, as it represented a stout start and enviable end to the season, and that’s something the proprietor of Cycle Tech has caught himself reminiscing about.
Jim Ring Races to a Championship
Back when he was seven years old, Jim Ring would sit next to his dad in his 1968 Cougar and shift the transmission every time his dad shouted “smash ‘em!”
He wasn’t tall enough to see out of the windshield, but that didn’t matter to him nearly as much as the teamwork and tender moments he was experiencing with his dad.
By the mid ‘90s, he was taking part in the Wednesday Fun Night program at Summit Motorsports Park, but before long, he had made the move to the park’s Accel Super Series program.
He started with Pro in 2001 and shimmied over to Sportsman a few years later, and while he admits that the potential to win prizes and money was motivation for the move, he also admits that the competition and camaraderie have kept him there.
In his ’72 Nova, he has earned top ten and top five finishes through the years, but found even more success in 2016 after discovering how to relax and take it round by round at the race track.
Jim, a TFC Transportation truck-driver, told himself that both he and his car were capable of cruising to wins, but that win or lose, he was going to be the same man that night as he was that morning.
As he racked up round wins weekend after weekend, his wife, Kimberley, and daughters, Brooke and Lauren, were track-side to take it all in.
And while his dad had passed away years ago, Jim is confident that he, too, was track-side to take it all in.
Courtney Grisez cruised to an Advanced Jr Dragster Championship
Despite having a mechanical malfunction and rolling — not once, not twice but three times — in her junior dragster her first time out seven years ago, Courtney Grisez showed grit by getting up and getting in another junior dragster mere months later.
Since then, she has nicely navigated through Novice, Intermediate and now Advanced junior dragster categories, and from 50 miles per hour to 82 miles per hour.
Her 2016 season started with double-zero reaction times on the starting line, but break-outs on the finish line, and while that stood to shake her confidence, she had her dad by her side to remind her to forget the last race and focus on the next race.
Her brother, Connor, who earned a championship in the Advanced category in 2014 and now races a dragster in Super Pro, also watches over her, but she’s sure that she’s even more concerned about his racing than he is about hers.
Away from the track, she’s a sophomore at Vermillion High School, where she takes — and hates — geometry, but she finds the study of DNA stimulating and has her sights set on becoming a criminal investigator.
Also away from the track, Courtney — whose parents are Ed Grisez and Mary Scarvelli — enjoys reading, and is currently engaged in a series titled “The Naturals” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
She also enjoys watching movies, and among her favorites is “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” which features a cast of characters she can relate to.
Michael Crowell Captures Intermediate Jr Dragster Championship
During the week, 13-year-old Michael Crowell studies things like language arts and math as an eighth-grader at Keystone Middle School in LaGrange, Ohio.
The former is his least favorite and the latter is his favorite, but when he’s not studying, he’s standing tall as a shooting guard on the school’s basketball team, and in addition to playing basketball himself, he likes to watch others play basketball.
His favorite team is the 2016 NBA championship-winning Cleveland Cavaliers, and currently, his favorite player is point guard Kyrie Irving, whom he admires for his smooth moves on the court and his dedication, his determination and his drive.
It could be said that like his favorite player, Michael has dedication, determination and drive, especially when it comes to climbing into the cockpit of his junior-dragster.
As a result, he improves each time he unflinchingly fires it up and flies down track.
Zachary Doell Drives to a Novice Jr Dragster Championship
Of all the classes Zachary Doell takes as a fourth-grader at Brookside Intermediate School in Sheffield Village, Ohio, he likes math most because he’s absolutely mad about multiplication, addition, subtraction and division.
But when he’s not crunching numbers in a classroom, he’s crushing it on football fields, baseball diamonds and basketball courts, because he likes the competition and — in his words — “running right into people.”
He also likes to spend time at Sky Zone Trampoline Park and at the local video store, where he’s earned the nickname “Scary Movie Boy” because he talks with employees there about his favorite frightening movies, including “Lake Placid,” featuring a 30-foot long crocodile on the loose in a small town.
According to his mom, Cheryl, and dad, Dan, he’s a kind boy who recently held the door open for a mother and her children at a store without being asked to. He’s also sometimes silly, as he breaks into song or dance for the sole purpose of making to someone laugh.
But when he’s not doing that, he’s fast and focused in the cockpit of his junior dragster.
In fact, he means it when he says that he’s thinking about winning — and little else — as he’s traveling 50 miles per hour toward the finish line at Summit Motorsports Park.