Packed House and Powerful Performances at Night Under Fire

With famous drivers, header flames and fireworks flying, fans filled every seat for the 40th Annual Kelly Services Night Under Fire, Aug. 12, 2017 at Summit Motorsports Park.

They were there for Funny Car drivers John Force, Del Worsham, Ron Capps, Robert Hight, Cruz Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson, Dale Creasy, Jr. and Jack Wyatt; Chris Darnell and his Shockwave jet engine-powered truck; Sarah Edwards, Scotty Heat, Robert Albertson, Ernie Bogue and their jet engine-powered dragsters; Rich Hanna and Ken Hall and their jet engine-powered Funny Cars and Jim Brewer and his wheelstander.

The Nostalgia Drag Racing League's Pro 7.0 category and ScottRod's AA/Gas vehicles also commanded attention. 

"Our 40th celebration did not disappoint," said Bill Bader, Jr., president of Summit Motorsports Park. "The feedback from our guests has been glowing, and we clearly raised the bar for future years. I could not be more proud of our team. They delivered an incredible evening of entertainment."

In the electrifying Funny Car final, Robert Hight hightailed it to a 3.86 at 321 mph in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet and won over Cruz Pedregon, who was right there with a 3.92 at 322 mph in his Snap-On Toyota. 

Ken Hall flew to a 5.90 at 270 mph alongside his Hanna Motorsports teammate, Rich Hanna, who flew to a 5.86 in the Jet Funny Car final, and Hall picked up the win in the best two out of three competition.

In the Jet Dragster final, Ernie Bogue blasted to a 5.47 at 284 mph in his Beast from the East to take the win over Sarah Edwards, whose Queen of Diamonds II had an issue and had to be pushed back.

The DeCerbo Construction X4 presented by R&R Auto Body final featured a tight match between Matt Hutter, who hauled to a 3.86 and the winner's circle, while his competition, Larry Higgenbotham hung on for a 3.92.

NDRL Pro 7.0 action put the spotlight on Larry Harlen, who drove his Anglia to a 7.04 to claim the victory over Gordon Horn, who hustled to a 7.06 in his Corvette, and in Gasser, Rich Osborn used a better reaction time and an 11.08 to defeat Gene Schwartz and his 13.24.

AA/Gas was to feature a battle of the Anglias, but Brian Spotts secured the win at the starting line and then sailed to an 8.50 after his competition, Al Borowski, turned on the red light.

Bear Motorsports presented by Wiseco Junior Dragster drivers added another element to the show, and in the Advanced category, Bryce Buehrer won with a 7.93 on a 7.90 dial and a better reaction time over Kaitlyn Curtis, who ran right on a 7.91 dial. Meanwhile, in the Intermediate category, Tyler Crowell cruised to the win with an 8.95 on an 8.93 dial over Brandon Buchanan, who had him on the tree but dipped under with a 9.05 on a 9.06 dial, and in the Novice category, Roman Iocoangeli was ready at the tree and at the top end, and clocked an 11.95 on an 11.90 dial to take the win over Nick Peters, who had a break out pass of 11.97 on an 11.98 dial.

The final pair of cars down track for the evening were met with elaborate and explosive track-side pyrotechnics and a $100,000 fireworks display shot from multiple locations over the park. 

Preparations have already begun for next year's event, and to know Bader, Jr. is to know that he's focused on how to make it even more explosive.

Summit Motorsports Park is at 1300 State Route 18, Norwalk, Ohio. For information, call 419-668-5555 or visit

Mary Lendzion
Summit Motorsports Park Media and Public Relations
313-686-0776 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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