WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – There will be additional chapters added to the long history between the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) and US 131 Motorsports Park.
“Michigan’s Fastest Track” has long been a premier stop for the IHRA, whether it’s hosted national tour events or hosted the Division 5 Summit Team Finals (Thunder) of the IHRA.
US 131 celebrates its 60th anniversary after starting in 1962. It remains one of the nation’s most prestigious drag strips, as strip operator Jason Peterson and staff pride themselves on having a well-maintained facility and clean.
Two events remain showcases for the Martin, Michigan facility. The US 131 Northern Nationals have evolved from the old IHRA Northern Nationals and regularly bring in a large number of entries. In September 2017, Dom Lagana’s Top Fuel car sped through the quarter mile at a record speed of 338.35 mph.
“We have maintained this event. It does not feature all of the classes that were used for the IHRA Northern Nationals,” Peterson said. “But, we trademarked the Northern Nationals name and it was very successful.”
They have had great success in hosting the IHRA Summit Team Finals. The US 131 won back-to-back team championships as Mod (No Box) rider Billy Meier won the prestigious Ironman for his class in 2021. Kyle Wanamaker added to the bonus with a second-place finish in Sportsman.
As runners became familiar with the historic facility, they saw it as an ideal place to compete. The number of entries for the weekly shows at US 131 is staggering. Peterson thinks the key is the IHRA Summit SuperSeries, thanks to the support of Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports and Events Manager Jim Greenleaf.
“Last year’s average was 330 cars in our points races,” Peterson said. “It’s a staple of our program. The most important thing in my opinion and talking to runners is the Summit SuperSeries. This is a major thing that keeps us IHRA. Mr. Greenleaf, we certainly appreciate his involvement with the IHRA and grassroots drag racing for our weekly warrior runners.
The US 131 Track Champions who qualified for the 2021 IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals were: Erik Peterka (Top), Mark Howard (Mod), Matt Nap (Sportsman) and Evan Mulcher (Junior Dragster).
Peterson is in his 19th year as a track operator, a role he has come to appreciate more over the years.
“I don’t know if I wanted to be a track operator from the start, but I grew up drag racing in the old Pro Modified class,” he said. “I did a few IHRA Pro Modified finals in the 90s. Then I got more involved in track management with my step-dad, Steve Earwood, who runs Rockingham Dragway.
“I love the sport of drag racing. If I can’t drive a car, I’m always there and my four kids race. Our eldest, Samuel, is a former track champion in Junior Dragsters. Our two girls are racing and our youngest son is starting his first year in Junior, I have three in juniors, while Sam runs Top ET and Mod this year.
To learn more about the “Fastest Track in Michigan”, click on here to visit the US 131 website.