Carterville, IL: As the 2011 racing season heads into the home stretch, the battle for the BTE Sportsman Power Rankings championship and the title of ThisIsBracketRacing.com “Driver of the Year” is heating up.  Unlike past seasons, when Dan Fletcher (2009) and Gary Williams (2010) dominated the standings, this season the title is very much up for debate heading into the final six weeks of the racing season.
 
The BTE Power Rankings on ThisIsBracketRacing.com are the result of a unique system designed by the sportsman drag racing website to rank sportsman competitors based on final round appearances in major events, regardless of their class, car, or sanction.  Racers earn points for strong performances in any NHRA or IHRA national, divisional, or E.T. finals event and any bracket race that features a winner’s purse of $5,000 or more.  In it’s first two years of existence, the program awarded racers from two very different venues: standout NHRA competitor Fletcher earned the Driver of the Year title in 2009, while noted big bucks bracket racer Williams took the crown in 2010.
 
To date, over 1200 sportsman competitors throughout North America have earned BTE Power Points in 2011.  With under two months remaining in the 2011 season, the BTE Power Rankings title is very much up for debate.  The top two contenders, Jeg Coughlin, Jr. and Jody Lang are separated by a single point.  The top five competitors are within 20 points of the lead, and tenth place is currently within reach, just 35 points behind Coughlin.  As of October 12, 2011, the top ten spots in the BTE Power Rankings look like this:
 
1.)    Jeg Coughlin, Jr. (82 points): Coughlin, who led the rankings earlier in the season, climbed back into a slim lead on the strength of his recent big bucks bracket wins at the Tenn-Tuck Triple Crown event in Bowling Green, KY.  Coughlin, who has earned a reputation as one of, if not the most versatile driver in all of drag racing, has compiled his 2011 Power Points in a variety of vehicles and forms of competition.  He has a myriad of big bucks titles, with a trio of wins at the Ultimate 64 Shootout, a victory in the “Race for a Dragster” event at the Moser Engineering Great American Bracket Race, and a runner-up finish in the Door Car Shootout at the K&N Spring Fling.  He also earned a Super Comp title and Super Gas runner-up at the JEGS Pacific Sports Nationals to bolster his total.  One would assume Coughlin will have plenty of points earning opportunities over the next few months, including the Million Dollar Race and events along the Florida Winter Series.
 
2.)    Jody Lang (81 points): After leading for the majority of the season, Lang finds himself a single point behind Coughlin in the standings.  Regardless of the outcome, Lang’s 2011 season is the stuff of legend.  He’s won 5 NHRA national events this season, in just 4 appearances.  Lang has won either Super Stock or Stock eliminator at each of the events he’s attended, and won both categories at the NHRA Northwest Nationals.  He also has a pair of NHRA LODRS victories on his ledger and currently leads the NHRA Stock Eliminator standings.  Lang is not entered in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona nationals, but is expected to attend the season-ending events in Las Vegas and Pomona where he’ll have an opportunity to bolster his total and surpass Coughlin.
 
3.)    Tommy Phillips (72 points): Since announcing his intentions to race professionally last offseason, Phillips has made the most of his opportunities to impress sponsors and racers alike.  He started the season with a double victory (QR and SR) at the IHRA Nitro Jam in San Antonio.  He’s added a trio of NHRA national event victories (two in Super Gas and one in Super Comp), the JEGS All-Stars title in Super Comp, and three NHRA LODRS event wins.  Phillips remains in contention of both Super Comp and Super Gas at the Houston LODRS event set to be completed this weekend.  From there, he’s expected to finish the NHRA season on the West Coast where a strong finish could push him to the BTE Power Rankings Title.
 
4.)    Nick Folk (65 points): Folk has accumulated his 65 Power Points in a myriad of ways, though the bulk of his points came inside a dominating 2-month stretch this summer.  He started his season with a Stock win at the IHRA kickoff event in West Palm Beach back in January, then added a runner-up finish at a big bucks bracket event in Byron, IL.  His red hot summer started with a Super Comp triumph at the NHRA Summit Nationals.  He then took runner-up honors in the $50,000-to-win main event at the World Super Pro Challenge, won Quick Rod at an IHRA Nitro Jam event, and took runner-up honors in Stock Eliminator at the NHRA national event in Brainerd, MN.  He capped the summer with a win in yet another category, Top Dragster, at the LODRS event in Earlville, IA.  Though Folk has some ground to make up, he’ll have opportunities to do it, as the Folk family routinely attends the Million Dollar Race and the entire Florida Winter Series.
 
5.)    John Labbous, Jr. (62 points): A perennial BTE Power Rankings top ten finisher, Labbous has enjoyed another banner season highlighted by a pair of huge bracket victories: a $20,000 windfall at the K&N Spring Fling and a $25,000 triumph at the AA Auto Salvage Mega Bucks weekend.  He’s added bracket triumphs at Music City Raceway, Bristol Dragway, and Montgomery Motorsports Park.  Labbous is recognized as arguably the best bracket racer in the nation, and he’ll be a threat to win any event along the annual Florida Winter Series.
 
Other Hopefuls:
The current BTE Power Rankings Top Ten also includes Peter Biondo (55), Mark Faul (52), Shane Carr (49), Edmond Richardson (48) and Troy Coughlin, Jr. (47).  While it would require an outstanding season-ending run for any of those drivers to claim the title, each of the five are capable of catching fire to take the prize.  Some other notable competitors that are currently outside the top ten but have plenty of points earning opportunities remaining include: Cameron Manuel and Wesley Washington, Jr. (tied for 11th), Dan Fletcher and Joe Santangelo (tied for 13th), Kevin Kleinweber (tied for 16th), and Brian Folk (tied for 28th). 
 
The BTE Power Rankings on ThisIsBracketRacing.com are presented in part by K&N Engineering, Todd’s Extreme Paint, and Auto Meter.
 
To see who emerges from the battle as champion, stay tuned to
www.ThisIsBracketRacing.com .  The BTE Power Rankings are a free feature on the site, and the entire rankings can be viewed by everyone.  To see the rankings in their entirety and learn about the features and benefits of the only sportsman driving school on the world wide web, visit www.ThisIsBracketRacing.com today.

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