DELAWARE, Ohio (May 29) — The most prestigious Sportsman drag race of the year is just a few days away and the top 64 drivers in the country are prepped and ready for the start of the annual $100,000 JEGS Allstars, to be contested June 8 during the Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Chicago.

Each year, JEGS High Performance invites the best racers in eight Sportsman categories from each of the NHRA’s seven divisions to battle for big money and bragging rights. The unique event breaks from the traditional drag racing format in the sense that each division must work as a team to beat their rival divisions. There’re also individual titles, but most participants agree the team title means the most.

“Drag racing, by nature, is a one-on-one sport,” race organizer and Division 3 participant John Coughlin said. “With the JEGS Allstars, a big part of that goes out the window because each driver becomes a single piece of a determined team that must work together to claim glory for their respective Division. It’s a big deal to the people involved and you even see racers not participating in the Allstar race out there rooting for guys and gals from their Division. There’s some big-time bragging rights involved.

“To me, it’s like old school drag racing when there were only one or two national events a year. Everyone got together and there were some serious turf wars going on because you wanted everyone else from around the country to know the drag racers from your area were the baddest hombres on the planet.”

Aside from the coveted winner’s jackets and identifying stickers that are proudly displayed on racecars and trailers, JEGS puts up some big money for the event. The winning team gets $20,000. The victors in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car earn $7,000 each, while Comp and Super Stock winners pocket $6,000 apiece. Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas, and Super Street titlists take home $4,500 each.

Runners-up in all categories receive $2,000, and a travel fund of $20,000 is included in the purse. Additionally, JEGS offers a double-up bonus to any Allstars victor who also wins in his or her category at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals.

“We have some very cool trophies to give out and of course, the coveted winner’s jackets,” Coughlin said. “I’ve heard many people say they’d rather have that jacket then the winner’s check. I think the jackets mean so much because they have to be earned. There are none available at the souvenir stands.

“I was at a points meet recently and I saw this trailer with a really old Allstar sticker on it. The thing was all faded and peeling off at the corners but the guy still had it on there because it represented a big accomplishment in his career. I thought that was so cool.”

This year’s participants are a virtual Who’s Who of Sportsman drag racing. Included in the mix is TAFC legend Frank Manzo, 35-time national event winner Jay Payne, reigning world champions Frank Aragona and Darren Smith, former world champions Ron Erks and Anthony Bertozzi, and multiple JEGS Allstars winner Marty Thacker, among many others.

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