Mid-America’s Summit Racing sponsored MWPMS enhances growth and popularity with some off season developments…

Summit Racing Returns as MWDRS Title Sponsor – For the third-straight season, Summit Racing Equipment returns in 2021 as title rights holder to the Summit Mid-West Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service (MWDRS).

“When Summit came on board with us a couple of years back it really confirmed that we were on the right track toward what we wanted to accomplish,” MWDRS founder, owner and president Keith Haney said. “So to have them renew as our title sponsor is not only gratifying for everyone involved with the Summit Racing Mid-West Series, it represents a strong vote of confidence in the value we continue to provide to each of our important marketing partners.”

Summit Racing Motorsports and Events Manager Jim Greenleaf confirmed he was impressed by the resolve and attention to detail that allowed the MWDRS to press on through the most challenging year, logistically, in drag racing history.

“Keith and his whole team were the first to run a major event after the lockdown last year and proved it could be put together and run safely. They were also I think the only drag racing series to run all their scheduled races last year, which may be even more impressive,” Greenleaf stated.

“I also think it was great for drag racing in general because the Summit Mid-West Series served as an example all over the country. Somebody had to be the first to show that a big show could be put together, that a race could be held safely and responsibly for competitors and however many spectators were permitted. It really helped everybody else across the country to go to their local authorities and say, ‘Look, we know it can be done. We know how to do this within the guidelines because these guys (MWDRS) have already done it.'”

This year’s eight-race schedule for the Summit Racing Mid-West Drag Racing Series opens Mar. 19-20, with a visit to Xtreme Raceway Park in Ferris, TX. Additional stops at Belle Rose, LA; Tulsa, OK (twice); Houston, TX; Great Bend, KS; and Martin, MI, will follow, with a return to Ferris in October for the 2021 season finale.

In addition to its flagship store and online/mail-order headquarters in Tallmadge, OH, Summit Racing operates retail outlets in Sparks, NV, McDonough, GA, and Arlington, TX.

“For us, being involved with the Mid-West Drag Racing Series is all about putting us in contact with the right people, the right customers. And Keith has always made sure the Mid-West Series is always focused on taking care of the racers. It’s all about the racers and he and his staff are always thinking of ways to make things better, to do what’s right by them, which is exactly how we like to do business, too.

Stroud Safety Name Title Holder – Stroud Safety, a marketing partner with the Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Drag Racing Series (MWDRS) since its inception in 2017, has been named title rights holder to the Tulsa-based series’ Pro Modified class.

“Stroud Safety has been there since day one with us, but have now stepped up to naming rights sponsor, which is very exciting,” MWDRS founder, owner and promoter Keith Haney stated.

“Everything on my personal race car is Stroud Safety and 90 percent of the people that race with us run Stroud equipment. I can’t thank them enough; none of the racers can thank them enough. And just like me, Stroud’s owner, Tommy Cunningham, also races in the Stroud Safety Pro Mod division, so it’s great to have his hands-on involvement be a part of this, too.”

Operating since 1985, Stroud Safety manufactures drag racing safety equipment such as seatbelts, parachutes, driver’s suits and boots, fire suppression systems and even custom-fitted catch nets at drag strips nationwide.

“We do all that and a lot more,” said Cunningham, who purchased Stroud Safety late in 2019. “We’re pretty heavy into the Bonneville land-speed stuff, we do some dirt track and we’ve actually got a very strong presence in monster trucks. And then we’ve got an industrial side that most of the motorsports community never hears about, where we do a lot of wind energy products and a lot of ballistic blankets for the pulp and paper industry.”

Cunningham said he decided to step up Stroud’s involvement with the MWDRS after recognizing that competing with some of the best race teams in the country provides several advantages.

“After a year’s worth of owning the company and seeing the benefits of working with drivers and racers in the series and the amount of people we’d see coming by to check out our products, we’d see it on Monday after a race weekend that we had been represented,” he said.

“Being at the track also allows us to see Stroud products being used in real racing conditions, where even if there are critiques, after an event you can come back and say, ‘Hey, you know, if we did it this way, maybe that would be a little bit better.’

With his father and mother, Larry and Susan, along with wife Anita as his only crewmembers, Cunningham won the MWDRS Pro Mod race at St. Louis last August with his supercharged ’68 Mustang GT 500. Then in October, he hosted the entire Stroud Safety staff from manufacturing facilities in Oklahoma and Kentucky at the final race of the season in Tulsa for a team building and learning experience.

Bickel Backing Continues — For the third-straight year, Jerry Bickel Race Cars (JBRC) will return as a prominent backer of the Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Drag Racing Series (MWDRS) presented by J&A Service. Jerry Bickel Race Cars will contribute to the season-ending MWDRS championship points fund and will be prominently featured throughout 2021 as the official right-lane sponsor on the MWDRS digital timeslip app.

“I can’t even begin to describe what an honor it is to have Jerry Bickel Race Cars officially involved with the Mid-West Series,” states Keith Haney, founder, owner and promoter of the Tulsa-based organization.

“I race a Bickel-built car myself, so I know what a high-quality product they provide and their service is second to none, but it’s more than that; Jerry has an impeccable reputation and to have him endorse us just means so much to me not only on a professional level, but personally, too.”

Bickel says he’s attended several Mid-West Series events in the past and hopes to attend more this year, pandemic allowing. It’s all about giving back to the sport, he says–specifically to his customers–for all they’ve provided him and the company bearing his name.

“I think of sponsoring as advertising and I want the money I use for advertising to go right to my customers,” Bickel says from his shop in Moscow Mills, MO. “And I want to help my customers any way I can. That’s why I try to send one of our representatives to as many races as I can, just so they can answer questions or offer advice.”

JBRC creates some of the finest race cars in the world, with fit and finish second to none, but as a back-to-back NHRA world championship-winning crew chief with Pro Stock star Jim Yates (1996-’97), Bickel also understands the day-to-day pressures and demands of the working racer.

“Forget about winning the championships, I spent five years as a crew chief and just learning all this stuff, what it takes to be successful, the tracks, managing everything, all that experience is invaluable when you go to help somebody,” he says. “And that’s how I feel about sponsorships, too, I just want to be helping the racers out there.”

New Hussey Performance Association – Hussey Performance, a made-to-order copper gasket manufacturing firm, has officially been named associate sponsor of the Tulsa-based Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Drag Racing Series (MWDRS) Top Alcohol Funny Car class presented by J&A Service.

“It’s always exciting to add a new sponsor to our series,” MWDRS founder and owner Keith Haney says. “And I feel like seeing Hussey Performance wanting to support the Mid-West Series Funny Car class really shows they understand what we’re focused on accomplishing, which is providing the very best experience and benefits possible to our racers, our fans, our member tracks, and of course to all the great sponsors who make it all possible.”

Second-generation owner and president of Hussey Performance David Allen Jr. explains he’s never stepped up as a prominent series sponsor before, but he wanted to get into the visual marketing side of things and believes the Mid-West Drag Racing Series offers a perfect fit.

“We’re really big into the NHRA stuff, but not so much anywhere else, so we’re really looking to just expand our presence and reach out a little bit,” Allen says. “Especially to the Pro Mod teams, which are clearly high-end, professional operations, but also to the extreme performance, eighth-mile classes and stuff like that. Hopefully we can expand to all of those customer bases.”

Based just north of Pittsburgh in Ambridge, PA, Hussey Performance creates custom-fitted gaskets for the high-performance, close tolerance market. Utilizing a water jet to precisely cut and fit copper gaskets to customer-specified needs, including bore size and spacing, gasket thickness and temper in the copper, Hussey creates gaskets for racing applications across a wide spectrum, including Top Fuel and Top Alcohol Funny Car.

The Top Alcohol Funny Car class was added to the MWDRS mix midway through last season. The Hussey Performance-backed entry owned by class legend Tony Bartone and now driven by Sean Bellemeur went on to win the inaugural series championship.

“And we thoroughly enjoyed racing in the Mid-West Series last year,” he adds. “Haney and his people, they treated the alcohol class very well, ran good events and it was great to win the championship. I hope we can do it again.”

The 2021 Hussey Performance Top Alcohol Funny Car schedule within the Summit Racing Mid-West Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service opens Mar. 19-20, at Xtreme Raceway Park in Ferris, TX. Additional stops at Belle Rose, LA; Tulsa, OK (twice); Houston, TX; Great Bend, KS; and Martin, MI, will follow, with a return to Ferris in October for the 2021 season finale.

Race Star Returns — Race Star Wheels is returning in 2021 for its third-straight season as title rights holder for the Top Dragster class with the Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Drag Racing Series (MWDRS) presented by J&A Service.

“It’s all about grassroots racing,” Race Star owner L.B. Davis declares of his involvement with the Tulsa-based series. “That’s where the majority of racers compete and we want them to know that we’re here to support them and help them. We want to be out there finding out what their real needs are so that we can build those needs into our products going forward.”

Davis explains that new wheels remain constantly in development at the nearly 12-year-old Race Star facility in Kearney, MO, including a brand-new offering destined to debut later this year in Top Fuel and nitro Funny Car action. This hands-on approach also helped Race Star to develop the one-piece, double-beadlock 63 Pro Forged wheel favored by so many leading MWDRS Top Dragster competitors.

“The 63 Pro Forged line has been on the market for the past two-and-a-half years and it’s definitely one of our flagship wheels now. We felt there was no better place to start with it than Top Dragster because there’s just so many dragsters out there,” Davis says.

Mid-West Drag Racing Series founder, president and promoter Keith Haney, who also races a Pro Mod entry shod with Race Star Wheels, says he appreciates what Davis and Race Star bring to the sport.

“L.B. and his people have been very easy to work with, both with the Mid-West Series and with my own team,” Haney says. “And Race Star Wheels really does make a great product that looks every bit as good as they perform. We’re very happy to have them on board.”

Davis adds that Race Star Wheels are on display at the MWDRS merchandise trailer during all Mid-West Series stops and he is working with Haney to expand Race Star’s future involvement. “We’re hoping going forward from 2021 that we will play a much greater part than just being a sponsor in the Top Dragster category,” he says.

The 2021 Race Star Wheels Top Dragster schedule within the Summit Racing Mid-West Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service opens Mar. 19-20, at Xtreme Raceway Park in Ferris, TX. Additional stops at Belle Rose, LA; Tulsa, OK (twice); Houston, TX; Great Bend, KS; and Martin, MI, will follow, with a return to Ferris in October for the 2021 season finale.


The Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Drag Racing Series is an all-eighth-mile, no-profit organization funded entirely through marketing partnerships and passed along to benefit MWDRS host tracks (typically about $10,000). The Mid-West Drag Racing Series also provides trackside sponsor banners to be displayed at each event, on-site PA sponsor announcements, and links to each company on the MWDRS website (www.MidWestDragRacingSeries.com), plus an extensive social-media presence, texts and e-mail blasts, and commercials during all events.

Posted by Ian Tocher

Posted by Ian Tocher