Midwestern Scene | September '07

 BY: MIKE ELLINGTON

We all know that sand drag racing can best be described as a family sport.  We go to the races as a family.  We camp at the track together as families.  Our children compete in Jr. Dragsters and ATVs, and then play together after their racing is completed.  We’ve all seen our sport on TV, and whichever driver is interviewed, they always seem to say they compete in sand drag racing because it is a family sport.

This past weekend was probably one of the biggest events in this part of the country, Gravelrama.  There is no doubt you’ve read magazine articles or seen the event on different television programs.  And in the case of Gravelrama, we can truly say that sand drag racing is a family sport.  Though I don’t know its exact origin, and I really haven’t paid much attention to it in the past, this year I felt the “His and Hers” trophy was a pretty good story.  The “His and Hers” trophy is awarded to the man and women sharing the same vehicle that racks up the most trophies in each of the four contested events:  the uphill drags, the flat drags, the “Big Eliminator” hill climb and the obstacle course.  The men compete in all four events in the “open competition” while the women have their separate “women’s competition” in the flat drags and the obstacle course.  This may sound a little old fashioned and prejudice but women can compete in the “open competition” if they chose and vice versa.

The competition at Gravelrama is so fierce that to win this trophy you almost need to have a podium finish in every event.  It takes a well rounded vehicle and a man and women team with a lot of experience.  That’s exactly what Norwalk, Ohio’s Paul and Sheri Hunt have.  Together this husband and wife share a 4-cylinder powered Jeep that they compete in “J” class.  “J” class is one of the entry level classes in EC4WDA association competition.  The vehicle may only run a 6 second E.T. on the drags, but can also compete on the hill climbs and obstacle course.  Paul had a 2nd place finish in the uphill drags, flat drags, and the obstacle course, while Sheri finished first in the drags and 2nd on the obstacle course in women’s competition.  This combination gave Paul and Sheri the “His and Hers” trophy in 2007 and this is not their first.  However, this trophy did not come easy to the Hunts. Hot on their heels was the mother, son combination of Mary Kay Nordheim and John Brown.  John runs the same AMC powered 6-cylinder that his late father Darrel competed in throughout the 70’s and 80’s.  Though the Jeep is definitely modified from his father’s days on the strip, John paid tribute to his dad with a retro paint scheme showing the old “Six Pak” logo across the tailgate just the way it was when Darrel was on top of the sand drag world in the Midwest.   John went undefeated for the weekend in “E” class by winning the uphill drags, flat drags, and Big Eliminator hill climb, while his mom also finished first on the flat drags in women’s competition.  The only thing missing for them to take the “His and Hers” trophy were some trophies on the obstacle course.  John’s Jeep is built for the drags.  But that didn’t stop him and his mom.  They entered the obstacle course but fell short by not getting any trophies even though they made a valiant effort.  And if that’s not enough for family camaraderie, the husband and wife duo Jeff and Carmen Banks out of Connersville, IN also had an undefeated weekend with the Banks’ Family Racing Bronco.  Competing in “B” class Jeff and Carmen dominated all weekend and did not lose a single round of competition.  This vehicle is not well suited for the obstacle course so they did not enter this competition, but it was still a fight to the finish.

Whether you’re racing as husband/wife, father/daughter, mother/son or just friends the “His and Hers” trophy is highly coveted and represents what is great about our sport.  Congratulations to Paul and Sheri, and also congratulations to all those families who chose to race together as a family and keep our sport alive.  

Mike Ellington ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Gravelrama Full Results

Flat Drags
Open Competition

XXA
1st Kathy Ellington
2nd John Trayner

XXB
1st Casey Kaiser
2nd Tom Egan

XXC
1st Brad Lunn
2nd Thomas Struckman

XXD
1st Bill Sutton
2nd Darryl Silvers

XA
1st Tina Olszewski
2nd Josh Stephens

XB
1st Josh Sizemore
2nd Vince Morgan

XC
1st Terry Wies
2nd Steve Lanvermeier

XD
1st Dan Wies
2nd Jim Rhodus

A
1st Gale Banks
2nd Mike Ellington

B
1
st Jeff Banks
2nd Jim Brumbaugh

C
1st Dave Myers
2nd David Robbins

D
1st Bob Rice
2nd Kevin Kepple

E
1st John Brown
2nd Rodney Upchurch

F
1st Tom Smith
2nd Chris Helton

G
1st Erk Reuther
2nd Terry Mutchler

H
1st Pat Kinker
2nd Matt Steinaway

I
1st Jill Thomas
2nd Bubba Wilson

J
1st Mike Thomas
2nd Paul Hunt

Women's Competition

XXA
1st Kelly Harrison

XB
1st Kay Dreher

XC/XD
1st Jami Baker
2nd Sharon Lanvermeier

A
1st Kathy Bincsik
2nd Amy Laitala

B
1st Carmen Banks
2nd Debbie Osantowski

C
1st Tammy Robbins
2nd Kristina Matson

D
1st Carol Arner
2nd Amy Bare

E/F
1st Mary Nordheim
2nd Karen Reinhardt

J/H
1st Sheri Hunt
2nd Dana Bulliuant

Open Street Stock

C-2
1st Paul Baker
2nd Matthew Stokien

C-4
1st David Sneed
2nd Rob Howell

F-2
1st Roger Dumford
2nd Tamil Floody

F-3
1st Mike Keeler
2nd Mike Ormess

F-4
1st Bill Butts
2nd Seth Cude

F-5
1st Brian Moore
2nd Dave Miller

Women's Street Stock

C-3
1st DeNae Dowd

F-3/F-4
1st Kim Keeler
2nd Leigh Kirby

F-5
1st Marilyn Miller
2nd Sandi Stone

Uphill Drags

XXA
1st Justin Dees
2nd Kathy Ellington

XXB
1st Rich Simon
2nd Tom Egan

XXC
1st Thomas Struckman
2nd Kennith Smith

XXD
1st Stacey Presley
2nd Darryl Silvers

XA
1st Frank Olszewski
2nd Tom Hardy

XB
1st Josh Sizemore
2nd John Dreher

XC
1st Terry Wies
2nd Steve Lanvermeier

XD
1st Dan Wies
2nd David Mallow

A
1st Dan Thoman
2nd Gale Banks

B
1st Jeff Banks
2nd Jeff Dalton


C
1st Dave Myers
2nd Butch Cregar

D
1st Tracey Bare
2nd Gale Banks

E
1st John Brown
2nd Rodney Upchurch

F
1st Chris Helton
2nd Chad Larsen

G
1st Erk Reuther
2nd Terry Mutchler

H
1st Pat Kinker
2nd Matt Steinaway

I
1st Jill Thomas
2nd Bubba Wilson

J
1st Bob Ford
2nd Paul Hunt

Big Eliminator Hill Climb

XXA
1st Tim Hall
2nd John Trayner

XXB
1st Casey Kaiser
2nd Wm. Curtis Combs

XXC
1st Thomas Struckman
2nd Mark Jones

XXD
1st John Keene
2nd Stacey Presley

XA
1st Frank Olszewski
2nd Tom Hardy

XB
1
st J.R. Dreher
2nd Randy Thornton

XC
1st John Edwards
2nd Steve Lanvermeier

XD
1st Randy Dowd
2nd Jim Rhodus

A
1st Kyle Harney
2nd Clavin Vaughn

B
1st Jeff Banks
2nd Sam Joworskyj

C
1st Doug Reuther
2nd Larry Montgomery

D
1st Sandy Crosby
2nd Joe Zwick 

E
1st John Brown
2nd Ray Campbore

F
1st Tom Smith
2nd Brian Campbell

G
1st Erk Reuther
2nd Terry Mutchler

H
1st Pat Kinker
2nd Mike Tally

I
1st Jill Thomas
2nd Bubba Wilson

J
1st Bob Ford
2nd Mike Thomas

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