The Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series competitors head to the staging lanes for the first round of eliminations today at the TascaParts.com NHRA New England Nationals presented by Bandero Premium Tequila, and before the first cars get up there to the burnout box and begin their respective battles for the trophy, we’ve got some kinda cool facts to throw your way.
The 2020 Story
While the Pros didn’t run for the money at New England Dragway in 2020, Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series racers were invited to participate in the JEGS SPORTSnationals, a prestigious NHRA national event just for the LODRS crowd. The event was held in conjunction with the Division 1 race and crowned winners in eight categories.
That means that the most recent national event Sportsman winners at New England Dragway were Frank Aragona Jr. (Comp), Bryan Worner (Super Stock), Thomas Fletcher (Stock), Walter Olt (Super Comp), Jason Kenny (Super Gas), Brian Sawyer (Super Street), Deborah DiGenova (Top Dragster), and Craig Munroe (Top Sportsman).
Reigning New England Nationals Champs
Defending titles in Epping this weekend are Byron Worner (Super Stock), Dean Cook (Stock), Iggie Boicesco (Super Gas), Brian Sawyer (Super Street), and double-up winner Kenneth Moses (Super Comp and Top Dragster). Top Sportsman is not being contested this weekend, so Dave Miller will reign another year.
Twice as Nice
The chapter on national event double-ups in the NHRA history book reveals that 26 drivers have accomplished the extraordinary feat, and they’ve done it 41 times and at 20 different racetracks.
Epping’s New England Dragway has twice been the stage for those hard-fought double-trophy weekends. Anthony Bertozzi made it happen in 2013, at the inaugural NHRA New England Nationals, when he scored the Stock and Super Stock Wallys. Six years later, it was Kenneth Moses with twice the gold as he claimed victory in both Super Comp and Top Dragster at the 2019 event.
Speaking of Multiple Wins
Building a New England Nationals scorecard revealed some compelling stats. The inaugural event took place in 2013, so it’s a relatively small scorecard to pull together – but it contains a lot of strange repetition for such a small basket.
Let’s take Super Stock, for example. Unless your last name is Worner or Santangelo – or your first name is Anthony – you do not own any New England Nationals hardware in this category. The name Joe Santangelo shows up three times in a row, from 2014 to 2016. Bryan Worner won the SPORTSnationals at NED in 2020, but it’s brother Byron who has two trophies etched “New England Nationals Super Stock Winner” (2017 and 2019). Anthony Bertozzi won the inaugural event, and Anthony Bongiovanni was triumphant in 2018.
And what is it with Sawyers? Because between Super Gas and Super Street, five New England Dragway trophies are resting on a Sawyer family mantel. Ray Sawyer won Super Gas in 2015, Mike Sawyer claimed the category title at the inaugural event, and Brian Sawyer has won three of the last four national events at the scenic Northeastern facility.
Top Dragster pilot Deborah DiGenova also has three trophies earned in the last four national events held in Epping, continuing the repetitious theme throughout the Sportsman branches of the NHRA tree.
It will be interesting to see if there will be another rash of repeat winners this weekend – it just feels like this particular racetrack is keen on a familiar show. Watch on NHRA.tv and get detailed results at DragRaceCentral.com!