When it comes to drag racing, it’s all in the family for the Ratulowskis.
Dad John, 51, and sons Danny 25 and Mike 22, whose home track is World Wide Technology Raceway, can be found nearly every weekend at some dragstrip in the Midwest.
On Friday, the trio from Highland, Il., were racing against each other plus other competitors at WWTR for the “King of the Arch” trophy, an inaugural event for the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals.
“This is a great way to showcase our local and regional racers in front of the NHRA fans in attendance for Friday Night Dynamite. This is a tremendous opportunity to add to the growth and development of our series,” said WWTR Executive Vice President and General Manager Chris Blair.
“The racers will face off in a special Chicago-style runoff to be named King of the Arch and receive a one-of-a-kind class trophy produced exclusively for this event.”
The winners from four different categories -- ET Motorcycle, Sportsman ET, Pro ET and Super Pro -- were each presented with a trophy.
Unfortunately for Mike Ratulowski, he was beaten off the starting line by Jesse Garcia of St. Louis for the Pro ET trophy. Garcia used a nearly perfect jump off the starting line to take down Ratulowski, the 2013 WWTR High School champion.
Scott Leonard of Glen Carbon, the WWTR 2020 Motorcycle champion, won the Motorcycle trophy taking down Phillip Humphrey of Collinsville. Leonard was also the WWTR 2020 Motorcycle champion.
In Sportsman, Paul Lewis of St. Louis won his class beating Luke Albietz of Wentzville and Tim Foley of Dardenne Prairie was the Super Pro champion when Kevin Corzine of Florissant jumped the start by .001 seconds.
“We race every weekend with these guys,” Mike Ratulowski said before Friday’s final. “We travel with these guys. Yeah, it’s pretty cool.”
John Ratulowski, who has been racing for 18 years and has won at least one time 15 years in a row, said the racers from WWTR, wherever they participate, always do well, sometimes winning big events.
“When we travel, no matter what track we go to, there always seems to be a guy from St. Louis that performs extremely well,” he said. “We’ve got who’ve won (all kinds of) races all from this track. There’s been a lot of good racers come out of St. Louis.”
Although he didn’t make it to victory lane on Friday, John Ratulowski driving his 1971 White Camaro, did get to the semifinals in Pro ET. But Garcia took down John beating him off the starting line with a .009 reaction time to John’s .042.
Unfortunately, Danny, piloting a 1977 wheel-standing Vega wagon, wasn’t as lucky as Mike and John. Danny lost to Mike in the first round of Pro ET before Mike beat Clay Taylor in round two and John, who took down Tommy Barbero in the first round, was eventually beaten by Garcia.
Danny also raced in the Super Pro category and got to the second round before losing to Foley, who had a .006 reaction time to Danny’s .037. Although the Ratulowskis didn’t get to the winner’s circle Friday, John and Danny were on the starting line rooting for Mike to win.
“We’re always cheering each other on and high-fiving and planning on when we get to the final,” John said. “We’ve done well. If one of us has done well on that day, it’s a win for all of us.”