Two-time NHRA world champion Anthony Bertozzi has had a lot of memorable days at the races but few, if any, can match the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, where he enjoyed an almost perfect weekend. Bertozzi won in Super Stock and was a runner-up in Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers. Bertozzi also owns the cars driven by his teammates, Joe Santangelo II and John Labbous Jr., who won in Stock and Super Comp, respectively.
While Team Bertozzi left Norwalk with three Wallys, there were plenty more to go around as Matt Cummings claimed his first Top Alcohol Dragster title, and D.J. Cox scored in Top Alcohol Funny Car. The rest of the champions, who each received the special-edition Norwalk custom ice cream scoop, included Bruno Massel Jr. (Comp), Jeremy Mason (Super Gas), Al Kenny (Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers), and Curt Fredrich (Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers).
Cummings emerged from a very competitive field to claim his first Top Alcohol Dragster title behind the wheel of the McPhillips family entry. Cummings topped Will Smith, James Stevens, and current championship contender Rachel Meyer before beating Karen Stalba in the final. Cummings set low e.t. of the race in the final with a 5.206 and needed it after Stalba left first and ran 5.240. [video]
Cox scored for the first time since the 2016 season in Top Alcohol Funny Car after he defeated Bob McCosh in the final round. Cox got a single run in the first round but later had his work cut out for him with tough battles against Annie Whiteley and Brian Hough. Cox finished off the win with a coasting 9.75 after McCosh fouled. [video]
In addition to his two world championships, Massel is now a 14-time national event winner in Comp following his final-round win against Ronnie Bohn. Massel, in his turbocharged CC/AT Cobalt, won the final with a (-.459) 7.311 against Bohn’s quicker (-.464) 7.796 in his J/DA. Massel, who lost in the second round in his only other appearance of the 2021 season in Charlotte, also stopped Danny Holt, David Billingsley, Allen Wilson, and Greg Kamplain on his way to the title. [video]
Bertozzi’s record-setting weekend included his 25th career win after he took down fellow world champ Ricky Decker in the Super Stock final. Both drivers actually left early, but Decker’s -.008 foul came before Bertozzi’s -.005 red-light. Bertozzi, who also defeated Steve Comella and Bobby Rashid in eliminations, is now the leader in the Super Stock class over Greg Stanfield. [video]
Team Bertozzi’s second win came in Stock at the hands of Santangelo, who drove his A/SA ’69 Camaro to a win against Don Belles, who also fouled. Santangelo now has 18 national event wins to his credit, including three at Summit Motorsports Park. Santangelo got past Derrick Wyche and Katie Sepanek on his way to the final. [video]
Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Labbous joined teammates Bertozzi and Santangelo in the crowded winner’s circle when he scored the Super Comp title. Driving Bertozzi’s dragster, Labbous, who is currently ranked in the top three in Super Comp and Super Gas, won the final after Alison Prose fouled. Labbous won his semifinal bout against Chris Sullivan with an 8.907 and had a .008 light in the final, which would have made him tough to beat. [video]
Six of the nine NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series champs crowned in Norwalk were former or current world champs, including Super Gas winner Mason, who won his title in 2019. Mason added the Norwalk title to his résumé after defeating Jason Kenny in the final round. Mason also drove past Jeff Jenson and Lauren Freer to earn a bye run into the final. [video]
Al Kenny, the father of Super Gas runner-up Jason, won for the ninth time in his career and first since 2018 in Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers. Kenny prevented Bertozzi from his second double-up with an outstanding performance that included a .000 light and a 6.285 on his 6.27 dial. Kenny turned in a similar performance in his quarterfinal win against Pascal Lecompete to earn a semifinal bye run. [video]
A decade after winning his first national event in Columbus, Fredrich struck again in Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers. Driving his ’68 Camaro, Fredrich, the reigning Division 3 champion, ran right on his 6.75 dial in the final against Mike Badia, who red-lighted. Fredrich, the No. 9 qualifier, had three straight .00 lights in eliminations, including a perfect .000 reaction time in his quarterfinal win against Belva Brinegar. [video]