NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

JEGS Allstars Preview: Ranking each of the contenders

Every year for the last 37 years, NHRA’s best Sportsman drivers have come together for the annual JEGS Allstars competition. They will compete for more than $125,000 in prize money at the upcoming Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals. Here is a closer look at this year’s contestants.
30 Aug 2022
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Jegs Allstars

Every year for the last 37 years, NHRA’s best Sportsman drivers have come together for the annual JEGS Allstars competition. A unique event that rewards both individual and team achievements, the JEGS Allstars is comprised of up to 80 drivers representing 10 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series eliminators. They will compete for more than $125,000 in prize money at the upcoming Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals. JEGS has also offered a double-up bonus to racers who win the JEGS Allstars and Monday’s Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals title in the same category. Here is a closer look at this year’s contestants.


Jackie Fricke    East Region
Winner of the 2020 JEGS Allstars and came oh-so-close to winning a world championship last season. She’s also won three events so far this season.

Karen Stalba    East Region
This is a car that can regularly dip into the 5.1s. The only thing missing is a major event win, and this would be the perfect place to break that streak.

Julie Nataas    North Central Region
Norwegian born and currently living in Indy, she recently won in Topeka and is one of the leading contenders for the 2022 championship. And she’s defending champ.

Jasmine Salinas    North Central Region
The Scrappers entry has won a pair of big events this year, including the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, and she’s currently ranked in the top five in the championship standings.

James Stevens     Central Region
Highlight of the year (so far) has been a win at the West Central regional event in Great Bend, Kan. He’s also the 2018 Auto Club NHRA Finals champion.

Aaron Cooper    Central Region
Kicked off the year with a runner-up in Belle Rose, La., and more recently, he’s won the Division 5 doubleheader at Heartland Motorsports Park. First national event win expected soon.

Casey Grisel    West Region
Another driver in search of his first national event win, he’s currently ranked among the top 15 drivers in a tough Top Alcohol Dragster class.

Joey Severance    West Region
We said this last year, and it’s still true. He’s by far the most successful driver in this field with four world titles to go along with four JEGS Allstars victories.


Brian Gawlik    East Region
Following a Top 10 finish last year, the Penn Grade 1 team is getting a shot at the big time with first JEGS Allstars appearance.

DJ Cox        East Region
Having a great season so far with five final rounds and two wins and would love nothing more than to avenge last year’s semifinal loss here.

Bob McCosh    Central Region
So, so overdue for his first national event win, especially after a runner-up in Brainerd. This is easily among the quickest cars in the country.

Kyle Smith    Central Region
Won first national in Brainerd last year and has already made three finals this season with a win in Great Bend, Kan.

Phillip Esz    North Central Region
Knows a thing or two about success in Indy after earning a win at the North Central Regional event held there earlier this summer.

Chris Foster    North Central Region
The 2012 U.S. Nationals champion has been a runner-up at the Indy and Topeka regional events held earlier this season.

Mike Doushgounian   West Region
A last-minute replacement for defending champ Brian Hough, He's put up big numbers and won key rounds in the past so there's not reason to think he won't be an asset to the West Region.

Nick Januik    West Region
A last-minute replacement for Doug Gordon, he’s already been to three final rounds this year and scored a win at the West Region regional held in Seattle.


Frank Aragona     Division 1
Three-time world champion is back in winning form after tough start to 2022 season. Recently won first race of the season in fourth final.

David Eaton    Division 2
In the middle of a monster season that has already produced four wins, he’s also got a very quick car, which makes it tough on his opponents.

David Billingsley    Division 3
Started the season with a win in Gainesville and then suffered a setback with an accident in Norwalk, but he has quickly returned to forum.

Greg Kamplain    Division 4
The current championship leader has been chasing the cash at Division 4 events this season, and he got some with a win in Dallas.

Scott Linder    Division 5
Hasn’t raced in a national event this season but has been making a lot of waves in divisional action with a win and a runner-up in Topeka doubleheader.

Ryan Warter Division 6
A two-time national event winner, including the Comp title at the 2021 Auto Club NHRA Finals, he’s also coming off a win earlier this season at the Division 6 race in Boise, Idaho.

Joe Mozeris     Division 7
Making second straight Allstars appearance, he’s got a great shot to improve on last year’s semifinal after two wins and two runner-ups this season.

Doug Engels    Blocker    
Defending event champ returns as a blocker for the Division 5 team, and his timing is perfect as he just won the Topeka national event earlier this month.

Super Stock

Herbie Null    Division 1
He’s one of the few competitors in any class that has already win a U.S. Nationals title (1997). He knows the thrill of winning in Indy.

Mike Crutchfield     Division 2
He’s been known to do some of his best work at the JEGS Allstars with three wins. He’s still going strong with a Bristol victory earlier this season.

Irvin Johns        Division 3
Back in 2010, he appeared in the U.S. Nationals final round and lost to Jimmy DeFrank. He’ll have two more chances to win this year.

Pete Peery        Division 4
Has plenty of experience in high-pressure situations, including four previous NHRA national event victories

Wyatt Wagner    Division 5
His Camaro is one of the cleanest and most competitive Super Stock cars in the country, and the timing is perfect as he just raced in Topeka final.

Steve Hahn    Division 6
Making his first JEGS Allstars appearance and bringing another show-quality car that can get the job done.

Jimmy DeFrank    Division 7
He’s won five world titles and a host of national and divisional wins, but surprisingly, he’s never won the JEGS Allstars. This is a prime chance to fix that.

Bryan Worner    Blocker
Checks all the important boxes with a world championship, multiple national event wins, and last year’s JEGS Allstars title.


Joe Santangelo        Division 1
Won this event in 2010 and remains one of the country’s best Stock eliminator racers. He’s also got a pair of wins already this season.

Steve Foley    Division 2
Making his first Allstars appearance, and it comes not long after he made it to the final round of the Rockingham, N.C.,  Division 2 race.

Travis Buth    Division 3
This might be one of the slowest cars to ever race in the JEGS Allstars, but don’t be misled because it’s also very competitive with two finals this year.

Wes Neely        Division 4
A multitime national event finalist who manages to hold his own in a tough South Central Division. Runner-up earlier this year in Noble, Okla.

Larry DeForrest    Division 5
Two-time national event finalist in Comp has already put together a couple of late-round finishes in Stock eliminator this season.

Darrick Ellam    Division 6
Another driver of a slow Stocker that can inflict a lot of damage. Looking to rebound from a tough round-one loss in last year’s Allstars.

Ryan Mangus    Division 7
Won the JEGS Allstars title in Stock in 2018 and was a runner-up earlier this year at the Division 7 race at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Jerry Emmons    Blocker
Tough Texan checks all the appropriate boxes as the defending world champ, Indy champ, and JEGS Allstars champion.


Mike Robilotto     Division 1
He’s already got four national event wins, and so far, 2022 has been good to him with a pair of divisional event finals. Also 2018 Allstars winner.

Ray Miller III    Division 2
Year after year, he proves he’s one of the best Super-class racers in the country, and he’s got plenty of previous experience in the JEGS Allstars.

Devin Isenhower    Division 3
Another guy who has a world title and a U.S Nationals win on his résumé. About the only thing mission is a JEGS Allstars trophy.

Michael Holcombe    Division 4
Came out of the gates on fire this year with an impressive win at the Houston race. He’s also put together a few other late-round finishes.

Jeff Cheney    Division 5
Reigning Division 5 champ has a reputation as a versatile Super-class/bracket racer. He’s also got three national event wins to his credit.

Tom Clark    Division 6
Making the long trek from Spokane, Wash., he’s earned the right to come to the JEGS Allstars for the first time as the reigning Division 6 champ.

Trey Vetter    Division 7
He’ll have a chance to check off a lot of firsts this weekend, including first national event win and JEGS Allstars title. Also looks to help the Div. 7 crew win the overall title.

Sherman Adcock Jr.    Blocker
As a Super-class racer, he needs no introduction. Won back-to-back JEGS Allstars titles in 2012-13 and has a long history of success that also includes a pair of championships.


Michael Handras        Division 1
Went to the final round of the Cecil County Dragway race this year, and he’s got a pair of wins in Super Comp, including the Charlotte four-wide event.

John Labbous Jr    Division 2
Former world champ has made a ton of money at big-money bracket events, and he’s also a former winner of the JEGS Allstars in 2019.

Rob Kropfeld    Division 3
Got off to a slow start this season but earned his spot on the Division 3 team with a clutch win at the Division 3 race at Summit Motorsports Park.

Austin Williams    Division 4
There aren’t too many past U.S. Nationals champs in this field, but he’s one of them. He’s also got a great season going in Super Gas with a pair of victories.

Tom Carlson    Division 5
A finalist in Brainerd during the 2018 season, he’s currently ranked among the Top 10, thanks in large part to a win at the Division 5 race in Great Bend, Kan.

Michael Dalrymple    Division 6
A win in Boise, Idaho, and a runner-up finish in Woodburn Ore., helped punch his ticket to the Allstars race for the two-time Seattle national event champion.

Val Torres    Division 7
Consistently one of the best Super-class racers in the Pacific Division. He won the Las Vegas event earlier this year and is currently ranked No. 13.

Rusty Cook     Blocker
You don’t get to become the blocker by accident. You have to win the race, and he did just that last year. He also won it during the 2011 season.


Keith Mayers    Division 1
The Northeast Division has a fleet of tough Super Street racers, and this guy happens to be one of the very best of them. Wants this event after two runner-up finishes.

Ed Pauley    Division 2
Former IHRA champ won the Atlanta national event in 2014 and has used consistent late-round finishes to lock up a berth on the Division 2 Allstars team.

Ryan Locke    Division 3
Needed to win some rounds earlier this year to secure his spot on the D3 squad and did just that with late-round finishes in Indy, Norwalk, and Columbus.

Wendell Shelton        Division 4
Finished second in the Division 4 standings last season, which is a major accomplishment in itself. Then, he won enough rounds to make the Allstars team, which is also no easy feat.

Chuck Lowrey Jr.    Division 5
Needed a strong showing to clinch his spot and got it with a semifinal in Brainerd. He was also a winner at the 2006 Topeka national event

Gordon Boven    Division 6
Already achieved a pretty rare feat when he won both days of the Acton, Mont., doubleheader to clinch his spot on the team. Also had a great outing in Boise recently.

John Dexter    Division 7
Crushed the competition in Division 7 last year with a monster total of 494 points following four wins in five events. Also clinched Allstars berth by 176 points.

Jacob Rutledge Blocker
Lists his win at the 2021 JEGS Allstars as the highlight of his career, and it’s pretty safe to assume a second win would be just as gratifying.

TOP DRAGSTER presented by Vortech Superchargers

Brandon Miller    Division 1
The youngest driver in the field at age 19, he’s already won the Gatornationals, the Division 1 championship, and now secured a spot in the JEGS Allstars.

Jeremy Hancock    Division 2
Didn’t realize he was leading the JEGS Allstars points in Division 2 until he had it nearly clinched, but now, he’s well aware of what’s at stake in Indy.

Blake Peavler    Division 3
The reigning Top Dragster world champ did a lot of damage in Division 3 with four wins out of five events to easily lock up his spot on the team.

Rusty Baxter    Division 4
Trivia question: Who won the first Top Dragster event held in Indy? Yep, it was this guy, who also swept both Texas races (Houston and Dallas) to make the team.

Afton Swanson    Division 5
When it was time to lock up her spot on the team, she didn’t mess around with a .001-second package at the Topeka double. Also won the 2017 Topeka national.

Aaron Steinkey    Division 6
A last minute replacement for Bernie Plourd, Steinkey will be racing in his first national event of the season, but he's put up a couple of late round finishes in D6 events.

Brianna Wiens    Division 7
Still fairly new to the Top Dragster class, she’s adapted quickly with several strong outings, including a win at her home event in Las Vegas.

Al Kenny    Blocker
Defending event champ is celebrating his 50th year in drag racing, and he’s still going strong with two wins and a runner-up so far this season.

TOP SPORTSMAN presented by Vortech Superchargers

Robert Fortuna Division 1
Coasted into the JEGS Allstars after an amazing season that included four divisional wins and the Northeast Division championship.

Jacky Bennett Division 2
Won his first Wally last year at the GALOT event and added a few more late-round showings to earn the right to represent Division 2 in Indy.

Rich Smith    Division 3
Won the St. Louis national in 2017, and more recently, he used a win and two more final rounds to edge Steve Jaeger to secure the JEGS invite.

Vince Hoda    Division 4
Credentials include a pair of national event wins and the 2020 Division 4 Top Sportsman title, he’s also got a pair of victories this season.

JJ Heber    Division 5
Lists his 2016 JEGS Allstars win as a career highlight and no reason to think he wouldn’t love a repeat. Kicked off 2022 season with a win and a runner-up.

Darren Shank    Division 6
Won his first divisional event in Boise during the 2020 season and has remained among the class leaders in Division 6.

Paul Mitsos    Division 7
Nearly won the world championship last season, and so far, 2022 is also shaping up to be fairly decent with a final-round finish in Las Vegas.

Robert Strohm    Blocker
Stated goal is to make Northwest Division teammate proud, which is exactly what he did last year with a popular win in Indy.