Sheppeard, Keil, Anderson, Hildebrandt, and Merrilees win Summit E.T. titles
Garreth Sheppeard won his second straight NHRA Summit Racing Series National Championship in Motorcycle and was joined in the winner’s circle at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway by Carl Keil II (Super Pro), Andy Anderson (Pro), Jason Hildebrandt (Sportsman), and Craig Merrilees, who became the first winner in the new Street Legal EV class.
Sheppeard, out of Springfield, Ohio, rode his Division 3-based Hayabusa to a final-round victory over Division 2’s Dalton Markham. Sheppeard turned on the win light with an 8.120 on his 8.09 dial while Markham broke out with a 9.147 on his 9.20 target.
Prior to the final, Sheppeard defeated Division 6 racer Terry Holloway and Division 4 ace Cody Couch while Markham downed two-time Division 1 champ Jeff Tisdale and Division 2 representative Dalton Markham.
Keil, who won the Division 3 Super Pro championship in 2017, made his second trip to the National Championships pay off, powering his Perrysburg, Ohio-based dragster to a double-breakout victory over Division 2’s Brendan George, 7.678 on a 7.68 dial to George’s further-under 7.776 on a 7.80 prediction.
Keil defeated Division 1 rep Jamie Dymond and Division 4’s Todd Erwin in the first two rounds while George bested Division 5 champ Lane Weber and 2020 Division 7 champ David Myhre.
Anderson, who previously won the 2009 Division 1 championship, also made his second trip to the big dance pay off behind the wheel of York, Pa.-based ’02 Chevrolet S-10, besting Division 5’s Steve Lambert, who red-lighted in the final.
Anderson, who made the field as the class’ wild card entry, defeated Division 2 legend Tim Butler and Division 4 champ Jason Scott in the opening frames while Lambert bested Division 5’s Ed Holmes and Division 7 champ Robert Crum
Division 4’s Jason Hildebrandt captured the Sportsman title in his Pearland, Texas-based ‘66 Plymouth Valiant n a double-breakout bout with Division 1’s Paul Northrop. Hildebrandt turned on the win lamp with an 11.869 on his 11.88 objective while Northrop was further under with an 11.875 on his 11.90 dial in his ’84 Camaro.
Hildebrandt defeated Division 6 champ Jimmy Heriford and Division 3’s Caleb Ellison to reach the final while Northrop downed Division 7 racer Russ Lindsay and two-time Division 5 champ Ryan Montford.
Division 7’s Merrilees captured the sport’s first electric-vehicle championship in his ’18 Tesla Model 3 out of Windsor, Calif., with a near-perfect 11.548 on his 11.54 dial to short-circuit the victory hopes of Division 5 racer Alex Fangmann, who broke out with a 12.427 on his 12.46 dial in his ’21 Tesla Model 3
Merrilees defeated Division 1’s Danny Hoff and Division 3 representative Steven Collier in the opening rounds while Fangmann reached the final by defeating Division 4 racer Bryan Tilson and 2013 national champ Chad Isley, who was the class’ wild card representative.