With $80,500 up for grabs and 56 of the best sportsman racers in the country competing for their share of the pot, the ACCEL Survivor Series took center stage Saturday night at the Universal Technical Institute World Finals held at Rockingham Dragway.


The field consisted of the top eight racers in the seven different Mr. Gasket Pro-Am classes who registered for the program and ran the acceptable Mr. Gasket products in their race cars. Points accumulate all season with eligibility being determined following the President’s Cup Nationals in Budds Creek, Md.


With $5,000 going to each class winner for just three rounds of racing, as well as the big payday, the Survivor Series is one of the most prestigious and anticipated sportsman programs of the racing season. Michael Harris (Hurst Hot Rod), Troy Williams Jr. (ACCEL Quick Rod), Todd Comer (Lakewood Super Rod), Steve Furr (Mallory Top Dragster), Bob Harris (Erson Cams Top Sportsman), Anthony Bertozzi (Hays Stock) and Slate Cummings (ACCEL DFI Super Stock) each drove through the strongest sportsman field assembled this season to the Winner’s Circle at Rockingham Dragway.


“Once again the ACCEL Survivor Series has exceeded our expectations,” Mr. Gasket racing services directory Ollie Volpe said. “We had so many more people vying for the championships this year and there were several racers who just missed it by a little bit. They vowed to come back next year stronger than ever. This was the hardest working group of racers I have ever seen.”


Bob Harris claimed the Erson Cams Top Sportsman championship by knocking off Ronnie Proctor in the final. Harris was the #5 seed heading into the Survivor Series and had to deal with top seeded Ricky Adkins in the first round. He was able to get past Adkins before knocking out Chris Nyerges in the semifinals. This put him into the final round against Proctor, who defeated Dewayne Silance and Jeff Solyan in the first two rounds.


In the final, Harris was able to put his ’03 Cavalier into the Winner’s Circle by running a 6.935 on a 6.93 dial-in. Proctor broke out in the other lane, posting a 6.873 on a 6.88 dial. Harris was able to get the win despite mechanical problems on the starting line.


“I had a burnt piston before the run and it looked like a diesel truck going down the track,” Harris said. “Someone above was looking after me because the car ran dead-on with a five. It was a thrill coming back down the return road all the fans were hollering and screaming. It makes you feel real special.”


Steve Furr felt special after winning the $5,000 prize in the Mallory Top Dragster class with a victory over Nick Folk. Furr, who headed to Rockingham still in contention for two world championships in the sportsman classes, knocked off Brian Folk in the first round and Tony Ward in the semifinal. Nick Folk blasted through the other side of the ladder by defeating Ron Folk and Malinda Bertozzi..


In the final round Furr ran a 6.738 on a 6.71 dial with a .002 reaction time to defeat Folk, who posted a 6.836 on a 6.80 dial with a .010 reaction time.


“This is a great thing ACCEL puts on for us,” Furr said. “I’ve won it a couple of times before and it was a great deal then. It’s still a great deal. As far as it goes for sportsman racers it is incredible. We really appreciate what Mr. Gasket does for us.”


Michael Harris took home the title in the Hurst Hot Rod class, defeating Matt Albright and Michelle Furr before knocking off Travis Harvey in the final round. Harvey topped Bill Riddle and Doug Wood to move into the finals.


With the title on the line Harris ran dead-on with a 1 on the 10.90 index with a .028 reaction time to knock off Harvey’s break-out 10.884.


Troy Williams Jr. backed up his reputation as one of the top bracket racers in the country with a victory over Slate Cummings, a well-known sportsman racer in his own right, in the ACCEL Quick Rod final. Williams knocked off John Furr in the first round before advancing with a close victory over Tony Karnik in the semifinal. Williams posted a 8.925 on the 8.90 index with a .003 reaction time while Karnick went dead-on with a 2, but his .029 reaction time cost him a spot in the final.


Cummings, on the other side of the ladder, had a pair of break-outs against him. Chuck Harris posted a 8.883 in the first round against Cummings while Greg Slack carded an 8.872 against him in the semifinal.


In the final round Williams recorded an 8.908 with a .005 reaction time, an impressive .013-over package, to knock off Cummings’ 8.929 with a .015 reaction time.


Todd Comer claimed the Lakewood Super Rod title with a victory over Brian Folk in the final round. Comer handled Greg Slack in the first round and Bernard Weaver in the semifinals before knocking off Folk. He ran dead-on with a 1 against a breaking-out Folk in the final round.


“This was great,” Comer said. “It was a really cool deal and I’m so thankful to Mr. Gasket for doing this for us. This is the best program for sportsman racers.”


Anthony Bertozzi, who defeated Wes McCracken in the final to claim the Hays Stock championship, agreed with Comer.


“Five grand for three rounds is a great payday at the end of the year,” Bertozzi said. “I think it is very cool for Mr. Gasket to highlight the sportsman racers like this.”


Bertozzi defeated Aaron Allison and Myron Piatek to reach the final while McCracken topped Mike Mayhew and Craig Marshall to advance to the final round.


Slate Cummings was the last winner in the ACCEL Survivor Series as he defeated Bob Marshall in the ACCEL DFI Super Stock final. Cummings defeated Bob Lowry and Scott Stillings to advance to the final while Marshall topped Anthony Bertozzi and Jim Harrington.


The final rounds for each class follows:


Erson Cams Top Sportsman:

Bob Harris, 6.935/197.68, defeats Ronnie Proctor, 6.873/197.19


Mallory Top Dragster:

Steve Furr, 6.738/181.32, defeats Nick Folk, 6.836/178.07


ACCEL DFI Super Stock:

Slate Cummings, 9.574/117.87, defeats Bob Marshal, 9.735/141.25


Hays Stock:

Anthony Bertozzi, 10.579/123.17, defeats Wes McCracken, 10.605/119.36


ACCEL Quick Rod:

Troy Williams Jr., 8.908/166.85, defeats Slate Cummings, 8.929/175.96


Lakewood Super Rod:

Todd Comer, 9.901/150.28, defeats Brian Folk, 9.889/152.95


Hurst Hot Rod:

Michael Harris, 10.901/137.05, defeats Travis Harvey, 10.884/135.73