ROCKINGHAM — Many of the East Coast’s most successful bracket racers including Clinton’s Eric Aman, St. Pauls’ Connor Caulder and Raeford’s Michael Spencer are expected to battle for the biggest shares of the purse posted this week for the 24th annual “Big John” Memorial Weekend Bracket Championships starting Saturday at Rockingham Dragway.
Aman, a multiple-time Rockingham track champion, has hoisted a trophy at the “Big John” championships six of the last 11 years. He won in Footbrake (Modified/Sportsman) last year after scoring in Top ET in 2020. He also won Footbrake races in 2011, 2015 and 2016.
Spencer was a Top ET winner in both 2019 and 2021 and Caulder, the 2019 track champion in the Jr. Dragster class, stepped up to the big cars a year ago and won the Top ET title on the final day.
The three-day event features the National Dragster Challenge (a.k.a. “Run for the Wally”) which awards a signature NHRA Wally trophy to the winner of a one-run showdown between each day’s Top ET and Modified/Sportsman champions.
A fourth Wally goes to the winner of a Monday race involving the winners and runners-up in three days of Jr. Dragster racing and a fifth to the North Carolina State Champion as determined by accumulative points earned in Top ET and Modified/Sportsman over the course of the event.
Also at stake will be Rockingham track championships in Top ET, Footbrake (a.k.a., Modified/Sportsman) and Jr. Dragster. Reigning track champions are Fayetteville’s Chip Johnson in Top, Matt Ward of Anderson, South Carolina, in Footbrake and Budd Trammell II of Aynor, South Carolina, in Jr. Dragster.
Biggest share of the purse, a whopping $10,000, will be on the line in Top ET on Sunday. Winner’s shares on Saturday and Monday are $5,000. Modified/Sportsman winners will earn $1,000 daily. Sunday’s Jr. Dragster winner also will earn $1,000.
Honoring the late “Big John” Leviner, one of Rockingham’s most popular officials, the event will award Summit ET bracket points and track championship points along with the cash purse.
Adult admission is $15 daily or $40 for a three-day pass. Children 12 and under are free with a ticketed adult and, as always, parking is free in Rockingham’s main lot.
RECENT ‘BIG JOHN’ WINNERS
Top ET winners: Connor Caulder, St. Pauls; Michael Spencer, Raeford; Ashley Smith, Winterville.
Footbrake winners: Eric Aman, Clinton; Matt Ward, Anderson, S.C.; Aaron Brock, Pageland, S.C.
Jr. winners: Kamryn Majors, Evans, Ga.; Jayden Lawler, Jacksonville; Nolan Callahan, Fayetteville.
Jr. Street winner: Budd Trammell Jr., Aynor, S.C.
‘Wally’ winners: Caulder, Ward, Smith, Majors.
2020 (700 cars, only one race completed due to weather and entry volume)
Top ET winner: Eric Aman, Clinton
Footbrake winner: Randy Biddle Jr., Christiansburg, Va.
Jr. winner: Michael Hypes, Blacksburg, Va.
‘Wally’ winner: Biddle Jr.
Top ET winners: Ken Batchelor, Leland; Brandon Lane, Goldsboro; Michael Spencer, Raeford.
Footbrake winners: Charlie Gibson, Lexington; Allen Furr, Richfield; Chris Gibson, Lexington
Jr. winners: Connor Caulder, St. Pauls; Skyler Bustle, Sherrills Ford; Brandon Sullivan, Radford, Va.
‘Wally’ winners: Batchelor, Lane, Gibson, Sullivan.
2018 (Tropical Storm Alberto)
Top ET winners: Taz Holliday II, Selma, and James Freeman, Westville, S.C.
Footbrake winners: Ross Freeman, Westville, S.C., and Art Laselle, Fayetteville
Jr. winners: Hayden Dial, Rowland, and Connor Caulder, St. Pauls
‘Wally’ winners: Holliday, James Freeman.
Top ET winners: Jerry Brewer, Lumberton; T.G. Paschal, McLeansville; Greg Broadway, New Bern.
Footbrake winners: Barbara Terry, Haw River; Chris Gibson, Lexington; Tommy Duff, Holly Ridge.
Jr. winners: Casey Wagner, Willow Springs; Chase Wagner, Willow Springs; Madi Pennington, Lexington, S.C.
‘Wally’ winners: Brewer, Gibson, Broadway, Chase Wagner.
2016 (Tropical Storm Bonnie)
Top ET winner: Tim Thomas, Lumberton
Footbrake winner: Eric Aman, Clinton
Jr. winner: Hannah Bilton, Orangeburg, S.C.
‘Wally’ winner: Thomas.
Top ET winners: Jeffrey Dobbins II, Wilmington; Jarrett Creech, Selma; Tommy Plott, Winston-Salem
Footbrake winners: Rick Terry, Haw River; Eric Aman, Clinton; Tommy Duff, Holly Ridge
Jr. winners: Zach Pennington, Lexington, S.C.; Chad Logan, Nokesville, Va.; Noah Johnson, Fayetteville.
Wally’ winners: Dobbins, Aman, Plott, Pennington.
Top ET winners: Richard Alford Jr., Raleigh; Chaz Silance, Jacksonville; David Dean, Waxhaw.
Footbrake winners: Kevin Riner, Autryville (2); Tommy Plott, Winston-Salem
Jr. winners: Jacob Baker, Yorktown, Va. (2); Nikolas Edick, Florence, S.C.
‘Ironman’ winners: Alford, Silance, Dean, Noah Johnson, Fayetteville.
Top ET winners: William Roberts, Benson; Gabe Taylor, Elizabethtown; Charles Doss, Statesville.
Footbrake winners: Derek Harris, McLeansville; David Sears, Holly Ridge; Tommy Greer, Advance.
Jr. winners: Chase Wagner, Willow Springs; Noah Johnson, Fayetteville; Zach Pennington, Lexington, S.C.
‘Ironman’ winners: Harris, Sears, Doss, Johnson.
Top ET winners: David Spaugh, Advance; Tommy Plott, Winston-Salem; Roger Hunt, Shannon
Footbrake winners: Michael Beard, Seagrove; Roger Rhodes, Pikeville; Steve Alford, Angier
Jr. winners: Noah Strickland, Concord; Robert Vogler, Lewisville; Jacob Baker, Yorktown, Va.
‘Ironman’ winners: Hunt, Spaugh, Rhodes, Vogler.
Top ET winners: Nick Womack, Lillington; Joel Hinson, Monroe; Jerry Brewer, Lumberton.
Footbrake winners: William Roberts, Benson; Eric Aman, Clinton; Bill Clardy, Loris, S.C.
Jr. winners: Toni Lyn Salsgiver, Orangeburg, S.C.; Ryan Crews, Advance; Rocky Hebert, Evans, Ga.
‘Ironman’ winners: Brewer, Hinson, Womack.
2010 (Rain shortened)
Top ET winner: Gary Ingold, Raleigh
Footbrake winner: Wesley Roberts, Benson, def. William Roberts, Benson.
Jr. winner: Holden Dial, Maxton
‘Ironman’ winner: Wesley Roberts.