Home Local Sports ‘Big John’ Memorial bracket championships this weekend at Rockingham Dragway

‘Big John’ Memorial bracket championships this weekend at Rockingham Dragway

Raeford's Michael Spencer is expected to compete this weekend at Rockingham Dragway in the 24th annual “Big John” Memorial Weekend Bracket Championships.
Rockingham Dragway

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

2021

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.

2019

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.

2017

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.

2015

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.

2014

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.

2013

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.

2012

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.

2011

Top ET winners: Nick Womack, Lillington; Joel Hinson, Monroe; Jerry Brewer, Lumberton.

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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.

 

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