Beaver County man celebrates IHRA Summit Tournament of Champions title
After finishing second twice, Brent Darroch of Beaver County was not surprised he won the world championship in the stock class at the IHRA Summit Tournament of Champions in Memphis last month.
“When I was runner-up (last year and in 2009), I would look up at the winner's stand and think it was only a matter of time before I would be there,” he said. “I don't want to sound like I'm bragging or anything, but I knew my time was bound to come.”
Driving a 1994 Chevrolet Camaro, Darroch won in 10.60 8⁄118.18 on a 10.60 dial. B.J. Bianchi of Bradenton, Fla., was second in 11.32 5⁄111.33 on a 11.33 dial driving a 1989 Ford Mustang.
To qualify for the tournament, a driver must have won a national race or finished in the top three in his division on the Summit Pro-Am Tour.
Darroch, 35, of Center accomplished both, winning a national event in Michigan and the Division 3 championship.
Bianchi was Division 2 champion. As division champions, both received first-round byes.
Darroch, who won two races, also received a bye in the semifinals.
Darroch had to replace a motor that failed a week before the tournament, and said worried how his overhauled car would perform in the final.
“You always like to get the kinks out,” he said. “It's not good driving with anything new.”
With three appearances in four tournaments and a 13-2 record, Darroch has the best record of any driver in the history of the Summit Tournament of Champions, according to IHRA spokesman Larry Crum.
“That's why it was frustrating to finish second so often,” Darroch said. “Winning removes a big monkey from my back.”
Darroch has competed in the IHRA since 1998, driving the same car. The car includes a stick shift, making him an easy target for opponents, said Michael Beard, who beat Darroch in the world final three years ago.
“Brent is very old-school,” said Beard, 38, of Blacklick, Ohio. “Most racers have automatic transmissions and think they can beat him. They get overconfident.”
Mike Carr, 33, of Enon Valley, Lawrence County, has fond memories of beating Darroch in a race in Maryland nine years ago.
“We started our careers around the same time,” Carr said. “Brent has come a long way.”
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.