Jody Lang Captures 2011 ThisIsBracketRacing.com "Driver of the Year" Honors
12/8/2011
Carterville, IL
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Jody Lang

Longtime Northwest Division standout Jody Lang held off a list of the biggest names in sportsman drag racing to claim the top spot in the BTE Power Rankings, earning the prestigious title of ThisIsBracketRacing.com “Driver of the Year.” The BTE Power Rankings on ThisIsBracketRacing.com is a unique program in which the site ranks sportsman competitors in North America regardless of class, sanction, or type of competition. The system awards drivers with “Power Points” for final round appearances in all major sportsman events, including NHRA and IHRA national and divisional events, as well as bracket races that feature a winner’s purse of $5,000 or more. To read the details of how points are awarded, click here:http://thisisbracketracing.com/rankings_points.cfm

 
The program’s initial two seasons saw runaway winners. Dan Fletcher dominated the 2009 points standings, earning Driver of the Year honors with an incredible 155 point total. A year later, Gary Williams eclipsed Fletcher’s mark with a score of 179 points, earning the title by nearly 70 markers. In contrast, 2011 marked a season of parity in the sportsman ranks, and lower scores atop the rankings provided a much tighter battle for the crown.  The BTE Power Rankings saw more than 5 different leaders throughout the season, in a battle that wasn’t settled until the final points earning events of the season. 
 
When the dust cleared, it was Lang, a relatively unlikely champion, who emerged atop the pack. Since honing his craft bracket racing early in his career, Jody Lang has established a reputation as one of the most successful Stock and Super Stock competitors in North America. Coming into the 2011 season, Lang had amassed 18 NHRA National Event Titles, several division championships, and numerous top ten national finishes. In 2009 he joined the elite group of sportsman competitors to have “Doubled Up,” winning two classes at the same event in NHRA national event competition. 
 
While his on track success in 2011 was certainly no surprise, Lang wouldn’t have been considered a huge threat to win the BTE Power Rankings at the beginning of the season. His racing schedule allows him to chase the NHRA Lucas Oil championship, but doesn’t generally provide the opportunity to win huge dollars in racing, at least when compared to the touring professional competitors. The BTE Power Rankings are largely based on event purse winnings, so the racers who compete in national events and/or big dollar bracket races nearly every weekend have many more points earning opportunities than racers like Lang, who stick to a fairly limited schedule. As evidence, Lang himself enjoyed successful seasons in 2009 and 2010, finishing in the NHRA top ten both seasons, yet he ranked outside of the BTE Power Rankings Top Ten both years.
 
In what has to be considered one of the most amazing performances in sportsman racing history, however, Lang made the most of his opportunities in 2011. In just six NHRA national event appearances, Lang held six NHRA national event “Wally” trophies in 2011.
 
In a Super Stock category littered with high dollar, high winding Modified entries capable of E.T.’s in the 8-second zone, Lang proved dominant in his GT/KA Malibu, which is usually dialed in the hi-10 second area. In Stock, where factory race cars capable of 9-second E.T.’s are becoming increasingly popular, Lang is content with his familiar M/SA Malibu Station Wagon, which he normally dials in the 12’s.
With his admittedly unconventional machines, Lang earned Stock victories at the Winternationals (Pomona) and the NHRA Nationals (Sonoma). He also picked up the hardware in Super Stock at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals (Las Vegas) and the NHRA Finals (Pomona). The only national event that Lang attended in which he failed to reach the winner circle was the Big O Tires Nationals in Las Vegas, but he made up for that by earning the title in both Super Stock and Stock at his home event, the Northwest Nationals, in Seattle, WA. For good measure, he added a pair of Lucas Oil Division victories in Stock Eliminator, scoring in Las Vegas and Sonoma. Those victories ran his BTE Power Rankings point total to 96, five marks better than second place Nick Folk.
 
At season’s end, more than 1200 sportsman competitors earned BTE Power Points for final round finishes throughout North America, making Lang’s accomplishment that much more impressive. Over the course of the season, Lang spent several weeks atop the rankings, swapping the lead with Jeg Coughlin, Jr., Tommy Phillips, Nick Folk, and others. His Super Stock triumph at the season ending NHRA Finals proved to be just enough to hold off his closest pursuers, Folk and Peter Biondo (who finished with 91 and 90 points, respectively). The remaining top ten TIBR members include John Labbous, Jr. (86), Coughlin (82), Phillips (72), Jason Lynch (61), Joe Santangelo (55), Wesley Washington, Jr. (53) and Mark Faul (52). To view the complete 2011 BTE Power Rankings, click here: http://thisisbracketracing.com/rankings2011.cfm.
 
Jody Lang Malibu
 
Lang's Super Stock Malibu 
 
Thanks to presenting sponsor Bill Taylor Enterprises, TIBR “Driver of the Year” Jody Lang earns a complete BTE Top Sportsman or Top Dragster transmission (a $3500 value). He’ll also receive a complimentary subscription to ThisIsBracketRacing.com and a set of commemorative BTE Power Rankings Champion decals. The remaining top ten TIBR members will also earn various prizes thanks to supporting manufacturers including BTE, Auto Meter, Todd’s Extreme Paint, K&N Engineering, and ThisIsBracketRacing.com. Below is a brief recap of the incredible seasons turned in by 2011’s best sportsman performers.
 
 
Jody Lang stock wagon
 
Lang's familiar Malibu Station Wagon Stock Eliminator Entry
 
1.)    Jody Lang: 96 Points
BTE Top Dragster or Top Sportsman Powerglide Transmission, Annual Subscription to ThisIsBracketRacing.com, Commemorative Championship Decals.
 
Nick Folk
 
2.)    Nick Folk: 91 Points
Choice of BTE Torque Converter, Annual Subscription to ThisIsBracketRacing.com, Top Ten Decals.
 
After falling out of the top 10 in 2010, Folk bettered his 2009 3rd place finish with a season long performance that showcased his driving ability and versatility. Folk won nationally on the NHRA (Norwalk) and IHRA (Immokalee, US 131) tours. He won events in Stock (Immokalee), Top Dragster (Earlville), Super Comp (Norwalk), and Quick Rod (US 131). He topped those performances off with a slew of big buck bracket finals; he cashed a $20,000 winner’s check at the Million Dollar Race (Montgomery), took runner-up in the $50,000 main event of the World Super Pro Challenge (Mid-Michigan), and made big buck final round appearances in Byron, IL and Bradenton, FL. 
 
 
Pete Biondo
 
3.)    Peter Biondo: 90 Points
$500 Auto Meter Gift Certificate; Annual Subscription to ThisIsBracketRacing.com; Top Ten Decals.
 
Call him Sneaky Pete. Call him the Terminator. We call him consistent. In the three years of the BTE Power Rankings on ThisIsBracketRacing.com, Peter Biondo is on a very short list of competitors who have ranked in the top ten every season. His third place finish in 2011 marks his best showing to date, on the strength of a dominating NHRA season that resulted in his sixth NHRA World Championship (Super Gas) as well as his 6th national runner-up finish (Super Stock). Biondo won a pair of NHRA national events in each category, and claimed a pair of runner-up finishes (both in Super Stock) on the national stage as well. He added 5 NHRA LODRS victories, and rounded out his 2011 ledger with $5,000 bracket runner-up in Atco, NJ.
 
 
John Labbous Jr
 
4.)    John Labbous, Jr.: 86 Points
Choice of 2 great prizes: Todd’s Extreme Paint Helmet Paint Job, or K&N Carbon Fiber Scoop; Annual Subscription to ThisIsBracketRacing.com; Top Ten Decals.
 
Like Biondo, Labbous enjoys his third consecutive top ten finish in 2011. In fact, the big dollar bracket specialist placed in the top 5 for the third consecutive season (he finished 5th in 2009 and 3rd last season). In 2011, Labbous was “Money” when money was on the line. He earned a pair of $25,000 victories; first at the Spring Fling in Bristol, TN (the event he dominated in 2010), then again at the AA Auto Salvage Super Bucks Weekend in Atco, NJ (behind the wheel of a borrowed hot rod). Labbous showed his versatility in winning the $5,000 Door Car Shootout at the Spring Fling, and achieved the rare feat of driving two cars to the final round of competition at a Summer Shootout Series event in Atco, NJ. He continued his mastery of Beech Bend Raceway Park, where he won the Tenn-Tuck Triple Crown points championship for the third time in four years. He also earned a pair of $7,000 paydays; first at his home track, Music City Raceway, and then at a Super 7 Series event in Montgomery, AL. Labbous finished the season in typical fashion at the annual Florida Winter Series. In that three week swing, he reached four final rounds, and won his second weekend points championship at Palm Beach International Raceway. 
 
 
Jeg Coughlin Jr
 
5.)    Jeg Coughlin, Jr.: 82 Points
1 of 2 great prizes: Todd’s Extreme Paint Helmet Paint Job or K&N Carbon Fiber Scoop; Annual Subscription to ThisIsBracketRacing.com; Top Ten Decals.
 
 
Despite limited sportsman appearances in his temporary sabbatical from NHRA Pro Stock competition, Jeg Coughlin, Jr. turned in an impressive resume for 2011. Coughlin led the rankings at various points throughout the season, and may have challenged for the crown had business and professional racing obligations not kept him away from the race track as the season neared a close. Coughlin did not make his first “blip” on the 2011 Power Rankings radar until May, when he opened in notable fashion with a Super Comp victory and Super Gas runner-up at the JEGS Pacific Sports Nationals. A week later, he drove his Chevy II Wagon to a runner-up (to Labbous) in the Doorslammer Shootout at the Spring Fling in Bristol, TN. In June, Coughlin turned in his most impressive performance of the 2011 season, winning three major events in a single day at the Ultimate 64 Shootout (a $10,000 triumph and a pair of $5,000 wins). He added a Dragster Race victory at the Great American Bracket Race (Belle Rose, LA) to his ledger in September, then closed his season with a pair of wins at the Tenn-Tuck Triple Crown event (Bowling Green, KY) in October.
 
6.)    Tommy Phillips: 72 Points
Annual Subscription to ThisIsBracketRacing.com; Top Ten Decals.
 
After leading the BTE Power Rankings a couple of times throughout the season, Phillips fell to 6th at season’s end. The perennial NHRA top ten finisher enjoyed another spectacular campaign, earning a trio of NHRA National Event victories (two in Super Gas and one in Super Comp) and a pair of IHRA Nitro Jam victories (in a double-up performance in San Antonio). He earned the second JEGS All-Stars championship of his accomplished career, and compiled 3 NHRA LODRS victories to boot. Just as he did in his previous appearance in the BTE Power Rankings Top Ten (in 2009, when he finished 7th), Phillips was unblemished in final round appearances, posting a perfect 9-0 mark.
 
7.)    Jason Lynch: 61 Points
Annual Subscription to ThisIsBracketRacing.com; Top Ten Decals.
 
On the strength of another successful season, Lynch joins Biondo and Labbous as the only drivers to rank in the BTE Power Rankings Top Ten in each of the three years of the program’s existence. Lynch opened his season with a Super Gas victory at the Gatornationals and posted a pair of big buck bracket final rounds within the Super 7 Series (Montgomery) early in the year. Following an uncharacteristically quiet summer, Lynch warmed up at the annual Winter Series events, taking runner-up honors in the $50,000 event in South Georgia and winning the dragster race at Bradenton Motorsports Park a week later. Lynch’s 7th place finish is his third consecutive top ten ranking, coming on the heels of a 2nd place,110 effort in 2010 and a 9th place, 43 point tally in 2009.
 
8.)    Joe Santangelo: 55 Points
Annual Subscription to ThisIsBracketRacing.com; Top Ten Decals.
 
In 2011, Santangelo continued to stake his claim as one of the best bottom bulb competitors in all the land, and in the process earned his first NHRA Stock Eliminator World Championship in storybook fashion. Needing nothing short of a victory (and early losses from the other contenders) at his final event, the Las Vegas LODRS in early November, Santangelo did the unthinkable, winning the race and the championship. Throughout the season,, he earned a pair of NHRA National Event triumphs, 1 each in Stock (Englishtown) and Super Stock (Reading), and a runner-up finish (Bristol, Stock). He also appeared in 5 LODRS final rounds, winning Stock in Charlotte and Vegas, and taking runner-up honors at Lebanon Valley (Super Stock) and twice in Epping, NH (Stock and Super Stock). He kicked off the dream week that led to his championship performance in Las Vegas by winning the Stock/Super Stock Combo category at the Sportsman Super Series event preceding the division race.
 
9.)    Wesley Washington: 53 Points
Annual Subscription to ThisIsBracketRacing.com; Top Ten Decals.
 
After two years of ranking just outside of the BTE Power Rankings Top Ten, Wesley Washington broke through in 2011 thanks to a dominating season in the big buck bracket ranks and in IHRA Division 1 Top Dragster competition. In Top Dragster, he earned a pair of Pro-Am victories (Budds Creek and Skyview), and took runner-up honors at the IHRA Sportsman Spectacular Event in Maryland en route to the Division 1 title. In bracket competition, he took home a pair of $10,000 windfalls (Richmond and Palm Beach), and took runner-up honors in a $25,000-to-win event in Atco, NJ. He twice visited the winner circle at M.I.R.’s Raider E.T. Challenge Series, picking up a pair of $5,000 paydays to top off a spectacular 2011 campaign.
 
10.)            Mark Faul: 52 Points
Annual Subscription to ThisIsBracketRacing.com; Top Ten Decals.
 
Well known touring professional Mark Faul earned his first top ten finish in the BTE Power Rankings on the strength of one of his most successful seasons to date. He appeared in 3 NHRA National Event final rounds, winning at Sonoma (Super Stock) and taking runner-up honors in Fontana (Stock) and Belle Rose (Super Stock). He also scored a win on the IHRA Nitro Jam tour, earning the Stock Eliminator honors in Edmonton. He tacked on 3 NHRA LODRS trophies (Woodburn, Sonoma, South Georgia), and a pair of IHRA Pro-Am wins in three final rounds.
 
ThisIsBracketRacing.com would like to congratulate each of the drivers mentioned above for their outstanding 2011 seasons, as well as each and every one of the 1200+ competitors who earned points within the BTE Power Rankings on ThisIsBracketRacing.com this season. The BTE Power Rankings will return to ThisIsBracketRacing.com in 2012. Log on to TIBR for complete details in the coming months.

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