70 Year Old Bracket Racing Veteran Steve Mikus Wins 30th OG $50K Race
For 30 consecutive years in early August the little town of Stanton, Michigan has become the center of the Big Money Bracket Racing World when the Mid Michigan Motorplex plays host to the World Super Pro Challenge. An event that pays the winner of the Saturday main event $50,000. The popularity of the event has grown each and every year. This years event boasted 336 entries entering the first round of eliminations. This included 32 of the best no box competitors in the Midwest. The no box racers were kept separate from the box racers until their field was narrowed down to a winner and that winner would advance to round number 6 of the $50,000 main event.
Saturday would be the highly anticipated Todd’s Extreme Paint sponsored $50,000 event. Round number four had the no box field down to their final 4 competitors. The first matchup would be former track champion Mark Martinus driving his Chevy II up against Warren Smith who was driving his backup ride a Chevrolet Chevelle after breaking his Ford Mustang Friday night. Smith gained a starting line advantage over Martinus (.013 to .043) and then took Martinus through the finish line by .006 to secure a spot in the no box final round. The other half of the semi final matched up AJ Selleck driving the Perry Family’s Chevy Beretta against Mark Daniels LS Camaro. Daniels gained a slight reaction time advantage (.014 to .017) but broke out by .001 running 6.359 (6.36 Dial In). Selleck was right the running a dead on 5.400 (5.40 Dial In). The no box final round would send one driver into round six of the $50K main event as well as earning an extra $2,000 for winning the no box portion of the event. Smith left his Chevelle dialed in at 6.11 and Selleck’s Beretta also stayed the same at 5.40. This final would be decided on the starting line as Smith gained the reaction time advantage (.042 to .061) and would drive the finish line to perfection taking .006 and earning a spot in round 6 of the main event.
With the $50,000 to win event down to 9 entries in round number 7, it was Vicksburg, Michigan veteran bracket racer Ed Hall matched up with Durand, Illinois Young Gun Brett Williamson. Hall picked up the win with an .026 and dead on 6.108 on his 6.10 dial in. Williamson was .030 and ran 5.860 on his 5.87 dial in. The next pair once again matched up youth versus experience. Young Chase McKay driving his family’s Chevrolet Camaro was matched up against Veteran Motorplex bracket racer Jim Johnson and his Plymouth Belvedere. McKay’s .009 reaction time and 5.976 (5.97 Dial In) was too much for Johnson’s .023 reaction time and under the dial in 5.904 (5.93 Dial In). Tennessee’s Blake Fuqua and Ashley, Michigan’s Steve Mikus would be the next matchup. Fuqua’s FTD Dragster dialed in with a 4.52 compared to Mikus’s 1972 Chevy Nova that was dialed 5.84. Mikus grabbed the starting line advantage (.011 to .036) and then ran a dead on 5.842 for the win. The final pair of the round matched up the two dragsters of Katelyn Smith (Insurance Man Dragster) and Justin Daniels (Showtime Dragster). Katelyn Smith’s Michigan entry dialed in at 4.65 and Daniels’ Indiana entry dialed in at 5.20. This race ended at the starting line as the lady racer turned on the red light and Daniels would be advancing to the quarter finals. The final competitor in this round was the bye run car of Lane Ledford with his dragster. Ledford earned the bye after his previous round .001 reaction time.
The cars would be laddered for the quarter finals and the matchups were set. Chase McKay knew he would be going to the semi finals after earning his quarter final bye run. The first of the two pairs to run in the quarter finals would be Justin Daniels against Ed Hall. Both drivers kept their same dial ins from the previous round. Daniels gained the starting line advantage (.026 to .044) and coupled that with a 5.213 (5.20 Dial In) for the win over Hall’s 6.115 (6.10 Dial In). The remaining matchup was between Mikus in his Nova against Ledford’s Dragster. Once again this race was won on the starting line with Mikus grabbing the better reaction time (.019 to .029) and then running right on the dial 5.846 (5.84 Dial In).
The semi final round was set with McKay and Daniels matching up and Mikus earning the bye run to the $50K final round. McKay would dial in his Camaro at 5.96 and Daniels dialed the dragster in at 5.20. McKay left the line with the better reaction time (.020 to .034) and would secure his spot in the final round and the opportunity to race for $50K after running right on his 5.96 dial in (5.967). Daniels also ran dead on with a 5.207 (5.20 Dial In) and would be the lone semi finalist.
The final round would be an all door car matchup with McKay’s ’68 Camaro and Mikus’s ’72 Nova. McKay, a 26 year old second generation driver with only a handful of years experience, but has had huge success the past couple seasons racing Midwest Big Money Bracket Races was matched up against the local favorite Mikus. 70 year old Mikus, one of Michigan’s most successful bracket racers who had competed in the same Chevy Nova for nearly 50 years was racing in his first $50 K final round. Mikus with lane choice for the final round chose the right hand lane that he had been running in and dialed that same 5.84 that he had been using. McKay would dial in his Camaro at 5.97 in the left lane.
The tree came down for the $50K final and McKay grabbed the advantage with the better reaction time (.008 to .015) and got to the finish line running 5.958 (5.97 Dial In), breaking out by .012. Mikus would also run under his dial in running 5.837 (5.84 Dial In) giving Mikus the win on the double breakout final round.
With that win light Mikus would be given the title 30th Annual Todd’s Extreme Paint World Super Pro Challenge CHAMPION and the $50,000 that would go along with that. Mikus’s victory was the most popular in OG $50k history, as he was met by hundreds of fellow racers and friends at the starting line after his victory pass back up the track after the final round. It was a celebration that lasted well into the morning and Steve Mikus’s name will be added to a list of All Star drivers that also carry the title of World Super Pro Challenge Champions.
Other winners included Thursday night $10,000 winner Chris Bear in his Ohio based Chevrolet S10 over Michigan’s Mark Daniels in his Trans Am. Semi finalists were Will Crawford and Doug Heinisch. Thursday’s $2,000 No Box winner was Donnie Hagar over Brett Williamson.
Friday night’s $10,000 winner was Collin Estes from Rockford, Illinois with his Racecraft shorty dragster over No Box Star Donnie Hagar in his Vega. Kayleigh May was the semi finalist with her Indiana dragster. Friday’s $2,000 No Box Winner was Tom Aretakis Jr over Alyssa Martin.
Todd’s Extreme Paint weekend points Champion was Ryan Sparks, second place was a tie between Will Crawford and Justin Hardy.
A special thanks goes out to ALL the racers that attended this historic event as well as sponsors Todd’s Extreme Paint, Drag Race Solutions, McCarty Auto Parts, Digital Delay and Pro Systems.
It was announced during the event that the 31st Annual Todd’s Extreme OG $50K event will be held August 1st-4th, 2024.