Schuster, Willi and Francisco Triumphant at 31st Annual $40 Grand Nationals
With commitment and composure, racers climbed into their vehicles to compete for a share of $262,875 at the 31st Annual Rocko Machine $40 Grand Nationals presented by Hughes Performance, Sept. 1-3, 2023, at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
Round after round, they were steadfast and strong in their pursuit of the winner’s circle, proving they are among the best of the best.
On Sunday, Sept. 3, J.P. Schuster of Vienna, Ohio, and Kelly Smith of White Cloud, Michigan met in the final round of eliminations. Schuster, who won at last year’s event, backed that up with a win at this year’s event. This time, it was with an .020 on the tree and a 4.65 on the top end against Smith, who was .026 on the tree and 5.08 on the top end. The guaranteed payout for the Sunday race was $20,000 for the winner and $10,000 for the runner-up.
J.P. Schuster, 31st Annual Rocko Machine $40 Grand Nationals presented by Hughes Performance Sunday Winner
On Saturday, Sept. 2, Mike Willi of Valley City, Ohio, and Justin Vickers of Alliance, Ohio made it all the way to the final round of eliminations. Willi left the line with an .020 reaction time while Vickers left the line with an .010 reaction time, and Willi wheeled to the win with a 5.98 in his beautiful pickup truck while Vickers arrived at a 6.67 and the runner-up finish. The guaranteed payout for the Saturday race was an incredible $40,000 for the winner, and $20,000 for the runner-up.
Mike Willi, 31st Annual Rocko Machine $40 Grand Nationals presented by Hughes Performance Saturday Winner
On Friday, Sept. 1, Jimmy Francisco of Shelby Township, Michigan, and Ryan Pickens, of Elyria, Ohio, faced each other in the final round of eliminations. In the wee hours of the morning, they ripped off .008 and .009 reaction times respectively, and Francisco went to the winner’s circle with a 5.63 to Pickens’ 5.74. The guaranteed payout for the Friday race was $15,000 for the winner and $7,500 for the runner-up.
“There continues to be a very high caliber of competition at this prestigious annual event, and every driver who pointed their vehicle down our track at this year’s event had the potential to win,” said Bill Bader Jr., Summit Motorsports Park president. “They set the stage for some intense racing, and it was incredibly interesting to see winners of the $20,000, $40,000 and $15,000 emerge on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”