Britt Cummings just keeps adding to his impressive tally no matter which sanctioning body he may be competing. A former IHRA world champion, the Hammond, Louisiana resident has won countless events over the last three decades in both NHRA and IHRA plus numerous big bracket event victories. Britt is a major player in the success of his family's racing team and you never know just what class he may be competing in at any given event. Cummings Motorsports team stable holds eight vehicles carefully prepared for various classes and all protected to the hilt with a full variety of K&N air and oil filters. The cars are not only driven by Britt but also his brother Slate [also a former world champion], their father Larry, and team driver Jody Simoneaux. Every driver on the Cummings Motorsports team is very capable of a victory at any time with each of the team's drivers experiencing their own individual successes in recent seasons.
I won't say that I'm surprised I won. Anytime you go to a race, you should expect to win. If not, then why are you there?
With so many accomplishments on his résumé, many wouldn't be shocked at all to learn of Britt's near double during the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston, Texas. Cummings' two finals came by first putting the family's new 2000 Corvette Stock Eliminator entry in the championship round followed by the Super Comp Dragster. Over the last several months of competition Cummings has not had the success that he is accustomed to and admittingly, the double final round during the Houston national event provided him with almost a bit of relief.
While Cummings had failed to make it past one single round of Super Comp, since bowing out to fellow K&N racer Brian Folk in the finals of the U.S. Nationals last fall, he's not one to let it get into his head. "I won't say that I'm surprised I won. Anytime you go to a race, you should expect to win. If not, then why are you there? I think that goes for everyone. But I've struggled lately, particularly in Super Comp," Cummings confessed.
Had we not been selected for Best Appearing, I almost certainly would have broken the starter in the staging lanes or under the tower.
But now in Houston, things would all turn around for Cummings as he sent home Super Comp racer after racer over the course of the event. He first started by shutting down Bryan Turner and Jason Lynch then moving on to trailer Paul Kimble which earned him a spot in Sunday's quarterfinal round. Now seemingly on a roll, he put together his best package of the weekend [.014] starting with a .014 light and a dead-on the index 8.900 to his competitor, Doug Miller's losing .006 reaction time and 8.914.
Cummings was also mowing down the field in his K&N clad Stock Eliminator car. Starting off on the ladder as the number three qualifier, he stopped the winning hopes of Butch Marlow, J. Allen Sherman and Ronald Temento which earned him the bye straight into the Stock Eliminator final. Cummings used a .045 hit on the tree combined with a dead-on his dial 10.549 to dismiss David Buckner and move on to his first of two eventual finals. Without time to think much on it, he was back in his Super Comp ride Minutes later, he was back on the Royal Purple Raceway starting line to face Bart Nelson in his second semi-final of the day. "Everyone will look at the semi-final round and point to it as my big break," said Cummings. "And it was, but we actually got two really good breaks on Sunday."
Sometimes you just can't shake the idea of things happen for a reason and early Sunday morning when the team was awarded Best Appearing Car for their impeccable looking entries, the trip up to get the photos taken also became a lucky one. After the photos were taken, Britt went to fire up the team's Corvette only to find that the starter had broken and would not start up. Since there were several hours until sportsman eliminations would resume, that allowed the team plenty of time to repair the car with a new starter.
It was pure luck that he turned it red. He could have sat on the starting line for 5 seconds and easily beaten me, but he had no way to know that.
"Last year at the national event in Atlanta, I had a bye run with three cars remaining," reflected Cummings. "I was in the water and the car blew an ignition fuse and shut off. We didn't know what the problem was and we didn't find it within the time allowed. So I was pushed off the track and forfeited my spot in the final round. I don't know too many people who have lost on a bye run, but I did it. On Sunday, I had the bye run in the quarterfinals of Stock, which was our first round of the day. Had we not been selected for Best Appearing, I almost certainly would have broken the starter in the staging lanes or under the tower. Had I lost on the bye run due to another freak mechanical problem, I would have been devastated. So that was a big break."
The second bit of good luck for Cummings came during his semi-final round of Super Comp when he lined up against former national event winner Bart Nelson. As Cummings began to stage his dragster, it started to misfire badly. After the tree was activated, he broke the beams and shut off, only to see the red light in his Nelson's lane, who had fouled by the smallest of margins, -.001.
"The dragster broke a rocker arm," explained Cummings. "Obviously I heard it, so I shut off as soon as the tree dropped. It was pure luck that he turned it red. He could have sat on the starting line for 5 seconds and easily beaten me, but he had no way to know that. It goes without saying that was a huge break for me."
While the Cummings' team worked to repair the rocker on the dragster, Britt quickly hopped back into the Corvette to take on defending event champion Hagen Gary in the Stock Eliminator final. Unfortunately for Cummings he would receive his only losing time slip of the weekend with a .027 reaction and 10.132 on his 10.11 dial-in.
Being the strong minded professional sportsman racer that he is, Cummings was far from rattled as he returned to the staging lanes just mere moments later for his second final of the weekend. With his now repaired Super Comp dragster, he set himself up to square off with Shannon Brinkley. When the pair launched, he would be just a hair behind Brinkley slightly off the line, .015 to .023, but was still able to force Brinkley under the 8.90 index for while remaining safe with his 8.920 and a NHRA Super Comp National Event Championship. "At Houston it finally all came together," Cummings noted of the Super Comp win. "The car did its job as usual, the driver didn't get in the way and we had some good fortune."
The victory marked Cummings second NHRA national event triumph, both in Super Comp and his fourth final round.
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