Sturgill itching to make drag racing return


Beavercreek native is defending national Super Pro champion

By John Bombatch - jbombatch@aimmediamidwest.com



Michael Sturgill poses with his national championship trophy, Nov. 17, 2019 at the Auto Club NHRA Nationals in Pomona, California.

Michael Sturgill poses with his national championship trophy, Nov. 17, 2019 at the Auto Club NHRA Nationals in Pomona, California.


Submitted photos.

Team and family members of the Sturgill Racing team celebrate Michael Sturgill’s Super Pro national championship win, last season in Pomona, California.


Submitted photos.

Sturgill’s NHRA Wally trophy and $5,000 check rest atop his winning McIlvain dragster, nicknamed Bruiser.”


Submitted photos.

Special Thanks to: McIlvain race cars (chassis and fabrication); Profiler Performance Products (cylinder heads and intake); Performance Clinic Engines; FTI Performance (transmission and converter); Moser Engineering (axles, rear end, brakes); Wiseco Pistons; Bazzel Race Fuels; RB designs (graphics design); Southland Flooring Supplies; Kil-Kare Dragway; and Caged Insanity Sportswear.

MEDWAY — It’s been almost half a year since Michael Sturgill rolled through the finish line at Pomona Raceway with the Summit Racing Series national title in the Super Pro division. That success more than 2,000 miles away has the Beavercreek native itching to race this season.

In his second try in the national championship event, Sturgill bested the nation’s top Super Pro drag racers representing each NHRA racing division to win the national drag racing title.

After all the hard work, Sturgill made a 7.585-second pass at 177.56 mph to defeat Dave Meziere of Escondido, California, who jumped the start by .004 of a second, in the final. The realization that he’d faced the best of the best and came out on top is still with him.

“It is absolutely unreal. After it first happened, it was almost one of those things like you couldn’t believe that you actually did it,” Sturgill, 30, said via FaceTime. “People chase dreams like that for their entire life and it never happens. I was fortunate enough in two years to have two chances to do it. Some people will never have the chance to do it once, let along back-to-back years.”

In 2018, the Beavercreek High School grad (class of 2007) dominated at Kil-Kare Dragway to win the Super Pro racing title there by more than 20 rounds. He then swept through the races at the famed Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis to earn his inaugural trip to the national championship meet in Pomona, California.

After making the 2,173-mile trip with very high hopes, Sturgill lost by 0.001ths of a second in the first round.

This past season, Sturgill had some mid-season mechanical issues and had to battle to earn the Kil-Kare points title by six points over Springfield’s Joe Barney. He then won the Champ of Champions event at Indy to earn a wild card entry into the season ending national title event at Pomona.

“I’m very thankful. It’s was truly an amazing ordeal,” Sturgill said. “Even though I won the track championship last year, it was not a stellar year. … but I was still able to make it to Pomona and capitalize there.”

Sturgill’s grandfather, Charlie, raced in the 1970s at Kil-Kare. Dad Dennis began racing there in the ’80s, and Michael has been racing some form of drag racer at the track since he was 7 1/2 years old in the Junior Dragster division.

The third-generation racer is patiently waiting for Kil-Kare’s 2020 drag racing season to start.

He works as a production planner for the Nuvasive Manufacturing Company in West Carrollton, but is working from home these days because of the Coronavirus.

“Fortunately for me, I’m still working. I’m working from home four days a week, and one day in the shop. So we’re trying to limit how many people are in the race shop, so financially it hasn’t put a burden on me at this point. I’ve had all the car parts sitting at home to finish the dragster and the Camaro for about a month now, but not knowing when we’ll be able to go racing has kind of taken the focus away,” he said.

Sturgill can’t wait to get back on the track.

“If they told me tonight that I could race Saturday somewhere in the state of Ohio, I’d be there,” he said.

Michael Sturgill poses with his national championship trophy, Nov. 17, 2019 at the Auto Club NHRA Nationals in Pomona, California.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2020/04/web1_SturgillTrophyPomona_PS.jpgMichael Sturgill poses with his national championship trophy, Nov. 17, 2019 at the Auto Club NHRA Nationals in Pomona, California. Submitted photos.

Team and family members of the Sturgill Racing team celebrate Michael Sturgill’s Super Pro national championship win, last season in Pomona, California.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2020/04/web1_TeamPhotoSturgill_PS.jpgTeam and family members of the Sturgill Racing team celebrate Michael Sturgill’s Super Pro national championship win, last season in Pomona, California. Submitted photos.

Sturgill’s NHRA Wally trophy and $5,000 check rest atop his winning McIlvain dragster, nicknamed Bruiser.”
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2020/04/web1_ChampSignTrophy_PS.jpgSturgill’s NHRA Wally trophy and $5,000 check rest atop his winning McIlvain dragster, nicknamed Bruiser.” Submitted photos.
Beavercreek native is defending national Super Pro champion

By John Bombatch

jbombatch@aimmediamidwest.com

Special Thanks to: McIlvain race cars (chassis and fabrication); Profiler Performance Products (cylinder heads and intake); Performance Clinic Engines; FTI Performance (transmission and converter); Moser Engineering (axles, rear end, brakes); Wiseco Pistons; Bazzel Race Fuels; RB designs (graphics design); Southland Flooring Supplies; Kil-Kare Dragway; and Caged Insanity Sportswear.

Got a sports story you’d like to see? Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.

Got a sports story you’d like to see? Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.