When the 2017 International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) season began, Christopher Webb approached the season like any other – hoping to run well enough to compete for a championship. Little did he know that things would work out just right for him and that after a terrible tale on their first try, he and his wife would finally enjoy the honeymoon redo so desperately needed after what happened the first time.
Webb has been racing for his family’s race team since he was 16. His father, Donald, was the 2001 IHRA Hot Rod World Champion. Christopher Webb, who lives in Four Oaks, N.C. just east of Raleigh started his IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship season in Darlington in March – it became a triple-header when the second Palm Beach International Raceway event was postponed until Darlington, and Webb made the most of his opportunity. The information technology professional recorded a runner-up finish in the Palm Beach final and won the second Darlington race for a quick 1-2 start to the season.
From there, he won at Farmington Dragway in June, added a runner up at Carolina Dragway on Labor Day weekend – his final event of the year – and entered the final race weekend at Dragway 42 in West Salem, Ohio with a 70-point lead over Troy Williams Jr. Neither driver traveled to Ohio to race on that final weekend, but Webb still had to keep an eye on several drivers that were within striking distance. His most-trusted statistician would keep track.
“I knew where I was, but my mom keeps up with all the points stuff,” Webb said. “I don’t get into the mathematics stuff, who can catch me and all that stuff. I knew I was in the lead going into that final weekend, and she was watching on ESPN3 and keeping up with the people that could catch me who were racing. I guess when the final guy lost, I think on Saturday, she called me and said she had counted everything up and that I won it. I said, ‘OK, that’s awesome.’ I wasn’t really keeping up with it, and that was good because I would have been a nervous wreck if I’d been keeping up with it.”
“Ok, that’s awesome” isn’t exactly the response one would expect when a 35-year-old racer wins his first IHRA Hot Rod World Championship.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Webb added a couple of weeks after clinching the title. “I don’t know how to describe it, but I guess the best way is that it’s a great sense of accomplishment. It’s what you set out to do at the beginning of every year, and you work hard for it. It’s a sense of accomplishment when all the hard work pays off, but it really hasn’t sunk in yet. I’d like to thank God, Mickey Thompson Tires, my family, Tim Lucas, Summit Racing Equipment and IHRA”
Now back to that ill-fated honeymoon. Webb won an Aruba vacation in addition to the $15,000 cash prize from Summit Racing Equipment. To determine which of the eight Summit Sportsman World Champions would pack their bags for Aruba, a blind draw was held prior to the start of the final event. Champions of the two classes drawn won the Aruba vacation prize packages; Hot Rod and Super Rod were the lucky classes. The Aruba vacations are made possible by partnerships with AroundArubaTours.com, El Gaucho restaurant, Tropicana Resorts – TropClub casino, More 4 Less car rentals and the Don Flip Racing.
“My wife and I never really had a honeymoon, and we had our 10-year anniversary this year,” Webb said. “We did actually have a honeymoon after we were married, but I got sick with the flu the night of our wedding, and then she got sick. So we spent our whole honeymoon, the first week of our marriage, with both of us as sick as you could be. Ten or 11 years later, we’ll make up for that and call this trip to Aruba our honeymoon. We really appreciate everyone that made this trip possible.”
Not a bad way to cap off a great season: leave the two-year-old twin boys at home and enjoy a second-chance honeymoon in a tropical paradise.