Balog drives to record 10th IRA sprint car series championship

October 1, 2020

Bill Balog

North Pole’s Bill Balog was crowned king of the Interstate Racing Association’s sprint car points series for a record 10th time, living up to his ‘North Pole Nightmare’ nickname for competitors in the Upper Midwest racing league.

Balog took sole possession of the IRA’s all-time record for most series titles, passing nine-time champion Joe Roe.

The IRA series dates back to 1967 and includes 40-plus events annually in Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota and Illinois.

Balog, of North Pole High fame, also won championships in 2019, 2017 and seven in a row from 2008 to 2014, according to the IRA website. Roe was a champion in three different decades and probably considered the IRA’s best driver before Balog came along.

Balog’s seven-straight-titles streak is also a record – the next longest streak is four.

The Alaskan closed out this season in style by winning the 30-lap main event for winged 410s on a lightning quick half-mile dirt track in Plymouth, Wisconsin.

It was his 12th win in 20 features, his highest season win total since his 13 victories in 2017.

He piled up 2,972 points on the year for a 309-point margin of victory. His winning margin was 404 last year.

Balog, 40, is believed to be the most successful sprint car driver from Alaska. He grew up racing motorcross and snowmachines before turning his attention to sprint cars in 2000.

He went from racing on Saturday nights in Fairbanks to racing for a living in the Upper Midwest. The son of a race car driver, Balog first moved to Washington to chase his racing dreams before going to Wisconsin.

In his first season in the IRA, he was named Rookie of the Year. He has dominated the racing series since then, racking up more than 100 wins.

In addition to his IRA success, he owns a 2016 win in the prestigious World of Outlaws series.