FloRacing has tapped veteran sportscaster Ralph Sheheen, Funny Car world champion “Fast Jack” Beckman, seasoned motorsports reporter Jamie Howe and FloRacing Drag Racing Content Creator Courtney Enders as broadcast talent for the inaugural SCAG Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout presented by Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage, Feb. 8-10, at Bradenton Motorsports Park.
Sheheen, Beckman, Howe, and Enders via FloRacing, the official livestream partner, will provide an all-encompassing exposure for fans at the event and the ultimate experience for those unable to attend the race. Fans can catch all of the heart-pounding action from drag racing stars, like three-time Funny Car world champion Ron Capps, Top Fuel’s reigning champion Doug Kalitta and legendary Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin Jr., and more.
Sheheen, who will be on the play-by-play call, took an interest in drag racing at a young age and now has years of experience behind the microphone, from working at TNN to covering the NHRA, IHRA, and more.
“Anytime you can bring the biggest names in the sport together and put a massive purse on the line to get everybody throwing everything they have at it to get it, it just makes for great racing for the fans, and it should be spectacular,” said Sheheen. “I think every play-by-play guy has a different thing that they bring to the event. Some guys are known for their knowledge of the history of the sport. Some guys might be known for more of a human interest side of it, but I’ve always been somebody who brings the enthusiasm as a fan to the sport.”
With a driving career that spanned 14 years, Beckman will be sitting alongside Sheheen to fill the color commentary role.
“I’m excited to take a few days off and go back to the races in a participatory role,” said Beckman. “I’m also a hardcore drag race historian and an event like this is unprecedented. There have been many events that have tried to break the mold, specifically on the payoffs for drag races where they’re just going throw a ton of money out there and try to attract the biggest names in the sport. I have been racking my brain, and I can’t remember one that took place in the pre-season. I’m really interested to see how the crew chiefs approach this. Do they take what worked last year and apply it to a track that they only go to once a year at the most in conditions that they rarely see? Or do they get there early with their tune-up changes and hammer the heck out of the racetrack and try to get up to speed as quickly as possible?”
“I think it’s going to be great sitting next side to old ‘Fast Jack,’” added Sheheen. “When you do something like this, it’s a real treat as a play-by-play guy because you get to have one of the best seats in the venue, and hopefully, you’re sitting next to one of your good buddies who has great insight as to what you’re seeing.”
Howe, whose career has spanned across several motorsports genres, explains how unique the PRO Superstar Shootout will be and what she’s looking forward to as a pit reporter.
“When I first covered drag racing, I had no idea what I was getting into or who I would meet along the way,” said Howe. “I have now been far enough removed from my 11 seasons of nitro that the thing I am most looking forward to is going back to cover the sport as a fan. I have covered some of the biggest motorsports events in the world, and I’m looking at the PRO Superstar Shootout as just that – a huge event for the competitors and fans alike. There is life-changing money on the line for these teams, and with that comes a level of commitment and competition that I can’t wait to dive into in the pits.”
Rounding out the broadcast team is FloRacing’s Courtney Enders, who will also be roaming the pits.
“I am so proud to be one of the voices and faces that get to help tell the story of this historic event and bring light to the stars of our sport,” said Enders. “The talents on and off track involved with this race are people I’ve looked up to and respected my whole life. I look forward to showing the entire world why drag racing is the greatest sport with the best people on the planet.”
More than $1.3 million in prize money will be up for grabs at the PRO Superstar Shootout, which includes $250,000-to-win Top Fuel, $250,000-to-win Funny Car and $125,000-to-win Pro Stock.
Beckman knows what it’s like firsthand to experience a monumental event and shared his thoughts from a driver’s perspective.
“I don’t think the money is going to be as big an incentive once the helmet’s on. I think the money is the incentive to get the teams there and get their tune-ups dialed in,” said Beckman. “But when you’re a driver, I think that once the cars are started, it’s business as usual. However, when you’re outside of that car, trust me, nobody has lost the fact that they are racing for a quarter million dollars.”
Whether the teams are preparing to tow to the line or thrashing in their pits after an explosion, FloRacing will provide in-pit cameras to catch every minute of the event.
“It’s also a chance to paint a picture to the people that aren’t there,” continued Beckman. “The weather, the track conditions, things that television might not quite capture, I can fill in the blanks on that for the viewer watching on their device. For the people that are in the stands, I can give them another dimension of what the drivers are thinking, what’s going on at that point with the crew chief, what’s going on with each crew member, the roles that are taking place in real-time, things like that.”
“I hope to bring through to get people excited to watch, build up the intensity of each round and each pass as we go through the event because that’s what I’m going to be feeling,” said Sheheen. “The one thing I can tell you for me as a broadcaster is that every call I make is really what I’m feeling at the time. I’m not faking my way through anything. It’s really what you get. To me, racing is as exciting a sport as you’re going to find anywhere, no matter what genre you’re watching, and I like to bring that through. I’m really, really excited about getting a chance to go back and do it again.”
Beyond the professional categories, the PRO Superstar Shootout will include FTI Performance Top Sportsman, Stock, and Super Stock.
Lastly, Enders is looking forward to combining her role at FloRacing with the sport she has dedicated her life to.
“I couldn’t dream up a bigger opportunity than this,” said Enders. “To be a part of this from the start with the group of people involved in the conception of this race is the biggest honor I’ve had in my lifelong career in drag racing. This is worlds colliding for me with this event being streamed on FloRacing and being asked to be a part of the on-air talent team. In my almost two years at Flo, we’ve taken drag racing to another level, but this is a different ballgame.”
Fans can also watch the entire race live through FloRacing at https://flosports.link/3KQGS4I and keep up with their favorite drivers through the “Road to Bradenton” video series by visiting https://flosports.link/48zbPEw.
Tickets are on sale for the Scag Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout presented by JHG at https://bit.ly/scagpro.