One might argue that hometown boy John DeFlorian from nearby Arnold, Mo., who reset the Extreme Pro Stock record at 4.01-seconds on Friday evening and brought down the house in front of throngs of local supporters was the highlight of the ADRL’s return to the Gateway Motorsports Park over the weekend, and no one in their right mind would diasgree with such an assessment.
Pro Nitrous racer Doug Reisterer, who made headlines back in April when he uncorked a stunning 3.75 from his Reher-Morrison powered Camaro, didn’t arrive in the Gateway pit area until after breakfast time on Saturday morning — having not left his Victoria, Tex. home on the nearly 1,000-mile trip until 6 p.m. on Friday evening. Reisterer had spent the day helping his wife, a school teacher, move her classroom, and it wasn’t until that evening that he and his crew looked over the qualifying results that the decision was made to load up and head north.
When Reisterer and his crew rolled through the gates, they did it not in a luxurious mansion on wheels like the new Pegasus hauler that XPS racer John Montecalvo debuted, but in a 20-someodd foot long tag trailer pulled with a pickup truck.
His competitors – including No. 1 qualifier Rickie Jones – had already taken three shots at the race track and the lone qualifying session that remained was to be the worst conditions of the four. With only twelve cars on the property, Reisterer was guaranteed a starting spot in the field, but he certainly didn’t want to start the day from the bottom half of the field.
To the less informed, Reisterer would’ve seemed to be a longshot — a backmarker helping to fill the field. His piece of real estate in the pits was the most modest of them all and his race car — in a class filled with swoopy, lightweight, state-of-the-art machines — could be considered archaic by comparison. But in an ode to the good old days of hard work, perseverance, and just flat outsmarting the competition, Reisterer proved that spending more money than everyone else doesn’t always equate to wins.
Right off the trailer, Reisterer clicked off a 3.97 to qualify No. 7, and while Friday hero John DeFlorian was packing up his Black Diamond Racing Camaro, was mowing his way through the Pro Nitrous field, downing Blake Housley, Jones (with a track record-tying 3.800 elapsed time) and Robert Mathis, who had a breakout weekend of his own.
Both Reisterer and final round opponent Burton Auxier turned up the wick for the evening’s final bout, although neither would admit it to the other. As the pair left the line, Auxier had the advantage, but Reisterer had the horsepower to catch and outrun the intense Auxier, 3.82 to 3.84. The LenMar Motorsports machine left a flash of flame and a trail of smoke in the lights — evidence that all was not well under the hood after a hard-fought battle with Auxier. But that was seemingly the last thing on the mind of the mechanical and chemical engineer by trade at the moment as he reveled in the victory — including a phone call to tell his mother that he’d won.
What Reisterer accomplished in St. Louis was nothing short of an underdog prevails feat, but when he rolls through the gate fashionably late the next go-round, he’ll carry the underdog tag no more.