Two seasons ago, Missourian Daniel Pharris came up just one day short of becoming the first radial-tire racer into the 3.5-second zone during the second running of DuckX Productions’ Sweet 16, an honor that went to GALOT Motorsports driver Kevin Rivenbark. While Pharris went quicker (3.57-seconds) in his twin-turbo Mustang to ultimately set the national record, the history books would show it was Rivenbark who got there first.
Shortly thereafter, Pharris, who had been all-in in small-tire drag racing for a number of years, abruptly sold his Mustang to Texan Ronnie Hobbs and disappeared from the drag racing scene altogether. In the two subsequent years — the time it took to get from Rivenbark’s 3.587 on March 21, 2019 to the 3.40s — Pharris was off the radar, tending to his automotive business and boating. As Stevie Fast Jackon and Jason Lee tickled the forties, Pharris was seemingly the last name anyone anticipated getting it done.
But Pharris was quietly plotting his return in early 2021 with the gang at GALOT Motorsports, to drive — of all things — the very ProCharger-boosted Camaro that thwarted him two years prior.
Following a 3.502-second world record from Lee at Lights Out 12 in February, a run in the 3.40s was only a matter of when, not if, and Pharris and company assured that fact by clocking a 3.497 at 213.72 mph in testing at Alabama International Raceway earlier this week.
In 51-degree air and the corrected altitude some 700-feet below sea level Friday morning, Pharris denied Lee, Jackson, and other contenders of history in the fourth Radial versus The World qualifier, going 3.498 at 212.73 mph. With his performance, Pharris joined an incredibly small club of racers that have been 3.40s in a full-bodied car.
It also primes us for the question: is this the last milestone for Radial versus The World cars?
While a 3.4-second run by a full-bodied car was already seven years in the rearview, anything quicker than 3.485 (Frankie Taylor in April 2014) is entirely uncharted waters, and so where we — and the Radial versus The World class itself — go from here is anyone’s guess.