Gamesmanship is an art form in drag racing that can go from the most basic passive aggressive actions, all the way to a full-scale assault on someone’s routine. There are opportunities at every end of the track and in the staging lanes to play games with your opponent in some way. The classic burndown at the starting line is one of the oldest tricks in the book, Jeff Dobbins and John Pluchino took it to a new level at the PDRA Mid-Atlantic Showdown for over four minutes.
It doesn’t matter what form of Pro Stock racing you’re talking about, whether it’s the 500 cubic-inch NHRA brand, or the mountain motor version the PDRA, they require the driver to always be on point in the car. A Pro Stock racer has to be a lumberjack on the tree and quick like a bunny with their shifts to win, so it’s no surprise that drivers will play games to get an edge. The startling line staging dual is one way to pull your opponent out of his routine and cause them to make an error.
Dobbins and Pluchino are both experienced racers so they understand that a big cubic-inch Pro Stock car doesn’t allow much room for error. These two engaged in one of the most epic staging duals we’ve ever seen in any professional category of racing. The drivers sat on the starting line for over four minutes with the pre-stage bulbs lit. During that time the PDRA and Virginia Motorsports Park officials tried to coax the drivers into the beams to fully stage but they weren’t having it.
Free Life Films patently sat on the starting line with everyone else for over 4:25 minutes to capture the staging dual and attempts to get the drivers in the beams. Not only was Dobbins the first one to light the final bulbs, he then pulled off the holeshot win with a 4.16 to Pulchino’s quicker 4.12 elapsed time!