Pro 275, arguably the hottest eliminator in the sport of drag racing right now, undoubtedly proved why as it stole the show at DuckX Productions’ COVID-8 at the Orlando Speed World Dragway in Florida last weekend, with new benchmarks established in both elapsed time and speed, the quickest side-by-side race in the history of the category, and it’a quickest-ever eight-car field.
The headlines will read that California native Roger Holder collected the $15,000 payday for his final round defeat of veteran Pro 275 racer Ziff Hudson, 3.86 to a slowing 4.08, but it was what transpired on the way to that lucrative final round that the history books will reflect.
With six round-robin qualifying sessions on tap and 16 of the quickest Pro 275 cars in the world on the property duking it out, not even seasonably-hot atmospheric conditions — hot and muggy conditions that radial-tire racers aren’t accustomed to — could stop these competitors from clocking all-time-quick numbers. After all, with just eight spots available, there was zero room to back off and play it safe with the tune-up. This was, as promoter Donald Long intended it, a marathon and a homerun derby rolled into one.
Craig Sullivan, driving Mark Woodruff’s bright yellow former Radial versus The World Corvette in Pro 275, flicked the record-book to a fresh page first in the fifth session with an incredible 211.33 mph speed — top speed of the entire event, even ahead of the quicker competitors in RvW — on a 3.897-second lap that placed him in the show.
Then, in the final qualifier in the early morning hours Saturday, Holder and Hudson, in the very same lanes they would later sit in in the finale, gave a prelude of what was to come with the quickest side-by-side run ever on 275 drag radials — Holder going 3.856 at 208.69 mph to Hudson’s right-there 3.860 at 202.73.
In that very same session, Mark Micke, who stunned with an unofficial record-run of 3.80 in private testing at Carolina Dragway more than a month ago, went to the number one with an official national record lap of 3.822, putting himself atop the quickest-ever field, which was anchored by Scotty Gaudagno’s 3.963.