Reigning and two-time PDRA Pro Nitrous champion Jim Halsey added another line to his impressive nitrous racing resume on Saturday evening at the annual Snowbird Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park, toppling a barrier years in the making on his way to the first 3.5-second pass in history by a nitrous oxide-assisted, slick-tire door car.
Halsey, who owns and operates Maryland’s Cecil County Dragway in addition to running a world-beating Pro Nitrous operation, won back-to-back PDRA titles in 2019 and 2020, solidifying himself as a consistent performance frontrunner; Halsey has flirted with the 3.50 zone, as have challengers such as Jay Cox, Lizzy Musi, and Tommy Franklin. But despite radial-tire racing’s Marcus Birt accomplishing the feat first with nitrous — more than a season and a half ago — no one in nitrous Pro Mod racing had been able to turn the trick.
At the Shakedown Nationals in Virginia in late September, Halsey clocked laps of 3.609 and 3.602, placing him right on the cusp of the barrier. But on Saturday evening under the lights in Florida, it all finally came together.
Racing opposite of Cox in qualifying, Halsey stormed to a 3.592 at 210.77 mph, earmarking his name in history and placing his Jerry Bickel Race Cars-built, Gene Fulton 959-powered ’69 Camaro into the spot slot in a stacked field of Pro Modified competitors going into eliminations.
Astute followers of the sport will recall that this isn’t Halsey’s first milestone — all the way back in October 2008, he became the first nitrous racer in history to clock a 5-second pass in the 1/4-mile at Old Bridge township Raceway Park. And id the 3.40s are a thing in the future — and we have every reason to believe they will be — there’s no doubt Halsey will be a contender for the benchmark when the time comes, as well.
For those keeping score, Halsey was .926 early, and 2.420 to 330-feet, doing so in a very favorable 634-feet of density altitude at 64-degrees of air temperature.
Video credit: TheRacingvids