PDRA American Doorslammer Challenge Results From Norwalk

For the second consecutive race on the 2024 Red Line Oil PDRA Drag Racing Series tour, four-time Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous world champion Jim Halsey won the event after qualifying No. 1. Halsey’s latest victory came Saturday night at the Smokies Garage American Doorslammer Challenge presented by Callies Performance at Summit Motorsports Park when he defeated fellow Maryland native Fredy Scriba in the final round. Halsey led wire to wire, posting a 3.665-second pass at 207.53 MPH to beat a 3.673 at 203.03 from Scriba, who also appeared in his second final round of the season.

Halsey shared the winner’s circle with Todd Tutterow in WS Construction Pro Boost presented by P2 Contracting and Ty-Drive, Daryl Stewart in Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition, Walter Lannigan Jr. in PDRA Pro 632, Brunson Grothus in Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle, Ethan Steding in Menscer Motorsports Pro Street presented by Afco Racing, and Connor McGee in Afco Racing Super Street presented by Menscer Motorsports

In the PDRA’s sportsman categories, trophies went to Bruce Thrift in MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by PAR Racing Engines, KC Ingram in Laris Motorsports Insurance Elite Top Dragster presented by Greenbrier Excavating & Paving, Mike Alexander Jr. in MagnaFuel Top Sportsman presented by Corbin’s RV, and Richie Allen in Laris Motorsports Insurance Top Dragster presented by Younce RV. The Edelbrock Bracket Bash presented by COMP Cams win went to Brittanie Ulmer from nearby Port Clinton. Driving her ’10 American dragster, she defeated Bernard Weaver in his ’84 Daytona in the sixth and final round.

The American Doorslammer Challenge also included fierce competition in the PDRA’s Jr. Dragster classes, where Carson Hoyle (Coolshirt Systems Pro Jr. Dragster presented by Philadelphia Racing Products) and Lexus Trauth (Classic Graphix Top Jr. Dragster presented by Philadelphia Racing Products) were victorious. Hoyle and final-round opponent Mallory Mattox both broke out, Hoyle with a 7.895 and Mattox with a 7.875, but Hoyle was off the line first and ran closer to the 7.90 index in his Hickory, North Carolina-based ’23 Mike Bos dragster. Trauth also used a starting line advantage to get the final-round win over Kylie Varnier, with Trauth’s 9.018 on a 9.01 dial-in in her Alexandria, Kentucky-based ’23 Mike Bos dragster beating Varnier’s 9.154 on a 9.15 dial-in.

Four-time Pro Nitrous world champion Jim Halsey delivered another dominant performance in his new Fulton-powered ’68 Camaro, taking both No. 1 qualifier and event champion honors home to Maryland. He had to face another Maryland driver, season opener runner-up Fredy Scriba, in the final round. Scriba’s 3.673 at 203.03 was his best performance of the weekend, but it wasn’t quick enough to get around Halsey and his 3.665 at 207.53

“After the year we’ve been through last year, it kind of feels like we’re back,” said Halsey, who thanked his team, as well as the employees he works with back at home at Structural Concrete, Crouse Construction, and Cecil County Dragway. “These guys worked so hard the last few weeks, and actually, all through the winter, to put this thing back together and make it like it is today. We should have the winner’s circle picture with them in it and not me.”

As the No. 1 qualifier, Halsey started race day with a bye run, which he used to record a 3.726 at 204.32 to get lane choice over Chris Rini in the second round. He left on Rini then set low E.T. of the round with a 3.684 at 207.59 to defeat Rini’s 3.763. A starting line advantage and a 3.655 at 207.15 in the semifinals was enough to take down three-time and reigning world champion Tommy Franklin and his 3.677.

Scriba qualified No. 8 in his Musi-powered ’69 Camaro and made it through the first round with a 3.797 at 198.96 over Buddy Perkinson and his 3.986. He caught a break in the second round when Mike “the Mountain Man” Achenbach went red by .007 seconds on a 3.716 pass, though Scriba posted a strong 3.73 at 201.25 for the win. Scriba then ran a 3.705 at 202.36 on a semifinal bye run.

Todd Tutterow, who won the season opener in April, rebounded from his DNQ at the last race on tour by qualifying No. 1 and winning the American Doorslammer Challenge. The two-time Pro Boost world champion stepped up his performance in each round behind the wheel of his screw-blown Quik Fuel ’69 Camaro. Tutterow won on the starting line in the final round, as first-time finalist Marcus Birt went red by .043 seconds on a 3.661-second pass at 205.63. Tutterow set low E.T. of the event with his winning 3.62 at 208.30. He also tuned Ethan Steding to his first career win in Pro Street.

“We’re going home the points leader, hopefully, I would think,” said Tutterow, who thanked car owner Justin Smith and the WYO Motorsports and P2 Racing teams. “This makes it interesting. We’re very excited. Got a good car, good crew, good people around us. That’s what it takes. It’s a whole family deal. It’s all good. I’m excited for Ethan too. All around a good weekend.”

Tutterow started eliminations with a 3.696 at 205.63 to defeat local standout Mike DiDomenico and his 3.744. He stepped up on the starting line and going down the track in the second round, leading wire to wire with a 3.66 at 206.48 over Melanie Salemi and her 3.68. Tutterow improved again in the semis against teammate Kurt Steding, who went red on a 3.652 at 205.51, while Tutterow laid down a 3.64 at 207.66 to advance to the final.

In just his second Pro Boost appearance, Birt qualified No. 6 in Tommy Youmans’ ProCharged “Clean Title” ’24 Camaro before winning the first round on a holeshot. He held off David Texido’s 3.687 with a 3.691 at 206.73. With Lee White calling the shots, Birt left first in the second round against class E.T. record holder Derek Ward and ran a 3.678 at 206.32 to advance to the semifinals. Birt saved his best reaction time of the day, a .008, paired with a 3.687 at 207.15 to knock out Jay Santos and his 3.75.

Five-time Pro 632 winner Daryl Stewart joined an exclusive club of drivers to also win in Extreme Pro Stock when he defeated past world champion Chris Powers in the final round. Stewart, a former bracket racer, left the starting line first in his Kaase-powered Chassis Engineering ’12 Camaro and made his best run of eliminations, a 4.138 at 173.85, to hold off Powers and his quicker 4.12 at 182.97. The margin of victory was .016 seconds.

“Man, this does feel unbelievable because the first two races we’ve been to, we were down and out,” said Stewart, who thanked crew chief Clayton Murphy of Chassis Engineering, Joe Oplawski of Hyperaktive Performance Solutions, Brent Kirk, Mark Menscer of Menscer Motorsports, and crew members Chris and Johnny. “But we just kept digging and figured it out. We decided to come here at the last minute. My wife and daughter are here for the very first time ever. They were in Michigan on a college visit and they drove over. It’s just how ironic all that played out. Now they’re gonna have to come to all the races.”

Stewart lined up against fellow Floridian Jordan Ensslin in the first round and got the win with a 4.175 at 173.92 to Ensslin’s 4.244. He stepped up to a 4.167 at 174.30 in the second round to get past No. 2 qualifier Dillon Voss, who ran a 4.185 at 173.58. Stewart then had a semifinal bye run, where he laid down a 4.167 at 173.29 to prepare for the final.

In the first round, Powers set low E.T. of the round with his 4.136 at 174.66 in his Sonny’s Racing Engines ’21 Camaro to defeat Ohio’s Derrick Reese and his 4.222. A consistent 4.139 at 175.37 followed in the second round, beating Matt Giangrande’s 4.195. In a monster semifinal matchup with rival and No. 1 qualifier Johnny Pluchino, the two drivers left together, but Powers pulled ahead to win with a 4.116 at 176.03 to Pluchino’s 4.124 at 177.00.

PRO 632
Georgia’s Walter Lannigan Jr. has racked up plenty of accomplishments over the last several seasons in Pro 632, but he picked up his first win in a few seasons and his first behind the wheel of the Holdorf family’s Nelson-powered Dewitt Custom Concrete ’10 GTO. Filling in for Chris Holdorf this season, Lannigan qualified No. 1 on Friday before racing through three rounds to meet 2022 world champion Amber Franklin in the final round. Lannigan led Franklin off the starting line and held the lead to a 4.202 at 167.59, beating Franklin’s 4.201 at 168.91 on a holeshot by seven thousandths of a second.

“It means a lot because the team puts so much effort into this whole program to get this thing going,” Lannigan said. “Jamie Miller [tuner] and Kris Nelson [engine builder] have revamped things. Chris [Holdorf Jr.] couldn’t race this year, so they asked me to drive and I was honored. I came in knowing that if I did my job, I knew they did their job and it would all match up. I just had to make sure I stayed out of my head and did what I was supposed to do for myself. I feel good about it.”

Lannigan earned a bye in the first round, but he still fired off the quickest pass of the round, a 4.238 at 176.37, to get lane choice over Virginia race winner Doug Nicholl. Lannigan ran a 4.226 at 173.56 to beat Nicholl and his 4.264, then repeated with a 4.226 at 177.09 over season opener winner Andy House and his 4.24 in the semifinal.

Franklin, who qualified No. 2 in her Musi-powered “OG Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro, grabbed a decisive first-round win over Patrick Patterson’s 4.53 using a 4.246 at 167.72. She paired up with longtime friend Lexi Tanner in the second round, where she ran a consistent 4.244 at 167.80 to finish ahead of Tanner and her 4.291. The 2022 world champion fired off a 4.207 at 168.14 on a semifinal bye run to earn lane choice for the final round.

Multi-time Pro Extreme Motorcycle winner Brunson Grothus and the Grothus Drag Bikes team have spent the last few seasons away from PDRA competition to focus on business and life events, including the passing of Brunson’s mother following a cancer battle, as well as the birth of Brunson’s third son. The team returned this season with a turbocharged ’19 Hayabusa, and in just the second race for the class, Grothus picked up his first win in the series since 2018. The win was decided in a side-by-side final round, with Grothus using a .005 holeshot advantage and a 3.975 at 188.10 performance to beat two-time and reigning world champion Chris Garner-Jones and his 3.978 at 178.78 by just eight thousandths of a second.

“It’s one of the most memorable, if not most memorable, biggest, things in my career,” said Grothus, who thanked motorcycle owner Robert Varela, father Ed, brother Bradley, Dan Wagner, and his wife and family at home. “It’s incredible to come here to race. I got goosebumps thinking about who we’re racing against here. It’s incredible. The very best of the best of the world are here and it’s an honor. I’m humbled. It’s just a gauntlet with people throwing it down. That’s what makes it so amazing to be able to win.”

Grothus qualified third but had the quickest motorcycle on race day, starting with a 4.009 at 184.55 to beat Tyron Lemons and his 4.152. He set low E.T. of the event with a 3.972 at 186.72 in his second-round match with Paul Gast, who ran a 4.019. A side-by-side race followed in the semifinals against No. 1 qualifier Brayden Davis, but Davis negated his 3.996 with a .003 red light. Grothus got the win with his 3.997 at 186.79.

Garner-Jones on his TT Jones Racing ’18 Hayabusa qualified No. 2 and got the first-round win with a 4.061 at 176.81 over Gerry Hunt, who didn’t make the call. He left together with Ashley Owens in the second round but held off Owens’ 4.063 with a 4.041 at 174.57. The two-time and reigning world champion ended up with a semifinal bye run, posting a 4.035 at 176.33.

In just his third race in Pro Street competition, 2021 Pro Jr. Dragster world champion Ethan Steding collected his first PDRA 660 Man trophy in a professional class. Steding, the son of Pro Boost standout Kurt Steding, was set to face No. 1 qualifier and fellow rookie Brian Weddle in the final round, but Weddle wasn’t able to repair damage he suffered in the semifinals in time for the final. Steding in his roots-blown P2 Contracting ’24 Camaro took the tree and lifted to a 6.457 at 82.65 to claim the win.

“This is super special for me,” Steding said. “I definitely didn’t think I would be at this point at my third race into the season, but I’ve got the best helpers with me. Todd Tutterow and Ty Tutterow are badasses. Brad [Schmidt] works back at the shop building all these engines providing all the [WYO Motorsports] power for these cars. My dad, I can’t say enough about him. That dude provides for me, and back at home, we work and work and work. We’re only about 2.5 hours from this track, so we had workers from the company and friends and family all come out to support me and my dad and our team. It really turned out good and I appreciate them all.”

Steding ran a 4.23 at 189.12 in the first round to move past a red-lighting Nick Agostino. His second-round opponent, Jerry Morgano, couldn’t make the call, while Steding charged to a 4.175 at 189.52. Semifinal opponent Chris Cadotto went red by .051, throwing away a 4.072 to Steding’s winning 4.071. That gave Steding lane choice for the final round.

Weddle in his screw-blown ’68 Camaro kicked off race day with a 4.126 at 189.31 to beat Bill Devine’s 7.63. He ran into transmission problems on his second-round bye and nearly didn’t get to take advantage of his free ride to the semis, but he was able to stage and coast to an 8.957 at 71.72. He turned on the win light in the semifinals with his 4.109 at 170.02 over Chris Tuten’s 4.133, but he suffered a supercharger backfire as he approached the finish line.

Second-generation PDRA competitor Connor McGee raced to his first-ever Super Street win driving the family’s nitrous-fed ’90 Mustang. McGee threw down low elapsed time of the event, a 4.657 at 158.87, to defeat past event winner Dan Whetstine and his 4.732 at 155.83 in the final round. The 19-year-old was the second PDRA Jr. Dragster graduate to win in the pro classes at Norwalk.

“It just goes to the dedication that me and my dad [Brian] and my brother [Spencer] and the rest of my family have all put into going testing and working late nights,” said McGee, who thanked Fulton Racing Engines, Driven Racing Oil, and Brian’s Heating & Cooling. “A year and a half ago, I couldn’t even do a burnout. It’s just how far I’ve come with this. I don’t know a tenth of what my dad knows, but he’s been able to give me and show me a lot. I just love racing here with the PDRA.”

McGee, the No. 7 qualifier, turned heads in the opening round when he laid down the quickest pass of the round, a 4.769 at 156.12, over Tommy Thrasher and his 4.961. He stayed consistent with a 4.764 at 156.97 to take out Matt Schalow and his 4.781. Semifinal opponent David Knight grabbed a starting line advantage, but McGee raced to a 4.68 at 152.80 to drive around Knight and his 4.84.

Whetstine’s race day started with a 4.787 at 151.20 in his ProCharged “Red Velvet” ’90 Mustang over Phil Hines and his 5.926. He met up with Derek Mota, who holds the class E.T. record and won the most recent race, in the second round. Whetstine upset Mota, improving slightly to a 4.772 at 149.27, while Mota slowed to a 4.811. One of the closest races of the day came next, as Whetstine left first and charged to a 4.736 at 151.22 to shut down No. 1 qualifier Gage Llamas and his 4.738 at 158.82 in the semis.

After a full day of racing against some of the toughest competitors in Elite Top Sportsman, class veteran Bruce Thrift got to take a leisurely cruise down the track in the final round when opponent Kevin Brannon lost power in his ProCharged ’69 Camaro on the starting line. Thrift shut his car off to wait for Brannon, but Brannon had to push his car back off the line, allowing Thrift to coast to a 6.937 at 111.20 in his nitrous-fed ’18 GTO.

Virginia-based Top Sportsman 48 racers Mike Alexander Jr. and Mark Reese made their trip to the Midwest worth it by reaching the final round. The two drivers had nearly identical reaction times, then Alexander ran a 4.186 on a 4.16 dial-in in his supercharged ’63 Corvette to turn on the win light. Reese wasn’t far off with a 4.32 on a 4.28 dial-in in his nitrous-fed ’08 Mustang.

A pair of mid-3.70-second supercharged dragsters pulled to the starting line for the final round of Elite Top Dragster. Missouri’s KC Ingram and Ontario, Canada’s Kyle Harris both dialed 3.75, and while Harris ran closer to that dial-in with his 3.775, Ingram’s quicker reaction time and 3.814 in his ’20 Miller dragster got the job done.

It was a North vs. South battle in the Top Dragster 48 final round between Virginia’s Richie Allen and Michigan’s Kirby McLennan. Allen cut a perfect .000 reaction time and ran a 4.137 on a 4.12 dial-in in his ’23 Race Tech entry, while McLennan in his ’08 American dragster broke out with a 4.215 on a 4.22 dial-in to give the win to Allen.

The next stop on the Red Line Oil PDRA Drag Racing Series schedule is the North vs. South Shootout presented by Performance Polish, June 13-15, at Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek, Maryland.

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