The season opener for Professional Drag Racing Association (PDRA) showed how dedicated racers and fans truly are. With weather conditions calling for snow and rain most of Saturday, the PDRA officials made a great call early on in the event to run as many qualifying rounds on Friday as possible. The plan was to finish up the race on Sunday after the weather passed and that led to an exciting day of action at GALOT Motorsports Park.
That Saturday came in handy for Extreme Pro Stock number seven qualifier Elijah Morton, whose team took advantage of the rain delay. His team drove hours to Tennessee to fix the damages caused on Friday to their Pro Stock engine. They were able to get it all repaired and pulled off a 4.04 in their ’14 Mustang against Chris Powers in the finals, who earlier on in eliminations took out the number one qualifier Jeff Dobbins.
Jay Cox, in his Camaro known as “The Pumpkin” earned a big win at GALOT in Pro Nitrous. Jay won with a holeshot against Lizzy Musi in the semi-finals when he ran a 3.664 with a .012 reaction time over Musi’s 3.658 and .034 reaction time. Cox then found himself up against Jason Harris, who made it to the finals by running a 3.70 against number one qualifier Tommy Franklin’s 3.709. Harris had issues and his 7.740 just wasn’t enough against Jay Cox’s 3.696 run in the finals.
The Pro Extreme class was an action-packed affair and Terry Leggett always gets the crowd up on their feet. During the run against Jason Scruggs, there seemed to be an issue mid run with Scruggs causing his front end to nose dive into the track. Leggett was then able to take out the number one qualifier with a 3.557 over Scruggs’s 4.14.
The final round of Outlaw 632 was one of the closest of the event and showed just how tight the racing is in this class. Johnny Pluchino thrashed with his father, John Pluchino, for weeks getting their new naturally aspirated Kasse engine ready for competition and the hard work paid off. Johnny strapped a big light on Matthew Buck with a .036 reaction against a Buck’s .066, and took home a much-deserved win with a 4.265 over Buck’s 4.281.
Jeremy Ray with his “Carolina Kingpin” ’63 Corvette started eliminations in the sixth position and marched straight to the Pro Boost final. Ray was able to remain very consistent throughout the entire race weekend running between 3.71 and 3.73 on nearly every pass. In the final, Ray faced off against Chuch Ulsc who experienced a mechanical failure that allowed Ray to coast to an easy victory.
Pro Junior Dragster driver Anthony “The Mayor” Suppers and Top Jr Dragster driver, Logan Westmoreland stayed dedicated over the weekend in order to bring home the victory in their classes. These young drivers endured chilly weather conditions and managed to stay consistent the whole event. They both thanked their families and sponsors in the winner circle and showing again how the drag racing community is truly one of the best places to raise a family and build strong work ethics in our children.
Outlaw 10.5 winner John Carinci said it best when asked the secret staying on top and consistent, “It’s a recipe like when Betty Crocker makes cakes … you’ve got to stay with the recipe in order for it to turn out.” Carinci’s team certainly had the right ingredient to take the win over number one qualifier Phil Sliskovic in the final round.
The underdogs ran the board in the Elite Top Sportsman when the final round began. Number 15 qualifier Donny Urban and number 16 qualifier Derrick Brown found themselves lining up against each other in the final frame. Consistency landed them in the final showdown, unfortunately, Brown left the starting line before the tree activated and Urban took home the win.
After an incident a month ago, Elite Top Dragster racer Kevin Brannon was grateful to be racing again with help from his family to get a new dragster ready. Brannon piloted his ’18 Maddox dragster to a win over Denver Maltba where both drivers broke out.
The family was all there for rookie Rodney Williford’s big win in Pro Extreme Motorcycle. The celebrations during semi and final rounds from his family and crew is definitely something worth experiencing. Williford slowly chipped away at the competition throughout the eliminations on his way to the final where he defeated Brunson Grothus.
It’s not just the racing that makes PDRA events spectacular, it’s the family atmosphere at every race. The smiles as you pass the pits and the fact that you never meet a stranger make each race enjoyable to attend. This big racing family of PDRA will be taking their passion and love for the sport to Maryland International Raceway on May 3-5 for the North-South Shootout and you won’t want to miss any of the action.