Brandon Pesz, from The Woodlands, TX, introduced new sponsor Kryptonite Kustomz to the ADRL experience in the best possible way Sep. 7, with a track record-setting performance during qualifying for the ADRL Memphis Drags III at Memphis International Raceway.
Driving a screw-blown ’58 Corvette for team owner Todd Martin, Pesz was fast straight off the trailer with a 3.689 at 207.21-mph pass that took the top spot in the opening round of qualifying and also held up as number one through the second session.
Jason Scruggs stepped up to second place with a 3.694 effort in round two, but a recurring valve-train problem forced an engine change on the former two-time class champion and Scruggs missed out on the day’s third and final qualifying opportunity.
After watching Tommy D’Aprile take over the top spot with a 6.684 in the third round, but knowing Scruggs was no longer a lead-threatening factor on Friday night, Pesz said he actually backed down a little on his tune-up before unleashing a 3.660-seconds pass at 206.99 mph to break Scruggs’ three-year-old ET record from the last time the ADRL visited the Memphis eighth mile.
“I was actually going to go for a .61 or a .62, but I knew for sure the track would hold a .66, so that’s what I went for,” Pesz said. “The track is good, very good; the Traction Twins (ADRL’s two-man track grooming crew) have done a great job here.
“I have a bad hot rod in the heat,” said Pesz, referring to the 100-degree temperatures and high humidity that prevailed throughout the day. “It’s supposed to cool down quite a lot for tomorrow, though, and that’s going to tighten up the field. I like it better when I’ve got that little cushion.”
Following D’Aprile and Scruggs on the provisional list were Tim Tindle, winner of the most recent ADRL event a month ago at Charlotte, NC, and current points leader Mick Snyder. Clint Thompson heads into Saturday’s lone qualifying round in the 16th and final qualifying position after posting a 3.890 run at 197.68 mph.
Pesz serves as the lead tuner on both his car and Martin’s ’68 Mustang, which finished Friday in 12th place with a 3.773 at 200.71 mph.
“We’ll be stepping it up Saturday; there’s going to be bottom .60s run tomorrow for sure,” Pesz said. “I’m in a position now with my car that I can really get after it, but we have to work on getting Todd’s car a little better.
“I’m just glad we could show the people from Kryptonite a good time. After we went that .68 in round one they got so excited and said, ‘We’re here to stay now; this is too much fun to leave.’ Hopefully we’ll be able to keep them around until the final round tomorrow.”
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