2017 PDRA DRAG WARS - GALOT NOTEBOOK
FINAL NOTEBOOK - MUSI, LEGGETT AND RAY SCORE MONUMENTAL VICTORIES
MUSI DELIVERS - The Pro Nitrous final round was bound to be one of the quickest and fastest side-by-side runs in class history, as the semifinals saw Tommy Franklin reset the elapsed-time record with his 3.658 and Lizzy Musi demolish the speed record with a 206.54. While Franklin encountered trouble in the final and ran a 3.741 at 195.99, Musi bettered the et record with a 3.656 at 206.42 in the Frank Brandao-owned AAP/Lucas Oil ’15 Dodge Dart.
“Running that 206 in the semis, everyone just flipped,” Musi said. “We never thought it would go faster than 205. We were hoping for a 206 maybe in Virginia with the cool weather, so it was very exciting to run 206 twice tonight. Running against Tommy, we knew we were going to throw everything we had at it because Tommy would be doing the same thing. We knew we just had to do our deal. He was probably on the same run – the early numbers were close.”
Musi qualified No. 2 and used a perfect .000 reaction time to defeat Danny Perry in the opening round, then posted a strong 3.679 at 204.48 to knock down points leader Jay Cox. She defeated Pro Stock racer Richie Stevens Jr in the semifinals. Franklin in his Pat Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro led the field in qualifying before beating Buddy Perkinson, Jim Halsey and Randy Weatherford on his way to the final round.
THE LEGBONE LOGS A VICTORY - Pineville, North Carolina-based logger Terry Leggett added a race win to his illustrious GALOT Motorsports Park history. Leggett, who was the low qualifier at the GALOT spring race, drove his screw-blown Leggett Logging & Trucking ’71 Mustang to a 3.548-second pass at 217.53 mph in the final round. His opponent, Mattias Wulcan, left before the tree activated.
“For some reason, we just really run good here,” Leggett said. “We just love the place. It’s a heckuva facility, the people are great, and we have a really strong following here. This is my home race, so we have lots of friends and family here. All of that just plays into making it a great weekend.”
Racing out of the second spot, Leggett posted a 3.555 at 218.80 over Jose Gonzales in the first round, then a 3.570 at 217.95 over points leader and spring race winner Mike Recchia. Wulcan was the No. 1 qualifier and drove his “Black Bird” ’69 Camaro to round wins of 3.572 at 213.03 over fellow Swede Stefan Holmberg and 3.56 at 211.33 over Australian Pro Mod star John Zappia before facing Leggett in the final.
FIRST-TIME WINNER - Jeremy Ray has raced with the PDRA since the series’ inception in 2014, and it took the best performance of his series career to earn his first PDRA Pro Boost event win. He ran his first 3.6-second pass, a 3.699, to qualify No. 4. After using a 3.762 to get around Jr. Ward in the first round, all of Ray’s eliminations runs were in the 3.6-second range.
“In the last five races we’ve run, this car has been very consistent,” said Ray, who reached the finals at those five races in a combination of PDRA and Carolina Xtreme Pro Mod competition. “The air was good tonight. I was able to go .68, .69, .68. We went in the sixties four times this weekend. I picked up the speed a bit, too. Just kept digging. I’ve been running PDRA since the beginning. This is my third car, and it’s one darn good car.”
Meeting Ray in the final round was Darlington winner Melanie Salemi, who qualified sixth and defeated James Linton Jr. and Pro Boost rookies Ty Tutterow and Brandon Snider to earn her spot in the final. Salemi left the starting line first in her “Purple Reign” ’68 Firebird, but Ray chased her down in his “Carolina Kingpin” ’63 Corvette, running 3.683 at 202.27 over Salemi’s 3.905 at 192.63.
ALL HE DOES IS WIN - Past PDRA Extreme Pro Stock world champion Cary Goforth secured his second series title when he beat Jeff Dobbins in the final round. Both drivers ran identical 4.055s in the semifinals, but the final round would be decided on the starting line, as Dobbins left the line .007 too soon. Goforth was ready for a race, though, as he recorded low et of eliminations, a 4.051 at 177.95.
“It felt good to get the win because you know if you win the race, you’ll probably seal the deal,” Goforth said. “I’m happy. I’m tickled to death. I don’t jump up and down and go wild, but I’m awfully proud of this one. This is our eighth championship and second with the PDRA. We just took care of our business and let it all play out.”
Goforth qualified third in his Dean’s Casing Service/Dewayne Higgins Trucking ’14 Camaro. He took out spring race winner Chris Powers and No. 2 qualifier J.R. Carr before the final round. Racing out of the fourth spot, Dobbins used .014 reaction times and quick passes to beat defending world champion John Pluchino and low qualifier John Montecalvo earlier in the day.
NEW FACE IN THE PLACE - For the first time this season, someone other than defending world champion Eric McKinney or points leader Travis Davis won in Pro Extreme Motorcycle. Coincidentally, Brad McCoy had to race McKinney and Davis on his way to the PDRA Drag Wars winner’s circle. McCoy rode his Q80 Racing Hayabusa to low et of the event, 3.998 at 176.49, to beat McKinney’s 4.04 at 178.50 in the final round.
“We struggled all day,” McCoy said. “We had to change motors going into the semifinals, so we had to start all over with the tune-ups and try to figure out where we needed to be. We were way underpowered for the semifinal round, so we just took a chance for the finals and hoped for the best, and it fell in our favor.”
McCoy’s win had serious implications on the championship situation, as Davis is trying to hold off McKinney from winning his fourth consecutive PDRA world championship.
“I had to race Travis first round. He really needed that round win. He’s a great racer. He even came over and helped me put the motor in our bike after we raced first round. You can’t get better sportsmanship than that. I felt I did him a favor – that final round (over McKinney) was payback for him helping me,” McCoy laughed.
McKinney, the No. 6 qualifier, rode his McKinney Motorsports entry to round wins over Chris Garner-Jones and teammate Ashley Owens before meeting McCoy in the final.
FRIDAY NOTEBOOK - NITROUS-A-PLENTY WITH FRANKLIN LEADING THE CHARGE
RECORD FOR FRANKLIN - A 3.665-second pass at 205.66 mph put Tommy Franklin in a position to reclaim the Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous presented by MoTeC elapsed-time national record in his “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro. Currently held by Lizzy Musi, the record would be lowered by a hundredth of a second if Franklin can back up his 3.665 with a 3.702 or better during Saturday’s fourth qualifying session or in eliminations.
“We’re hoping we get a chance to back up that run,” Franklin said. “The track was stellar and the air was good tonight. Our Pat Musi power is really showing off right now. The car was hiking the front end up and it was pulling hard. It was nice to get out there and lay down that run, but as always, I thank the Lord for the opportunity to do this.”
Pat Musi Racing Engines president Lizzy Musi is second after posting a 3.677 at 204.88 in the AAP/Lucas Oil ’15 Dodge Dart. Richie Stevens Jr. sits third in his Musi-powered AAP Camaro with a 3.694 at 202.42. Past Pro Nitrous world champion “Tricky” Rickie Smith is sixth in his first 2017 PDRA appearance.
ALL THE WAY JOSE - For the fourth time this season and the second time in the last two races, points leader Jose Gonzales drove the turbocharged El General Racing/Q80 Racing ’67 Mustang to the Friday-night top spot in Pro Boost. His Pro Line-powered entry nicknamed “Eleanor” covered the GALOT Motorsports Park eighth mile in 3.673 seconds at 215.55 mph, improving both ends of the Pro Boost national record.
“We came here only a round ahead in points,” said Pro Line Racing co-owner and tuner Eric Dillard. “We lost a lot of it through a few races where tough breaks just happened. Being only a round out, it feels good to go out and qualify No. 1 and feel like you have something for these guys, but they’re all right on our tail – .67, .68, .69. But that’s what it’s all about – you want to win and you want to earn it.”
Gonzales ran a 3.698 at 214.45 earlier in the day, which was quick enough to back up the 3.673 for the new national record.
Last year’s Pro Extreme world champion, Brandon Snider, holds the second spot in his supercharged AAP ’69 Camaro with a 3.688 at 203.49. Indy event winner Ty Tutterow is third with his 3.696 at 202.09 in the supercharged GALOT Motorsports “Tom Cat” ’69 Camaro.
MONTE HAUL - Two-time mountain-motor Pro Stock world champion John Montecalvo posted a 4.057 pass at 178.59 to take the No. 1 spot during the third Extreme Pro Stock qualifying session. It was his best pass yet with the Haas-built ’17 Camaro he unveiled at the Indy race in July.
“My only regret is I didn’t buy this car sooner,” said Montecalvo, who is second in points. “I think the points situation would’ve been totally different if we had this car in the beginning of the season. We brought this car out at Indy, its first time out, and it’s been fast ever since. Ninety percent of the time it’s the fastest car down the track. It’s a great car with big Sonny’s Racing Engines power. We’ve got Tommy Lee, Wayne, William, Cory – we’ve got a really good team, an intelligent team, and our old car wasn’t making us look that intelligent. It was a very fast car, but it was a little bit on the inconsistent side. I think we gained that consistency back with this new car. We’ve got a little bit of a wider tuning window, and man, I’m just looking forward to finishing the year in good shape, and I can’t wait for next year to start.”
Sonny’s-powered entries follow Montecalvo in second and third, as J.R. Carr ran 4.061 at 177.58 in his ’15 Camaro, while points leader Cary Goforth recorded a 4.075 at 177.23 in his Dean’s Casing Service ’14 Camaro.
FAST LAND MOVER - Local real estate developer Ronald Procopio rode Terry Schweigert’s ’10 Hayabusa to the No. 1 spot in Pro Extreme Motorcycle, posting a 4.017 at 175.89 during the third session. Procopio, who is at his first PDRA race of the season, was called in to ride for Schweigert, a Canadian dairy farmer and longtime Pro Extreme Motorcycle rider.
“We want to thank Terry Schweigert for putting the whole race program together for us so we can come out here and run with the PDRA,” said Dan Wagner, Procopio’s tuner. “Terry couldn’t make this race because of business commitments, so he sent Ronnie out here to support the PDRA, keep the bike count up and put on a good show. Ronnie and I are running this together with Terry’s equipment. We’re just picking away at it, really trying not to wear out any parts.”
Valdosta low qualifier Ashley Owens is in the No. 2 spot with his 4.042 pass at 174.82 aboard his McKinney Motorsports ’11 Hayabusa. Chris Garner-Jones is third with a 4.057 at 174.82 on his T.T. Jones Racing ’15 Hayabusa.
ON TAP FOR TODAY - PDRA Drag Wars at GALOT Motorsports Park will continue Saturday with a final qualifying session for all categories, beginning with Edelbrock Bracket Bash at 9 a.m. Pro eliminations begin at 4:30 p.m.