2019 PDRA MID-ATLANTIC SHOWDOWN - RICHMOND, VA.
SATURDAY NOTEBOOK - MOTHER NATURE EXTENDS FINALS UNTIL MARYLAND
SPORTSMAN - The Elite Top Sportsman final round will see an all-Ohio match between Doylestown’s Glenn Butcher in his ’69 Camaro and Seville’s Tim Molnar in his ’68 Camaro. Fredericksburg, Virginia’s Jeff Brooks in his ’51 Henry J will square off against Winston-Salem, North Carolina’s Chad Tilley in his ’96 Beretta in the Top Sportsman 32 final round.
Chesapeake, Virginia’s William Brown III in his ’18 Racetech dragster will take on Presden, Ohio’s Nick Hamilton in his ’13 Diamond dragster in the Elite Top Dragster final round. Tim Williams in his Carson, Virginia-based ’17 Racetech dragster defeated Jarrod Kissinger in his Bernville, Pennsylvania-based ’18 dragster in the Top Dragster 32 final round.
The Pro Jr. Dragster final round was set to feature Benson, North Carolina’s Melanie Sheets taking on Lexington, South Carolina’s Connor McGee. The Top Jr. Dragster final round was going to be a battle between the No. 15 and 16 qualifiers, as Mechanicsville, Virginia’s Nathan Tanner was to face Burford, Ontario, Canada’s Ryan Harris.
The next stop on the PDRA Road to the Finals is the PDRA North-South Shootout presented Line-X May 30-June 1 at Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek, Maryland.
FRIDAY NOTEBOOK -
MUSI POWER - One month after recording multiple passes in the 3.60-second range at the PDRA season opener at GALOT Motorsports Park, Pro Nitrous star Lizzy Musi continued her strong early season performances with a 3.650 at 207.02 in the “King Kong 7” ’18 Dodge Dart owned by Frank Brandao and tuned by her father, engine builder Pat Musi.
“It's awesome to go out there and finally get the No. 1 spot,” Musi said. “My team definitely deserves it. My dad and the team have been working hard at it and this is a good achievement for this whole team, so we're excited. We know we have a night run tuneup, so now we need the heat-of-the-day tuneup. Hopefully we can get the car consistent, go rounds and take home the win.”
Musi will line up next to Chris Patrick in his Musi-powered ’69 Camaro to start eliminations. Two-time world champion Tommy Franklin qualified No. 2 with a 3.668 at 205.91 in his Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro. Two-time and defending world champion Jason Harris rounds out the top 3 with a 3.708 at 202.61 in the Musi-powered “Party Time” ’69 Camaro.
MAINTAINING MOMENTUM - Todd Hoerner rolled into Virginia coming off runner-up finishes at the PDRA East Coast Nationals and the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals Mountain Motor Pro Stock exhibition race. The Virginia native added another accomplishment to that list when he held off a strong Extreme Pro Stock field to grab the No. 1 spot with a 4.075 at 177.95 in the Zarella family’s Sonny’s-powered ’12 Camaro.
“We were fortunate enough to get runner-up at GALOT, runner-up at the 4-Wides at Charlotte and now we're No. 1 qualifier, so that's pretty cool,” Hoerner said. “It's a credit to the crew and TT Motorsports with Tommy Zarella and his wife Paula to let us be able to do this. We're very thankful for that. (Crew chief) ‘Lump’ (Brian Self) is doing a great job making the calls on the car. We're just taking baby steps and we keep improving round after round. Tomorrow's another day, but for tonight we're super excited.”
Hoerner will take on veteran Pro Stock driver and tuner Tommy Lee in the first round of eliminations. Lee is driving the ’19 Camaro usually driven by class veteran John Montecalvo. Chris Powers, who won the recent NHRA 4-Wide Nationals in Mountain Motor Pro Stock, qualified No. 2 with a 4.075 at 177.39 in his Sonny’s-powered Liberty’s Gears ’14 Camaro. Past world champion and season opener winner John Pluchino recorded a 4.076 at 176.30 in his Kaase-powered ’13 Mustang to qualify third.
JOHNNY BE QUICK - Defending Pro Outlaw 632 world champion Johnny Pluchino won the season-opening East Coast Nationals in early April, but he still wasn’t completely satisfied with the performance of the Kaase-powered ’06 Ford Escort he drives for car owner Dominic Addeo. Pluchino’s 4.220 at 168.37 was closer to what the second-generation driver was looking for from the Strutmaster.com-backed entry.
“We changed some stuff over the winter and I just didn't have a good handle on getting the car to run early at the last race,” Pluchino said. “I had a brainstorm while I was home one night just sitting on the couch thinking, and fortunately we came out here in testing and made all those changes, let the clutch go and picked up two hundredths to the 60-foot in some hot conditions. We were real happy with that and we came out here and had a bracket car in qualifying. I feel like we have a really good car going into race day.”
Pluchino will have lane choice over No. 14 qualifier Vinny LaRosa in his Voss-powered ’71 Duster in the first round of eliminations. Past world champion Dillon Voss posted a 4.242 at 169.68 in his Voss Racing Engines ’17 Corvette to qualify No. 2, followed closely by East Coast Nationals runner-up Wes Distefano in his Musi-powered ’68 Camaro with a 4.247 at 172.34.
TOP SPORTSMEN - After over 60 Top Sportsman cars made a qualifying attempt over the course of two sessions, John Benoit ended up No. 1 with a 3.844 at 198.85 in his Buck-powered ’17 Camaro. Jeremy Creasman’s run of 3.944 at 184.88 in his ProCharger-boosted ’63 Corvette earned him the provisional No. 2 spot, while Erica Coleman and her nitrous-fed ’68 Camaro are third with a 3.973 at 185.72.
Ocala, Florida’s Brian Bednar raced to the top of the Elite Top Dragster qualifying order with a 3.794 at 192.06 in his supercharged FTI-backed Spitzer dragster. Robert Pickens in his supercharged “Kidzilla 5” Pickens dragster is No. 2 with a 3.810 at 189.87, followed by John Creasman’s ProCharger-equipped Maddox dragster and its 3.825 at 192.11.
The PDRA Mid-Atlantic Showdown presented by Modern Racing continues Saturday at 10 a.m. Pre-race ceremonies are scheduled for 3:50 p.m., with professional eliminations to begin at 4 p.m.