SATURDAY FINAL RESULTS - SCRUGGS' HOMETOWN WIN HIGHLIGHTS WINNER'S CIRCLE FROM MEMPHIS DRAGS III
Jason Scruggs’ third win in the American Drag Racing League (ADRL) in 2012 ended up being one of his favorite and it also proved to be a historic one.
At his home ADRL track and with plenty of friends and family watching, the Pro Extreme star went 3.736 at 207.34 mph to beat Brandon Pesz in the finals of the Memphis Drags III at Memphis International Raceway.
It pushed Scruggs’ career win total in the ADRL to nine, which also gives him the most wins in the history of the class.
“This is awesome. The folks at this track are so nice and the track is just great. I would rate this win here as one of the best I’ve ever had,” Scruggs said. “We had the whole family here and a bunch of friends, including some who had never been to a drag race, so this is a cool feeling.”
Other winners included Bob Rahaim (Pro Nitrous), Dennis Sugrue (Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5), Eric McKinney (Pro Extreme Motorcycle), John Montecalvo (Extreme Pro Stock), Todd Tutterow (Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified) and Marco Abruzzi (Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman).
Scruggs provided one of the many highlights in the ADRL’s return to Memphis, as track records were set across the board on a memorable day at MIR where track conditions were nearly flawless.
The two-time PX world champion traded blows with the heavy hitters in the class, but he had the final say, running a track record 3.616 at 209 mph in the second round and a 3.633 at 209 mph in the semifinals.
All of it came after the team frantically swapped motors after a mishap in qualifying.
“There was very good air out there today and we had some luck along the way,” Scruggs said. “Changing the motor during the race added some pressure, but it all worked out.”
Bob Rahaim’s dream season continued in Pro Nitrous, as he picked up his second win of 2012 with a 3.83 holeshot win against Doug Riesterer in a final that featured the top two drivers in the points standings.
Riesterer went an incredible 3.772 to set a track record, but Rahaim and his Jerry Bickel Race Cars Camaro had a significant advantage on the line (.085 reaction time to Riesterer’s .242) to hold off Riesterer in the race and in the points standings.
“This was a thrilling moment for our team. I’m the luckiest man in the world right now,” Rahaim said.
“I’m excited and it’s just even better because we’re coming to the end of the season and every point matters. We’re just floored right now.”
Rahaim qualified second with a 3.848 and put together his best pass of the weekend in the finals.
“It takes everybody to do this,” Rahaim said. “Everyone is just doing a fantastic job out there.”
Eric McKinney remains the hottest competitor in the ADRL after picking up his third straight win – and fifth overall – in Pro Extreme Motorcycle. McKinney, whose second career ADRL race was in Memphis, turned in a banner day in furthering his points lead, running a 4.052 at 175 mph to beat Paul Gast in the finals.
“This is just awesome. It’s cool to come back here and get this win,” McKinney said. “This is the best my career has been. This is top-notch racing right here and this is just incredible.”
McKinney was ahead of the pack the entire weekend. He qualified No. 1 with a 4.079, went 4.048 at 175 mph in the quarterfinals and then topped himself with a career-best and track record 4.028 at 176 mph in the semifinals.
“It seemed like we were stuck on 4.07 and 4.06, and I didn’t think a 4.02 was there,” McKinney said. “That was so cool to see that. This win is just as big as the first one, especially running numbers like that.”
After a season filled with frustration, John Montecalvo finally had something to smile about in his 2012 RJ Race Cars Camaro when he picked up in the win in Extreme Pro Stock after Pete Berner went red in the finals.
“This racing business is always a humbling experience. You never know when you’re going to win another one. I’m just happy to be back in the winner’s circle,” Montecalvo said.
“We’ve made some changes and I think we’re moving in the right direction now.”
Montecalvo, the 2010 world champ in the class, had never found his rhythm this season before putting it all together in Memphis. It came together late in eliminations, too, as Montecalvo qualified No. 12 and then went 4.089 with a .001 reaction time in the second round to beat Todd Hoerner, topping it with an event-best and new track record pass of 4.056 at 178 mph to beat points leader Cary Goforth in the semifinals.
“The car was fast and had plenty of horsepower,” Montecalvo said. “Sonny’s Racing Engines did a great job as usual and we were just happy to put some good runs together.
“It just took us a while to find where we needed to be.”
Todd Tutterow had a weekend that couldn’t have gone much better and the former Pro Extreme world champion capped it off by going 3.90 at 199 mph in the Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified final against first-time finalist Adam Flamholc.
“This feels really good. We’ve probably put a 100 laps on this car just testing and all that hard work paid off this weekend,” Tutterow said.
Driving a turbo-powered ’70 Duster that showed loads of potential this weekend in Memphis, Tutterow was the No. 1 qualifier with a 3.90, went more than 200 mph during eliminations and then wrapped it up with his first victory in the class.
“We knew the potential was here in these cars and I think this turbo thing can really catch on,” Tutterow said.
It was a historic win for Marco Abruzzi in Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman, as he became the first driver in the history of the class to win two events after going 4.247 to beat first-time finalist Rick Corn.
It also marked a resounding turnaround for Abruzzi, who had struggled so much as of late that he had lost his points lead. But after staying on point in the 4.20s again, Abruzzi is back on top in the highly-competitive class.
“This is a very gratifying win and took a lot of hard work,” Abruzzi said. “This hasn’t been a great last 3-4 events for me. We got off track and I had a friend work on the car, and now everything is good again.
“We’ve done a lot of testing to get this car happy again. We’ve been working really hard and I was just able to get my head straight.”
Dennis Sugrue was nearly overcome with emotion after running 4.029 at 192.93 to win an all-underdog final against Lamar Swindoll Jr. in Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5. Swindoll knocked off Billy Glidden to reach the final, while Sugrue upset points leader Alan Pittman in the semifinals before getting his first ADRL win.
“This feels like we really accomplished something. I’m just blessed to I’m just really happy for our guys,” Sugrue said. “This is the big leagues.”
In Pro Junior Dragster, Tracy Armer won with a 7.871 over Jackson Core.
The ninth of 10 races on the 2012 ADRL Tour takes place on Sept. 28-29 with the Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
The following are Saturday's final round photos and results from the American Drag Racing League ADRL Memphis Drags III:
FRIDAY QUALIFYING - PESZ, AUXIER AND GLIDDEN LEAD FIRST DAY MEMPHIS DRAGS
Sporting a new look on his ’58 Corvette, Pro Extreme driver Brandon Pesz delivered a track record to cap off a thrilling day in the American Drag Racing League’s (ADRL) return to Memphis International Raceway for the Memphis Drags III.
With a bold new wrap, Pesz ran a blistering 3.660 at 206.99 mph in Friday’s third qualifying session to top the run Jason Scruggs made three years ago in Memphis, jumping to the No. 1 qualifying spot in Pro Extreme in the process.
If the standout run holds up, it would be the first No. 1 qualifier for Pesz in the ADRL.
“We’ve got a fast hot rod in the heat and the track was real good today,” Pesz said. “It means a lot to get the record and be in that No. 1 spot. It’s awesome and I knew this car had that in it. I knew it was there and I just want to continue to do my best.”
Other top qualifiers through three sessions on Friday include Burton Auxier (Pro Nitrous), Billy Glidden (Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5), Eric McKinney (Pro Extreme Motorcycle), John DeFlorian (Extreme Pro Stock), Pat Musi (Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified) and Ronnie Davis (Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman).
The fourth and final round of qualifying at Memphis International Raceway takes place at 12 p.m. CST on Saturday with eliminations to follow.
Pesz went 3.689 on his first pass to take the top spot through the first two sessions before Tommy D’Aprile opened up with a 3.684 under the lights. Of course, Pesz followed minutes later with his brilliant run.
Jason Scruggs is in third with a 3.694 but there could be major changes on Saturday with considerably cooler conditions expected in Memphis.
“In the position I’m in, I’m going to get after it,” Pesz said. “There’s going to be some big numbers all day. If the weather holds up, there could be some 3.50s in the semifinals and finals.”
Burton Auxier hopes this is the weekend he breaks through for his first win in 2012 after three runner-up finishes, and he's off to a fine start in Pro Nitrous at MIR.
Auxier, the 2010 PN world champion, took the No. 1 spot after three sessions with an impressive 3.89 at 195.08 mph in the afternoon heat on Friday.
“We’ve been working on some things on the car and, after some testing, we found some ways to make it quicker,” Auxier said. “This told us we’re going in the right direction and we’re expecting some good numbers. I know it’s there.”
Auxier had company in the 3.80s during the final qualifying session under the lights, as Stan Allen went 3.893 at 193 mph and Jason Harris delivered a 3.899 at 192 mph. But Auxier holds a slim advantage the day before much cooler weather is expected at MIR.
“It’s going to be really good conditions tomorrow,” Auxier said. “The car will be capable of making good runs, so we hopefully we can put it all together.”
John DeFlorian turned it up a notch as the sun started to set for the final qualifying session in Extreme Pro Stock. DeFlorian was already the top qualifier after his first pass of 4.13, but he raised the bar on the final pass in the class on Friday, running a 4.105 at 176.14 mph.
“The conditions were a little better, but we found a problem after the second run,” DeFlorian said. “The Pro Stock cars were in the pits and we were there thrashing right before we ran. It was kind of a guess, but we went with it and it was hauling. What an awesome day.”
Both John Pluchino and Richie Stevens ran 4.13 to sit second and third, respectively. After getting his first ADRL win earlier this year, DeFlorian is more than ready for his second, though much cooler temperatures expected for Saturday and the always-competitive XPS field will make things difficult.
“The conditions have a chance to be the same or maybe even better than St. Louis (when DeFlorian ran a world-record 4.01),” DeFlorian said. “If it is like that, we’ll just put the same set-up we had in that race. It could be interesting.”
All it took was one session for Eric McKinney to continue his dominance in Pro Extreme Motorcycle. Coming off back-to-back wins for the second time this year, McKinney is off to a fine start in Memphis, running a 4.106 at 172 mph.
“We left everything the same from Charlotte (where McKinney won) and just put in a fresh motor,” McKinney said. “Hopefully we’ve got enough passes in it.”
Paul Gast turned in one of the best passes of his career with a 4.119 at 175 mph to sit in second, but McKinney remains the favorite for his fifth win in 2012.
“It’s going to get quicker, but I love seeing the field so competitive like this,” McKinney said. “It’s just good racing every round.”
Pat Musi, who is looking for his first ADRL win, turned in a clutch performance on his final pass of Friday, delivering a 3.936 at 192.55 mph to take over No. 1 in Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified after three qualifying passes.
Adam Flamholc just missed his second straight No. 1 qualifier, but he sits second with an impressive 3.976 at 188.31. Both Mike Janis and Todd Tutterow went 3.979 as the top four in the diverse class consisted of two supercharger cars, one nitrous car and one turbo car.
Ronnie Davis continued his hot streak in Summit Racing Top Sportsman, running a 4.074 at 179.61 mph on his very first on Friday. Coming off a win at Dragstock IX last month – his first ADRL win – and back in the championship hunt, Davis impressed immediately in Memphis.
“We ran the car exactly the same as we did in Charlotte,” Davis said. “I like running fast, but we’ll probably have to do some different things (on Saturday).”
Keith Raftery made a big jump in his final qualifying run, going to second with a 4.087 at 179.23 mph. Bob Gulitti’s 4.167 at 171.84 mph has him in third.
Billy Glidden went 3.991 at 186.79 mph to jump to the top in Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5. He remains the only driver in the history of the class to reach the 3-second zone in Memphis.
Alan Pittman came close with a 4.008 and Dan Myers ran a solid 4.015, but Glidden remains on top.
In Pro Junior Dragster, Mitchell Seymore is the current No. 1 qualifier with a 7.903.
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