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MEMORIAL DAY ENCORE: MORRIS JOHNSON JR.: FROM WAR TO DRAG RACING

Morris Johnson Jr. can’t help it. Every time he hears those lyrics from the famous Lee Greenwood song “Proud to be an American” his 5_27_2009_johnson.jpgeyes well up with tears.

“I am the kind of guy who looks at the flag for the greatest country in the world and gets goose bumps,” Johnson admits. “I get a tingle that I don’t know that everyone gets when they see the flag or the Star Spangled Banner is sung. When Lee Greenwood sang that song it became almost as popular as the national anthem.”

Johnson, of Smith Mountain Lake, Va., remembers the day a pair of brothers approached him on behalf of their deceased brother who lost his life during the Vietnam War. The Pro Stock driver was already emotionally charged after watching the skydiver fly above him carrying the flag as the Greenwood song played over the public address system.

BIRT BREAKS THROUGH WITH 1ST RVW WIN

 

He always runs fast and has come close a few times, so it was sweet relief for Radials vs. The World veteran Marcus Birt to finally steer his Houston Auto Auction 2016 Corvette into the winner's circle.

"They say the first one is always the hardest one to win, so hopefully now it'll just start to fall into place," Birt said after defeating Shawn Ayers in the Covid 8 RVW final May 23, at Orlando Speed World Dragway.

Birt dominated the weekend, qualifying number one with a 3.57-seconds blast at 205.41 mph in the third of five qualifying rounds for the eight-car RVW field. Following him on the list were Florida's own Bryan Markiewicz, David Reese, Stevie Jackson, Jamie Hancock, Melanie Salemi, Ayers and Jeff Miller.

HOLDER REPEATS WITH COVID 8 PRO 275 TITLE

 

Among multiple event winners of Duck X Productions events, Roger Holder and his twin-turboed '68 Nova undoubtedly have the greatest winning percentage. Two out of three visits have finished in the winner's circle.

His first time out with the car last fall in No Mercy 10 at South Georgia Motorsports Park, Holder drove to victory in the Carolina No Time class, then fell with mechanical woes in this spring's Lights Out event at SGMP, but returned to victory lane May 23, in promoter Donald "Duck" Long's Covid 8 event at Orlando Speed World Dragway.

TEXAS GOV. ABBOTT EXPANDS CAPABILITIES FOR MOTORSPORTS VENUES

This afternoon Governor Greg Abbott by virtue of executive order expanded the enumerated list of Covered Services in Executive Order GA-23. The order allows outdoor motorsports events to operate at up to 25 percent of the normal operating limits as determined by the venue owner and operate under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing. Pursuant to that order the Texas Motorplex will allow fans to attend the Keurig Dr Pepper Lone Star Nationals presented by Driven Automotive Protection starting tomorrow. Fans will be charged $15 per car and can order tickets online now.
 
The event, previously a participant only race, will still be broadcast on PPV. Fans will be able to enjoy the racing action for the low price of $15 by purchasing the event Pay Per View livestream on TheFoat.com Ticketing with BangShift.  The entire event from the first burnout to the last win light will be broadcast with wildly entertaining Al Tucci calling the action.

PDRA KICKS OFF 2020 SEASON THIS WEEKEND

 
Almost two full months after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) 2020 season opener, the all-eighth-mile series is set to get back to racing at the East Coast Nationals presented by FuelTech this weekend, May 27-30, at GALOT Motorsports Park in Benson, N.C.
 
“This is a big, big deal for the PDRA and our racers, fans and sponsors,” said Tyler Crossnoe, series director, PDRA. “We’ve all been eager to kick off the season, and now thanks to the hard work by the GALOT Motorsports Park and PDRA teams, we’re finally able to go racing.”
 
The professional classes racing at the East Coast Nationals include Penske Racing Shocks/Precision Racing Suspension Pro Boost presented by WS Construction, Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous, Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock, $hameless Racing Pro Outlaw 632 and Drag 965 Pro Nitrous Motorcycle. Classic Graphix will again present the Pro Mod Challenge for non-qualifiers in Pro Boost and Pro Nitrous. 

COVID 8 Q&A WITH DONALD 'DUCK' LONG

 

In the radial world of drag racing, Donald "Duck" Long needs no introduction.

Long, the Pied Piper of drag tire radial racing has been long known for delivering significant paydays for this arena. Frustrated with having his Sweet 16 event postponed in the early phases of the pandemic, and seeing racers denied their escape from the "new" normal, Long formulated a plan for racers to get their drag racing fix.

Thus was born, the COVID 8 event, featuring only Radial vs. The World (a class he created) and Pro 275, at Orlando Speed World Dragway. Out Ian Tocher caught up with Long and discussed the event and more.

ENCORE - THE ORIGINAL PRO NITROUS: THE AHRA PRO STOCKERS

6-4-07ahra.jpgA common misconception suggests the origin of nitrous-injected doorslammer racing can be traced back to the International Hot Rod Association’s Top Sportsman division. In fact, the first organized competition for nitrous-aided door cars dates back to the American Hot Rod Association's Pro Stock class. During the last four years of the AHRA’s existence, officials bucked conventional Pro Stock regulations of the day by allowing the use of nitrous oxide.

In 1980, Pro Stock was a class in transition. On the National Hot Rod Association side, Pro Stock cars were running on a pounds-per-cubic-inch basis with special weight breaks and/or handicaps based on the make of car. The IHRA took advantage of their rival’s complicated and rather unpopular structure and countered with a simplified unlimited cubic-inch format. As a result, the first Pro Stock car to break into the seven-second zone was racing under IHRA sanction

So where does AHRA Pro Stock fit into the equation? At the start of the 1980 season, the AHRA was deep in the same quagmire as the NHRA, struggling to maintain a level playing field through the use of a cumbersome rules package. To their credit, those in charge of the AHRA recognized the quandary they were in, and they reacted accordingly, making sweeping rules changes. 

The 1980 AHRA Pro Stock season had gotten off to a lackluster start, but that was soon to change. The organization decided that implementing a Mountain Motor format was the best way to give the class the publicity it deserved, and inject new life into it.

There was a major problem, however.

HOLLEY LS FEST WEST IS CANCELLED

 

Holley’s LS Fest West, a traditional event hosted by The Strip at Las Vegas has become the latest casualty of 2020’s global pandemic.

Most recently scheduled for June 12 - 14, the event was cancelled because of uncertainty surrounding live events held in Nevada. The state of Nevada is taking a phased approach to reopening, and at this time, there is still no indication as to when large crowds will be permitted to gather.

Race officials have confirmed pre-registered participants and spectators that pre-purchased tickets will be fully refunded as soon as possible.

THE DAY KURT JOHNSON SOLIDIFIED HIS PLACE IN DRAG RACING HISTORY

There was no doubt that sometime, at some point, someone was going to be the first NHRA Pro Stock driver to break into the six-second zone on a quarter-mile pass. 

The question was who would be the driver to secure that spot in drag racing history.

Good ol’ conventional wisdom thought it would come down to a pair of Dodge drivers, Darrell Alderman and Scott Geoffrion, or Warren Johnson, a.k.a., “The Professor,” in his Georgia-based Oldsmobile.

In near-perfect conditions on Friday night, May 20, 1994, Alderman, Geoffrion and Johnson took their shots and came up short by several hundredths. 

PDRA RELEASES SEVEN-RACE REVISED 2020 SCHEDULE

Just over a week away from the delayed start of the 2020 Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) season, the series announced Wednesday night its revised schedule. Six other PDRA races will join next week’s East Coast Nationals presented by FuelTech at GALOT Motorsports Park, which was announced on May 8, on the 2020 PDRA “No Warning Labels” Tour. The seven-race revised schedule replaces the PDRA’s original eight-race schedule that was affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
 
“We know our racers are eager to get this season started, and we’re thrilled to finally have a full season schedule to announce,” said Tyler Crossnoe, series director, PDRA. “The PDRA team has worked closely with the track operators and state and local officials to develop a realistic schedule.”

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