2018 PDRA NORTH-SOUTH SHOOTOUT - EVENT PAGE
SATURDAY NOTEBOOK - CHAMPIONS CROWNED UNDER THE MARYLAND STARS
CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY FOR WEATHERFORD - Randy Weatherford and his WS Construction team have been consistently dialing in their clutch-equipped ’69 Camaro over the last few seasons in Pro Nitrous competition. He’s qualified No. 1 and raced deep into eliminations, but he had yet to reach the winner’s circle before he piloted his Musi-powered entry to a 3.882 at 163.57 over John Hall’s 3.899 at 155.17 in the North-South Shootout final round.
“This is my first PDRA win, and it’s been a long struggle to get to this point,” said Weatherford, a past champion in various regional series. “The car was always real good. All the parts and pieces worked right. I had a good program last year, I just couldn’t put it together right. This year I’ve got a better program together. I’ve always said clutch cars are faster and I think the scoreboards showed it.”
Weatherford recorded three of the best passes of his career on his way to the final round. He posted a 3.699 over Tommy Mauney, a 3.701 over Johnny Camp and a 3.675 over Chris Rini. Hall also experienced a career-best weekend in his Clayton Murphy-tuned ’68 Camaro, as he ran a 3.745 over Tony Wilson, a career-best 3.704 at 205.19 over past world champion Jason Harris, and a 4.017 in the semifinals.
THE DAY OF THE D’APRILE - Former Pro Extreme star Tommy D’Aprile further solidified his status as a serious threat in Pro Boost this season when he and tuner/car owner Al Billes fired off one of the quickest supercharged passes in class history to win the event. D’Aprile recorded a 3.66 at 203.31 to beat Chuck Ulsch’s 3.75 at 198.58 in the final round.
“This win was all about teamwork,” said D’Aprile, the No. 1 qualifier for the second time this season. “This team is amazing. If I had an unlimited budget and I could go anywhere and pick my team, I couldn’t pick it any better than this. God has put this team together. I make no bones about my faith. I’m a man of faith; I walk that, I talk that and I’m proud of that. I love this team. We have a brotherhood here that is just amazing. We’re blessed.”
D’Aprile dodged a bullet in the opening round when his Roots-blown ’69 Camaro slowed to a 3.874 over Eric Donovan, but his performance picked up again with a 3.701 over Raymond Commisso and a 3.67 over Brazil’s Roderjan Busato in the semifinals. Ulsch was running right with D’Aprile throughout eliminations, posting a 3.716 over Junior Ward, a 3.707 over Marc Caruso and a 3.715 to beat Jerico Balduf on a holeshot in the semifinals. Ulsch was appearing in his second consecutive final round.
DELIVERING WHEN IT MATTERS - Longtime mountain motor Pro Stock driver Steven Boone didn’t have the quickest car of the weekend, but he did have the quickest car when it mattered. In the final round, he drove his Boone Motorsports ’07 Cobalt to a 4.066 at 178.57, the second-quickest pass of eliminations, to deny Elijah Morton his second consecutive Extreme Pro Stock event win.
“Elijah is a good driver and he’s very tough, but I had to forget who’s in the other lane,” Boone said. “Both cars in the final were powered by Allen Competition Engines, which is the best power in my opinion. It’s big power. Elijah is a class act. I knew I had to be on my game to beat him. I pulled a good light on him, then we just laid down a good number and got the win.”
Boone’s final-round elapsed time was one thousandth of a second quicker than the et he used to defeat No. 1 qualifier John DeFlorian in the semifinals. Boone ran 4.104 over 2016 world champion John Pluchino in the first round. Morton previously faced Jeff Dobbins and Lester Cooper before meeting Boone.
VOSS LIVES UP TO HIS HIGH EXPECTATIONS - Defending Pro Outlaw 632 world champion Dillon Voss has been vocal about his goal to become the first driver in class history to dip into the 4.1-second range. With twin brother Cory making the tuning calls on the family’s Voss Racing Engines ’17 Corvette, Voss was able to record a pair of 4.19s on his way to the winner’s circle. The quicker of the two, a 4.194 at 171.03, was used to defeat No. 2 qualifier Ken Quartuccio’s 9.82 at 77 mph in the final round.
“This is what we strive for with the engine business and it’s what we strive for with the team,” Voss said. “We have high expectations for ourselves and today solidified our efforts. We went .19, .20, .20 and .19 again, so we had a bracket car all day long. As long as the driver did his job on the tree, we were going to bring this thing home.”
Lane choice in the final round was decided by speed, as Voss and Quartuccio both posted 4.203s in the semifinals. Voss had a competition single in the first round and was unopposed again in the second round when Jeff Ensslin broke after the burnout. Voss beat East Coast Spring Nationals winner Johnny Pluchino in the semis. Quartuccio’s prior round wins came over Michael Newmann and Mike Oldham.
HOME STATE WINNER - The two quickest cars in qualifying met up in the Elite Top Sportsman final as engine builder Billy Albert drove Stan Nance’s ’17 Camaro to a 3.934 on a 3.85 dial-in, defeating John Benoit’s 4.112 on a 3.93 dial in his Buck-powered ’15 Corvette. Maryland’s own Vonnie Mills kept the Top Sportsman 32 trophy in the state, beating Dennis Gaboriault in the final round.
HAMILTON WINS TD - Past Pro Jr. Dragster world champion Preston Tanner was denied his first Top Dragster event win when Nick Hamilton used a quicker reaction time and 4.011 on a 3.96 dial-in to beat Tanner’s 4.184 on a 4.08 dial-in. Local Top Dragster driver Kevin Roof was nearly dead-on in the final round, though the race win was his at the starting line when Jarrod Kissinger red-lit.
NEXT UP - The PDRA 2018 Tour will continue with the PDRA Summer Drags, May 31-June 2, at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, MI.
FRIDAY NOTEBOOK - FIRST DAY IN THE BOOKS AT MARYLAND INTERNATIONALS
D'APRILE ON TOP OF PRO BOOST - After qualifying No. 1 and reaching the semifinals at the season-opening PDRA East Coast Spring Nationals at GALOT Motorsports Park last month, Tommy D’Aprile and his Al BIlles-led team were motivated to continue their strong performance levels. The Floridian driver and Canadian tuner did just that when D’Aprile in the team’s Noonan-powered ’69 Camaro clicked off a 3.701 at 200.20 in the night session.
“I think we have a fantastic car and an even better team,” D’Aprile said. “To continue running this well is awesome. We had a $20 parts breakage that cost us at the last race, but it didn’t lower our morale at all because we knew we had a good car. The whole program is happy right now – the car is happy, the motor is happy and the crew is happy. We have a lot to look forward to.”
D’Aprile will line up against Eric Donovan in the first round. East Coast Spring Nationals runner-up Chuck Ulsch in his Roots-blown ’68 Camaro qualified in the No. 2 spot with a 3.745 at 196.16, followed by Jerico Balduf in his Batman-themed ’69 Chevelle in third with a 3.779 at 196.42.
LEGBONE TO THE EXTREME - GALOT event winner Terry “Legbone” Leggett added another highlight to his early-season success, posting a 3.602 at 212.66 in his screw-blown Leggett Logging & Trucking ’71 Mustang to take the No. 1 spot. Leggett and tuner Terry Coyle navigated a tricky track surface as the sun beat down on the Maryland eighth-mile, but the North Carolina driver is moving his focus to readjusting for Saturday’s forecasted cool conditions.
“We come to win and all that, but we really come to run fast,” Leggett said. “The track was real hot today. We struggled a little. We had new tires on the car, which it always seems like it takes a couple runs to get them where you want them to be. It was just so hot. But whatever you did today doesn’t mean anything tomorrow. If the track holds up and the weather cools down like it’s supposed to, we should be able to go pretty fast.”
Sweden’s Adam Flamholc is second in his Florida-based ’63 Corvette with a 3.673 at 201.13, while Scott Farley qualified third with a 4.338 at 171.71 in his supercharged ’70 Camaro.
NO TIME LIKE THE LAST MINUTE - Perennial Pro Nitrous favorite Jay Cox fended off a late-night charge from provisional No. 1 qualifier Randy Weatherford to claim the final No. 1 qualifying spot in the final qualifying session. Weatherford in his Virginia-based ’69 Camaro was leading the field going into the final session. He then fired off a 3.696 at 203.31 to solidify his position, but Cox and his “Pumpkin” ’69 Camaro ran a few numbers better to lock in the No. 1 spot with a 3.691 at 202.12.
Cox’s first-round opponent is Scott Blake, in from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada with his Albert-powered ’69 Camaro. Weatherford will take on chassis builder Tommy Mauney. Back-to-back and defending Pro Nitrous world champion Tommy Franklin qualified No. 3 with a 3.709 at 202.73 and will face David Campbell.
FAMILAR FACE ATOP THE BIKE LIST - Longtime Pro Extreme Motorcycle star Ashley Owens rode his McKinney Motorsports ’11 Suzuki to a stout 4.008 at 176.35 to lead a field of 19 motorcycles. Despite missing the first race of the season, Owens was able to figure out what his bike wanted while additionally tuning teammate Eric McKinney’s Suzuki.
“It feels good to come out here and qualify No. 1,” Owens said. “We’re struggling a little bit with the other bike. I wish we could be No. 1 and No. 2, but I’m glad my bike is running good. Glad to be back in the swing of things. We’ll see if we can get the other bike going down the track. It’s a little up and down, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow. Everything could turn around.”
Multi-time event winner Brunson Grothus sits second with a 4.029 at 175.34 on his Indocil Art Suzuki, followed by Chris Garner-Jones and his 4.046 at 172.28. Defending world champion Travis Davis is qualified No. 11.
THE SPORTSMAN REPORT - Racing for the first time as an official PDRA professional category, Pro Outlaw 632 is led by defending world champion Dillon Voss in his Suncoast Race Cars-built Voss Racing Engines ’17 Corvette. Tuned by twin brother Cory, Voss ripped off a 4.225 at 169.10 in the final session.
“We’ve got a really good car right now,” Voss said. “We just went as fast as we did at GALOT and the air is a lot worse here, so we’re showing very promising results from the testing we did last week. We can’t be any happier than we are right now.”
Connecticutt’s Ken Quartuccio follows Voss in second with a 4.231 at 173.01 in his ’69 Camaro. GALOT event winner Johnny Pluchino sits third in his Kaase-powered ’06 Escort with a 4.311 at 169.81.
ON TAP - The PDRA North-South Shootout at Maryland International Raceway will continue Saturday, May 5, with sportsman final qualifying at 9:15 a.m. Sportsman eliminations begin at noon, followed by professional eliminations at 1:45 p.m.