SECOND TIME IS THE CHARM - The final round in Pro Nitrous was one of two final rounds that had to be rerun due to debris blowing through the eighth-mile sensors. The win light came on in Jay Cox’s lane during the first running, though his scoreboard posted an invalid time next to Lizzy Musi’s 3.655 at 206.95. Around an hour later, Cox turned on the win light again, this time with a 3.677 at 206.48 in his Buck-powered Butner Construction ’69 Camaro. Musi was aggressive off the starting line, but slowed to a 5.878 at 79.52.

“It’s really rewarding any time you can win,” Cox said. “This is a max-effort racing class. It isn’t something you can take lightly. Pat (Musi) stood on his and I stood on mine. That’s all that motor had. My guys work hard, they deserve every chance to win. I hate that the deal ended up like that, but at the end of the day it is what it is.”

Cox and his Smithfield, North Carolina-based “Pumpkin” Camaro stepped up in each round leading to the final, beginning with a 3.759 at 204.23 over Mike Gondziola and a 3.698 at 206.39 to defeat Billy Albert and his 3.817 at 201.94. In a tight semifinal battle, Cox unloaded a 3.674 at 206.80 to take down Chris Rini’s game 3.685 at 205.57 and earn his way to his second final round of the season.

Musi in Frank Brandao’s Edelbrock/Lucas Oil “King Kong 7” ’19 Dodge Dart started eliminations with a 3.747 at 206.23 over Chris Patrick before pedaling to a 4.049 at 160.96 over Ed Burnley. She recorded low ET and top speed of the event, a 3.651 at 207.88, to defeat Todd Fontana and his 3.713 at 204.05 in the semifinals.

DOMINATION - After qualifying No. 1 for the second consecutive race, Florida’s Kris Thorne earned his first Pro Boost event win in his twin-turbocharged ’17 Corvette, defeating defending world champion Tommy D’Aprile in the final round. Thorne used a .007 reaction time and a 3.703 at 216.38 in the Mikey Rees-tuned’ Vette to take down D’Aprile’s low-of-the-event 3.683 at 202.30 in his Al Billes-owned-and-tuned ’69 Camaro.

“It felt really good – I’ve been wanting to get one of these wins for two years,” Thorne said. “We’re finally starting to get the bugs worked out of this thing and finally put all our ducks in a row and got our first win in PDRA. I’m basically just in the car holding on. I’ve got to give it all to the crew and all the Proline guys out here helping us. I just hope we can keep it up.”

Thorne moved past the first round with a 3.736 at 217.00 over Tom Blincoe, then pedaled to a 3.909 209.69 over Tylor Miller. The Proline-powered entry rocketed to a 3.689 at 216.55 over Kevin Rivenbark and his 3.715 at 201.46 in the semifinals.

D’Aprile, who defeated Jerico Balduf in the rain-delayed Mid-Atlantic Showdown final round earlier in the day, was the quickest driver in the opening round with his 3.72 at 200.32 over Balduf in a rematch of the Virginia final. The roots-blown Camaro improved to a 3.71 at 200.83 to beat Anthony DiSomma, then stepped up yet again to 3.692 at 201.16 over Terry Leggett to advance to his third consecutive final round.



GUESS WHO’S BACK? - Todd Hoerner’s triumphant return season to Extreme Pro Stock continued in a big way when he lit up the final-round win light, adding an accomplishment to go along with his runner-up finish at the East Coast Nationals and No. 1 qualifying effort at the Mid-Atlantic Showdown. Hoerner steered the Brian “Lump” Self-tuned TT Motorsports ’14 Camaro to a 4.073 at 178.73 next to John Montecalvo’s 4.107 at 176.84 in the final round.

“Man, it feels awesome to get this win,” Hoerner said. “I’m so tickled and I’m so happy for (car owners) Tommy Zarella and his wife Paula and his daughter Tiana. Without them, I couldn’t be out here. I’m doing everything I can to take him back that trophy. I’m just tickled pink and we’re very thankful. Any of these guys out here can win. It was brutally hot and humid and it sucked the life out of you this weekend. Fortunately, the car worked good and we were able to get the win.”

Hoerner qualified No. 2 in his Sonny’ s-powered entry and ran a 4.105 at 178.14 to beat JR Carr in the first round. He slowed to a 9-second pass in the semifinals, but opponent Chris Powers went red by .008 seconds.

After getting into the eight-car field in the third and final qualifying session in his Tommy Lee-tuned ’18 Camaro, Montecalvo used a 4.137 at 176.21 to dispatch No. 1 qualifier Jeff Dobbins and his 4.164 at 175.50 in the first round. A consistent 4.121 at 176.30 followed to take out defending world champion Steven Boone in the semifinals.

TWICE AS NICE - Beam interference during the Pro Outlaw 632 final round led to the second rerun of the evening, with defending world champion Johnny Pluchino turning on the win light in both attempts. His scoreboard registered an invalid time in the first final, while Wes Distefano recorded a 4.206 at 173.65. When the two drivers returned to the starting line for the rerun, Pluchino set low ET of the event, a 4.195 at 168.51, as Distefano struggled to a 9.885 at 42.69.

“This class is getting really tough out here,” Pluchino said. “Wes is bringing the heat. Tony (Gillig) put me out in the (Mid-Atlantic Showdown) final. It makes winning that much better when the competition is that tough. There’s just no feeling like holding this trophy.”
Pluchino, who also made his Extreme Pro Stock debut this weekend, admittedly struggled with his Dominic Addeo-owned Strutmasters.com ’06 Ford Escort on bye runs in the first and second rounds. He rebounded with a 4.231 at 167.95 in the semifinals to eliminate 2017 world champion Dillon Voss and his 4.302 at 165.97.

Distefano qualified No. 2 in his nitrous-assisted, Musi-powered ’68 Camaro before running a 4.251 at 173.43 to beat Sylvester Barnes Jr. in the opening round. He improved to a 4.209 at 173.72 to take out Mid-Atlantic Showdown winner Tony Gillig and his 4.319 at 164.57. A holeshot advantage helped Distefano earn the semifinal win over Chris Holdorf in a 4.284-to-4.271 decision.


SMITH DELIVERS - Defending world champion Ronnie “Pro Mod” Smith picked up his first win of the season, but his event victory was practically overshadowed by his record performance in the final round. Smith shattered the Pro Nitrous Motorcycle ET national record – his own 3.973 set at the 2018 North-South Shootout – with a 3.958 at 176.28, defeating Brunson Grothus and his 9-second pass in the final round.

“You don’t understand how big of a deal this is,” Smith said. “I owe a lot to my tuner (Shane Smith) and FuelTech. The round before the final, we ran a 3.97. We knew the weather would come to us, so we didn’t change much on the bike – we just sent it. When it went a 3.95, I couldn’t believe it myself. I looked up and almost fell of the bike.”

Smith, of Pasadena, Maryland, rode his Innovative Performance Hayabusa to a 4.053 at 174.66 over TT Jones in the opening round. His 3.977 at 175.46 defeated Chris Garner-Jones’ 4.021 at 174.93 in the semifinals and served as the backup run for his final-round record.

Grothus slid into the eight-motorcycle field on the bump spot and capitalized on the opportunity, using a holeshot advantage and 4.051 at 176.70 to take out No. 1 qualifier Paul Gast and his 4.025 at 177.91. The Iowa-based rider hopped up his Indocil Art Suzuki to record a 4.007 at 177.16 over three-time world champion Eric McKinney and his 4.076 at 173.36.

MAJOR PULLS OFF THE MAJOR - The two quickest Outlaw 10.5 cars on the property squared off in the final round, as No. 2 qualifier Paul Major in his twin-turbo ’01 Corvette fired off a 3.97 at 210.77 to defeat No. 1 qualifier Ken Quartuccio’s 4.006 at 198.44 in his twin-turbo “Serial Killer” ’17 Corvette.

Major eliminated Joe Newsham and Steve Woolley before taking a semifinal single pass to the final round. Meanwhile, Quartuccio started eliminations with a single pass, followed by round wins over Joel Wensley and Jesse Lambert.

THE TOP SPORTSMEN - In a final round that showcased the intense competition in the PDRA’s sportsman classes, Scott Moore used a .002 reaction time and 4.075 on a 4.07 dial-in to eliminate fellow Virginia native Randy Perkinson and his 4.019 on a 4.01 dial-in. Moore drove his ’08 Mustang to round wins over 2017 world champion Dewayne Silance, Tim Molnar and John Prime before the final. Perkinson’s ’55 Chevy dispatched Ken Ellison, Bruce Thrift and defending world champion Donny Urban on his way to the final.

Glenn Teets III managed to grab the Top Sportsman 32 victory despite breaking out with a 4.17 on his 4.18 dial-in in his ’08 Pontiac GTO. Opponent Robbie Crenshaw ran a 4.545 on his 4.54 dial-in, but he negated the run with a .026 red light at the starting line in his ’89 Olds Cutlass.

Just two weeks after Camrie Caruso earned her first NHRA regional event win in Top Alcohol Dragster, the 2018 Elite Top Dragster championship contender scored her first PDRA “660 Man” trophy at the North-South Shootout. She piloted the supercharged “Lola” dragster to a 3.823 on a 3.79 dial-in over Brian Bednar and his 3.726 on a 3.70 dial-in in the final round. Caruso eliminated 2018 championship runner-up Nick Hamilton, Kellan Farmer and William Brown III along the way to the final round. Bednar’s prior round wins came over Alan O’Brien, Angie Travis and Brian McHattie.

A superior reaction time allowed local racer Marty Martin to secure the Top Dragster 32 event win, as he went 4.862 on a 4.86 dial-in in his ’04 Racetech dragster in the final round next to fellow Maryland native Jason Kirby’s 4.552 on a 4.55 dial-in.



THORNE GETS TO THE POINT - Florida native Kris Thorne continued his strong debut season in Pro Boost with his 3.707 at 216.55, a pass that stood as the quickest of the day after 19 Pro Boost entries attempted runs down the Maryland eighth-mile strip.

“I’m very impressed with the way we’re running,” Thorne said. “We’re finally starting to get a handle on this thing. We’re struggling a little bit, but all around we’re doing pretty well with it. We have Proline Racing Engines on board – they kind of make everything fall into place.”

Defending world champion Tommy D’Aprile continued his run for another title in Al Billes’ roots-blown ’69 Camaro, posting a 3.715 at 199.23 to take the No. 2 spot. Drag radial star Daniel Pharris in his Jamie Miller-tuned, twin-turbocharged ’17 Mustang ran 3.725 at 216.48 for the No. 3 slot.

FAMILIAR FACE - Maryland’s own Jim Halsey was the talk of the track after Thursday testing, as he recorded a blistering 3.65 in his Fulton-powered ’68 Camaro. Halsey and his Brandon Switzer-led team carried over that level of performance into qualifying, delivering a 3.686 at 205.60 to end the day. He’ll square off against two-time Pro Nitrous world champion Tommy Franklin in the Mid-Atlantic Showdown final round during Q3.

“We’re very happy with everything we’ve done so far,” Halsey said. “We’re pretty good for tonight, but now we’re racing during the day tomorrow, so it’s a whole different ball game.”

Chris Rini drove his Buck-powered ATI Performance ’69 Camaro to a 3.708 at 204.76 to slide into the No. 2 spot. Franklin qualified third with a 3.767 at 204.66 in the Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro.

DOBBINS SETS THE PACE - Extreme Pro Stock veteran Jeff Dobbins entered the North-South Shootout with the chance to win two events, as he was set to face Tommy Lee in the final round from the Mid-Atlantic Showdown during Q3. He prepared by running a 4.064 at 177.51 in his Bear’s Performance ’14 Dodge Avenger in the second session.

“We felt like that was a pretty good lick,” Dobbins said. “We struggled a little bit earlier today when the track was hot. We actually caught a break when, unfortunately, Dave Hughes crashed in front of us (Hughes was uninjured). (PDRA) went out and dragged the track again and we were able to get back in the (clutch) can, made a little adjustment and that probably had a lot to do with it. I think that run would’ve been hard to outrun and I’m sure it will stick for tomorrow.”

Lee, who was filling in for John Montecalvo in Montecalvo’s ’18 Camaro at the Mid-Atlantic Showdown, might sit out the final round. While he would forfeit the event win to Dobbins, he would give Montecalvo one final chance to qualify for the eight-car North-South Shootout field. Montecalvo is the only driver outside the field, aside from Hughes.

East Coast Nationals runner-up Todd Hoerner qualified No. 2 with a 4.08 at 178.24 in the Zarella family’s Sonny’ s-powered ’12 Camaro. Johnny Pluchino, son of 2016 Extreme Pro Stock world champion John Pluchino, recorded a 4.09 at 177.63 in the Kaase-powered Strutmasters.com ’13 Mustang to hold the No. 3 spot in his Extreme Pro Stock debut.

DOUBLE-DUTY PLUCHINO - Defending Pro Outlaw 632 world champion Johnny Pluchino is used to pulling double duty as the driver of Dominic Addeo’s ’06 Ford Escort in Pro Outlaw 632 and the crew chief on his father John’s Extreme Pro Stock entry. That changed Friday morning, though, as John offered Johnny the chance to make his Extreme Pro Stock debut.

Pluchino, the points leader, didn’t let the unexpected opportunity distract him from success in Pro Outlaw 632. He unleashed a 4.215 at 167.97 in the naturally aspirated Escort to defeat Mike Oldham in the Mid-Atlantic Showdown semifinal and to qualify No. 1 going into Q3 – and the Virginia final round against Tony Gillig, who defeated Jordan Ensslin on the other side of the ladder.

“We’re really confident in the 632 program right now,” Pluchino said. “We’ve been fast, but we’ve turned the consistency up a notch. The challenge has been going back and forth from the Pro Stock car to the 632 car. The shifting patterns are a little different, doing the burnout is a little different. Every little thing is similar but a little different. We’ve managed to do well so far, but these are two difficult cars to drive. We’re really happy with the performance of them. I just have to stay tuned in.”

Walter Lannigan Jr. in his nitrous-assisted ’53 Corvette qualified No. 2 on the strength of a 4.24 at 168.41. Oldham posted a 4.25 at 168.41 in Tom Jarvis’ ’05 Chevy S10 next to Pluchino’s victorious semifinal pass, but it was quick enough for the No. 3 spot.
FAST BY GAST - Longtime drag bike rider and mechanical guru Paul Gast shot to the top of the qualifying order in Pro Nitrous Motorcycle when he rode his Fast By Gast ’16 Suzuki to a 3.987 at 178.83 during the night session.

“I didn’t quite know it was going to be that good until I let go of the button,” Gast said. “When I let go of the button, I knew it was a good run. I pretty much thought it was going to be a 3.99. When that (3.98) came up, I was real pleased. We made two pretty big calls on the tuneup and it just took right off, straight as an arrow.”

Defending world champion Ronnie “Pro Mod” Smith qualified No. 2 with a 4.005 at 175.34 on his Innovative Performance ’16 Hayabusa. Past world champion Travis Davis rode his Davis Racing entry to a 4.021 at 175.75 to round out the top three.



OUTLAW 10.5 - The North-South Shootout is the second of three PDRA races for the wild and unpredictable Outlaw 10.5 class in the Atomizer Racing Injectors Outlaw 10.5 National Championship Series. Connecticut’s Ken Quartuccio finished a tricky day of qualifying in the provisional No. 1 spot with a 4.078 at 198.85 in his turbocharged “Serial Killer” ’17 Corvette. Maryland native Tim Essick took his self-built “Brown Sugar” ’18 Mustang to the No. 2 spot with a 4.181 at 183.59. Chris Cadotto in his supercharged Dodge Ram qualified third with a 4.283 at 179.88.

TWO IN A ROW, SO FAR - John Benoit drove his Buck-powered ’17 Camaro to a 3.817 at 199.17 to lead the Elite Top Sportsman field for the second consecutive race. Elkton, Maryland’s Erica Coleman is second with a 3.972 at 192.55 in her nitrous-assisted ’68 Camaro, followed by Travis “the Carolina Kid” Harvey in third with a 3.991 at 178.52 in his ’12 Camaro.

BEDNAR PACES DRAGSTERS - Continuing the trend of consistent top performers in the PDRA’s sportsman classes, Brian Bednar piloted his supercharged Spitzer dragster to the provisional Elite Top Dragster top spot with a 3.722 at 196.13. Camrie Caruso in the supercharged “Lola” Nelson dragster qualified No. 2 after running a 3.831 at 192.85. Kathy Fisher rounds out the top three with a 3.873 at 184.47 in the ProCharger-boosted “Dragoness” American dragster.