2020 PDRA SUMMER SHOOTOUT - EVENT PAGE
FINAL NOTEBOOK -ANOTHER ONE IS IN THE BOOKS
NO BLUES HERE - Kurt Steding and tuner Todd Tutterow didn’t waste any time getting Steding’s brand-new, Bickel-built P2 Contracting ’20 Camaro up to speed. In its first race in Pro Boost competition, the roots-blown entry carried Steding to his first-ever PDRA victory in his second final round. He left the starting line first and stayed in front through the finish line, posting a 3.719 at 201.49 next to Jason Harris’ 3.733 at 190.81.
“The car's awesome, but it's the team,” Steding said. “Todd Tutterow, his team and my team mixed together, we do the same thing every time. We get along great and we're on the money. We mess up a couple things sometimes, but we pick it right back up. That's what I love about this team. It wasn't just me, it was this team.”
Racing from the No. 8 slot, Steding ran a smooth 3.787 at 201.40 on a single when Isaias Rojas wasn’t able to run alongside him. The Pittsburgh-area contractor caught a break when No. 1 qualifier Johnny Camp went red on a 3.702 pass, letting Steding move on with a 3.74 at 202.30. He advanced to the final round when he defeated Don Tolley with a 3.716 at 201.85.
Harris earned his spot in his second consecutive final round by moving past Stan Shelton in the first round, then drove the ProCharger-boosted “Party Time” ’18 Camaro to round wins in two of the closest races of the event. He left first in both, using a 3.702 to defeat Randy Weatherford’s 3.704 and a 3.681 to beat Kevin Rivenbark’s 3.689.
RACING SMART PAYS DIVIDENDS - Two-time Pro Nitrous world champion Tommy Franklin won the first two races of the season, but a first-round exit at the last race, the Mid-Atlantic Showdown at Virginia, had him looking for a comeback. He found it on Saturday, as he finished the day with a 3.661-second, 204.08 mph victory over Jim Halsey and his 3.73 at 204.82 in the final round.
“We've just been picking at it all day and tried to race smart and get through there,” Franklin said. “That's hard to do sometimes since we like to go fast. We didn't really go for lane choice last round, but again, just trying to race smart. I wasn't worried about lane choice because both lanes are stellar. My crew, they rock. Chris keeps it maintenanced. Todd, Chase, Blake, Amber, Ashley, my wife, Judy, we just keep at it. It's good stuff. I'm as happy as can be. Thank the Lord for everything that we get to do out here. I'm pumped. It's a shortened season, so we have to get every round that we can. That team right there [Halsey] is tough, so we're just going to keep at it.”
Franklin qualified No. 1 in his Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro, giving him a first-round bye that he used to record a 3.721 at 202.88. He improved to a 3.697 at 203.31 to beat Jay Cox’s 3.716, then sailed to a 3.701 at 202.67 in his semifinal win over Rob Hunnicutt.
Halsey’s Fulton-powered “Daddy Shark” ’68 Camaro was similarly consistent, going 3.725 at 204.98 over Dane Wood and 3.71 at 204.88 over Tommy Mauney. The defending world champion unleashed a 3.668 at 205.04 on a semifinal bye run to establish lane choice in the final round.
PLUCHINO TO THE EXTREME - Back-to-back dominant championships in Pro Outlaw 632 helped prepare Johnny Pluchino for his first full season in Extreme Pro Stock, where he’s won two of the three first races of the season in the Kaase-powered Strutmasters ’13 Mustang. He added a third win to that total when he grabbed a holeshot advantage and held off Chris Powers’ 4.103 at 174.59 with a 4.119 at 175.48 in the Summer Shootout final round.
“I'm shaking right now,” said Pluchino, who qualified No. 1. “I thought we'd have some success. I was hoping to be in contention for a championship going through the end. I know we're far from over. This is still a tight, tight race. But this amount of success right now...I don't know how to describe it. There's not really a word to describe it. This has been a dream of mine for a really long time. My dad gave me this opportunity. Chip Lofton [of Strutmasters] gave me this opportunity and believed in us. It takes people like that. John and Brud were here wrenching on this thing. These guys put their heart and soul into this thing. There's one thing about this team that separates us from the rest right now, and that's heart.”
Pluchino’s race day started with a pair of bye runs. On the first, he coasted to the finish line. He went for lane choice on the second bye, ending up with a 4.118 at 175.57. It wasn’t enough to give him lane choice over JR Carr in the semis, but he left first on Carr and held on with a 4.124 at 176.07 to knock off Carr and his 4.111.
A No. 2 qualifying effort put Chris Powers in his Sonny’s-powered ATI Performance Products ’14 Camaro on the opposite side of the ladder from Pluchino. In the opening round, opponent John Montecalvo left before the tree activated and Powers ran a 4.127. He won on a holeshot over Elijah Morton in a 4.119-to-4.11 second-round match. He earned lane choice for the final with his 4.103 at 175.16 on a semifinal bye run.
BOLD TALK, BOLD DELIVERY - Pro Outlaw 632 newcomer Jimmy Pelcarsky declared he would win Saturday’s race after earning his first-ever low qualifier award on Friday night. He backed up that talk, winning the event and setting a new national record in the process. The Ohio driver ran a 4.153 at 171.45 in the final round, backing up the 4.127 at 172.67 he laid down in the semifinals to set the class E.T. record. Pelcarsky in his 480ci small-block-powered Five-Star Valet ’15 Camaro defeated points leader Wes Distefano, who ran a 4.22 at 171.18 in the runner-up effort.
“We worked so hard for this,” Pelcarsky said. “It's unbelievable. I'm speechless right now. I can't believe it. We came, we conquered. This means the world. We've been drag racing a long time, since the early ‘90s, late ‘80s – NHRA Pro Stock, IHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock. This is a great feeling after all those years, we finally got some recognition. It's awesome. I couldn't be happier. I just want to celebrate.”
Pelcarsky and his Hutter-powered Camaro were locked in the 4.10s all day, beginning with a 4.193 at 170.32 on a first-round bye. He improved on his best run from qualifying by laying down a 4.172 at 171.21 to defeat Chris Holdorf’s 4.23 in the second round. Past world champion Dillon Voss went red next to Pelcarsky when he recorded the 4.127 in the semis, improving the record formerly held by Johnny Pluchino’s 4.163.
Distefano was appearing in his fourth consecutive final of the season in his Musi-powered $hameless Racing ’68 Camaro. He qualified No. 2 and used a 4.234 to beat Sam Freels III, a 4.255 to eliminate JR Ward and a 4.235 on a semifinal bye run.
IT'S DAVIS AGAIN - Two-time and defending world champion Travis Davis has owned Pro Nitrous Motorcycle this season with wins at both races the class attended before the Summer Shootout. Drag bike veteran Paul Gast broke the streak, though, earning a wire-to-wire victory over Davis at Virginia. Gast’s Fast By Gast Hayabusa left the line first and was quicker at the finish line, going 4.05 at 172.56 to Davis’ 4.078 at 173.70.
“Travis Davis is ridiculously tough,” said Gast, crediting crew chief John Schwartz for his efforts in the victory. “He's beaten me a couple times now by .002 so I kind of almost owed him. But I was really on time for that final. I had a great light and a really good run. It's really humid out. But the bike ran flawlessly. I'm really proud of how it ran, proud of the guys at Fast By Gast and proud of Travis too. He put a good fight out there and it was kind of my turn, I guess.”
Gast slowed to a 4.157 at 163.10 in an opening-round victory over Terry Wynn after qualifying No. 1. He stepped back up to run a 4.059 at 166.83, knocking out Ashley Owens and his 4.074 at 171.97 in the semifinals.
Davis qualified No. 3 aboard his Timblin-built Hayabusa and kicked off race day with a holeshot victory over Mohamed Alawad. He left second in his semifinal race against Chris Garner-Jones but he held on with a 4.067 to beat Garner-Jones’ 4.097.
THE TOP SPORTSMEN - After starting the season with two runner-up finishes in his Musi-powered LAT Racing Oils ’69 Camaro, Virginia’s own Buddy Perkinson was hungry for his first Elite Top Sportsman victory. He earned it, cutting a .007 light and running a 3.879 on a 3.83 dial-in to defeat Erica Coleman’s break-out 3.945 on a 3.95 dial-in in her Fulton-powered ’68 Camaro in the final round.
Two Virginia natives were set to square off in the Top Sportsman 32 final round, but Glenn Teets III wasn’t able to make the run, allowing Mike Butler to coast to victory in his ’53 Corvette.
Consistent top performer Chaz Silance accomplished two things by winning the Summer Shootout in Elite Top Dragster. In the second round, he defeated Steve Furr, who leads Silance in points after winning the first three races. Silance capitalized on that by going on to win the event, going 3.832 on his 3.83 dial-in next to Carson Brown, who broke out with a 3.905 on a 3.92 dial.
The Top Dragster 32 final round was over as soon as the tree dropped, as Michele Wilkins left .002 too soon, allowing Stacy Hall to coast to a 5.216 on his 4.44 dial-in.
UP NEXT - The PDRA will have just over a month off before its next race, PDRA DragWars presented by Modern Racing, Oct. 8-10 at GALOT Motorsports Park near Benson, N.C.
QUALIFYING NOTEBOOK -
CHANGE WILL DO YOU GOOD - Johnny Camp’s offseason move over to Pro Boost from Pro Nitrous started to pay off Friday when he collected his first No. 1 qualifier award in his ProCharger-boosted “Hells Bells” ’69 Camaro. Camp drove the Brandon Stroud-tuned entry to a 3.675 at 201.40 to lead the 15-car field.
“We've been running with the PDRA since the beginning,” Camp said. “Ran Pro Nitrous for years and years, but this is our first No. 1 qualifier ever. We struggled a little bit earlier in the day. We were qualified eighth or ninth. But this was the boost we needed. Shoutout to Proline, ProCharger and Tatman Electric for everything they do for us.”
Two other Proline-powered ProCharger cars dipped into the 3.60s right behind Camp, with reigning world champion Kevin Rivenbark going 3.697 at 201.25 in his GALOT Motorsports ’69 Camaro to qualify No. 2 and Randy Weatherford using a 3.697 at 199.55 in the WS Construction ’17 Camaro to end up third.
THE EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER - In what has been a consistent trend all season, two-time Pro Nitrous world champion Tommy Franklin and defending world champion Jim Halsey battled all day for the No. 1 spot. Franklin took the top spot in the first qualifying session, then Halsey grabbed it in the second session. Franklin and his Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro settled the score in the final session, posting a 3.683 at 204.05.
“It's an emotional roller coaster out here,” Franklin said. “We come out No. 1 and felt good. Jim knocked us down into No. 2 and I was like, 'That's not happening – put some jet in this thing.' We went back after it and ran a nice, solid pass. Everything's good. That's two No. 1 qualifiers in a row now. That's important to Pat Musi for that [Nitrous Wars] engine builder deal. We get to keep that nitrous bottle and now we have two of them.”
Halsey didn’t trail far behind Franklin, firing off a 3.692 at 204.54 in his Fulton-powered “Daddy Shark” ’68 Camaro. Chris Rini took his Buck-powered ATI Performance ’69 Camaro to the No. 3 spot with a 3.704 at 203.12.
SHAKING THINGS UP - In just his second race in Pro Outlaw 632, Jimmy Pelcarsky shot to the top of the qualifying sheet with his nitrous-assisted, 480ci-powered ’15 Camaro posting a 4.179 at 170.41. Pelcarsky’s RJ Race Cars-built entry bucks the trend of the class-standard 632ci powerplant, instead opting for the small-block combo.
“We’re here to shake things up,” Pelcarsky said. “We worked hard all winter long, spent a lot of money on the car and my brand-new engine. It's a Ron Hutter Racing engine. He is the baddest man on the planet. And Rickie Jones Jr, he's the man. He's got this car so balanced, it'll go down a dirt road. If we get to race tomorrow, I think I'm going to win my first trophy. That's how confident I am.”
Points leader Wes Distefano ended up No. 2 after his Musi-powered $hameless Racing ’68 Camaro recorded a 4.228 at 172.19. Past world champion Dillon Voss qualified third with a 4.242 at 169.04 in his Voss-powered Race Star Pro Forged Series ’17 Corvette.
THE SPORTSMAN REPORT - A 3.819 at 197.88 put Buddy Perkinson and his Musi-powered LAT Racing Oil ’69 Camaro atop a trio of 959ci-powered entries at the top of the Elite Top Sportsman field. The Virginia native is followed by John Benoit with a 3.858 at 196.70 in his Buck-powered ’17 Camaro and 2018 world champion Donny “Hollywood” Urban’s 3.909 at 187.47 in his Nesbitt-powered ’69 Camaro.
Past world champion Dewayne Silance posted a 4.008 at 186.23 in his Buck-powered ’68 Camaro to top the 32 cars making up the second Top Sportsman field.
Multi-time low qualifier Michael White added another Elite Top Dragster No. 1 spot in his ’57 Chevy-themed, centrifugal supercharger-boosted ’11 Maddox dragster with a 3.798 at 189.31. Chaz Silance chased with a 3.828 at 187.83 driving his blown Buck-powered Worth dragster. With a 3.874 at 187.52, Chase Beverly rounded out the top 3.
Virginia’s own Bruce Mullins missed the 16-car Elite Top Dragster field with his 4.001 at 179.52, but it was enough to put the longtime racer and race car painter No. 1 in the Top Sportsman 32 field in his ProCharger-boosted American dragster.
TODAY'S GAME PLAN - The Summer Shootout presented by Callies Performance continues Saturday with Edelbrock Bracket Bash eliminations beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday is available as a rain date if needed.