DRINKWATER'S ROOKIE SEASON PDRA CHAMPIONSHIP IS ONE FOR THE AGES
Mountain Motor Pro Stock racer Alan Drinkwater might get spoiled after this one.
The rookie driver in the PDRA’s Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock division by AED Competition, clinching the 2023 world championship. Throughout the eight-race PDRA season, Drinkwater delivered a championship effort by winning twice in three final-round appearances.
Drinkwater, who drove the Kaase-powered IronListing.com ’13 Mustang, acknowledged the high level of competition in the Mountain Motor Pro Stock category this year.
“I feel like this is the best competition Mountain Motor Pro Stock has had in the past eight or 10 years,” said Drinkwater. “So for us to come out, not even go to the first race, make it to three finals, two wins, and couple semifinal finishes, it’s unbelievable. A little bit of luck’s been on our side, but it’s also all the really hard work and commitment we’ve put into our program and all the help we’ve had along the way.”
The whole championship scenario was unbelievable to some, including Drinkwater, who missed the first race of the season. He was there, just racing in a different division.
Drinkwater competed in the M&M Transmission Pro 632 category with Kenny Floyd’s Ford Escort, which he campaigned throughout the previous season. Drinkwater’s impressive Pro Stock debut at the second race saw him make it to the semifinals. He went on to claim a victory at the DeCerbo Construction American Doorslammer Challenge presented by Callies at Summit Motorsports Park. He reached the final round once again at the Northern Nationals presented by Talbert Manufacturing at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park, but was surpassed by his teammate and reigning world champion, Johnny Pluchino.
Drinkwater secured another win at the subsequent race, the Red Line Oil Carolina Nationals at Darlington Dragway, defeating the 2021 world champion and points leader, Chris Powers, in the final round.
The competition intensified at the penultimate race of the season, where both Drinkwater and Powers were eliminated in the semifinals, setting the stage for an intense showdown for the championship at the Pro Line Racing Brian Olson Memorial World Finals presented by ProCharger at Virginia Motorsports Park. Drinkwater secured the title when he won the opening round and Powers ended up fouling with a red light.
“When we first started here, we were just hoping to run in the middle of the pack, go a couple rounds, and we might get lucky,” Drinkwater said. “We weren't sure how this motor was going to be. Kaase's worked on it a couple different times. I definitely think we're making more power now than we have all year. It's really unbelievable, just the pieces in place. We didn't know what we were buying. Everything worked out for the best.”
Their championship victory marks the fourth Extreme Pro Stock title for the father-son duo of John and Johnny Pluchino, who have collaborated with the Drinkwater family and racing partner Kenny Floyd since Drinkwater’s PDRA Pro 632 debut in the previous year. John claimed the title in 2016, while Johnny secured it in 2020 and 2022.
“I have to thank Johnny and John Pluchino for taking a chance on me and letting me be a part of their program and helping us tune,” Drinkwater said. “We've become great friends, more like family.
“We’ve had great people support us,” Drinkwater continued. “First and foremost, Kenny Floyd for giving me the opportunity to drive his car [in 2022]. Without that, we wouldn't be here where we're at today. Feather-Lite Batteries, IronListing.com, Jon Kaase, Ram Clutches, AED Competition, and Seminole Paving all help us out. And of course, my team: Mike McAllister, Scott Ewing, my cousin Preston [Drinkwater], and my mom and dad.”
Fuelled by their taste of victory, Drinkwater and his team are eager for success in the upcoming 2024 season.
“This definitely hypes us up for the next year,” Drinkwater said. “We’re going to try to get a more up-to-date piece because we know the competition's going to be harder next year. We'll definitely have a couple days testing over the winter and just try to prepare the best we can to start the year off strong.”
Drinkwater will know exactly what to expect, especially with a bullseye on his back.