2021 PDRA SUMMER SHOOTOUT - EVENT PAGE
FINAL RESULTS - CARR HONORS SONNY LEONARD WITH VMP WIN; HALSEY KEEPS ROLLING
THIS ONE'S FOR SONNY - JR Carr qualified No. 1 in Extreme Pro Stock at every race this season, yet round wins have escaped him. Everything finally clicked for Carr and his Frank Gugliotta-tuned ‘20 Camaro at Virginia, as he earned a final-round win over Johnny Pluchino. The two drivers left with nearly identical reaction times, then Carr ran a 4.091 at 175.07 to finish ahead of Pluchino’s 4.102 at 177.04.
The race was also the Sonny Leonard Memorial Race, making the win that much more meaningful for Carr. He also won the largest payout in PDRA Extreme Pro Stock history, taking home $10,000 plus over $5,000 in additional winnings from numerous donors who wanted to increase the payout in honor of Leonard.
“That one's for Sonny,” Carr said, mentioning supporters like CP Carrillo, Maxima Oils, RJ Race Cars, and Liberty’s Gears. “We’ve got Sonny on board. This is for his family too. I know what they're going through – I've been there. It means a lot. If you race Johnny Pluchino, you better be ready. I don't care when it is. The kid is good. He's really good. I just finally started feeling better and getting more aggressive. The crew was flawless like always. They believed in me. They should've fired me, but they said they wouldn't. We're here now. That was for Sonny, for Frank, for the crew, my wife [Teri], and I'll take whatever's left.”
Carr started eliminations with a 4.179 at 174.75 win over Robert Patrick, then lifted to a 5.265 on a second-round bye run. The Washington native stepped up to a 4.077 at 177.79 in his semifinal win over 2019 world champion John Montecalvo’s 4.103.
Pluchino, the defending world champion, qualified No. 6 in his Strutmasters ‘13 Mustang. He won first round on a holeshot over Elijah Morton, running a 4.154 to a 4.146. He picked up a major second-round win over points leader Chris Powers with a 4.117, then earned lane choice for the final by .002 with his 4.075 on a semifinal bye run.
WHO CAN STOP HIM? - Defending world champion Jim Halsey went into the Summer Shootout with a commanding lead in Pro Nitrous points. He added to that lead with a No. 1 qualifying effort, then marched through eliminations to secure his fourth win in five races. Halsey won on the starting line when final-round opponent Fredy Scriba went red by .012, though Halsey capped the day off with a 3.677 at 206.01 in his Fulton-powered “Daddy Shark” ‘68 Camaro.
“It's like a dream come true,” Halsey said. “When you surround yourself with the best people in the industry, this is the result. Very proud of my guys and gals. With that 3.67, we were trying to get everything we could get because Fredy's been pretty badass the last couple races. We needed to be on our game for him.”
Halsey recorded low E.T. of every round, beginning with a 3.734 at 204.91 next to a red-lighting Cam Clark in the first round. His 3.712 at 204.32 narrowly defeated Marcus Butner’s 3.742 in the second round. The nitrous Pro Mod veteran dipped into the 3.60s with a 3.688 at 205.82 to eliminate fellow two-time world champion Tommy Franklin and his 3.726 in the semifinals.
Before appearing in his first PDRA Pro Nitrous final round, Scriba drove his Musi-powered “Sorcerer” ‘69 Camaro to a string of passes in the 3.70s. He ran a 3.77 to defeat Matt Deitsch, a 3.727 to beat Tony Wilson, and a 3.714 to knock out Billy Albert.
RIVENBARK BOOST FIELD AT VMP - As the Pro Boost points leader going into the weekend, Kevin Rivenbark was racing in defense mode at the Summer Shootout. He was, however, looking for his first win of the season, and he found it after defeating former teammate Todd Tutterow in the final round. Tutterow had the starting line advantage, but he got out of shape and had to lift, while Rivenbark sailed by on a 3.653 at 204.79 in the ProCharger-boosted GALOT Motorsports ‘69 Camaro to take the win.
“It's a relief,” Rivenbark said of the win, thanking GALOT Motorsports owners Earl and Peggy Wells, Proline Racing, FuelTech, ProCharger, M&M Transmission, Hoosier Tires, and LAT Racing Oils. “You're never far enough ahead of anybody. Between Tutterow and [Randy] Weatherford, [Johnny] Camp, [Daniel] Pharris, all them behind me, I can have a real bad weekend and any one of them could win and be right back in the hunt. It is a relief. I was four points ahead of Weatherford coming into the race. That's nothing. That's qualifying points there. For them to go out early and for me to win, it's huge. I missed taking advantage of that when they went out at Maryland. That was my own fault. But to capitalize on it this weekend is very good.”
Rivenbark qualified No. 2 and used a pair of consistent passes to win the first two rounds. His 3.757 at 201.64 beat Preston Tanner, then his 3.759 at 200.29 defeated James Beadling. The two-time world champion grabbed a holeshot advantage and fired off a 3.675 at 204.05 to beat teammate Daniel Pharris and his 3.664 in the semis.
Tutterow, the 2014 Pro Boost world champion, raced through eliminations out of the No. 8 spot in his screw-blown P2 Contracting ‘20 Camaro. He ran a 3.771 over Tommy Gray and a 3.735 over a red-lighting Johnny Camp. In the semifinals, he left the starting line just eight thousandths ahead of teammate Kurt Steding and held the lead to win with a 3.697 over a 3.694 for a .005 margin of victory.
WELCOME BACK - This season marks Daryl Stewart’s return to racing after a 25-year hiatus, but he’s performing like a practiced veteran. The Norwalk winner picked up his second win in five races, using a holeshot advantage and a 4.224 at 168.83 in his HRE-powered Chassis Engineering ‘12 Camaro to beat Wes Distefano’s 4.21 at 170.30 in the final round.
“It was the best feeling in the world that time,” Stewart said of winning the final round. “I just have to say thanks to Daryl [Hameetman] with HRE Racing Engines and Clayton [Murphy] obviously for everything he's done. This car's made a straight pass every time. I can't say one bad thing. It's been a great time. Obviously, anytime you can beat Wes in the final like that on a holeshot, that helped out quite a bit. I went .000 on the run before and we thought we burned up all our luck, but we got one last round.”
Stewart ran a 4.245 at 168.81 to beat Sylvester Barnes Jr. in the first round. He fired off a 4.182 at 169.89 to eliminate Sam Freels, then cut a perfect .000 light and ran a 4.237 at 169.23 unopposed in the semifinals.
Distefano earned a first-round bye by qualifying No. 1. He was quickest of the round with a 4.222 in his Musi-powered $hameless Racing ‘68 Camaro before setting low E.T. of the event – a 4.161 – next to a red-lighting George Coleman. The defending world champion posted a 4.187 to beat Chris Holdorf in the semifinals and secure lane choice for the final.
PLEASANT SURPRISE - After missing the Ohio race, defending Pro Nitrous Motorcycle world champion Travis Davis needed a strong performance at the Summer Shootout. He delivered a championship-caliber performance in the final round on Sunday, charging to a 3.969 at 178.59 aboard his Timblin Chassis Hayabusa to knock down No. 1 qualifier Chris Garner-Jones and his 4.057 at 168.98.
“I didn't really expect a .96 out of it like that in the final, but with the help of Dan Wagner with DTM and Steve Nichols with Maxx ECU, the bike is just flawless,” Davis said. “It’s making real good horsepower. This is my spare motor. Now it’s just as good as my main motor that I ran a .95 with. We're very pleased with it this weekend. My wife [Brandy] and my son [Brayden], they continuously help me. It's a whole team effort. My dad, he was back at home watching. He’s fighting cancer, so we just ask everyone to keep him in their prayers.”
Davis qualified No. 2 and used a 4.058 at 175.32 to beat Terry Wynn’s 4.267 in the opening round. Just moments before a thunderstorm hit the track and stopped racing on Saturday night, Davis recorded a 4.005 at 177.63 to move on to the final round over Brad McCoy and his 4.049.
Garner-Jones ran low E.T. of the opening round, a 4.044, to defeat Gerald Smith’s 4.321. He had a bye run in the semifinals, running a 4.094.
ESSICK DELIVERS - Pro Street standout Tim Essick was motivated to bounce back at Virginia after suffering a rare first-round loss at the last race. He recovered in a big way, qualifying No. 1 in his ProCharger-boosted “Brown Sugar” ’18 Mustang and racing to the final round. Essick posted a 4.066 at 185.49 to defeat Nick Schroeder’s 4.097 at 186.56.
“After our poor showing at Maryland, to come back and get back on program and make this thing do what it does, it's a wonderful feeling,” Essick said. “Without the help of ATI, we wouldn't be able to be here this weekend, so hat's off to them – Vince and JC definitely. My whole group, everybody knows what to do. We make good calls and every round it just shows, the good people I have behind me. I'm glad to have them in my corner. All my crew – Danny and Michelle and Timmy and some of my others that aren't here – they give up some of their life to help me do this, and I can't thank them enough.”
Essick ended up with a first-round bye run when Andy Manson wasn’t able to make the call. Essick ran a 4.138 at 185.03, then slowed to a 4.189 at 183.24 to beat Ty Kasper’s wheelstanding 4.339 in the semifinals.
Schroeder, who qualified No. 2 in his screw-blown “Ruby” ’06 GTO, used a 4.242 to knock out points leader Jesse Lambert and his 4.288 in the opening round. He improved to a 4.068 to win his semifinal pairing with Chris Cadotto, who went red.
THE SPORTSMAN REPORT - The Elite Top Sportsman final round was set to be a close race, as Donny “Hollywood” Urban and Henry Underwood both entered 3.94 dial-ins. The race was decided on the starting line, though, as Underwood left too soon in his ProCharger-boosted ‘63 Corvette. Urban slowed to a 5.473 to take the win in his nitrous-fed ‘69 Camaro.
Chevy Floyd earned his first win in Top Sportsman 32, as his supercharged ‘63 Corvette defeated Marty Dabney in the final round. Floyd ran a 4.371 on a 4.27 dial-in, while Dabney slowed to a 5.755 on his 4.37 dial-in.
Past Top Dragster world champion Tom Martino proved that it’s all about consistency once eliminations begin in Elite Top Dragster. In the final round, he ran a 4.109 on a 4.10 in his NGK Spark Plugs ‘13 Mac Sherrill dragster to run dead-on for the third time in eliminations and win the race. Martino defeated Nick Hamilton, who broke out with a 3.859 on his 3.87 dial-in.
Maryland’s Dickie Smith steered his ‘18 Racetech dragster to victory in Top Dragster 32, running a 4.498 on a 4.45 dial-in. Opponent Rikki Molnar broke out by just one thousandth, posting a 4.309 on a 4.31 dial.
The chase for the 2021 PDRA world championships continues in August at the P2 Contracting Northern Nationals presented by P2 Racing, August 12-14, at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pennsylvania. A number of PDRA competitors will also take part in the Summit Racing Equipment PDRA ProStars race during Virginia Motorsports Park’s Night of Fire on July 31.
SATURDAY - MOTHER NATURE HAS THE FINAL SAY
The Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) was just two pairs away from completing the second round of eliminations in the pro classes when a thunderstorm halted racing action at the Summer Shootout presented by Ty-Drive. The race will continue Sunday morning at Virginia Motorsports Park.
“We were pushing to get as much racing as possible in before that storm hit, but it hit hard enough to completely shut us down for the night,” said Tyler Crossnoe, race director, PDRA. “Our PDRA and Virginia Motorsports Park teams will work through the night to get the track dry and prepped for Sunday eliminations. We’ll start back up at 11 a.m. and do our best to get this race finished up as soon as possible.”
Racing will resume at 11 a.m. beginning with Edelbrock Bracket Bash presented by COMP Cams.
In Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous, the semifinal pairings will feature two-time world champions Jim Halsey vs. Tommy Franklin and Fredy Scriba vs. Billy Albert.
The Penske/PRS Pro Boost presented by WS Construction semis include two pairings of teammates, as P2 Racing drivers Todd Tutterow and Kurt Steding will square off, and GALOT Motorsports teammates Kevin Rivenbark and Daniel Pharris will pair up.
JR Carr and John Montecalvo will race in the Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition semifinal pairing, while Johnny Pluchino will have a bye run to the final round.
The only pro class that didn’t complete the second round of eliminations was $hameless Racing Pro Outlaw 632. Chris Holdorf and Dillon Voss secured their places in the semifinals. Holdorf will face the winner of the Wes Distefano vs. George Coleman matchup, and Voss will meet up with the winner of the Daryl Stewart vs. Sam Freels pairing.
Drag 965 Pro Nitrous Motorcycle is down to the final round, which will feature points leader Chris Garner-Jones vs. defending world champion Travis Davis.
Drag 965 Pro Street also made it down to the final round. Low qualifier Tim Essick will face off against Nick Schroeder in the final.
The PDRA’s sportsman, Jr. Dragster and N/T Outlaw Shootout classes were all at least one round into eliminations. All classes will attempt to finish eliminations on Sunday.
HOT TRACK? NO PROBLEM - From a 3.73-second pass on a 140-degree-plus racetrack in the opening qualifying session to a 3.668 at 204.94 mph to close out the final session, Jim Halsey and his Brandon Switzer-tuned, Fulton-powered “Daddy Shark” ’68 Camaro were the class of the Pro Nitrous field in qualifying. That’s been the trend all season, and he’s won from the No. 1 spot three times in four races. The two-time and defending world champion is hoping to add a fourth win to that total on Saturday.
“This afternoon’s [3.73] run in the heat with the sun on the racetrack actually surprised me,” Halsey said. “I give all the credit to the tuners, the crew guys, engine builders, everything. We have a good fit right now and everything is maxed up. We saw some pretty tough conditions today and yesterday with the heat and humidity. We should be good tomorrow. As long as I do my job, I think we'll be fine. I'm a very lucky guy, I can tell you that.”
For the second consecutive race, fellow Maryland native Fredy Scriba qualified No. 2 behind Halsey, firing off a 3.692 at 201.28 in his Musi-powered “Sorcerer” ’69 Camaro. Jay Cox, who won the Kentucky race in May, posted a 3.701 at 204.29 to qualify third in the Buck-powered Butner Construction “Pumpkin” ’69 Camaro.
CAMP BOOSTS HIS CHANCES EARLY - Former Pro Nitrous racer Johnny Camp came out of the first Pro Boost qualifying session as an early favorite in his Brandon Stroud-tuned, ProCharger-boosted “Hells Bells” ’69 Camaro. The Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based driver continued to run at the front in the next two sessions, ending the night with a 3.651 at 205.13 to lead the 19-car qualifying order.
“We like to be in the top half of the field, but every car here is capable of winning, from 1 to 16,” Camp said, thanking his crew, as well as supporters like Proline, Chris Tatman Electric, NGK Spark Plugs, and Camp Bros. Enterprises. “Everybody will give it our all – all of us. We'll do our best and see what happens. Proline is really working the runs and working their tuneups. We're working on the chassis all the time and just picking at it little by little. It adds up.”
Two other ProCharger cars out of the Proline Racing camp followed Camp in qualifying, with two-time world champion Kevin Rivenbark using a 3.69 at 201.31 in his GALOT Motorsports ’69 Camaro to hold off Ken Quartuccio for the No. 2 spot. Quartuccio ran a 3.691 at 209.79 in his “Serial Killer” ’69 Camaro to take the third spot.
QUALIFYING PERFECTION CONTINUES - Washington’s JR Carr has had the quickest Extreme Pro Stock car in qualifying at all four prior stops on the 2021 PDRA tour, but he hasn’t been able to turn that performance into a late-round finish yet. He posted a 4.075 at 176.19 in his Frank Gugliotta-tuned ’20 Camaro in the final qualifying session. With a quick, consistent hot rod, Carr realizes the pressure is on him to turn on win lights on Saturday.
“Since day one, that car just goes down a hot racetrack, cold racetrack,” Carr said, mentioning sponsors like CP Carrillo, Maxima Oils, RJ Race Cars, Ram Clutches, and ISC Racer's Tape. “We have good power. Frank never quits working on it. The crew, like always, never misses anything. It sure is easy qualifying. Racing has been a little tough on me, but that's 100% on me. I got in my own head thinking I have the best car, I'm supposed to win everything. Well, it doesn't actually work that way. I feel like I'm letting people down if I don't. The pressure got to me. I'm usually pretty good under pressure, but it was too much. I've been working on it, and we're having fun, and we'll make the best of it.”
The Extreme Pro Stock class is honoring the late Sonny Leonard this weekend, with their portion of the Summer Shootout named the Sonny Leonard Memorial Race. A number of racers, Sonny’s Racing Engines customers, and sponsors donated towards an expanded $10,000 payout to the winner of the Sonny Leonard Memorial Race.
“We're all here for Sonny,” Carr said. “We're definitely thinking about him. He always liked it when we ran good. He was always a gentleman and just a nice guy.”
Points leader Chris Powers, who carries Sonny’s Racing Engines branding on his Chuck Samuel-tuned ’14 Camaro, qualified second behind Carr with a 4.078 at 175.46. Tommy Lee qualified third in Enoch Love’s brand-new Sonny’s-powered ’21 Camaro with a 4.124 at 174.75.
DISTEFANO SAVES BEST FOR LAST - Pro Outlaw 632 points leader Wes Distefano and tuner Troy Russell saved the best run for last, as the defending world champion fired off a 4.167 at 170.23 in the final session to decisively take the No. 1 spot. Distefano, who’s been to all four final rounds this year in his Musi-powered $hameless Racing ’68 Camaro, is motivated to add a third PDRA “660 Man” to his 2021 trophy collection.
“We're just going to try to race smart and keep everything happy and healthy like it is right now,” Distefano said. “We're going to try to stay consistent. I'm still going to go out there and try to chop the tree and do my job. Hopefully the car just does what it's supposed to and the track stays consistent. I think we'll be OK.”
Two-time world champion Dillon Voss qualified second in his Voss-powered Vigilante Associates ’17 Corvette with a 4.203 at 168.98. Daryl Stewart, who is No. 2 in points behind Distefano, drove his Clayton Murphy-tuned Chassis Engineering ’12 Camaro to a 4.211 at 168.35 to qualify third.
CONSISTENT BROWN SUGAR - Tim Essick’s home-built “Brown Sugar” ’18 Mustang was one of the most consistent Pro Street entries throughout qualifying, and after posting a 4.024 at 185.74, it was the quickest entry as well. The Maryland native is focused on carrying over that performance – especially the consistency – into eliminations.
“With making good laps every pass today, now we have really good information for tomorrow,” said Essick, who thanked sponsors like ATI Performance and ProCharger. “We're not trying to swing a home run, we're just trying to go down every time. The car reacts and performs. Everything we ask it to do, it does. When you have that, it makes it so much easier as a driver because you have confidence in the car. That part's really nice.”
Nick Schroeder steered his supercharged ’06 GTO to a 4.072 at 186.00 to qualify No. 2. The third spot went to Michigan’s Chris Cadotto, who ran a 4.123 at 186.23 in his screw-blown ’97 Dodge Ram nicknamed “the Brick.”
BENOIT SETS THE PACE FOR SPORTSMAN - Many-time low qualifier John Benoit is just one session away from adding another low qualifier award to his total, as he leads two other nitrous-fed entries in the Elite Top Sportsman top 3. He recorded a 3.856 at 200.44 in his Buck-powered ’17 Camaro, followed by Chris “Nitrous” Nyerges with a 3.887 at 195.56 in Dr. Gary Schween’s ’20 Corvette. Tim Molnar rounds out the top 3 with his 3.894 at 194.55 in his ’68 Camaro.
Bob Bauer Jr., who scored an Elite Top Sportsman win in his supercharged ’69 Camaro at the last race, is sitting just outside the 16-car Elite field with one session remaining, but he’s the provisional No. 1 qualifier in Top Sportsman 32 with a 4.056 at 179.25.
Chase Beverly holds down the No. 1 spot in Elite Top Dragster on the strength of a 3.851 at 189.18 in his ’17 American dragster. Nick Hamilton is second with a 3.86 at 187.26 in his Ohio-based ’20 Diamond dragster, with Michael White sitting third in his ’15 Maddox dragster with a 3.871 at 188.23.
Wayne Patton is the provisional No. 1 qualifier in the Top Dragster 32 field, posting a 4.26 at 165.72 in his ’14 M&M dragster.
The PDRA Summer Shootout presented by Ty-Drive will continue Saturday morning, beginning with Edelbrock Bracket Bash presented by COMP Cams final time trial at 9:30 a.m. Pro eliminations will begin at 3:30 p.m.