PDRA Weathers the Storm to Crown Strickland, Harris, and others as Champions

In the drag racing world, there is never an event that goes off without a hitch as they say. You may not see it behind the scenes, or it may be right in front of your face with weather and explosions. This is what happened to PDRA at SGMP over the weekend. Difference is that they are absolute champions and got the race completed, along with some amazing racing.

Picture if you will, rolling into a racetrack on Thursday, late afternoon and knowing that you may have to fight to on and off sprinkles all weekend. Now add to that the fact that it was going to be in the mid 90’s for temperature, you’d certainly have your work cut out for you as a race, spectator, or the organization itself. All these factors were in play for PDRA over the weekend. Add to that a giant top-end fire, some broken shit flying all over the place, some earth cleansing rain, and gnats that would drive a 90-year-old monk up a wall, and you’d think that it was a disaster.

Anytime you attempt to race in the far south during the summer, it is going to be hit and miss with your car and spectator count. Some classes will surpass expectations, and some will disappoint. In South Georgia, I was shocked by the number of dragsters that showed up to compete. It was great to see all of them out there. Another class that rolled in deep, was the insanity on two wheels. I am talking sub four second time slips in the eighth mile on tires that seem about as wide as those on my push mower.

The two highlight classes may not have drawn in 20 cars each, but you can bet your ass they drew in the top of the crop bunch of pro mod racers. Names like Halsey, Franklin, Musi, Salemi, Gray, Thorne, and many more. This certainly wasn’t some 1990’s pro mod filler. These are some of the quickest and fastest eighth mile pro mod drivers in the world. At the end of the day, we saw amazing matchups also.

So, about this rain. When I saw that we look at the forecasts more than most human beings, I mean that the weather channel is on in our office from the time we get up, until the workday is done. We don’t have the luxury of risking it sometimes when it comes to covering an event. The entire week leading into the event, we were aware that we would get a touch of rain, but nothing like we saw this weekend. We spend more time at SGMP than any other track in the country each year, and this rain was of epic proportions in my opinion. The fact that we were even able to complete the race is a testament to all those involved.

I know you want to hear about the racing and not a damn weather recap though, so let’s get to it. There were a number of classes being contested in South Georgia. Obviously Pro Nitrous and Pro Boost, along with Extreme Pro Stock, T/D, T/S, Jr’s, Outlaw 632, Pro Nitrous Motorcycle, and brackets.

In Extreme Pro Stock, it was the Steve Boone taking the win with some luck on his side. Multiple times over the weekend, Boone’s opponent decided to get a touch trigger happy and turn the bright red light on. A win is a win is a win, and that is exactly what Steve and the Boone Racing team walked away with at SGMP.

In Outlaw 632 (the class that takes longer to stage than any other class known to mankind), it was the Pluchino family riding back to the east coast with the victory. The Escort was able to win on a holeshot over Chris Holdorf and his ’53 Vette. Going into the event, Pluchino was tagged with 50lbs, and still managed to take the win from the #2 qualified spot.

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Tell me if you have heard this before…Eric McKinney win’s a motorcycle race. Of course, you’ve heard it before! The man is a 3x World Champion. Aside from taking home the win over fellow competitor Travis Davis, Eric also set a record for speed, a career best ET, and was #1 qualifier in the class. If I were riding in that class, the last thing I would want is for Eric to get on any type of a roll, especially since the next race is right in Eric’s backyard.

In Top Sportsman, it was Jackie Robison taking the win on the Elite part of the field, and in the T/S 32 it was the 2000 Firebird of Chris Nyerges that snagged victory over Jeff Pittman. On the Top Dragster side of things, it should come as no surprise that Phillip Sexton, from the great state of Georgia too home the victory when Brian Bednar went red. Phillip still ran a 4.12 of a 4.11 dial in the final as well. In Top Dragster 32, it was Kimberly Messer with a 4.67 on a .66 dial that took the win over Mandy Teets-Seal, who broke out with a 4.509 on a .51 dial.

The Jr’s saw Lauren Sandrey defeat Chris Powers II and in Top Jr. Dragster it was a double breakout that put Alyssa Rabonin the Winner Circle over Budd Trammell II.

Psssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…it is time for the Pro Nitrous Finals featuring none other than the “Boss Man” Tommy Franklin and his Musi powered Camaro versus “Party Time” Jason Harris and his Camaro. Jason had the jump on Tommy and never looked backed. The ET didn’t set the world on fire at only a 3.93, but it didn’t have to, as Tommy’s tires decided to do a shake, rattle, and roll performance, forcing him to slow to a 4.63.

Barappaidty bang bang pop…put them boosted cars in the beams! One would think that based on the introduction we would be talking about some banging and popping turbo cars in the finals, and we’ll you’d be wrong. In fact, we didn’t have a turbo car in either lane. This time it was going to be two blower cars with much different looks, sounds, and blowers, that squared off. In one lane it was the Purple and Black Firebird of Melanie Salemi, and in the other lane it was the blown ’69 GALOT Camaro of John Strickland. John managed to take his centrifugally powered Procharger car to the stripe first with a 3.78 versus Melanie’s slowing 4.10.

Congratulations to all the winners and competitors over the weekend at SGMP. And congratulations to the staff of the PDRA and of SGMP for getting this event competed. We ran on Sunday, after Mother Nature decided Saturday wasn’t an option, and we were wrapped at about 2pm. Hats off to Tyler Crossnoe, who I know for a fact was on the tractor well into the night on Saturday making sure the drivers would have a great surface on Sunday for eliminations.