Well we made it through the weekend and survived 95 degree air temps along with 150 degree track temps. PDRA absolutely crushed it at Darlington over the weekend. Whether it was from jaw dropping performances, to first time winners, if you weren't there you seriously missed out.
Most of you would call me insane for saying that you missed out if you didn't go to a race in South Carolina when it was 95 degrees everyday and the track temp reached temps that I haven't seen in years. You might be right about the insanity part, but I stand by that all day long.
For those that haven't been to Darlington recently, you are missing out on a hidden gem of a track. The track is owned by Russell Miller and his wife DeeDee, who have an amazing staff like Jimmy Bradshaw and his wife Dana making sure things are going smooth. This is the second time in about a month we headed over there and this time was even better than the last. The fans at Darlington Dragway are some of the best in the country and PDRA brought them out in the heat. I don't think that I have ever seen that many fans in the heat enjoying the show either.
Bob Harris did a great job all weekend keeping the show moving in a forward direction, while legendary announcers Al Tucci and Carl Robinson kept the crowd involved, entertained, and engaged. Jason Miller was on the starting line all weekend to make sure the track was on kill for everything from 3 second Pro Mods to Jr. Dragsters.
Speaking of Jr. Dragsters, it ended up being a local favorite in the finals, when Russell and DeeDee's daughter Brooke Miller in the PeeDee Fleet backed Jr. faced off against Kaylee Love. After an apparent issue with staging/starting Brooke's redlight came on, handing Kaylee the win. We expect to see both of them in a lot of finals in the future as well.
Pro Jr. Dragster saw Jarrod Kissinger take the holeshot win over Nicole Zuccarell in the final. Jarrod 7.920 to Nicole's 7.918 in the finals. It was Jarrod's .021 light to Nicole's .055 light.
Top Dragster saw Noah Strickland, who didn't originally plan on entering the class, and qualified at number 16 take on Matt Cooke in the finals. Noah had a better light, but ran under the number ad broke out, handing the win to Matt. Watch for Noah to also be a contender at future races.
When you drop a triple oh on your competitor in the final, and run only a hundredth off your dial, it's going to be an almost impossible package to beat. That is exactly what happened in the finals of Top Sportsman, when winner Dewayne Silance had a perfect tree and a 4.11 on a 4.10. John Benoit was in the other lane and dialed in at a 4.09 and broke out with a 4.086. He was certainly trying to overcome Dewayne's perfection.
Extreme Outlaw 632 saw a first time winner and someone who everyone was cheering for. The "Kid" Dillon Voss, along with his team that included his brother Cory Voss as Crew Chief, took down Jordan Ensslin. Dillon was driving Michael Murphy's Camaro while the Voss machine is being wrapped up. Dillon out ran Jordan when he laid down a 4.33 to Jordan's 4.36. This was a tight race from tree to boards, with Dillon coming out on top.
Two wheel insanity is something that you have to see to believe. These men and women do something that most people wouldn't dream of attempting. Travis Davis was the one to come out on top, yet again, when he beat the former PDRA Pro Extreme Motorcycle Champion Eric McKinney. Travis took the light quicker than Eric and carried that all the way through with the holeshot win. Travis' 4.03 overtook Eric's 4.01 at the stripe.
Take some lightweight cars, rev the engines to the moon, listen to the shifts, and what you have is Extreme Pro Stock. If you are in to N/A setups, this is the class for you. Trevor Eman in the Aruba backed 2011 Mustang faced off from the #5 qualified spot against long time racer Buddy Perkinson and his Enoch Love owed Cavalier in the final. Trevor cracked off a4.079 to Buddy's 4.175. This is Trevor's first PDRA win. He has multiple wins in other organizations, but this is the first 660 Man trophy.
Getting into Pro Boost, we say a giant slayer and one of the nicest drivers you will meet at the track, Melanie Salemi. She pulled off her first PDRA victory in almost two years when she defeated Galot driver John Strickland in the finals. A first round win over "Batman" Jerico Balduf, moved here on to face off against the dominance that is Q80's Mustang. She got pass the Q80 Mustang when they developed transmission issues after the burnout, and then she drove past twin turbo Camaro of "Turbo" Todd Moyer. Melanie's 3.73 earned her the Ironman over John's 3.75.
In the flame throwing class that is Pro Nitrous, it was last years World Champion Tommy Franklin and his Musi powered Camaro taking the victory over Randy Weatherford's Camaro. Tommy's 3.722 took out the 3.732 out of Randy. Tommy had to go through the likes of John Hall and Lizzy Musi, before even reaching the finals. Tommy also managed a 3.69 at one point, which anyone in the Nitrous world knows is a huge accomplishment. It looks like the Franklin family is on their way to another PDRA Pro Nitrous Championship.
Wrapping up the Pro Mod classes was Pro Extreme. It was the European invasion. We got to see Mattias Wulcan take home the win in the Black Bird Camaro. The former FIA Champion took a holeshot win over Michael Recchia’s 3.604 to Michael's 3.555. This was only Mattias third race in the U.S. You'd better expect to see Mattias dropping the hammer and heading for more final rounds during the rest of the 2017 season.