PITTSBORO, NC – For seven years Tommy D’Aprile was the hired gun for Mel Bush Motorsports. When a turn of events sidelined D’Aprile early this year, he quickly turned what could have been viewed as a sour situation into a positive, character-building opportunity.
“You know how racing is: here today and gone tomorrow,” D’Aprile told. “This was a faith-growing tool for me. The focus was not on what was taken away, but being thankful for all that I had. This wasn’t anything that was bad. This was a business decision for Mel to help him afford to run his racing program. Mel and I never had a falling out. I was discouraged and disappointed a bit, but that’s just normal.”
PITTSBORO, NC – Pro Boost competitor, Gerry Capano, has been competing professionally in heads up competition since 2010 with Northeast Outlaw Association and then paving the way in Pro Boost with the PDRA since the organization’s inception last year. He has made steady progress each year, finishing in the top 10 last season. Capano rebounded after a disappointing start to the season that included a DNQ due to parts breakage and a first round loss. Putting that behind him, Capano forged ahead earning his first ever victory by claiming the Pro Boost trophy at the Cajun Nationals in Shreveport La. This well-earned win is sure to be the first of many.
Capano won his first race in style, going to his first ever pole position with a 3.86 and knocking offScott Oksas and John Strickland to meet heavy hitter Kevin Rivenbark in the finals. Capano ran a career-best number, 3.803, and walked away with the Pro Boost trophy.
PITTSBORO, N.C – Simpson Performance Products, a name synonymous with driver safety in all types of racing, has joined the host of Professional Drag Racers Association sponsors. A vast majority of PDRA teams utilize a Simpson product to keep them safe while reaching speeds of over 200 MPH in the eighth mile. Simpson is an American company that has been in business since 1959. They provide a wide selection of helmets, racing suits, gloves and shoes as well as fire retardant underwear. They are the most trusted source for head and neck restraint technology in the world and feature both the Simpson Hybrid and head and neck restraints by HANS, a Simpson company. The Hybrid Sport is a favorite among drag racers.
“The marketing partners list continues to grow as one of the most famous names in racing has joined forces with the PDRA Series,” said PDRA SVP of Marketing, Mike Congdon. “Simpson Racing Products has been keeping drivers and crew members safe for many years. Their safety equipment has been used in many motorsport genres, including drag racing, NASCAR, and the IndyCar series. We are proud to have them join the PDRA Series and look forward to having them as part of the family for many years to come.”
PITTSBORO, NC – PDRA Pro Extreme Motorcycle competitor Brad McCoy has made the trek from his Cleveland, N.C. home to each of the first three stops on the 2015 tour. This means he’s already traveled over 4500 miles this season, but he’s prepared to follow the PDRA tour for its entirety, a commitment not seen by many other PXM teams thus far. McCoy is invested in his program and believes that the PDRA provides the best place for bike racers to compete on a national level.
“We made a decision over the winter that we were going to try to run all the races provided that financially we could do it,” stated McCoy. “I’m going to stick to that commitment the best I can. I want to support the PDRA because they give us a really good place to come and race. There’s not many places to race with our bikes on that kind of level. I want to see the bikes do good in the PDRA so I want to support every race that I can.
PITTSBORO, NC – the Professional Drag Racers Association will visit Gateway Motorsports Park for the Mid-America Open, the fourth stop on their 2015 tour. On Thursday, Official Wrap Provider of the PDRA, Kryptonite Kustomz, will host a free pizza party for racers and crew from 7pm until the pizza runs out.
Kryptonite Kustomz is known for their head-turning wraps that cover everything from golf carts to semi rigs and race cars of all shapes and sizes, as well as banners and interior walls for corporate offices or race shops. The Oklahoma based company recently moved into a large, state-of-the-art, climate controlled facility that can house any size rig.
Top racers such as Scotty Cannon, Tommy Mauney, Shannon Jenkins, Mike Ashley, Alan Pittman and many others made their bones behind the wheel of a Willys, and now, a quarter of a century later, the trend continues unabated.
Enter Columbia, South Carolina’s Ric Fleck, who has brought a beautiful example of the classic Willys Pro Mod machine to the PDRA and the Precision Turbo Pro Boost class.
PITTSBORO, NC – Two decades ago it was commonplace for most Pro Mod champion drivers to drive their rig to the race, call the tuning shots, make many of the necessary changes in setup between rounds, tear down and drive home. Today, Pro Mod has risen to a new level of competition where many high profile teams consist of a fully staffed crew and a capable driver who has little to distract him or her from the main job of driving. For multi time Pro Mod Champion Rickie Smith, the job is as hands on today as during his first round of Championship accruing years in the ‘80s.
Smith doesn’t have a large crew. In fact, it’s just him and one other set of hands belonging to Chad Hester. Smith still drives his own rig to the track and tackles the pit work with Hester between rounds before suiting up again to take on the next opponent, round after round after round. It’s a combination he’s been using to race and win for many years.