Halsey, Camp, Carr, Holdorf and Davis Take No. 1 Spots at PDRA DragWars
BENSON, NC – For the sixth time in seven races, defending world champion Jim Halsey qualified No. 1 in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous after recording a 3.64-second, 207.02 mph pass to conclude Friday qualifying at the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) Proline Racing DragWars presented by Modern Racing at GALOT Motorsports Park.
Johnny Camp (Penske/PRS Pro Boost presented by WS Construction), JR Carr (Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition), Chris Holdorf ($hameless Racing Pro Outlaw 632) and Travis Davis (Drag 965 Pro Nitrous Motorcycle) also qualified No. 1.
The PDRA’s sportsman classes completed two qualifying sessions, with a final third qualifying session set for Saturday morning. The provisional low qualifiers are John Benoit (MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by Tejas Borja), Peter Maduri (Lucas Oil Elite Top Dragster), Barry Daniluk (MagnaFuel Top Sportsman), and Blake Denton (Lucas Oil Top Dragster).
The provisional low qualifiers in the Jr. Dragster classes are Carson Hoyle in Coolshirt Systems Pro Jr. Dragster and Rowan “the Robot” Parlett in Classic Graphix Top Jr. Dragster. Hoyle ran a 7.901 in his Hickory, North Carolina-based ’21 Mike Bos dragster, while Parlett used a .006 reaction time in his Mechanicsville, Maryland-based Computech ’15 Halfscale dragster to take the top spot.
Jim Halsey went into the third and final Pro Nitrous qualifying session in an unfamiliar position, as he went into the session in the No. 2 spot and was bumped down another two spots by the time it was his turn to take to the track. But Halsey and tuner Brandon Switzer stepped up with a 3.64 at 207.72 with the Fulton-powered “Daddy Shark” ’68 Camaro to claim the No. 1 spot.
“We made a run last night that was pretty stout, so we figured we could do it,” said Halsey, the Pro Nitrous points leader. “It was just a matter of everything lining up perfectly. With Brandon punching the keys, it’s pretty relaxing for me. I don’t have to worry about it too much.”
Fellow two-time world champion Tommy Franklin held the No. 1 spot before Halsey with his 3.653 at 206.29 in his Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro. Jay Cox, who recently switched to Musi power in his Butner Construction “Pumpkin” ’69 Camaro, posted a 3.671 at 203.25 to qualify third.
Former Pro Nitrous driver Johnny Camp topped the Pro Boost field for the third time this season, running a 3.618 at 208.01 in his ProCharger-boosted “Hells Bells” ’69 Camaro in the final session. The Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based driver was also the second-quickest in the first session and quickest in the second session, putting him in a good spot going into eliminations.
“It always feels good going in No. 1, but it also adds a bit of pressure too,” Camp said. “We go round by round. We don’t care who’s in the other lane. We race our lane. I feel confident. We’ve made it down the track every single time. I feel we have as good a chance as anyone here. Shoutout to [tuner] Brandon Stroud, Proline Racing, CT and Chuck and all the crew, and our sponsors, NGK Spark Plugs, Tatman Electric, and ProCharger.”
Daniel Pharris and Randy Weatherford joined Camp in the low 3.60-second range, making it an all-Proline top 3. Pharris ran a 3.633 at 207.34 in his GALOT Motorsports ’69 Camaro, and Weatherford used a 3.637 at 207.11 in his WS Construction ’17 Camaro to round out the top 3.
Points leader Kevin Rivenbark, who severely damaged his ProCharger-boosted GALOT Motorsports ’69 Camaro in a top-end crash during Thursday testing, drove Stan Shelton’s screw-blown Culp Lumber ’19 Mustang to a 3.668 at 206.01 to qualify No. 7.
EXTREME PRO STOCK
JR Carr has qualified No. 1 in Extreme Pro Stock at all six previous races this season, and he kept that streak alive by posting a 4.033 at 178.24 in the final qualifying session. Driving his Frank Gugliotta-tuned CP-Carrillo/Maxima Racing Oils ’20 Camaro, Carr outpaced Elijah Morton and Gugliotta himself, who’s driving Carr’s second entry. It was a major comeback effort for Carr, who scraped the wall while racing in quarter-mile competition in St. Louis just a few days before DragWars.
“I really wasn’t sure if we were going to pull it off today,” Carr said. “We had two runs with clutch issues and it just wasn’t running like it’s supposed to. Obviously running two cars, there’s a lot more work. I skinned the car up last weekend. [Chassis builder] Rick Jones and the RJ Race Cars crew, they worked overtime two days in a row. They had all the parts in stock. They were there at 5 in the morning and they were leaving at 6-7 o’clock at night. We wouldn’t be here with this car without those guys. There’s no way we could’ve done it. Luckily, there was no structural damage. For what we’ve been through, I’m so tickled and these guys deserve it. Frank deserves it. I drove good. It feels good. We’re happy.”
Morton and Gugliotta both recorded 4.064s to qualify second and third, respectively. Morton’s Allen-powered Morton Brothers Motorsports ’19 Mustang was slightly faster with a 177.42, while Gugliotta’s speed was 176.63 in Carr’s red ’18 Camaro.
PRO OUTLAW 632
Chris Holdorf has been a consistent player in Pro Outlaw 632 since he joined the class a few years ago, but a No. 1 qualifier award escaped him before DragWars. After driving his nitrous-assisted, Nelson-powered DeWitt Custom Concrete ’53 Corvette to a 4.164 at 169.51 in the final session, the Florida driver will enter eliminations from the No. 1 spot for the first time.
“I think this is actually my first No. 1 qualifier at a PDRA race event, so I’m not used to that,” said Holdorf, who credited tuner Jeff Pierce and workhorse crew member Alan Reynolds. “[PDRA] has done a great job with the rules, keeping the class close. You’ve got multi-kit and single-kit cars right there in the .16s, then Amber [Franklin] is coming right along. Everyone is right there. It’s quite competitive.”
Fellow Floridian Daryl Stewart qualified second with a 4.165 at 170.75 in his HRE-powered Chassis Engineering ’12 Camaro. Defending world champion Wes Distefano ranked third in his Musi-powered $hameless Racing ’68 Camaro with a 4.167 at 171.62.
PRO NITROUS MOTORCYCLE
It’s been a couple months since the Pro Nitrous Motorcycle class was in competition, but defending world champion Travis Davis didn’t miss a beat. He ended up in the No. 1 spot after the first qualifying session and kept it up, improving to a near-record 3.951 at 179.33 aboard his Timblin Chassis ’18 Hayabusa to close out the day.
“We come off the trailer today with a .99 in the heat of the day so we knew we had room when the nighttime air came,” said Davis, who thanked his wife, Brandy, and son, Brayden, as well as partners like Monster Race Heads. “I really didn’t change anything on it on the tuneup. I actually took a little power out here and there and let the air come to it. I was kind of surprised it went the .95. If we can get the air back here tomorrow, we may pick at it a little more and try to get Paul [Gast]’s record [3.949].”
Points leader Chris Garner-Jones raced to the No. 2 spot with a 4.006 at 175.34 on his T.T. Jones Racing ’11 Hayabusa. Kuwait’s Meshal Al-saber rode his Q80 Racing ’18 Hayabusa to a 4.045 at 176.63 to qualify third.
John Benoit, who’s qualified No. 1 in Elite Top Sportsman at four of the six races this season, drove his nitrous-assisted, Buck-powered ’17 Camaro to a 3.751 at 204.42 to take the provisional top spot. Chris “Nitrous” Nyerges sits second with a 3.815 at 197.77 in the Buck-powered Schween Motorsports ’20 Corvette. Defending world champion Buddy Perkinson qualified third in his Musi-powered LAT Racing Oils ’69 Camaro with a 3.822 at 194.72.
Alberta, Canada’s Barry Daniluk is just outside the 16-car Elite field with his 4.069 at 178.42, but he’s the provisional low qualifier in Top Sportsman 32 in his naturally aspirated ’68 Camaro.
Elite Top Dragster championship contender Peter Maduri topped the field in his ProCharger-boosted ’17 Chrome-Worx dragster with a 3.773 at 193.52. Chase Beverly went to the No. 2 spot with a 3.788 at 192.49 in his Virginia-based ’17 American dragster. A 3.803 at 192.19 gave Nick Hamilton and his ’20 Diamond dragster the No. 3 slot.
Blake Denton, driving Tommy Franklin’s Musi-powered American dragster, is the provisional No. 1 qualifier in Top Dragster with a 4.257 at 163.41.
Proline Racing DragWars presented by Modern Racing at GALOT Motorsports Park will continue Saturday morning with final qualifying for sportsman and Jr. Dragster classes at 9:30 a.m. Pro eliminations will begin at 3:30 p.m.