2017 PDRA Championships on the Line
During the last eight months, Professional Drag Racers Association racers have traveled the country chasing win lights. Results from the seven events already contested on the 2017 tour have proclaimed three new world champions. In Extreme Pro Stock, it’s no surprise that multi-time champ, Cary Goforth, has secured yet another in a long series of world championship victories. In Lucas Oil Top Dragster, North Carolina native Matt Cooke is back on top. He’ll add the 2017 PDRA Top Dragster World Championship to his former IHRA crown. Representing Campers Inn RV Pro Junior Dragster, Amber Franklin celebrates as the 2017 world champion after just two years in the class.
While there’s little work left to be done by these three champions, much is still at stake for drivers in the other categories as the PDRA heads into its crowning event, the World Finals at Virginia Motorsports Park, held October 19-21.
The PDRA is known for its incredible competition and side-by-side racing. While this lends to spectacular action at each event, it also often provides tight points battles that come down to the final rounds of the final event of the year.
Pro Extreme has regained strength as a class this year and while some of the more recognizable names in the category are no longer vying for the top spots, the competition has been no less fierce with a tight points battle on the line. Mike Recchia currently leads the pack, barely over one round ahead of Sweden’s Mattias Wulcan. The 2017 Pro Extreme World Championship will be decided by those two drivers, with Terry Leggett, Tommy D’Aprile and Jose Gonzales currently sitting in third through fifth, but too distant in points to make a championship bid. With just 101 points separating Recchia and Wulcan, both qualifying position and competition rounds will come into play at the World Finals.
The story is similar in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous presented by MoTeC, where current reigning champion Tommy Franklin is leading Jay Cox and the “Orange Pumpkin” by just 112 points. Lizzy Musi sits in third with a mathematical, albeit unlikely, chance at the championship. Randy Weatherford and Jason Harris follow to round out the current top five. If Franklin can hold on and secure his second consecutive world championship, he will make history with his daughter, Amber, who’s already wrapped up the PJD Championship.
Jose Gonzales is pulling double duty this year. It’s hard enough to do well in one category, but Gonzales has managed to put himself in the top five in two. He sits fifth in Pro Extreme, and in Andy McCoy Race Cars Pro Boost he’s the favorite to win it all. He currently leads young gun Ty Tutterow by over three rounds. John Strickland, Melanie Salemi and Jeremy Ray round out the current top five.
Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle has been dominated by Eric McKinney for the entire four PDRA seasons. This year, McKinney once again has the chance to continue this monopoly, but he’ll have his work cut out for him. He’s 199 points behind leader Travis Davis. Chris Garner-Jones, Ashley Owens and Chuck Wilburn sit in the third through fifth spots, but the battle for the PXM title will be only between Davis and McKinney.
This year the PDRA debuted a new look at a long time drag racing favorite – Top Sportsman. The class, sponsored by MagnaFuel, was effectively divided into two – an Elite 16 and then the regular 32 car Top Sportsman field. Each category will crown a champion in 2017. In Elite 16, Dewayne Silance has made a comeback, but if second place man Randy Perkinson has anything to say to about it, Silance won’t be adding a PDRA Championship to his TS career. Billy Albert, Henry Underwood and Barry Daniluk round out the top five heading into the World Finals.
In the 32 car field of Top Sportsman, it’s still anybody’s game. With the top five separated by just 344 points, any of them could walk away with the 2017 title. Points leader Mark Malcuit sits in first, just over a round ahead of Don Rudd. Quentin Metheny, Donald Bean and David Weedon, sitting in third through fifth respectively, are all separated by less than a round. Top Sportsman will be a class to watch as the championship could take a very exciting turn at the World Finals.
The PDRA welcomed East Side Auto Transport Extreme Outlaw 632 to select events this year, complete with a championship on the line. Dillon Voss currently leads the pack with 1309 point. Ken Quartuccio sits in second with 1015 and Johnny Pluchino is right on his heels with 1011. The championship is in the hands of those three. Jordan Ensslin sits in fourth, leading his father Jeff Ensslin who rounds out the top five.
In MegaCorp Top Junior Dragster Brayden Davis has a sizeable lead with 1956 points. Arrelyn Garner-Jones (sitting in second) and Kaylee Love (in third) are over three rounds behind Davis, but still have a shot at the title. Josh Pribble Jr. and Ashley Franklin currently sit in fourth and fifth, respectively.
With so many titles still on the line, the World Finals at Virginia Motorsports Park will undoubtedly be one of the most exciting events of the year. Find ticket and complete event information at www.pdra660.com. The entire event will be streamed live at www.SpeedVideo.com, beginning with testing on October 19 and following the action until all event and world champions have been crowned by Saturday night.
The PDRA will celebrate all their 2017 World Champions on December 9 at the PDRA Awards, held in Indianapolis, Indiana in conjunction with the PRI Show.