The chase for 2022 Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) world championships begins this weekend at the East Coast Nationals presented by FuelTech, April 7-9 at GALOT Motorsports Park. With a promising weather forecast and a huge field of racers expected to roll through the gates, it’s going to be a PDRA season opener to remember.
“Racers, teams, and our own PDRA team have been working hard throughout the offseason to prepare for this weekend,” said Tyler Crossnoe, race director, PDRA. “The East Coast Nationals is always a big race for us, and this year’s edition is shaping up to be an exciting weekend. We’re going to see some new faces in multiple classes, plus the usual fan favorites. GALOT Motorsports Park is one of the nicest eighth-mile tracks in the country, so we’re all looking forward to starting the season there.”
Leading things off will be the PDRA’s two quickest and fastest classes, Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous and WS Construction Pro Boost presented by P2 Contracting and Ty-Drive.
In Pro Nitrous, the field will include three-time and defending world champion Jim Halsey and past world champs Tommy Franklin and Jason Harris. Class veteran Chris Rini is also returning after a brief hiatus, while two-time Pro 632 world champion Wes Distefano is planning to make his Pro Nitrous debut.
Pro Boost will also include a stacked field full of contenders like teammates Kurt Steding and Todd Tutterow, former Pro Nitrous drivers Randy Weatherford and Johnny Camp, as well as Jason Lee, Melanie Salemi, and more. There will be new cars, like Stan Shelton’s screw-blown ’67 Mustang, and new drivers, like Scott Wildgust, who’s a part of the multi-car Smokie’s Garage team in from Canada.
“Fans of Pro Nitrous and Pro Boost are in for a thrilling show,” Crossnoe said. “These classes have been gaining steam over the last few years, and all signs point to this being a huge season for Pro Nitrous and Pro Boost. The most competitive Pro Mod teams in North America are racing with the PDRA, and if you aren’t racing with us and think you’re a top-tier team, we invite you to come to GALOT this weekend, Bowling Green, Kentucky, in a few weeks, or any of our other events and see why PDRA is the premier place to race Pro Mod.”
Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition is also on track to have a banner year with a number of new drivers joining the class, as well as past competitors returning to join several full-time drivers from last season. Along with a PDRA world championship, Extreme Pro Stock drivers will be chasing the elusive first-ever 3-second pass in class history.
“This will be probably the most difficult season in the last 10-15 years with the amount of competition that’s coming out,” said Johnny Pluchino, the 2020 Extreme Pro Stock world champion. “We’re seeing new cars and new teams and teams understanding that they have to move their programs forward in order to win races.”
The PDRA pro classes at the East Coast Nationals will also feature $hameless Racing Pro 632, which will see a brand-new world champion this season, as well as Drag 965 Pro Nitrous Motorcycle and Menscer Motorsports Pro Street presented by AFCO Shocks.
The PDRA’s sportsman categories are also coming out in full force at the East Coast Nationals, with a lineup that includes MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by U.S. Rail, Lucas Oil Elite Top Dragster presented by Laris Motorsports Insurance, MagnaFuel Top Sportsman presented Vortech Superchargers, Lucas Oil Top Dragster presented by Laris Motorsports Insurance, and Edelbrock Bracket Bash presented by COMP Cams.
As always, the PDRA’s rising stars will race in Coolshirt Systems Pro Jr. Dragster presented by PRP and Classic Graphix Top Jr. Dragster presented by PRP.
While it’s the first race of the season, the East Coast Nationals serves as the fourth race for drivers to earn points towards the 2022 Summit Racing Equipment PDRA ProStars race this summer. The top 8 drivers in ProStars points after the Drag 965 Summer Shootout presented by Classic Graphix will have the chance to race for big money and bragging rights at the second annual ProStars shootout during Virginia Motorsports Park’s Night of Fire on July 30.
“Drivers and teams are going to be chasing those valuable ProStars points this weekend,” Crossnoe said. “We debuted this program last year, and we received a ton of positive feedback from racers. With the continued support of Summit Racing Equipment, we’re making this year’s ProStars race bigger and better. Racers have to earn their way in, and that pursuit picks back up this weekend.”
Spectator tickets are available for $15 on Thursday, $20 on Friday, and $20 on Saturday, while a weekend pass is available for $50. Kids 12 and under get in free. Tickets can be purchased at PDRA660.com or at the gate.
Pre-race testing will kick off the East Coast Nationals weekend with Wednesday open testing from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday structured testing from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sportsman qualifying will begin Friday starting with Top Jr. Dragster at 9:30 a.m., with pro qualifying starting at 2 p.m. Friday Night Fire, featuring two more pro qualifying sessions, will begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday action starts up at 9:30 a.m. with final qualifying for the sportsman classes, followed by first round of eliminations. Pro eliminations will begin at 3 p.m.