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2024 Red Line Oil PDRA Drag Racing Series Season to Kick Off at East Coast Nationals

Tara Bowker photo

This week marks the beginning of a new decade for the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA), which became the Red Line Oil PDRA Drag Racing Series over the winter. The series will begin its 11th season of all-eighth-mile drag racing April 3-6 at the Summit Racing Equipment East Coast Nationals presented by FuelTech at GALOT Motorsports Park. It’s the first of eight points-earning races for the professional, sportsman, and Jr. Dragster drivers competing for the 2024 PDRA world championships. 

“The best in the business will be in North Carolina at GALOT Motorsports Park this weekend as the Red Line Oil PDRA Drag Racing Series kicks off for 2024,” said Tyler Crossnoe, series director, PDRA. “As exciting as it was to celebrate 10 years of the PDRA last season, we’re even more excited about moving into decade two with our new series title sponsor, Red Line Oil, and all of the initiatives that we believe will take the series to the next level. We have some of the best racers in the world, and we’re looking forward to introducing them to even more fans this season.”

The East Coast Nationals will include all 12 categories that compete within the PDRA, spread out across professional, sportsman, and Jr. Dragster categories. Teams will have the opportunity to test for two days before starting Friday qualifying and Saturday eliminations. 

In Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous, three-time and reigning world champion Tommy Franklin in his Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro will start his title defense against contenders like four-time world champion Jim Halsey and young gun Marcus Butner. Halsey, the defending event winner, has on his side a brand-new, Fulton-powered ’68 Camaro tuned by Brandon Switzer, while Butner is seeking his second career win and first championship with tuner Jay Cox in the Musi-powered “Heartbreaker” ’69 Camaro. Racers in Pro Nitrous will compete for an increased $10,000 to win this season. 

The WS Construction Pro Boost presented by P2 Contracting and Ty-Drive class promises another ultra-competitive season fueled by a stacked field led by defending world champion Jason Harris in his ProCharged “Party Time” ’69 Camaro. Harris, a two-time Pro Nitrous world champion, was one of four first-time winners in the class last season, joining Travis Harvey, Ken Quartuccio, and Scott Lang. They will be joined by class veterans like Kurt Steding, who is driving a new screw-blown P2 Contracting ’69 Camaro, and defending event winner Melanie Salemi. Like Pro Nitrous, Pro Boost will also race for $10,000 to win this year. 

The naturally aspirated, clutch-equipped hot rods of Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition will be in action at the East Coast Nationals with a tentative pre-entry list that includes past world champions Johnny Pluchino, Chris Powers, John Montecalvo, and Steven Boone, as well as defending event winner Dwayne Rice and North Carolina’s own Elijah Morton. 

In PDRA Pro 632, Jeff Melnick is both the defending world champion and the defending event champion behind the wheel of car owner Alan O’Brien’s Greenbrier Excavating & Paving Camaro. He’ll face contenders like championship runner-up Doug Nicholl, 2022 world champion Amber Franklin, No. 4 finisher Lexi Tanner, newcomer Jayme Thompson, and more. 

The PDRA’s only two-wheeled category, Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle, will compete at the East Coast Nationals as the first of six races for the class this season. Riders include two-time and reigning world champion Chris Garner-Jones and sophomore phenom Brayden Davis. 

Menscer Motorsports Pro Street presented by Afco Racing will start its first full eight-race season at GALOT. Reigning world champion Bill Riddle is set to defend his title against challengers like young gun Scott Kincaid and two-time world champion Tim Essick, all racing on 10.5-inch rear slicks. 

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The small-tire Afco Racing Super Street presented by Menscer Motorsports class will also start an expanded schedule as it moves to a seven-race schedule starting with the East Coast Nationals. First-time world champion Blake Denton and runner-up Derek Mota will do battle yet again, along with third-place finisher Dan Whetstine and a slew of new competitors and regional racers. 

The East Coast Nationals will also play host to the PDRA’s complete sportsman lineup: MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by PAR Racing Engines, Laris Motorsports Insurance Elite Top Dragster presented by Greenbrier Excavating & Paving, MagnaFuel Top Sportsman presented by Corbin’s RV, Laris Motorsports Insurance Top Dragster presented by Younce RV, and Edelbrock Bracket Bash presented by COMP Cams. 

The next generation of PDRA stars in the Jr. Dragster classes will compete in Coolshirt Systems Pro Jr. Dragster presented by Philadelphia Racing Products and Classic Graphix Top Jr. Dragster presented by Philadelphia Racing Products. 

The Summit Racing Equipment East Coast Nationals presented by FuelTech will start with Wednesday testing from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday testing from 10 a.m. to around 6 p.m. Sportsman qualifying will begin Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Friday qualifying will begin at 9 a.m. starting with Jr. Dragster and sportsman sessions, with professional qualifying sessions set for 12 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m. On Saturday, Jr. Dragster final qualifying will kick off at 9 a.m. before going into sportsman and Jr. Dragster eliminations. Pre-race ceremonies and professional eliminations are scheduled for 2 p.m.

Tickets are available for $20 on Thursday, $25 on Friday, and $30 on Saturday. Kids 5 and under get in free, while discounted Junior tickets are also available. Tickets can be purchased at PDRA660.com or at the gate. 

The race will be streamed live on FloRacing.com for fans who can’t attend in-person.

This story was originally published on April 1, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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