Alan Drinkwater went into his rookie season in Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition just hoping to get a feel for the Mountain Motor Pro Stock car and maybe win a round or two. He did all that and more, as he won twice in three final-round appearances throughout the eight-race PDRA season to claim the 2023 world championship.
“I feel like this is the best competition Mountain Motor Pro Stock has had in the past eight or 10 years,” said Drinkwater, driver of the Kaase-powered IronListing.com ’13 Mustang. “So for us to come out, not even go to the first race, make it to three finals, two wins, and couple semifinal finishes, it’s unbelievable. A little bit of luck’s been on our side, but it’s also all the really hard work and commitment we’ve put into our program and all the help we’ve had along the way.”
Drinkwater missed the PDRA season opener in Extreme Pro Stock, though he did compete in M&M Transmission Pro 632 in Kenny Floyd’s Ford Escort, which he campaigned all season in 2022. He reached the semifinals in his debut at the second race of the season, then won the DeCerbo Construction American Doorslammer Challenge presented by Callies at Summit Motorsports Park. He reached the final round again two races later at the Northern Nationals presented by Talbert Manufacturing at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park, falling to teammate and reigning world champion Johnny Pluchino. He then won the next race, the Red Line Oil Carolina Nationals at Darlington Dragway, beating 2021 world champion and points leader Chris Powers in the final round.
Drinkwater and Powers both lost in the semifinals at the penultimate race of the season, setting up an intense race for the championship at the Pro Line Racing Brian Olson Memorial World Finals presented by ProCharger at Virginia Motorsports Park. Drinkwater secured the title when he won the opening round and Powers went red.
“When we first started here, we were just hoping to run in the middle of the pack, go a couple rounds, and we might get lucky,” Drinkwater said. “We weren’t sure how this motor was going to be. Kaase’s worked on it a couple different times. I definitely think we’re making more power now than we have all year. It’s really unbelievable, just the pieces in place. We didn’t know what we were buying. Everything worked out for the best.”
Drinkwater’s championship is the fourth Extreme Pro Stock title for the father-son duo of John and Johnny Pluchino, who’ve worked with the Drinkwater family and racing partner Kenny Floyd since Drinkwater’s PDRA Pro 632 debut last year. John won the 2016 title, while Johnny won it in 2020 and 2022.
“I have to thank Johnny and John Pluchino for taking a chance on me and letting me be a part of their program and helping us tune,” Drinkwater said. “We’ve become great friends, more like family.
“We’ve had great people support us,” Drinkwater continued. “First and foremost, Kenny Floyd for giving me the opportunity to drive his car [in 2022]. Without that, we wouldn’t be here where we’re at today. Feather-Lite Batteries, IronListing.com, Jon Kaase, Ram Clutches, AED Competition, and Seminole Paving all help us out. And of course, my team: Mike McAllister, Scott Ewing, my cousin Preston [Drinkwater], and my mom and dad.”
With a taste of victory, Drinkwater and his team are even hungrier for success in 2024. The Orlando-based driver plans to make upgrades and possibly add a second engine to the stable over the winter so he can come out swinging next season.
“This definitely hypes us up for the next year,” Drinkwater said. “We’re going to try to get a more up-to-date piece because we know the competition’s going to be harder next year. We’ll definitely have a couple days testing over the winter and just try to prepare the best we can to start the year off strong.”
The PDRA will celebrate its 2023 world champions during the annual PDRA Championship Awards Banquet on Friday, Dec. 8 in Indianapolis.