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DI Warm-Up: PDRA Brings ‘Nitrous Wars’ to Thunder Road Raceway

The “Nitrous Wars” of the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) comes to Thunder Road Raceway Park in Gilliam, LA, this weekend (Apr. 30-May 2), as part of the inaugural PDRA Cajun Nationals at the track just north of Shreveport. No fewer than six engine builders are represented in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous, which features engines as big as 960 cubic inches throwing flames above the roofs of the cars as they speed down the eighth mile in 3.7 seconds at well over 200 miles per hour.

Defending Pro Nitrous class champion and current points leader Jason Harris recently made the switch to Sonny Leonard horsepower in his ’68 Firebird, while second-place Tommy Franklin, who won the PDRA season opener in Dallas, runs a Pat Musi powerplant in his ’69 Camaro. In third is Jay Cox with a Charlie Buck motor in another ’69 Camaro, followed by the Reher-Morrison powered ’67 Shelby Mustang of Jeffrey Cummins.

Tommy Franklin

Tommy Franklin

Headlined by the Pro Nitrous and NAS Racing Pro Extreme classes, the third of 10 scheduled events in the PDRA’s 2015 season also will feature Precision Turbo Pro Boost, along with Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle, MagnaFuel Top Sportsman, Dart Top Dragster and two Huddleston Performance Jr. Dragster classes.

“We couldn’t be more excited about coming to Thunder Road Raceway,” PDRA Race Director Bob Harris declared. “It’s a new market for us, but Louisiana has a long, proud history in drag racing and it’s an honor for the PDRA and its racers to add to that with our first Cajun Nationals. It’s going to be a huge party all weekend with what I know will be some truly great performances on the track, so I hope everyone comes on up and visits.”

Headlining the 3.5-second, 220-mph Pro Extreme class at Thunder Road will be Dubai’s Mustafa Buhumaid, who won the first race and finished runner-up at the second PDRA event this year at Rockingham, NC. He’ll be focused on holding off Rockingham winner Todd Tutterow from North Carolina, as well as last year’s champion Bubba Stanton and teammate Jason Scruggs, both from Mississippi.

Pro Boost features a unique blend of supercharged and turbocharged entries running head to head at up to 210 mph on the PDRA eighth mile. Currently led in the points by Anthony Disomma and Kevin Fiscus in a pair of twin-turboed Mustangs, teammates John Strickland and Kevin Rivenbark are close behind in a supercharged ’69 Camaro and blown ’67 Mustang, respectively.

Riding his nitrous-boosted 2012 Suzuki, defending champion Eric McKinney has won both Pro Extreme Motorcycle races so far this year. Meanwhile, defending Top Sportsman champ Dan Ferguson is the current points leader, with Rockingham winner Bo Upton leading in Top Dragster, and Preston Tanner and Mia Schultz presently on top in the two Jr. Dragster classes.

“Now that we’re reaching our third event the points races are starting to heat up with the leaders wanting to stretch their advantage while everyone else doesn’t want to slip too far behind. That means we’re guaranteed to see some hard racing this weekend at Thunder Road Raceway,” Harris said.

“We also have a lot of extras planned for our fans to enjoy, including jet car exhibition runs, fireworks, a Zydeco band, Centaur floats, bead throwing and second line dancing, all on Friday night. There’s going to be something for every member of the family and great racing, too, by the quickest and fastest eighth-mile doorslammers on the planet.”

The PDRA Cajun Nationals will open with all-day testing open to the public on Thursday (Apr. 30), and three rounds of qualifying beginning at 11 a.m. on Friday. One more qualifying session will begin at noon on Saturday, followed by elimination rounds starting at 4 p.m. for all classes.

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Admission on Thursday is $10, with Friday and Saturday $30 each, but children 12 and under are admitted free each day. Discount coupons for the inaugural PDRA Cajun Nationals also are available at many retailers and commercial outlets in the Shreveport/Gilliam area, or reduced-rate coupons can be printed from the PDRA web site at Spectator parking is free.


  • Read up on Jason Harris in his Drag Illustrated cover story from our November 2014 issue, and find out how he earned the inaugural PDRA Pro Nitrous championship.
  • Defending NHRA Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders-Stevens and her Elite Motorsports team are looking to produce a documentary about their championship season, and they need your help to fund the film. Contribute anything from $1 to $10,000 on their Kickstarter crowdfunding page and you can pick up some cool rewards.
  • NHRA Top Fuel veteran Doug Kalitta broke through to score his first win of the 2015 season at the NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston, Texas last weekend, beating longtime rival Tony Schumacher in the final round. Coincidentally, we recently posted this exclusive feature on Kalitta’s crew chief, “Jim O” Oberhofer, chronicling his role at Kalitta Motorsports and his upcoming book, which happens to be a product of a successful Kickstarter campaign.


  • Catch up on the PDRA’s last race, the PDRA Spring Nationals at the legendary Rockingham Dragway, presented in full by MotorManiaTV.

  • The Pro Nitrous racers of the PDRA put on a fantastic show, especially at night when their glowing header flames and nitrous backfires are on full display, captured brilliantly in this video by CompetitionPlusTV’s Les Mayhew.

  • If bracket racing is more your speed, be sure to tune in to the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am races at North Carolina’s Farmington Dragway and Memphis International Raceway this weekend. Hopefully we won’t see any crashes like these from the recent Pro-Am at Richmond Dragway. Fortunately, Top Sportsman racer Nick Womack and Super Rod driver Marvin Napier walked away from these wrecks unscathed.

BONUS: Thanks to the guys at MotorManiaTV, you can catch the PDRA Cajun Nationals and IHRA Pro-Am races at Farmington and Memphis live all weekend. MMTV will stream both races live and will make the replays available for later viewing.

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Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.