With clear skies in the Carolinas for a change, the May 2023 edition of Piedmont Dragway’s Big Dog Shootout went off on schedule. With 12 cars on the property, shakedown runs began in the early afternoon and it became very apparent that the competitors involved were going to be very serious about taking home the coveted “Big Dog.” Also present was Mike Carpenter, COO of Drag Illustrated, taking in all the action. He would not be disappointed. This became evident when Cam Clark, driving the Mark Ingle Camaro that is driven in PDRA Pro Nitrous competition, laid down a 3.82 in the heat of the afternoon, even with extra pounds added. Also present was the NHRA Pro Mod Chevelle of the Doug Winters team, also having to add weight but running 3.80s with ease.
When qualifying did begin, there were nine cars in line to get a time. Of these, Travis Harvey led the way with a 3.779 at 200.75 mph. Next was Barry Mitchell’s “Cuda Time,” for this event driven by Todd Tutterow, serving notice that Tutterow can not only tune a car for the Piedmont surface, but still drive as good as anyone, posting a 3.780 on the board. A 3.788 placed Doug Winters in a solid third. Fourth was the Cam Clark-driven Camaro. Fifth belonged to the Some Time Racing team with Jason Harris driving at a 3.823, with sixth going to last month’s runner-up, the “War Eagle” Corvette of Jamie and Gina Chappell at a 3.839. Seventh was the Robbie Keziah Corvette at 3.849 and a dog fight for the eighth spot between last year’s points champ, Brian Shrader, and the “Lil’ Red” Corvette of Chevy Floyd. Floyd’s career best of 4.041 was no match for the 3.860 of the Robert Hayes-tuned Corvette of Shrader. This gave us a tremendously close field with ETs from 3.779 to a 3.860. Incredible.
Competition began with Harris using a 3.80 holeshot to win over Winters’ quicker 3.78. Clark won a very close contest with Chappell, resulting in a bent-up nose on the War Eagle, mainly resulting in no one hurting their vehicle beyond repair. Definitely a win for both. Tutterow used a 3.772 to defeat Shrader’s 3.79. It became apparent that “King Tut” was not here to play around. The final pair resulted in a 3.77 win for Harvey over the 3.79 of Shrader. The semifinal results were uneventful for Harris, who shook, but defeated a red-lighting Harvey. Then Clark put a holeshot on “Cuda Time” but shook, with Tutterow lowering the track record to a 3.750. Did we say these guys are serious?
The finals were set to be Harris needing a big holeshot, which he got with a .0063 and a 3.80 win when Tutterow had a malfunction after a .059 light, thus adding to the legend for both drivers at historic Piedmont Dragway, the “DoorSlammer Capital of the World.”
Other items of note included a special race during Q2 that put the quickest blower car up against the quickest nitrous car. The competitors were the blower Chevelle of Winters against the nitrous Camaro of Clark. With $1,350 up for grabs, it was Clark running a great 3.78 at 200 MPH to defeat Winters, who had to lift. Also, look for a new owner and driver combo for the June event with a former points champ set to drive again after a lengthy absence. Should be great.