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PDRA Power Rankings: Northern Nationals at Maple Grove

The PDRA Power Rankings is an ever-changing list of the biggest newsmakers and power players in the PDRA’s professional classes. This list combines stats from the PDRA Top 3 List (published in each issue of Drag Illustrated) with my picks to win from Tuesday night’s Cocktails with the Carusos Facebook Live show on the Caruso Family Racing and Drag Illustrated Facebook pages. Based on recent performances, the drivers on these lists are most likely to succeed at this weekend’s P2 Contracting Northern Nationals presented by P2 Racing at Maple Grove Raceway.

This week’s edition takes into account drivers’ performances throughout the season, but especially focuses on performance at the last three races: the North vs. South Shootout presented by Line-X, June 24-26 at Maryland International Raceway; the Summer Shootout presented by Ty-Drive, July 15-17 at Virginia Motorsports Park; and the Summit Racing Equipment PDRA ProStars, July 31 at VMP. This list does not reflect the current points standings, though most of the drivers who appear on this list can also be found near the top of the points standings in their respective classes.

Drag 965 Pro Nitrous Motorcycle rankings don’t appear on this week’s list because the class is not on the lineup for this event.

For our full event preview for the Northern Nationals, click here.


1. Jim Halsey

2. Jay Cox

3. Tommy Franklin

Simply put, Jim Halsey cannot be stopped in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous. Other than a second-round loss – by six thousandths – at the Doorslammer Derby, Halsey and his Brandon Switzer-tuned, Fulton-powered “Daddy Shark” ’68 Camaro have been dominant with No. 1 qualifying efforts at all five races backed up with wins at four of them. A big win in Pro Nitrous vs. Pro Boost at the Summit Racing Equipment PDRA ProStars event solidifies Halsey’s spot atop the Power Rankings. Jay Cox and the Buck-powered Butner Construction “Pumpkin” ’69 Camaro have been Halsey’s next closest challenger with a runner-up at Maryland. Two-time world champion Tommy Franklin is starting to catch back up, though, with back-to-back semifinal appearances at Maryland and Virginia in his Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro. He also had the quickest Pro Nitrous car in the opening round of Pro Nitrous vs. Pro Boost at the ProStars race.



1. Johnny Camp

2. Kevin Rivenbark

3. Daniel Pharris

After taking runner-up honors to Halsey in the Pro Nitrous vs. Pro Boost final round at the ProStars, plus a No. 1 qualifying effort in Rumble Wars Extreme 8 at Summit Motorsports Park’s Night Under Fire last weekend, Johnny Camp is going into the Northern Nationals with a vengeance. But close behind him is Kevin Rivenbark, who padded his points lead with a big win at the Summer Shootout – his first of the season. The driver of the ProCharger-boosted GALOT Motorsports ’69 Camaro was out in front of four different winners in points, but his win put him further ahead of the pack. Teammate Daniel Pharris also received a much-needed boost with his Maryland win, his first in PDRA Pro Boost competition.



1. Johnny Pluchino

2. Chris Powers

3. JR Carr

After winning the North vs. South Shootout in his Sonny’s Racing Engines ’14 Camaro, Chris Powers appeared to be the Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition favorite going into the Sonny Leonard Memorial Race at VMP. But defending world champion Johnny Pluchino had other ideas, as he took out Powers in the semifinals in his Kaase-powered ’13 Mustang. He lost to JR Carr in the final round, but with two consecutive runner-up finishes, he’s a threat heading into Maple Grove. He also earned a $10,000 win at the ProStars race. Carr, the No. 1 qualifier at all five races, got out of his first-round funk at the Summer Shootout, delivering his first win of the season in his ’20 Camaro.



1. Dillon Voss

2. Wes Distefano

3. Daryl Stewart

Two-time $hameless Racing Pro Outlaw 632 world champion Dillon Voss is back in the hunt with strong qualifying efforts at the last two races and a runner-up effort at Maryland in his Vigilante Associates ’17 Corvette. He also went to the final round at the ProStars race, going .001 red while running quicker than Wes Distefano. Distefano had to wait to the second-to-last race of the 2020 season to claim his first win. He already has two wins in five races, but like last season, he’s been to every final round, including a win at Maryland and a runner-up at Virginia. Daryl Stewart in his HRE-powered Chassis Engineering ’12 Camaro used a holeshot advantage to take down Distefano in his Musi-powered $hameless Racing ’68 Camaro in the final.



1. Tim Essick

2. Jesse Lambert

3. Chris Cadotto

Other than a brief stumble at the North vs. South Shootout, his home race, Tim Essick has been on a roll this season in his home-built, ProCharger-fed “Brown Sugar” ’18 Mustang. With wins at Norwalk and Virginia, as well as a runner-up at GALOT, he holds the points lead. He’s followed closely by Jesse Lambert, who won the season opener and the Maryland race in his turbocharged Mustang. Chris Cadotto, who drives the screw-blown ’97 Dodge Ram known as “the Brick,” is the only driver without a first-round loss this season. He went to the final round at Norwalk, and if he can get down a hot track on Saturday, he has what it takes to keep going rounds at Maple Grove.

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This story was originally published on August 11, 2021. Drag Illustrated

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