When Tommy Franklin raced to the Pro Nitrous win at the most recent Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) event in Ohio, he did so by going an impressive 3.69 at 204.36 MPH in the final round.
But he also did so in weather conditions that weren’t exactly conducive to fast performances. Franklin, though, credited the work of Pat Musi Racing Engines, who continue to set the bar in the class when it comes to performance and success.
“It’s just a testament to what Pat’s doing over there,” Franklin said. “We ran that 3.69 at a density altitude of almost 4,000 feet. I had no inkling it would go that fast. It was making a ton of power. I’m really excited to see what we can do when we get killer air and really good weather for the next three races.”
It’s been a strong stretch of late for Franklin, the two-time Pro Nitrous champ, who has relied on Pat Musi Racing Engines to power his “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro. He has put together back-to-back final round appearances during the 2019 season, losing to Musi-powered customer Jason Harris in Valdosta before powering to the win at Dragway 42 in West Salem, Ohio earlier this month.
Both performances came in extremely warm conditions, but Franklin continues to put together remarkable numbers without hurting the engine or parts. With standout drivers and teams continuing to push the envelope in the class, the durability of the engine program has been a critical factor.
“With Pat’s stuff, you always make good power, but the thing that stands out is the durability,” Franklin said. “The old adage with Pro Nitrous cars is you’ve constantly got the heads off and putting pistons in these. But we’ve made 30 laps and it’s as healthy as can be. We’ve had this new engine the past three races, and we’re putting up speeds that are uncharted for us.”
The engine consistency also gives Franklin and his team more chances to look at other areas of the car and find additional ways to improve. That means there’s a strong trust in the engine program, which makes Musi happy.
“Tommy put up some really incredible numbers in Ohio and that was exciting to see,” Musi said. “He’s had another great year, and we’re proud of the fact that these engines put up big numbers no matter the conditions. That exemplifies the work we put in and dedication we have in continuously developing our engines. We’re never satisfied and we always want to keep pushing forward.”
The engine durability will be important for Franklin heading into a busy five-race stretch to end the year. It includes three PDRA races to finish 2019, as well as two big Pro Mod events at Virginia Motorsports Park.
But he believes there’s still plenty of potential left in his nitrous-powered Camaro, which has him excited about how the rest of the year could unfold.
“These things are finicky and always on the edge, but I feel very confident going in with what we’ve got,” said Franklin, who is currently second in PDRA Pro Nitrous points. “Racing against stiff competition, it shows what our stuff can do and tells us there’s room to pick up.”
Franklin returns to PDRA action on Sept. 5-7 at GALOT Motorsports Park in Benson, N.C. for PDRA Drag Wars VI.