The all-eighth-mile racers of the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) will be put to the test when the series rolls into the fourth of eight races on its 2019 schedule, the Summer Nationals Ignited by Lithium Pros Batteries, June 27-29 at South Georgia Motorsports Park. After setting records in the first half of the season, the drivers and cars will face hot, challenging conditions at the legendary Valdosta-area drag strip.
“We’re excited to show the world what our racers can do in the heat,” said Tyler Crossnoe, race director, PDRA. “Some of the top crew chiefs in the world fly in or tune racers over the laptop at these races. Even though the hot, muggy weather will make for some tough conditions, I’m confident our racers will roll their stuff out there and prove they’re some of the best in the world by going down a racetrack that will probably be in the 135-140-degree range.”
Crossnoe and race officials adjusted the PDRA’s typical daily event schedule to work around the hotter times of the day. For starters, Thursday testing will start with two sessions for all classes between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., followed by another two sessions from 5-10 p.m. The event run order will largely follow the typical format, though it will start later than usual.
“For Friday and Saturday, we’re going to start a little bit later and run through the afternoon and into the night hours,” Crossnoe said. “We’ll push our schedule back a little bit to make it a little more fan-friendly and racer-friendly because it is going to be warm this weekend.”
The PDRA Summer Nationals marks the PDRA’s return to South Georgia after a one-year hiatus. Located along I-75 in Adel, Georgia, the track draws in fans from across the Southeast, including the Atlanta, Savannah, Tallahassee and Jacksonville areas.
“South Georgia has always been a top-tier facility and we’re excited to go back there with the PDRA,” Crossnoe said. “Nelson and Marla Hoyos (SGMP general managers), Ozzy Moya (track owner) and the team at SGMP have gone above and beyond as track partners leading up to the event and we’re proud to have them on board for race four on the PDRA schedule.”
The PDRA is bringing its lineup of five professional classes and several sportsman classes to South Georgia for the Summer Nationals. The two headlining sportsman classes, MagnaFuel Top Sportsman and Lucas Oil Top Dragster, will each have two separate fields, Elite 16 for the quickest 16 qualifiers and a second field for any additional cars. Any drivers who don’t qualify for Moroso Pro Boost and Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous can run in the Classic Graphix Pro Mod Challenge, a new program this season.
Going into the Summer Nationals, the points leaders are Tommy D’Aprile in Moroso Pro Boost, Jim Halsey in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous, Todd Hoerner in Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock, Johnny Pluchino in Schwing America Pro Outlaw 632 presented by East Side Auto Transport and Ronnie “Pro Mod” Smith in Drag 965 Pro Nitrous Motorcycle.
In the sportsman categories, the points leaders are Scott Moore in MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman, Glen Teets III in Top Sportsman 32, Kellan Farmer in Lucas Oil Elite Top Dragster, Kimberly Messer in Top Dragster 32, Connor McGee in Coolshirt Pro Jr. Dragster presented by Knoxtown Products, and Nathan Tanner in Gilbert Motorsports Top Jr. Dragstr.
The PDRA Summer Nationals Ignited by Lithium Pros Batteries will kick off with testing from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday. Friday qualifying will begin with the driver’s meeting at 11 a.m., followed by the first sportsman qualifying session at noon. Friday Night Fire with back-to-back pro qualifying sessions begins at 7 p.m. Sportsman final qualifying starts Saturday at noon, with professional eliminations slated to start at 6 p.m. The final rounds for pro classes are scheduled for 10:45 p.m. Saturday. A full event schedule is available at www.pdra660.com.
Tickets to the PDRA Summer Nationals Ignited by Lithium Pros Batteries are available for $15 for Thursday testing, $20 for Friday qualifying and $25 for Saturday eliminations. An event pass, good for all three days, is available for $50. Children 12 and under get in free. Tickets are available at the gate or online at www.pdra660.com.