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PDRA to Take Over Norwalk for American Doorslammer Challenge

Tara Bowker photo

A cast of emerging stars and tried-and-true veteran drivers in the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) are ready to put on a show at the third annual DeCerbo Construction American Doorslammer Challenge presented by Callies Performance, May 25-27, at Summit Motorsports Park. It’s the third race of the 2023 season, and valuable Summit Racing Equipment ProStars points and world championship points are on the line in almost a dozen professional and sportsman categories.

“We always look forward to our annual visit to the Bader family’s Summit Motorsports Park,” said Tyler Crossnoe, series director, PDRA. “This is a world-class facility with world-class fans. While we’re still early in our history at this track, many of our racers have been competing here for years – decades in some cases. They’ve built strong, passionate fan bases in this area, and we’re excited to give those fans a thrilling weekend of racing at the American Doorslammer Challenge. Additionally, we’re proud to have the continued support of two local companies, DeCerbo Construction and Callies Performance.”

All of the PDRA’s four-wheeled professional categories will be in competition, while Drag 965 Pro Nitrous Motorcycle will take the weekend off. The PDRA’s newest class, Afco Super Street presented by Menscer Motorsports, will compete for the second time this season.

In Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous, four-time and defending world champion Jim Halsey is off to a dominant start in his Fulton-powered “Daddy Shark” ’68 Camaro with back-to-back wins and a No. 1 qualifier award. In final-round competition, he’s taken down defending event champion Tommy Franklin and Pro Mod legend “Tricky” Rickie Smith, while Jay Cox is also a contender with two semifinal finishes.

Travis “The Carolina Kid” Harvey holds a marginal points lead in WS Construction Pro Boost presented by P2 Contracting and Ty-Drive after picking up his first win in the class driving the ProCharged GALOT Motorsports ’69 Camaro at the last race. Defending event champion Johnny Camp is second in points, though he’s not expected to compete this weekend after a crash two weeks ago sidelined his ProCharged “Hells Bells” ’69 Camaro. Melanie Salemi, last year’s Norwalk runner-up, is third with a season-opening win in Eddie Whelan’s screw-blown ’19 Camaro.

Past world champion Chris Powers is chasing another title in Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition, where he leads the points after a win at Virginia in his Sonny’s Racing Engines ’21 Camaro. Elijah Morton, who won the Norwalk event in 2021, is second after his runner-up to Powers. Young gun Dillon Voss also sits in the top three by just a few points over Ohio’s own Dwayne Rice, who won the season opener.

Amber Franklin, both the defending world champion and defending event winner in M&M Transmission Pro 632, has momentum and the points lead going into Norwalk. She won the last race on tour and was runner-up at the season opener in her Musi-powered “OG Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro. Her opponent in both finals was Ohio native Jeff Melnick, who is second in points with Alan O’Brien’s AMC-powered ’20 Camaro. Michigan’s Doug Nicholl is chasing his first win in the class driving a car that Wes Distefano drove to two world championships.

Defending event winner Bill Riddle is the current points leader in Menscer Motorsports Pro Street presented by Afco with a win and a runner-up finish in his roots-blown Corrigan Race Fuels ’89 Camaro. He holds a one-point lead over two-time and defending world champion Tim Essick, who faced Riddle in both final rounds to start the season. Ontario, Canada’s Nick Agostino is closing in on his first Pro Street win with two semifinal finishes so far.

Racing for a world championship for the first time, Afco Super Street presented by Menscer Motorsports is currently led by Derek Mota in Dave Mancini’s single-turbo ’68 GTO. The Massachusetts-based driver has tested since his win at Virginia in an effort to hold off competitors like Virginia runner-up Paul Curry and No. 1 qualifier Blake Denton.

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Along with the pro classes, the American Doorslammer Challenge will include fast bracket racing in MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by PAR Racing Engines, Laris Motorsports Insurance Elite Top Dragster, MagnaFuel Top Sportsman presented by Corbin’s RV, and Laris Motorsports Insurance Top Dragster. Edelbrock Bracket Bash presented by COMP Cams will give local bracket racers the opportunity to race on the PDRA’s national stage.

The PDRA’s ultra-competitive Jr. Dragster racers will also take part in the American Doorslammer Challenge in Coolshirt Systems Pro Jr. Dragster presented by PRP and Classic Graphix Top Jr. Dragster presented by PRP.

Spectator tickets are available for $20 on Thursday, $25 on Friday, and $30 on Saturday. Kids 12 and under get in free. Tickets can be purchased at PDRA660.com or at the gate.

Fans who can’t attend the race in person can watch the official event livestream on FloRacing.com.

Pre-race testing will be available to American Doorslammer Challenge competitors on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Top Sportsman and Top Dragster will run one qualifying session Thursday at 7 p.m. The Jr. Dragster classes will start qualifying Friday at 9:30 a.m., with professional qualifying kicking off at 2 p.m. Friday Night Fire, with back-to-back pro qualifying sessions, begins at 5:30 p.m. Final qualifying for the Jr. Dragster classes is set for Saturday at 9:30 a.m., followed by sportsman and Jr. Dragster eliminations. Pre-race ceremonies and pro eliminations will begin at 3 p.m.

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