The Professional Drag Racers Association [PDRA] entered the 2021 season with three first-time stops on its schedule. After successful first impressions at Beech Bend Raceway Park and Summit Motorsports Park earlier this season, the all-eighth-mile series rolls into its final new track, Maple Grove Raceway, this weekend for the P2 Contracting Northern Nationals presented by P2 Racing, Aug. 12-14.
“This has been an exciting season with memorable performances at some new tracks, and we’re looking forward to continuing that this weekend at Maple Grove,” said Tyler Crossnoe, race director, PDRA. “This historic track has played host to some of the quickest and fastest drag racers in the world. I know our racers are excited to join that group and to put on a show for the Pennsylvania fans.”
The PDRA is just a couple weeks removed from the inaugural Summit Racing Equipment PDRA ProStars race, where racers in the professional and sportsman classes faced off for over $50,000 in prize money at Virginia Motorsports Park’s Night of Fire. Jim Halsey (Pro Nitrous vs. Pro Boost), Johnny Pluchino (Extreme Pro Stock) and Wes Distefano (Pro Outlaw 632) were among the winners.
“The first-ever Summit Racing Equipment PDRA ProStars event was a huge success for everyone involved,” Crossnoe said. “The ProStars qualifiers showed why they earned their way into the event. But the ProStars points have been reset to zero, and the race to the 2022 ProStars will begin this weekend.”
Halsey’s victory in the Pro Nitrous vs. Pro Boost showdown was his fourth consecutive win in PDRA competition, as he’s won the last three races in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous. With a season-opening win in his Fulton-powered “Daddy Shark” ’68 Camaro bringing his regular-season win total to four, Halsey has a commanding points lead. Jay Cox, Tony Wilson and Tommy Franklin are putting up a fight, though.
In Penske/PRS Pro Boost presented by WS Construction, two-time world champion Kevin Rivenbark leads the way in his ProCharger-boosted GALOT Motorsports ’69 Camaro. He won the most recent race on tour, padding his points lead over fellow 2021 winners Todd Tutterow, Johnny Camp, and Daniel Pharris. Other Pro Boost challengers include Randy Weatherford, Jason Lee, and event sponsor Kurt Steding.
The Northern Nationals is a home race for Chris Powers, the points leader in Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition. The Carlisle, Pennsylvania-based driver has a pair of wins in his Sonny’s Racing Engines ’14 Camaro. Pluchino, the defending world champion, is chasing him down, though, with runner-up finishes at the last two races. JR Carr, who’s qualified No. 1 at all five races, is also within reach of the points lead after winning the Summer Shootout.
It’s been a battle of North vs. South in $hameless Racing Pro Outlaw 632, where Michigan’s Wes Distefano holds the points lead over Florida’s Daryl Stewart. Both drivers have won twice this season, but Distefano was runner-up at the three races he didn’t win in his Musi-powered $hameless Racing ’68 Camaro. Florida’s Dillon Voss and Chris Holdorf have also been contenders.
The Maple Grove event is the fifth of six races for Drag 965 Pro Street, the PDRA’s Outlaw 10.5-style class. Maryland’s Tim Essick is the points leader with two wins and a runner-up finish in his ProCharger-boosted “Brown Sugar” ’18 Mustang, leading fellow two-time winner Jesse Lambert and Chris Cadotto.
Drag 965 Pro Nitrous Motorcycle will sit out the Northern Nationals before returning for the final two PDRA races of the season.
The Northern Nationals will also include the PDRA’s full lineup of sportsman classes, including MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by Tejas Borja, Lucas Oil Elite Top Dragster, MagnaFuel Top Sportsman, Lucas Oil Top Dragster, and Edelbrock Bracket Bash presented by COMP Cams.
The rising stars of the PDRA will also take part in the event in Coolshirt Systems Pro Jr. Dragster and Classic Graphix Top Jr. Dragster.
Pre-race testing at the Northern Nationals will take place on Thursday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. A driver’s meeting will start Friday’s activities at 9 a.m., followed by the first Top Jr. Dragster qualifying session at 9:30. Pro qualifying sessions will follow at 2 p.m., 5:30 and 7:15. Sportsman and Jr. Dragster classes will get a final qualifying session at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. Pre-race ceremonies and pro class eliminations will begin at 3:25 p.m.
Spectator tickets for the P2 Contracting Northern Nationals presented by P2 Racing are available for $15 for Thursday testing, $20 for Friday or $25 for Saturday, while a weekend pass is available for $50. Kids 12 and under get in free with a paid adult ticket. Tickets are available at www.PDRA660.com.