The inaugural Lucas Oil Hot Rod Oil Pro Nitrous Shootout was held June 21, 2014 at the Famed Piedmont Dragway near Greensboro, N.C.
Piedmont is best known for their Thursday night Big Dog shows but with the Lucas backing put on the richest one day race for Pro Nitrous cars only. No blowers, no turbos just clean fast racing and on a Saturday.
Due to the PDRA race coming up the next week in Michigan and the Extreme Outlaw Association point’s race the following week in Georgia, a number of cars elected to sit out this event despite the $15,000 winner’s purse. With qualifying and round money the posted purse exceeded $20,000.
Breakage took its toll on local favorite Danny Perry and several others but 11 great cars qualified. Jason Harris, the PDRA killer so far in 2014 grabbed the number 1 spot at 3.86, 196.37 mph. Johnny Pilcher in the Alabama based Blankston Boys was 2nd at 3.93,followed closely by Jay Cox (3.94), David Campbell (3.98) and Mississippi Camaro of Tim Savell at 3.99.
By now you have figured Piedmont Dragway since 1957 and has been a premier 1/8th mile track. Due to the excessive heat, traction was tricky and despite 3 qualifying rounds Ed Burnley, Jeff Blasi and Wayne Hawkins could only muster the 7th, 8th and 9th qualifying spots. To everyone’s disbelief two of the expected big boys, Travis Harvey and Chris Rini never got a complete run and qualified 10th and 11th.
In round one Jeff Blasi wasted his best run of 4.12 with a red light advancing Weatherford. Jay Cox posted a 3.98 in sending the Carolina Kid (Harvey) home early. David Campbell’s bright yellow “Thunder Wolf” singled with a 4.00 win, followed by Tim Savell’s 4.04 over Burnleys tire shaking 4.44. Chris Rini in the A.T.I. car got a gift as Johnny Pilcher fouled and Rini won with a resounding 3.88 at 196.37 (top speed of the event).
A rain shower interrupted the action for about an hour which turned the air cooler and brought traction into the Carolina 1/8th mile.
Rini laid down his first good run at 3.86 to just get by the beautiful blue Camaro of Danville, VA. Star, Randy Weatherford’s 3.96 and David Campbell upset Jay Cox 3.96 to Cox’s close 4.06.
In the best race of the day, crowd favorite, Jason Harris used a 3.87 196.12 to a hole shot win over Savell’s quicker 3.86. Rini opened the semi finals with a great single (3.85 at over 192 mph). Jason Harris ended David Campbell’s storybook day to advance to the finals.
As many predicted the final came down to the Charlie Buck powered A.T.I. Camaro of Chris Rini against the Pat Musi powered Pontiac of Pittsburg, N.C. star Jason Harris. Rini being from Carmel, N.Y. gave us a good ole North versus South final.
At the hint of green Rini left 1st (.24) with Harris right behind (.044). A hush fell over the partisan crowd as Rini sef low e.t. of the event with 3.85 win while Harris crossed the line with a crossed up 4.40.
This time the “Northern Assasin” claimed the gold but we hope this event will become a regular event at Piedmont Dragway; the door slammer capital of the nation.
Special thanks go to Tom Bogner and Lucas Hot Rod Oil for making this race happen.
Photographs by Van Abernethy
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