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Red Line Oil PDRA Drag Racing Series Approaching Midpoint of 2024 Season at Maryland’s North vs. South Shootout 

Tara Bowker photo

The weather and the competition are heating up as the Red Line Oil PDRA Drag Racing Series rolls into Maryland International Raceway this weekend, June 13-15, for the fourth of eight races on the 2024 schedule. The North vs. South Shootout presented by Performance Polish will feature competition in all seven professional classes, four sportsman divisions, and two Jr. Dragster categories as racers battle for prize money, trophies, and points towards world championships. 

“We’ve seen some incredible racing at the first three races of the season, and I know our racers aren’t going to let up any time soon,” said Tyler Crossnoe, series director, PDRA. “In fact, the North vs. South Shootout at Maryland is typically where things really get interesting. We’ve seen championship contenders start to establish their leads by this point, but this is usually the first race where we’ll see hot conditions. That really mixes things up and can lead to all kinds of upsets. We’ve seen first-time winners crowned at Maryland in the past, and with the way this season is going, I wouldn’t be surprised to see even more new winners emerge this weekend.”

The North vs. South Shootout is also the final chance racers will have to earn points towards a coveted spot in the fourth annual Summit Racing Equipment PDRA ProStars race. Held in conjunction with Virginia Motorsports Park’s Night of Fire on July 13th, ProStars is a special event where racers can race their way in using a points system that rewards consistent attendance and on-track performance. Points were earned at the last four races of the 2023 season and the first four races of this season. Qualified racers don’t have to pay an entry fee and get to race for more than $60,000 in prize money. 

“It’s hard to believe it’s already almost time for ProStars,” Crossnoe said. “Racers have been competing for almost a year now to earn their way into this event. The drivers who are on the bubble or are on the outside looking in will be trying to make big moves this weekend as they attempt to lock in those final ProStars spots.”

The North vs. South Shootout’s presenting sponsor, Performance Polish, is a racer-owned brand of high-performance automotive detailing products. Performance Polish offers a full line of detailing products for automotive interiors and exteriors. The line includes All Purpose Cleaner, Elite Glass Cleaner, Full Throttle Wash & Wax, Heavy Hitter Degreaser, Interior Detailer, Speed Detailer, and Tire Finish.

“We’re proud to welcome Vinny Guido and Performance Polish into the PDRA family,” said Will Smith, marketing director, PDRA. “Vinny is a racer himself, so he knows what racers are looking for when it comes to high-performance polishes and detailing products. PDRA racers are known to have some of the nicest race cars and equipment in the industry, and they need high-quality products like those offered by Performance Polish to keep everything looking clean. Performance Polish is a perfect addition to the PDRA community, and we appreciate their support of the North vs. South Shootout.”

Maryland’s own Jim Halsey enters his home race as the points leader in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous. The Havre de Grace-based wheelman drove his Fulton-powered “Daddy Shark” ’68 Camaro to back-to-back wins at the last two events. He also set a new E.T. national record at the season opener and was the No. 1 qualifier at all three races. Another Maryland native, Millersville’s Fredy Scriba, sits second after charging to runner-up finishes at two of the three races in his new Musi-powered ’69 Camaro. Three-time and defending world champion Tommy Franklin is third in his Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro, while defending event champion Marcus Butner is fourth. 

Two-time WS Construction Pro Boost presented by P2 Contracting and Ty-Drive world champion Todd “King Tut” Tutterow is back on top in the supercharger-heavy class. He piloted Justin Smith’s screw-blown Quik Fuel ’69 Camaro to victories at the first and third races. He was also the No. 1 qualifier at his most recent win at Norwalk. Canada’s Spencer Hyde, who picked up his first Pro Boost win at the second race of the season at Virginia, is second in his screw-blown “Jack & The Green Stock” ’69 Camaro. World Series of Pro Mod champion Derek Ward, who set a new class E.T. record at the season opener, is third in points but still chasing his first Pro Boost victory in his screw-blown ’68 Firebird. 

With two wins and two No. 1 qualifiers, two-time Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition world champion Johnny Pluchino remains the points leader going into Maryland, a track known for Mountain Motor Pro Stock racing. Pluchino, driver of the Kaase-powered Feather-Lite Batteries ’13 Mustang, won at Maryland in 2022. Another past world champion, Chris Powers, is second in points in his Sonny’s Racing Engines ’21 Camaro with a runner-up finish at the last race. Class newcomer Daryl Stewart, who earned his first Extreme Pro Stock win at Norwalk last month, moved up to third in points in his Kaase-powered Chassis Engineering ’12 Camaro. 

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PDRA Pro 632 has seen three different winners in the first three races. Points leader and 2022 world champion Amber Franklin is still chasing her first win of the season in her Musi-powered “OG Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro, but consistent performances – two runner-up finishes and two No. 1 qualifiers – have put her in the lead. Virginia winner Doug Nicholl and his Musi-powered ’68 Camaro sit second going into Maryland. Class veteran Walter Lannigan Jr. moved up to third with his recent No. 1 qualifier and win at Norwalk driving Chris Holdorf’s Nelson-powered Dewitt Custom Concrete ’10 GTO. 

Two-time and reigning Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle world champion Chris Garner-Jones is the points leader with a win and runner-up finish aboard his T.T. Jones Racing Hayabusa. The two-time North vs. South Shootout winner leads Brunson Grothus, who won the most recent event on tour. Grothus rode Robert Varela’s turbocharged Excel ’19 Hayabusa to his first win in several years. Multi-time world champion Eric McKinney, winner of the season opener, is third on his McKinney Motorsports Hayabusa. 

Tim Essick, who built his fan-favorite, ProCharged “Brown Sugar” ’18 Mustang in his home garage just down the road in Port Tobacco, Maryland, is the points leader in Menscer Motorsports Pro Street presented by Afco Racing. The two-time world champion won at Virginia and raced to a runner-up finish at the season opener. Rookie and past Pro Jr. Dragster world champion Ethan Steding is second in his roots-blown P2 Contracting ’24 Camaro with a win at Norwalk and a No. 1 qualifier award. Another class newcomer, former Top Dragster racer Dan Norris, has driven his roots-blown ’22 Mustang to consistent late-round finishes to sit third in points. 

Afco Racing Super Street presented by Menscer Motorsports reigning world champion Blake Denton is the points leader yet again. He raced his nitrous-fed ’76 Camaro to victory at the season opener, then added a runner-up finish at Virginia. Championship runner-up Derek Mota is chasing him down in his turbocharged ’93 Mustang with a win and a runner-up finish, as well as the class E.T. record. Local standout Dan Whetstine is third in points after a runner-up finish at Norwalk in his ProCharged “Red Velvet” ’90 Mustang. 

Points battles are also developing in the PDRA’s sportsman classes, which include MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by PAR Racing Engines, Laris Motorsports Insurance Elite Top Dragster presented by Greenbrier Excavating & Paving, MagnaFuel Top Sportsman presented by Corbin’s RV, and Laris Motorsports Insurance Top Dragster presented by Younce RV. Local bracket racers will get the chance to race on the PDRA’s national stage in Edelbrock Bracket Bash presented by COMP Cams. 

Finally, close competition will take place in the Jr. Dragster classes, Coolshirt Systems Pro Jr. Dragster presented by Philadelphia Racing Products and Classic Graphix Top Jr. Dragster presented by Philadelphia Racing Products.

The North vs. South Shootout presented by Performance Polish at Maryland International Raceway will start with Thursday testing from 10 a.m. to around 6 p.m. Sportsman qualifying will begin Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Friday qualifying will begin at 9 a.m. starting with Jr. Dragster and sportsman sessions, with professional qualifying sessions set for 12 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m. On Saturday, Jr. Dragster final qualifying will kick off at 9 a.m. before going into sportsman and Jr. Dragster eliminations. Pre-race ceremonies and professional eliminations are scheduled for 2 p.m.

Tickets are available for $20 on Thursday, $25 on Friday, and $30 on Saturday. Kids 5 and under get in free, while discounted Junior tickets are also available. Tickets can be purchased at www.PDRA660.com or at the gate. 

Fans at home can watch the full event live on the official livestream through www.FloRacing.com

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This story was originally published on June 10, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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