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Red Line Oil PDRA Drag Racing Series Returns to Norwalk for American Doorslammer Challenge

Tara Bowker photo

Summit Motorsports Park, one of the premier dragstrips in the world, will play host to the third of eight races on the 2024 Red Line Oil PDRA Drag Racing Series schedule this weekend, the Smokies Garage American Doorslammer Challenge presented by Callies Performance. Racers in professional, sportsman, and Jr. Dragster categories from up and down the East Coast and throughout the Midwest will converge on the Norwalk, Ohio, facility May 23-25 for a Memorial Day Weekend celebration of speed. 

“Summit Motorsports Park is an incredible place to have a drag race,” said Tyler Crossnoe, series director, PDRA. “Bill Bader Jr. and his whole team are some of the best in the business, and they provide our racers with a world-class experience. Fans also love Norwalk. This is an area that has grown to love Pro Modified racing over the last couple decades. The fans are in for a show this weekend. Along with our touring regulars, we’re looking forward to seeing many of our part-time racers who join us when we’re in this part of the country.”

Four-time Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous world champion Jim Halsey rolls into Norwalk as the points leader after getting his first win of the season at the last stop on tour, the Mid-Atlantic Showdown at Virginia Motorsports Park. Racing his new Fulton-powered “Daddy Shark” ’68 Camaro, Halsey defeated Tommy Franklin in the final round. Franklin, the defending event winner and defending world champion, is second in points in his Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro. Fredy Scriba, who’s on the cusp of his first Pro Nitrous win, is just a few points behind Franklin in his Musi-powered ’69 Camaro.

Spencer Hyde, who counts Norwalk as his home track on the PDRA tour, is the points leader in WS Construction Pro Boost presented by P2 Contracting and Ty-Drive after earning his first career Pro Boost win at Virginia in his Stratford, Ontario-based, screw-blown “Jack & The Green Stock” ’69 Camaro. Fellow World Series of Pro Mod champion Derek Ward sits half a round behind him with a pair of semifinal finishes and the national E.T. record in his screw-blown ’68 Firebird. Buffalo-based Pro Boost standout Melanie Salemi is third in Eddie Whelan’s screw-blown Al-Lee Installations ’23 Camaro after qualifying No. 1 and reaching the final round at the last race. 

Two-time Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition world champion Johnny Pluchino is off to a dominant start to the year with back-to-back wins in his Kaase-powered Feather-Lite Batteries ’13 Mustang. Fellow past world champions Steven Boone and Chris Powers follow Pluchino in the points standings. Boone in his Allen-powered ’07 Cobalt was the runner-up at the season opener, while Powers in his Sonny’s Racing Engines ’21 Camaro has collected numerous round wins at both races so far. 

Michigan’s Doug Nicholl, who reached his first PDRA Pro 632 final round at Norwalk last season, enters the American Doorslammer Challenge in the points lead. He drove his Musi-powered ’68 Camaro to victory at Virginia to lead 2022 world champion Amber Franklin in the points. Franklin in her Musi-powered “OG Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro was the runner-up to Nicholl and has qualified No. 1 at both races this season. Newcomer Andy House, who won in his debut at the season opener, is third in points with Meade Baldwin’s Southern Diamond Company ’69 Camaro. 

Tim Essick, the 2021-2022 world champion in Menscer Motorsports Pro Street presented by Afco Racing, is back on top in his ProCharged “Brown Sugar” ’18 Mustang with a win and a runner-up finish. Defending event champion Scott Kincaid, whose five-race winning streak ended at Virginia, is a couple rounds behind Essick in his screw-blown ’69 Camaro. Michigan-based former Top Dragster racer Dan Norris and his roots-blown ’22 Mustang sit third thanks to two semifinal finishes. 

In Afco Racing Super Street presented by Menscer Motorsports, reigning world champion Blake Denton and championship runner-up Derek Mota are back in a points battle. Denton in his nitrous-fed ’76 Camaro won the season opener then was runner-up at Virginia. Mota bounced back from a semifinal finish at the season opener by winning Virginia and lowering the national E.T. record in his turbocharged ’93 Mustang. Matt Schalow is third in points with a runner-up finish and a semifinal exit in his nitrous-fed ’00 Camaro. 

The Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle category had a weekend off at the last race and will rejoin the tour for their second race of the season at Norwalk. Ohio’s own Eric McKinney, a multi-time world champion, won the season opener aboard his McKinney Motorsports Hayabusa. He rolls into Norwalk as the points leader ahead of two-time and reigning world champion Chris Garner-Jones and returning rider/tuner Brad McCoy. 

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Strong fields in the sportsman classes are expected, with a mix of Midwest racers joining the PDRA’s usual touring competitors in 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. Edelbrock Bracket Bash presented by COMP Cams will give local bracket racers the opportunity to compete on the PDRA’s national stage. 

The PDRA’s Jr. Dragster classes, Coolshirt Systems Pro Jr. Dragster presented by Philadelphia Racing Products and Classic Graphix Top Jr. Dragster presented by Philadelphia Racing Products, also usually attract plenty of young racers from Ohio and surrounding states at Norwalk. 

The Smokies Garage American Doorslammer Challenge presented by Callies Performance at Summit Motorsports Park 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.

This story was originally published on May 20, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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