After two more rounds of qualifying Saturday for the 2nd annual Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) Spring Nationals, there were no changes at the top of the pro class lists at North Carolina’s historic Rockingham Dragway. However, both sportsman classes saw the number two qualifiers from Friday’s two sessions step up to take over the top spot for eliminations. Additionally, one round of eliminations for all classes were completed Saturday night with the remainder of the race scheduled for completion on Sunday.
Rookie driver Tricia Musi, whose 2009 Stratus broke on the line for Friday night’s session, made a statement Saturday morning when she ran a potential record 3.90 seconds at 193.07 mph to oust veteran Ronnie Davis from the number-one position in MagnaFuel Top Sportsman. She would have needed to back up her elapsed time within one percent during the event to secure the official record, but a red-light start in the opening round of racing against Glenn Butcher ended her weekend.
Musi still left “The Rock” as a winner, though, by defeating 2014 class champion Dan Ferguson in the final of a special Chassis Engineering shootout for the top four Top Sportsman qualifiers. “This is only my second race so I’m pretty happy to already win something,” she said. “Next race I’m going to go for the record, too.”
In Dart Top Dragster qualifying, Bob Sheridan Jr. leapfrogged over Friday leader Craig Sullivan with a 3.92-seconds blast at 178.71 mph in the morning session.
Also scoring on Saturday night was number-one starter Shannon Smith in the special South East Gassers exhibition as he drove his “Pale Rider” ’55 Chevy to a final-round win over Tim Bailey and his “Alley Cat” ’41 Willys.
Meanwhile, Jason Scruggs remained atop the NAS Racing Pro Extreme order with a 3.54 run at 217.42 mph in his ’69 Camaro, but was eliminated from round one of racing when his supercharger drive belt broke during the burnout. That allowed the Dominican Republic’s Jose Gonzalez to advance to round two on Sunday, where he’ll face off against Mike Recchia.
Also advancing were Terry Leggett after posting a personal best 3.55 at 215.27, North Carolina’s own Todd Tutterow, defending class champ Bubba Stanton, Sweden’s Adam Flamholc, and Dubai drivers Mohammed Buhumaid and Badir Ahli, who will race each other.
In Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous, top qualifier Jay Cox set low ET of the meet so far with a 3.72 win to send him to round two against Chris Rini, while reigning champion Jason Harris will race past class champion Mike Castellana.
On the other side of the ladder, current back-to-back NHRA Pro Mod champ Rickie Smith will go up against past Pro Nitrous champ Stevie Jackson and Travis Harvey will face John Camp, who outran number-two qualifier and season-opening race winner Tommy Franklin in the first round.
Precision Turbo Pro Boost number-one qualifier Anthony Disomma also went quicker and faster in the first round of racing with a 3.79 pass at 213.33 mph to beat Jim Bell and reach Tylor Miller on Sunday morning. Also advancing were Rick Fleck, Brian Hicks, teammates Kevin Rivenbark and John Strickland, who will race one another, and Jeremy Ray, who will race Kevin Fiscus, winner of the PDRA’s 2015 season opener last month in Texas.
Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle rider Eric McKinney continued the trend of top qualifiers going quicker and faster in eliminations with a 4.04 pass at 177.88 against a redlighting Wes Hawkins. McKinney, the defending class champion will race Travis Davis, while Dave Norris takes on Chuck Wilborn, number-two starter Casey Stemper will race Bay Bay Yarborough, and Ron Procopio will suit up against Ricardo Knights.
The new Powershield Pro Open Outlaw class featured an eight-car field, so it will already be down to the semi-finals when racing resumes on Sunday. Number-one starter Phil Esz will race Jody Stroud with the winner to face either Eddie Lykins or Mark McElwee for the Spring Nationals title.
The rare, three-day PDRA event at ‘The Rock’ will resume at 11 a.m. Sunday with final eliminations. In addition to the PDRA pro and sportsman classes, kids aged 8-17 will compete in two Jr. Dragster classes sponsored by Huddleston Performance.