Even though an off-track accident has temporarily kicked Tommy Franklin out of the driver’s seat, the two-time Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous world champion is leading the way in the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) Structural Concrete Nitrous Wars, a bonus program rewarding Pro Nitrous top performers and their engine builders.
Franklin’s Pat Musi Racing Engines-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro has qualified No. 1 at three of the first four races of the PDRA’s eight-race 2022 season. At the most recent race, fill-in driver Buddy Perkinson took the Jungle Rat to the top spot.
“It’s very rewarding just because I know what we race against,” said Franklin, who is third in points. “Jim Halsey, Jay Cox, Mike Achenbach, Chris Rini – they’re all strong. To outqualify those cars feels good. It’s always a win to be able to do that because this is one of the toughest classes out here. It feels good to do well for Pat Musi and his team because they give us such great power.”
The Structural Concrete Nitrous Wars trophy is a specially branded nitrous bottle that’s handed off to the latest Pro Nitrous low qualifier at each of the eight races on the PDRA tour. At the end of the season, the driver with the most No. 1 qualifiers takes home the bottle and their engine builder is also named the Nitrous Wars champion.
Franklin led qualifying at the Vortech Superchargers Doorslammer Derby presented by Stroud Safety in late April, where he ran a 3.689 and 204.73. He posted a 3.686 at 204.98 at the DeCerbo Construction American Doorslammer Challenge presented by Callies Performance in late May, where he also won the race. With Perkinson filling in as the driver at the recent North vs. South Shootout presented by Line-X and Iron Man Quick Connect Push Bar, the Tommy Franklin Motorsports entry led the field with a 3.693 and 204.32.
“Structural Concrete Nitrous Wars is a great race-within-a-race program that the PDRA has had for numerous years in the Pro Nitrous category,” said Tyler Crossnoe, race director, PDRA. “The bragging rights and the muscle flexing of the Pro Nitrous racers to hold on to the coveted bottle is always a good time. Fulton has had a strangle hold on the title for the last two years, but ‘Popeye’ Pat Musi has a point to prove so far this season with three top qualifying efforts in four races. This is far from over with four more races to go in the season as others will try to chase down Pat Musi Racing Engines’ quest to grab the Nitrous Wars title back in 2022.”
Three-time and defending world champion Jim Halsey, who won the last two Structural Concrete Nitrous Wars titles for engine builder Gene Fulton and Fulton Competition Engines, also scored a point with his No. 1 qualifying effort in his “Daddy Shark” ’68 Camaro at the season-opening East Coast Nationals presented by FuelTech.
Structural Concrete Nitrous Wars will continue at the next race on the PDRA tour, the Drag 965 Summer Shootout presented by Classic Graphix, July 14-16 at Virginia Motorsports Park in Dinwiddie, Virginia.