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Tony Gillig’s Career-Best 4.027-second Effort Sets Pace in PDRA Extreme Pro Stock

At last year’s American Doorslammer Challenge, Tony Gillig was the provisional Friday No. 1 qualifier in Extreme Pro Stock before his top spot was taken away on Saturday. This time around, he recorded a career-best 4.027 at 179.90 in his Kaase-powered Dayco ’10 GXP to lock in his first PDRA low qualifier award and first overall No. 1 qualifier spot in 26 years.

“We came off the trailer and just shook the back window out of the car,” Gillig said. “You get behind the eight ball. What are you going to do now? So we made some changes and went up there in Q2 and made a pretty good run. I was pretty shocked to see how fast it went. That [180.12] was a career best for us, then I went that [4.049] and then just now going .02 is huge. I was shocked, honestly. You know you have the power and the car to do it, but it’s always making the right call at the right time. Sometimes you don’t, sometimes you do. We were lucky enough today to make the right calls and go out there and lay one down.”

Ten of the 16 Extreme Pro Stock drivers recorded passes in the 4.00-second range, with numerous drivers also making their career-best passes. That means Gillig will face a competitive field on race day, but he has a quick car – and history – on his side.

“My only low qualifier was Bristol ‘97 in IHRA Pro Stock, and I won that race from the pole,” said Gillig, who thanked partners like Dayco, Right Trailers, Ron’s R&B Auto Body, Jon Kaase Racing Engines, Jerry Haas Race Cars, Ram Clutches, Hoosier Tires, and Race Star Wheels. “It was my first national event and that was 26 years ago. So it’s been a little bit of a drought for a No. 1 qualifier, but that was never our strong suit, really. We always did better on race day. Hopefully [Saturday] that’s the case. We’re pretty excited.”

In the final round of the Horsepower Wars engine builders challenge, Johnny Pluchino picked up four points for Team Kaase when he won with a 4.077 at 179.16 in his $hameless Racing ’13 Mustang. Opponent Elijah Morton, representing Team Allen, got timed out on the starting line.

Two Florida-based Extreme Pro Stock rookies, Alan Drinkwater and Daryl Stewart, filled out the other top three qualifying spots behind Gillig. Drinkwater posted a 4.045 at 178.17 in his Kaase-powered Mustang to qualify second, with Stewart’s 4.048 at 178.05 in his Sonny’s-powered Chassis Engineering ’18 Camaro giving him the No. 3 spot.

This story was originally published on May 27, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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