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WSOPM Winner Derek Ward Sets New PDRA Pro Boost Record With 3.555-Second Blast

Tara Bowker photo

Just a month after winning the $100,000 Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod, Derek Ward added another achievement to his 2024 scorecard by setting a new Pro Boost national E.T. record in his screw-blown ’68 Firebird. Racing against 2023 WSOPM champion Spencer Hyde in a special grudge race at the end of the final qualifying session at the Summit Racing Equipment PDRA East Coast Nationals presented by FuelTech, Ward charged to a 3.555 at 211.76 to win the grudge match, set the record, and take the No. 1 qualifier award over a field that saw eight other drivers dip into the 3.50s. 

“It’s incredible,” said Ward, who backed up the record with his 3.587 in the second session. “We’ve got a race car right now, and I’ve got to give props to G-Force Race Cars and Resolution Racing Services – Jon and Jim [Salemi] – and MSR [Mike Stawicki Racing] for the motors. They’ve got a killer package. It’s one of the best cars out here. It runs great out the back. It’s just a very powerful car we have right now. I knew if it goes down, we were gonna put up a number. I wasn’t expecting a .55.”

Running the record and finishing ahead of Hyde in the grudge race added an exclamation point to the statement Ward and his team made at the WSOPM. The 2023 NEOPMA champion is determined to make more statements this season, including getting his first Pro Boost win. 

“We just won this year’s [WSOPM] championship, and to beat last year’s champion, we definitely have a good car, and we’re here to stay to hopefully win some more races,” Ward said. “We’ll take it day by day, but it’s racing. Anything can happen, that’s for sure.”

Two-time world champion Todd Tutterow, who’s returning to the driver’s seat after a one-year hiatus, drove car owner Justin Smith’s screw-blown QuikFuel ’69 Camaro to a 3.584 at 212.06 to qualify No. 2. Hyde, who laid down a 3.586 at 212.13 alongside Ward, qualified third in his screw-blown “Jack & The Green Stock” ’69 Camaro. 

Tutterow’s teammate, Kurt Steding, just missed the top three with his 3.586 at 210.05 in his screw-blown P2 Contracting ’69 Camaro, but it was quick enough to get the Boost Wars engine builder challenge win for Team WYO Motorsports over Melanie Salemi, who had to lift to a 3.786. 

This story was originally published on April 6, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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