The 2016 PDRA season opening event had an abbreviated start due to cold weather and has deferred it’s conclusion….
Mother Nature got the better of the PDRA Nationals at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park this evening, as dropping temperatures made the track too cold to safely continue elimination rounds for the all-eighth-mile Professional Drag Racers Association.
“It’s a call we never want to make, especially after all these great Oklahoma fans came out and supported us all weekend, but with the racing surface at 45 degrees and still dropping it was just getting too cold for these 200-mile-an-hour cars to safely go down the track,” PDRA Race Director Bob Harris explained. “The safety of our competitors is the number-one concern for the PDRA, so with only the semi-finals and final rounds left to run for most classes we made the tough decision to wrap them up next month at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina.”
Only the Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle and Talbert Top Jr. Dragster classes were raced to completion at Tulsa, where number-one qualifier Chris Garner-Jones prevailed on two wheels in the final over defending class champion Eric McKinney. Oklahoma’s own Brooklyn Staab won the Jr. Dragster final when Arellyn Garner-Jones was disqualified for leaving before the green light flashed.
The announcement came shortly after 8:30 p.m. that the PDRA’s Pro Extreme, Pro Nitrous and Pro Boost cars would complete their semis and finals Apr. 8th within qualifying for the PDRA Spring Nationals at Rockingham.
Left to contend the NAS Racing Pro Extreme race from Tulsa are defending class champion Jason Scruggs, number-one qualifier and new elapsed time record holder Brandon Snider, Dubai’s Khalid Al Rafaei and Mike Recchia from Chicago.
The Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous semis will be determined between top qualifier Tommy Franklin and North Carolina natives Jay Cox and Travis Harvey. Georgia’s Steve Jackson would have been the fourth semi-finalist, but his car failed to start for a solo pass in the quarter-finals.
Kevin Rivenbark, the number-one qualifier and also the new elapsed time record holder in GALOT Motorsports Pro Boost, will be joined in the semis at Rockingham by second-place starter Canada’s Melanie Salemi, South Carolina chassis builder Alan Pittman and Canada’s Paolo Giust.
Kirk Piepke of Pauls Valley, OK, and Chris Gulitti of Spring, TX, will race for the MagnaFuel Top Sportsman title in Dallas, as will local Tulsa racer Bob Henry and Mallori Rodgers of McAlester, OK, in the Lucas Oil Top Dragster final.
Prior to the postponement, some additional record runs were recorded, including Brandon Snider who ran a record setting 3.48 seconds at 219.47 mph in the second qualifying session to secure the top position in Pro Extreme racing his Q80-backed ’69 Camaro
In the third round of qualifying on Friday evening, the first pair out featured Virginia’s Tommy Franklin and Georgia’s “Stevie Fast” Jackson. Fans could feel it in the air. They were about to witness something spectacular. In The 3rd qualifying round saw Tommy Franklin and Steve Jackson record the quickest and fastest side-by-side run in the history of the Pro Nitrous class. Both ran over 203 MPH and Franklin edged out Jackson with a 3.686 elapsed time to Jackson’s 3.697.
That ET immortalized Franklin as the first-ever Flatout Gaskets Nitrous Wars Champion – which is a new trophy and program introduced at this race. It is a large nitrous bottle that recognizes the Pro Nitrous number one qualifier and givesbragging rights until the next event, in which it is to be handed off to the next pole qualifier in the PN class.
The PDRA Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway Apr. 7-9, will open with a full day of testing, three rounds of qualifying on Friday and eliminations for all classes on Saturday. Additionally, the naturally aspirated, mountain-motored Extreme Pro Stock class will make its first of five appearances this year with the PDRA.
Posted with files and photos by Ian Tocher