Past Pro Nitrous world champion Jason Harris broke a long winless streak during the PDRA’s event in Western Michigan….

Harris,  raced the “Party Time” ’69 Camaro to a meaningful final-round win at the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) Summer Drags at US 131 Motorsports Park.

Joining Harris in the winner’s circle as past PDRA event winners were Terry Leggett in Bryant Industrial Pro Extreme presented by Pro Line and Eric McKinney in Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle. The PDRA’s other professional classes crowned first-time winners: Chuck Ulsch in Moroso Pro Boost, John DeFlorian Jr. in Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock, and Mike Oldham in East Side Auto Transport Pro Outlaw 632.

In the PDRA’s sportsman classes, the winners were Glen Teets III in MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman, Dennis Gaboriault in Top Sportsman 32, Al Peavlor in Lucas Oil Elite Top Dragster and Nick Reavis in Top Dragster 32. Chris Ruzicka defeated Jake Foster in an Ohio vs. Michigan final round in Coolshirt Pro Jr. Dragster, with Ruzicka running 7.917 to Foster’s 7.919, both on a 7.90 dial-in. Defending Gilbert Motorsports Top Jr. Dragster world champion Brayden Davis was defeated in the final round by Arellyn Garner-Jones when he broke out and Garner-Jones ran 8.169 on her 8.10 dial-in. Holland, Michigan’s Kenneth Bosh won the Edelbrock Bracket Bash with a 5.572 on a 5.54 dial-in over a red-lighting Bob Payton.

Canadian Pro Nitrous driver Scott Blake, who experienced a violent on-track incident during Friday qualifying, was released from an area hospital Saturday and briefly returned to the track before heading home  to start his recovery.  Blake, from Red Deer, AB, experienced a violent on-track incident during the third qualifying session when his ’69 Camaro impacted the retaining walls on both sides of the track and was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.

PRO NITROUS — After winning six of eight final rounds and securing the 2014 Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous presented by MoTeC world championship in the PDRA’s inaugural season, Jason Harris has struggled to return to the winner’s circle in the Boone-Harris Racing ’69 Camaro. Harris earned the final-round win on the starting line, using a substantial holeshot advantage and 3.724-second pass at 201.52 mph to defeat No. 2 qualifier Jim Halsey’s 3.674 at 205.39.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Harris, a past Martin event champion. “We’ve struggled for the last couple years. We’ve got a good package and a good team put together right now with Danny Perry and the Boone family. Everybody’s really been standing by me, even through my bad years. It seems like we’ve always been a bridesmaid, never the bride. We came here and consistency was the key. We weren’t the fastest car all weekend, other than the No. 1 qualifier, but we stayed consistent between .72-.74 all weekend.”

Jason Harris had a nice victory in the Pro Nitrous class category

Harris, a former Top Dragster wheelman, offered appreciation for his longtime supporters and dedicated the race win to his team partner’s late son-in-law.

“I’ve really gotta thank my wife, Crystal, as well as my sponsors Hoosier Tire, Walker Auto Parts and Mid-Atlantic Construction for standing behind me,” Harris said. “All these guys have stuck with me through the bad times. Finally, we got to some good times.

“This one is for Harold Denton – it’s been a long time since he put up a win. Also, the Boone family suffered a really bad loss recently. They lost their son-in-law, so that’s why they’re not up here. They stand behind me through the good and the bad, so this one is for Matt, their son-in-law.”

Harris’ Musi-powered “Party Time” Camaro was the picture of consistency through qualifying and eliminations. He earned the No. 1 spot and drove to a 3.745 over Todd Fontana, 3.747 on a holeshot over Jay Cox and 3.742 over John Hall in the semifinals. Halsey in his Brandon Switzer-tuned Yellowbullet Nationals ’68 Camaro powered to round wins over Matt Guenther, Chris Rini and Lizzy Musi.

PRO BOOST — Appearing in his third Pro Boost final round in as many races, Chuck Ulsch was due for a win in his Roots-blown ’68 Camaro. The former Outlaw 10.5 star earned his way to the final round with a string of progressively quicker 3.7-second passes, but a lucky break helped him secure his first PDRA 660 Man trophy. Final-round opponent Andy Jensen crept through the staging beams before the tree activated, then Ulsch went into tire shake shortly after his side of the tree dropped. He lit up the scoreboard with a 4.977 at 101.03.

Former Outlaw 10.5 star racer Chuck Ulsch (far lane) won in Pro Boost

“For us to be in three finals at the first three races of the year, this is really a dream come true,” said Ulsch. “We ran one PDRA race last year before we decided to run over here this year. We certainly didn’t expect to go to the first three finals. I was starting to think this win wasn’t going to happen, but it just started coming together this race. I guess the third time’s the charm.”

Ulsch, the No. 7 qualifier, ran 3.79 over Paolo Guist and 3.779 over Raymond Commisso before he used a .004 reaction time and 3.759 to beat Ric Fleck’s 3.755 in the semifinals. Jensen in his turbocharged, small-block-Chevy-powered ’68 Camaro posted round wins over James Beadling, Mike Yedgarian and No. 1 qualifier Tommy D’Aprile in prior rounds.

PRO EXTREME — Terry “Legbone” Leggett, racing as the No. 1 qualifier for the second consecutive race, was surprised when his screw-blown ’71 Mustang lost traction on his first-round competition bye run. Leggett came back for the final round and improved to a 3.568 at 216.03, defeating a red-lighting Adam Flamholc and his 3.650 at 210.38.

Terry Leggett (far lane) won his 2nd PDRA race of the season when he stopped Sweden’s Adam Flamhoc in the P/X final round.

“We thought we were invincible going into first round,” Leggett said. “We’d made clean runs every pass until then and we had all the faith in the world that we’d do it again. We just got a little too aggressive. When it got cooler and the sun got off the track, it was easier to go faster. I think we could’ve went right back up there after we didn’t go down and run a .59 or .60. But it was good the way it all worked out.”

Flamholc’s final-round ET was a repeat of the 3.650 at 210.77 he recorded in the first round. He was unopposed in his 5-Days Shutters & Blinds ’63 Corvette, as Scott Farley was unable to return to competition after damaging his ’70 Camaro during qualifying.

Grudge Match to D’Aprile — Friday’s event schedule included Tommy D’Aprile qualifying No. 1 spot for the third time in as many races after piloting tuner Al Billes’ supercharged ’69 Camaro to a 3.719 at 199.12 in the final qualifying session. 

With that run he finished just ahead of Randy Weatherford and his 3.747 at 200.89 in the “Bottles vs. Blowers” grudge race between Pro Boost and Pro Nitrous final qualifying sessions. D’Aprile’s win resulted in a $1,000 donation to his favorite charity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, courtesy of Weatherford and WS Construction.

Tommy D’April prevailed over Randy Weatherford in the Pro Boost “Blowers vs Bottles” qualifying attraction

XPS winner – John DeFlorian

Photos by Roger Richards – Posted by Nate Van Wagnen