Drag racing’s premium 1/8th mile circuit headed to far Western Michigan for their annual touchdown at US 131 Motorsports Park…
Pro Nitrous racer Jay Cox earned his second consecutive event win during last weekend’s 3rd annual Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) Summer Drags at US 131 Motorsports Park. Frankie Taylor and John Strickland also prevailed with Pro wins for the marquee fast door slammer orientated racing group.
PRO EXTREME — The NAS Racing Pro Extreme final round featured two of the strongest competitors in the all-eighth-mile series’ quickest and fastest class. Number one qualifier Brandon Snider seemed to have the advantage heading into the final round, but Frankie “Mad Man” Taylor stepped up on the starting line to beat Snider’s 3.54 elapsed time with a 3.57. The margin of victory was .0000, or less than one inch.
“That was crazy, huh? Frankie stole it. I put it in deep and just happened to let go of the button at the right time. My brother (Paul Taylor) put a good tune-up in the thing to where it would go down the track,” noted Taylor, who qualified third with a 3.58 at 209.79 mph.
Taylor’s Corvette started eliminations with a safe 3.65 first-round win over Monte Grace, then dipped back into the fifties to beat logger Terry Leggett. A weekend-best 3.57 earned him a semifinal win over PX points leader Jason Scruggs, who beat Taylor in the final round at the PDRA Texas Nationals last month. The final round against Snider was easily the best race of the weekend, if not one of the best races in the three-year history of the PDRA.
“It was pretty exciting. I didn’t see his car. Usually I can see when we’re side-by-side. I was hoping maybe he hit the tires or something. I saw his scoreboard come up with a 3.54 and I looked up to see what mine ran. It went 3.57 and I was like, how come my win light is on? I said he must have redlighted or something, but they told me I won on a holeshot. I was pretty excited,” Taylor exclaimed.
The patriarch of one of the great racing families in the PDRA, Taylor thanked his brother and tuner Paul, wife Cindy, daughter Emily, crew member Jeremy, and son Scottie, who was actually the first Taylor to win a PDRA race.
“I’ve won in the ADRL, I’ve won in the XDRL, I’ve won across the pond over in Qatar, but this is my first win with the PDRA. My boy, Scottie, has two of them (in Junior Dragster). I finally got one.”
PRO NITROUS — The final round in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous presented by MoTeC was like a repeat of the final round from the Dallas race in May when Jay Cox defeated Stevie “Fast” Jackson. This time, Jackson gave away the race on the starting line when he left too soon. Cox was ready for a race, though, as he laid down a 3.75 at 199.29.
“I like racing Stevie. He’s a great guy. I really get pumped up when I’m running against him. I like all of his guys that work with him. I enjoy it. It’s just a good old country boy hoedown when me and him get up there. You never know what’s going to happen.”
While no one knew what was going to happen, it was safe to assume the pair of orange 1969 Camaros would put on a close race. After all, Cox drove his Charlie Buck Racing Engines-powered Bryant Industrial Crane & Rigging entry to prior round wins over Pro Nitrous hitters Jason Harris, Tommy Franklin, and Lizzy Musi before facing Jackson.
“Man, it’s huge.” Cox said of his second consecutive victory. “We fought this thing all year last year. Before you can win, you’ve gotta’ learn how not to lose. That’s the biggest thing. We learned a lot in Dallas. In Dallas we hurt this motor and I should’ve lost. I really didn’t deserve to win. Tonight, that’s probably the biggest thing I was proud of. We stayed with our game plan, kept the motor happy, and didn’t hurt nothing.”
PRO BOOST – North Carolina-based GALOT Motorsports experienced two “firsts” this weekend, as John Strickland scored his first-ever GALOT Motorsports Park Pro Boost win. However, that meant teammate Kevin Rivenbark didn’t win for the first time this year.
Rivenbark and Strickland were on opposite sides of the eliminations ladder, setting up the possibility of a third all-GALOT final, but Rivenbark’s 2015 Corvette slowed in the second round to Gary White. Strickland went on to exact revenge on White in the final round, though a dead battery prevented White’s EKanoo Racing Toyota GT86 from making a run. The GALOT 1969 Camaro ran a 3.82 at 196.76 on a single run.
“We had confidence that we were going to get around Gary, but anything could happen. We really hated that he didn’t get to run. We would’ve loved for them to be able to make a pass, but we’ll take the win however we can get it. We’re tickled to have it,” beamed Strickland. This was the first-ever drag racing win in general for Strickland, who also competes on the national tractor pulling scene for GALOT team owners Earl and Peggy Wells.
Also winning eliminators at the 3rd annual Summer Drags was Kuwait’s native Meshal Alsaber in the Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle category. Mick Snyder won Top Sportsman and Craig Sullivan claiming a Top Dragster win. Michiganders Libby Ledford and Alex Kish picked up the wins in Pro Junior Dragster and Top Junior Dragster, respectively.
The Extreme Pro Stock class rejoined the series regulars for their second race of 2016, with New York’s John Pluchino coming out on top racing his Mountain-motored Ford Mustang. Canadian-based driver Frank Pompilio drove his turbocharged ’67 Mustang to the win in the DiSomma Racing Engines Outlaw 10.5 class competition which made it’s 2016 PDRA event debut.
Posted with files by Nate Van Wagnen and Bruce Biegler
Photos by Bruce Biegler