The Professional Drag Racers Association’s (PDRA) return to U.S. 131 in Michigan last weekend marked it’s 2015 season halfway point….
Twenty-four hours after making the first 3.60s eighth-mile pass in Pro Nitrous history to qualify first for the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) Summer Drags, Pat Stoken left U.S. 131 Motorsports Park, located halfway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo in Western Michigan, as the event winner, too.
“Wow, what a weekend. It’s like a dream; only dreams end like this,” the logging company owner from Eureka, MT, said. “To become the quickest nitrous car in the world and then to win the race, geez, it’s just unbelievable. I’m not even sure I could believe if we hadn’t just lived through it.”
Also earning pro class wins were Bader Ahli with his first in Pro Extreme, Alan Pittman in Pro Boost for the first time, Chris Garner-Jones with his second-straight race title in Pro Extreme Motorcycle and Jody Stroud in Pro Open Outlaw.
In the sportsman classes Tim Lawrence won his first PDRA Top Sportsman trophy, Joe Hessling prevailed in Top Dragster, Preston Tanner won Pro Jr. Dragster and Caleb Russell got the job done in Top Jr. Dragster. Additionally, Matt Sackman won a consolation race for non-qualifiers from the Top Sportsman and Top Dragster classes.
Pat Stoken claimed the number-one starting position in his bright orange 2014 Camaro by going an unprecedented 3.69 seconds at 201.07 mph in the third round of Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous qualifying on Friday night (June 26). For being the first to dip below 3.70 seconds he also won a $5,000 bonus paid by Bryant Crane and Rigging.
“Between Brandon Switzer and Reher-Morrison motors and Rick Jones at RJ Race Cars, everything just worked perfect this weekend; everything just came together. Everybody did an excellent job,” Stoken said.
Close behind in second at 3.70 seconds and 201.70 mph was Steve Jackson, Stoken’s eventual rival in the final round. To get there, though, Stoken first had to go through Bob Gulitti, Jim Sakuvich and Mike Castellana in the semifinals.
On the opposite side of the ladder Jackson had a free pass from round one when Keith Haney was unable to answer the call for eliminations, but blew the scoop off his ’69 Camaro with a nitrous backfire at the end of his run. With repairs made for round two, Jackson won a tight race against Jay Cox before ousting two-time defending NHRA Pro Mod champ Rickie Smith from the semis.
Stoken left first with a .029 light to Jackson’s .063 in the final and never looked back, winning in 3.75 seconds at 199.03 mph while Jackson got out of the groove and had to shut down early in order to avoid crossing the centerline.
“We were just thinking we wanted to get down the track; we didn’t want to give it away,” Stoken said later. “The track was great here all weekend and we went straight down it pretty much every time, no problems at all. This PDRA is really a great organization to race with and it was great to see the fans out here today, too. They made it a lot of fun.”
The win vaulted Stoken from 12th to eighth in season points, while Jackson moved up from seventh to third, trailing only Smith and leader Tommy Franklin.
Bader Ahli started his ’69 Camaro from the fourth position in NAS Racing Pro Extreme after running 3.52 at 212.16 mph in qualifying. Defending event champion Randell Reid qualified number one with a 3.51 at 214.39, with Jason Scruggs and Brandon Snider following in second and third, respectively.
In eliminations, Ahli opened with a fortunate free pass in round one with a traction-challenged 4.58 run at just 130 mph after Carl Stevens Jr. failed to show. A comfortable win over Duane Rister followed before Ahli took out Todd Tutterow with a sizable .068 holeshot in the semis. That paired Ahli with Mike Recchia for the final after Recchia also advanced from the semis with a holeshot victory over Snider.
The final was decided at the starting line as Recchia’s screw-blown ’69 Camaro barely moved when its transmission broke, while Ahli posted a 3.62 at 210.77 to earn his first PDRA race title.
“I was really relaxed. I felt like this race was mine. The car left good but it shook a little and I just had to ride through it,” said Ahli, who with the win took over the points lead from teammate Mustafa Buhumaid. “You need luck more than anything else to win here (PDRA), but now my car is starting to be more consistent and I think in the next five races you will see us doing better.”
It had been three years since the last time Alan Pittman visited victory lane as a driver, but he steered the roots-blown ’69 Camaro owned by Terry and Terri Green to the Precision Turbo Pro Boost title at the PDRA Summer Drags in Martin, MI.
“I won an Extreme 10.5 race here on my way to the championship in 2012, so this track has been very, very kind to me. I love coming here,” Pittman declared.
A well-known chassis builder who created the car at his shop in Greenville, SC, Pittman qualified eighth in the 16-car field with a 3.88 pass at 189.08 mph, compared to top qualifier Todd Moyer who drove his twin-turbocharged 2014 Camaro to a 3.83-seconds lap at 2015.10 mph.
Regardless, it was Pittman who reached the final round against number-three starter Jim Bell after knocking off Jason Hamstra in round one, catching a break when Jeremy Ray went red in round two, and taking out a traction-challenged Eddie Rogers in the semis.
“That one round I went up there knowing the transmission was broke, but I went ahead and staged just in case he redlit and when the tree came down I went red, but he did too, but even worse,” Pittman explained of his advancement past Ray. “That was our lucky break.”
Bell, meanwhile, beat Tylor Miller and Brian Hicks before winning with a holeshot over teammate Kevin Fiscus in the semifinals.
Unfortunately, Bell timed out at the tree in the final round, however, automatically handing the win to Pittman, who ran 3.87 at 190.68 to cap off his weekend.
“When we built this car we put a 481X motor in it, but we just put a new 526 Brad Anderson Hemi in it and came here untested,” Pittman said. “It just won the race so I think it’ll be staying in there.”
With the win, Pittman climbed from 13th to sixth in Pro Boost points, while Fiscus took over the lead from Kevin Rivenbark, who debuted a brand-new Jerry Bickel-built 2015 Corvette at the Summer Drags, where he qualified 11th, but lost a close race to a holeshot by Hicks in the opening round.
The PDRA will return to action July 16-18, with the inaugural PDRA North-South Shootout at Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek, MD.
Post & Photos by Ian Tocher
BFR Post Race Report!
BELL / FISCUS RACING (BFR) had an awesome weekend at the PDRA Summer Drags at US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan on June 26-27, 2015 as Jim Bell scored a runner up finish in the Pro Boost class and Kevin Fiscus took the lead in points.
Jim Bell, team owner, made his first qualifying pass in Pro Boost with his twin turbocharged, Pro Line Racing 481X-powered 1969 Chevrolet Camaro and clocked a 3.862 ET at 201.97 mph. He was ranked first overall, then slipped slightly down into third after running an almost identical time of 3.865 at 202.70 mph in the second round of qualifying. Bell then went 3.842 at 203.53 mph in the third and final qualifying round, and retained his position in the number three spot. Teammate Kevin Fiscus mimicked Bell’s performance very closely with his twin turbo, PLR-powered 2012 Ford Mustang. Fiscus was the number two qualified driver after round one of Pro Boost with a 3.870 at 204.92 mph pass, but moved into the lead at the end of the second round of qualifying when he went 3.840 at 205.39 mph. After the conclusion of the final round, Fiscus’ name was posted in the number two slot.
In the first round of eliminations, Bell was able to drive around Tylor Miller to take the win with a 3.865 at 202.70 mph run. Fiscus was also victorious, as he got the hole shot advantage over Tony Williams. Round two brought yet another win for Bell with a 3.892 at 203.34 mph run and a killer 0.012-second reaction time against Brian Hicks, who red lit. Fiscus, too, was successful and took out Andy Jensen, with a 3.836 at 205.29 mph hit. In the semi-finals, the ladder resulted in the two Bell/Fiscus Racing drivers being paired against one another. Bell had a great launch off the line and cut a 0.013-second light which gave him a big advantage over Fiscus. Bell held the lead all the way to the stripe and triggered the win lights in his lane. The race couldn’t have been any closer, as Bell crossed the finish line just four inches ahead of Fiscus with a 0.001-second margin of victory! Bell was confident that he was going to be the Pro Boost winner with his solid performances and great lights in his march to the finals but, unfortunately, it was not meant to be. In the finals, both Bell and Alan Pittman pre-staged, and then Pittman moved in quickly and lit the stage bulb. Bell flickered the stage bulb but waited just a touch too long to bump in again and got timed out which resulted in a red light and automatic win for Pitman.
“I couldn’t be happier with how this weekend turned out,” said Bell. “Yeah, it’s a bummer that I timed out in the finals, but for both Kevin and me to have qualified so well and to have made it so far in eliminations – especially with Kevin having the quickest and fastest run of the weekend – is really rewarding.” In addition to Bell’s runner up finish in Pro Boost, Fiscus also set the low ET and Top Speed of the weekend for the class with his 3.836 at 205.39 mph run in two of eliminations. Fiscus is also the new Pro Boost series championship points leader with five of ten races now completed, while Bell is ranked third in the series.
Both Bell and Fiscus will be competing in the Pro Mod class at the 9th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio on July 2-5, 2015 as the Bell/Fiscus Racing team continues their 23-race commitment for the 2015 season.
Posted by: Ainsley Jacobs
Photo by: Bruce Biegler