Scenic Maryland International Raceway hosted the inaugural PDRA North-South Shootout event last weekend….
A parade of familiar faces made its way through victory lane at Maryland International Raceway (MDIR) Saturday night after a long, hot weekend of eighth-mile drag racing in the inaugural NAS Racing PDRA North-South Shootout. Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) superstar star Jason Scruggs led the march with his third NAS Racing Pro Extreme event title this year.
“Everybody I ran today was tough; there are no easy rounds in Pro Extreme anymore,” Scruggs said after defeating Lorenzo “Killer” Brooks, Mustafa Buhumaid, Wesley Jones and Badir Ahli in the final. “I was a little late on the tree against Mustafa, so I guess that was my lucky round, but other than that everything went pretty much like we hoped it would.”
Also getting multiple pro class wins for the year were Rickie Smith with his second in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous, Anthony Disomma with his second Precision Turbo Pro Boost title, Chris Garner-Jones with his third-in-a-row Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle crown, and Phil Esz, who also won for the second time in Toefco Pro Open Outlaw competition.
In the PDRA sportsman classes Randy Perkinson won his first MagnaFuel Top Sportsman trophy, while Jordan Wood won a consolation race for Top Sportsman non-qualifiers. Meanwhile, Justin Melton prevailed in Dart Top Dragster, Tia Tutterow won her first Huddleston Performance Pro Jr. Dragster title and Tyler Colbert got the job done in Huddleston Top Jr. Dragster. Additionally, in the first of two special appearances with the PDRA this year by the Disomma Racing Engines Outlaw 10.5 class, Canada’s Jerry Mitrovic took the trophy home to Toronto.
PRO EXTREME :
In hot, humid conditions that extended throughout the event, Scruggs struggled to gain a grip on the MDIR strip during Thursday’s pre-race practice session, but once qualifying began on Friday the Saltillo, MS-based soy bean and cotton farmer found his stride.
“I blew the tires off right away in Q1, which is unusual for me, so I was a little concerned there, but we got it together for the second round. The track temperature was changing a lot; it was 120 degrees, 125, 140, back to 120, just going all over the place and I was always one side or the other from where I really need to be,” Scruggs explained. “I kept teasing it, but I knew if I went up there enough times that eventually I’d get it.”
Scruggs did eventually start from the number-one position in the 16-car Pro Extreme field after taking his screw-blown ’69 Camaro for a 3.53-seconds ride at 217.32 mph. Just seven-thousandths of a second behind was Terry Leggett and his ’71 Mustang, followed by Florida’s Tommy D’Aprile with a career-best 3.55 in Mel Bush’s 2015 Corvette.
Brooks got away first in the opening stanza and laid down a career-best 3.96, but it was no match for Scruggs, who set low ET and top speed for the round with a 3.60 at 214.11-mph pass. Next up was Buhumaid, who strapped a .033 holeshot on Scruggs then ran a game 3.63, but again with the best pass of the round at 3.56 and 215.68 mph, Scruggs advanced to the semis where he left first with an impressive .013 light and once more made the quickest and fastest pass at 3.54 and 216.24 mph.
That left only the final against Buhumaid’s NAS Racing teammate Ahli, where again with the holeshot and again going quicker and faster, Scruggs capped off a dominating performance with a 3.53-seconds run at 216.55 to defeat Ahli’s also solid 3.56 effort at 211.63 mph.
PRO NITROUS :
The Pro Nitrous finale in Maryland featured the best of the NHRA facing off against the best of the PDRA as two-time defending NHRA Pro Mod champion Rickie Smith went up against defending PDRA Pro Nitrous champ Jason Harris for the second time in a final round this year. And just like back in April at the second event of the season at Rockingham, NC, Smith came out the winner.
After starting from eighth place on the qualifying list, Smith caught a break in the first round when both he and opponent Johnny Camp got loose at the top end, but “Tricky Rickie” recovered enough that his off-the-pace 4.19 at 171.34 advanced him to the quarter finals. There, he used a sizable .067 holeshot to get around Jim Sackuvich’s quicker and faster 3.82 at 198.26 with a 3.84 pass at 196.96 mph. In the semis, Smith took the win over “Stevie Fast” Jackson–fresh off a big grudge match win over Pro Nitrous rival Travis Harvey the previous night–when Jackson drifted close to the wall and mustered a 3.86 at 190.40 to Smith’s solid 3.82 at 196.93 combination.
On the opposite side of the ladder, Harris (who after winning six races last year on his way to the championship is still looking for win number one in 2015), marched his way from the 11th starting spot through Keith Haney, Jay Cox (with a holeshot), and Pat Stoken, winner of the previous PDRA race last month in Michigan.
With a 3.78 win in the semis over a redlighting Stoken, Harris securely held lane choice for the final, but a .074 light doomed his 3.77 at 199.14 from the start as Smith countered with a .034 reaction time leading into a 3.80 at 197.42 mph that translated to a nine-thousandths of a second margin of victory 660 feet later at the finish line.
“I left the tune-up alone. The track got better, the air got a little better and you might put a little bit more nitrous pressure in there, but it was exactly the same tune-up that I had in it for the semis,” Smith said about the 903 c.i. Pat Musi motor in his IDG-backed ’69 Camaro. “I’m the kind of person that I don’t get crazy on the tune-up, I don’t burn the motors up. I just put in it what I think it’ll take to win; that’s the way I race.”
With his second win in three PDRA finals this year, Smith also took over the points lead with four races remaining.
In his return to racing after damaging the engine in his ’67 Mustang while winning the Pro Boost final at Rockingham, NC, in April, Anthony Disomma won from the pole position at the PDRA North-South Shootout in Maryland.
“We changed over to the 88-millimeter turbos from the 94s when they (PDRA) changed the rules; we decided to go to the 88s and keep the weight off the car. It was a struggle at the beginning because they’re a lot different, but it seemed to work out,” Disomma said.
Qualified with a 3.84 pass at 203.03 mph, the South Plainfield, NJ-based race engine builder ran 3.90 at 201.82 to beat Jeremy Ray and his blown ’57 Chevy in round one, then doused the hopes of Kevin McCurdy in his supercharged ’68 Camaro with a 3.87 at 201.25 in round two. In the semis Disomma took on Tommy “The Undertaker” Gray and his roots-blown ’06 Corvette and won again with another consistent 3.88 at 199.49 mph.
Meanwhile, sixth-place starter Paolo Giust from Osgoode, Ontario, overcame a near-perfect .001 reaction time by Tylor Miller in the opening round to post a 3.95 win with his new, supercharged 2015 Corvette before taking out Bill Meadows and David Monday to reach the final round against good friend Disomma.
With only a thousandth separating them in reaction times, Disomma and Giust streaked away from the starting line as if welded together, but 3.84 seconds and an eighth-mile later Disomma crossed the finish line at 199.76 mph to defeat Giust’s 3.87 pass at 190.48 mph–his best run of the weekend.
“The turbo cars are a little lazier on the bottom and he got out on me a little, but then I started pulling on him,” Disomma recalled of the final. “But I was thinking, ‘I hope I’ve got enough, I hope I’ve got enough.’ I was worried I was going to run out of race track before I caught him and obviously I did, but it was really close.”
Post and photos by: Ian Tocher
BFR MIR Post Race – Fiscus Retains Points Lead
BELL / FISCUS RACING (BFR) qualified at the top of the pack in the Pro Boost class at the PDRA North-South Shootout at Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek, Maryland on July 16-18, 2015 and Kevin Fiscus retained his lead in championship points.
Pro Boost qualifying began on Friday afternoon, and Kevin Fiscus’ first hit with his twin turbo, PLR-powered 2012 Ford Mustang resulted in some tire shake early on in the run. Fiscus pedaled briefly, and was able to drive through the shake to pilot the Mustang to a 3.926 at 203.09 mph pass in the heat of the day to end up second after Q1. He slipped into fourth after Q2, despite a slight improvement with a 3.925 at 203.58 mph run. Fiscus improved again in Q3, and his 3.864 at 204.79 mph pass put him back in second. For the fourth and final round, Fiscus went 3.949-seconds at 202.18 mph and was still number two in a highly competitive field of thirty cars.
The first Pro Boost qualifying pass for team owner Jim Bell and his twin turbocharged, Pro Line Racing 481X-powered 1969 Chevrolet Camaro went fairly well. His car moved around about 400 feet out, so Bell lifted and went 4.034 at 182.13 mph which initially ranked him twelfth. In Q2, another wiggle had Bell’s Camaro loose mid-track. The seasoned driver steadied the car and clocked a time of 3.934 at 200.95 mph which moved him up to eighth. For Q3, Bell had his best qualifying pass of the weekend. His 3.883 at 202.64 mph run bumped him into the number five spot. Bell went 3.921 at 201.19 mph in Q4, but his ET from Q3 ensured he was still number five.
Saturday evening marked the start of eliminations. Fiscus was paired against David Monday, the #15 qualified driver, in the first round. Fiscus’s Mustang struggled to come up on boost so he left the line down on power, and then ran into tire shake which cost him the win. Bell was up against Kevin Rivenbark who had qualified #12. As soon as Bell staged, Rivenbark left the line and went red which gave the win to Bell. Bell got on it hard at the launch and was on his way to another strong pass, but the top off his intake manifold blew off just past the 330-foot mark and he aborted the run. Back in the pits, the team thrashed on the Camaro; they swapped intakes off Bell’s spare bullet and repaired the car’s damaged front end. They fired up the car twice to confirm everything was working properly, and brought to the car to the staging lanes for E2 to face Tommy Grey’s blown Corvette.
“Unfortunately, my car wouldn’t start for the second round and we lost,” said a disappointed Bell. “When we got back to the pits, we discovered the problem was that the mag wire connector had disconnected. Most likely the connector was loose already, and the intermittent spark is what blew off the top of the intake during E1 but we missed seeing this in the pits during the intake swap. Since the car fired right up after we replaced the intake, we weren’t looking for bad connectors.” Bell’s confident that he and the team will get them next time out.
Fiscus lead the Pro Boost class championship points going into this event stayed at the top, while Bell moved into fourth overall. Both Bell and Fiscus will be competing in the Pro Boost class at the PDRA Memphis Drags at Memphis International Raceway in Millington, Tennessee on August 20-22, 2015 as the Bell/Fiscus Racing team continues their 23-race commitment for the 2015 season.
Posted by: Ainsley Jacobs