ADRL Georgia Drags VI –  April 23-24. 2010,  Cecil GA

 Pro Extreme  P/X        
 Win: Jason Scruggs 3.716 206.57 4th
 R/UP: Quain Stott 3.752 205.84  
 Low ET: Shiekh Khalid Al Thani 3.637    
Top Speed: Shiekh Khalid Al Thani   212.49  
 Bump Spot:   4.044    
 Pro Nitrous  P/N        
 Win: Mike Castellana 3.934 193.52 5th
 R/UP: Charles Carpenter 5.747  84.19  
 Low ET: Burton Auxier  3.879    
 Top Speed: Jim Halsey   196.76  
Bump Spot:   4.085    
Extreme 10.5 Winner: Todd Moyer 4.026 195.36  
Pro Extreme M/C Winner: Ashley Owens 4.096 175.25  
Extreme Pro Stock Winner: Steve Boone 4.129 176.10  
Sheikh Khalid Al Thani smashes ADRL P/X Record!

Sheikh Khalid Al Thani smashes ADRL P/X Record!

Triumphs Over Tragedy

Despite racing with heavy hearts after losing one of their own to a freak early-morning accident, American Drag Racing League (ADRL) competitors still managed to turn in thrilling, record-setting performances for the Apr. 23-24, ADRL Hardee’s Georgia Drags VI at South Georgia Motorsports Park (SGMP).

Veterans Jason Scruggs and Mike Castellana led the way with wins in Pro Extreme and Pro Nitrous, Ashely Owens absolutely dominated the Pro Extreme Motorcycle class from start to finish all weekend long, and Extreme 10.5 and Extreme Pro Stock produced first-time winners in Todd Moyer and Steven Boone, respectively.

Raceday sadly opened with an accident in the pit area of Pro Nitrous racer Blake Housley that killed team co-owner Mike Walker, who was struck him in the chest by an errant nitrous-oxide bottle after it rapidly depressurized in their trailer. In a moving pre-race ceremony before packed grandstands, ADRL President and CEO Kenny Nowling dedicated the Georgia Drags to Walker’s memory and Scruggs later donated the fourth ADRL Minuteman trophy of his career to the Walker family in victory lane.

“Mike was a great guy, someone who loved racing, loved being out here and loved his family,” the former back-to-back class champion pointed out immediately upon exiting his car after defeating Quain Stott in the Pro Extreme final. “I really felt like Mike was riding with me today and just feel like his family deserves this win after all they’ve been through today.”

Scruggs, who qualified his supercharged ’68 Camaro fourth, defeated Kelly Martin and Zach Barklage before getting a free pass to the Pro Extreme final after Wes Johnston’s 1953 Corvette was unable to compete in the semis due to parts breakage. Stott, meanwhile, raced through former series champion Bubba Stanton, 2009 ADRL Rookie of the Year Jason Hamstra and Frankie Taylor to make his way to the final.

Stott left first, taking a .014 advantage off the starting line, but Scruggs quickly recovered and took the win in 3.71 seconds over the SGMP eighth mile at 206.57 mph, while Stott’s 1963 Corvette finished in 3.75 seconds at 205.54 mph.

Castellana, part of the massive Al-Anabi Racing presence that included team owner Sheikh Khalid Al-Thani of Qatar driving in Pro Extreme for the first time on U.S. soil at Valdosta, called his fifth ADRL race title “a total team effort.”

Castellana’s route to victory lane took him through Terry Housley, Johnny Pilcher and Randy Weatherford before reaching nitrous racing legend Charles Carpenter in the final, after Carpenter took out Steve Vick, Terry Murphy and John DeFlorian Jr. with his iconic 1955 Chevy BelAir.

Castellana’s ’69 Camaro moved first in the final, though, as the Westbury, New York, racer left with a stellar .009 reaction time, then ran an unchallenged 3.93 seconds at 193.52 mph after Carpenter’s car lost traction soon after the start.

Owens also remained consistent—consistently quick—as he reset the Pro Extreme Motorcycle elapsed time record an unprecedented-in-drag-racing five consecutive times, including each time he came to the line during four rounds of eliminations, eventually lowering the mark to an unreal 4.09 seconds after a 175.25-mph win over good friend Travis Davis, who managed “only” 4.20 at 169.74 mph in the final round.

Decatur, Alabama-based Owens, aboard his brand-new Fast by Gast Suzuki, also left Valdosta with a new class speed record after going 177.81 mph in his semi-final win over Nikie Corley.

Despite being a veteran of Extreme 10.5 racing, Moyer made it to his career-first final at SGMP and made it count with a victory over Gary White, who the previous day joined Moyer and two other drivers so far in the elite, five-member Mickey Thompson Three-Second Club for the class. White ran 3.99 seconds at 182.45 mph in his turbocharged, six-cylinder Team Titan Scion to earn the number-one starting position in the eight-car field for the Hardee’s Georgia Drags VI.

Moyer, the early leader in qualifying, finished in third place behind current class champion and fellow club member Spiro Pappas after three sessions, with the fourth and final scheduled qualifying round for all classes cancelled by wet weather Saturday morning.

When eliminations began, Moyer, from Pasadena, Texas, opened with a 4.12 at 178.00-mph solo pass after L.J. Wood was unable to make the call to race, then faltered with a traction-challenged 4.44 at 173.05 mph that still beat Michael Neal, who had even more problems in his own lane.

In the final, Moyer left with a solid starting-line advantage and cruised to the win in 4.02 seconds at 195.36 mph, while White struggled with transmission issues to a 4.94 finish.

Boone, from Weaverville, North Carolina, thanked last-minute backers just for getting him to South Georgia.

The 15th-place qualifier had a relatively easy time in the opening two rounds when both Brian Gahm and Cale Aronson faltered, but Boone got the job done on the starting line in the semis and final rounds, earning holeshot victories over Doug Kirk and Pete Berner, respectively.

In his closing remarks from the winner’s circle, Nowling told fans and racers, “This is without a doubt the toughest event we’ve ever had to get through with the ADRL and you have all been part of it and made it one of our most memorable. Our hearts and prayers go out to Mike Walker’s family and to see the way they responded to such unexpected adversity should serve as an inspiration to us all.”

The event unfortunately also did include three serious crashes involving Pro Extreme competitors Cody Barklage and Tommy D’Aprile, who were uninjured in separate incidents, and Extreme Pro Stock driver Sylvester Barnes, who was knocked briefly unconscious in a high-speed rollover accident. Barnes had to be extracted by the ADRL trackside safety crew, but was alert and talking to his rescuers before being transported to South Georgia Medical Center in nearby Valdosta for observation.