2017 PDRA WORLD FINALS - EVENT NOTEBOOK
FINAL NOTEBOOK - THAT'S A WRAP FOR 2017
LIZZY CHOPS THEM DOWN - Lizzy Musi used a holeshot advantage to defeat two-time Pro Nitrous world champion Tommy Franklin for the second consecutive final round. Musi in Frank Brandao’s “King Kong 6” ’15 Dodge Dart ran a 3.686-second pass at 206.13 mph alongside Franklin’s Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro running 3.657 at 204.91.
“I knew I had to do my job against Tommy,” Musi said. “He’s been running so well this weekend. I wasn’t shocked when he ran a 3.65 in the final because I knew it was coming from him. It felt good to be able to get the win on a holeshot. I just breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the win light come on.”
Musi qualified No. 2 and defeated Randy Weatherford, Jim Sackuvich and John Hall on her way to the final round. The Pat Musi Racing Engines president recorded three of the fastest passes in Pro Nitrous history, tying her own national record with a 206.54 blast against Hall. Franklin was the low qualifier with his national-record 3.653, followed by a barrage of 3.6-second passes to take out James Hancock, Jason Harris and Jay Cox.
NOTHING LIKE PERFECTION - A perfect .000-second reaction time was all John Montecalvo needed to drive around recently crowned Extreme Pro Stock world champion Cary Goforth in the final round. Coming off a record-setting 4.020 in the semifinals, Montecalvo drove his Haas-built ’17 Camaro to a 4.052 at 179.33 over Goforth’s 4.023 at 177.95 in his Dean’s Casing Service/Dewayne Higgins Trucking ’15 Camaro.
“What a perfect ending to the season,” Montecalvo said. “As a driver, I’m overjoyed to win on a holeshot. They’re telling me now it was a .0000 light – that’s really cutting it close. I felt good in the car. We made some changes to the clutch linkage for the final round. Man, it certainly reacted. Winning on a holeshot in the final round? That’s the way to do it.”
A two-time winner on the season, Montecalvo raced out of the No. 3 spot and raced past John Konigshofer, Elijah Morton and Chris Powers. Goforth, who secured his second PDRA world championship at the GALOT fall race, qualified No. 1 and bested mountain motor Pro Stock veterans Lester Cooper, John Bartunek and Jeff Dobbins on the way to his fifth final of the season.
TWO-IN-A-ROW - Cleveland, North Carolina’s Brad McCoy earned his second consecutive Pro Extreme Motorcycle victory when he rode his Q80 Racing ’15 Hayabusa to a 4.041 at 175.37 over Terry Schweigert’s 4.062 at 163.97.
“To come out at the end of the year and win two in a row, it doesn’t get any better than that,” McCoy said. “We worked hard all year and made a lot of changes. We struggled in qualifying and started finding our problem first and second round. We just kept working at it and it paid off in the final.”
McCoy, who celebrated his 38th birthday along with the win, qualified fourth before beating Shane Eperjesi, Spencer Allen and No. 1 qualifier Chris Garner-Jones. Schweigert, a Canadian dairy farmer, rode out of the No. 3 spot and charged to round wins over Terry Wynn, three-time PDRA world champion Eric McKinney and T.T. Jones.
ADDING TO THE CROWN - Newly crowned Top Dragster world champion Matt Cooke capped off his season with a second event win in his fifth consecutive final round. Racing from the No. 8 spot, Cooke used a .003 reaction time and 3.968 pass on a 3.93 dial-in to beat Chase Beverly’s 3.924 on a 3.91 dial-in. Cooke in his ProCharger-boosted dragster began eliminations with a bye run before taking out Jimmy Sackuvich and Michael Galafaro. Beverly qualified seventh and defeated Bubba Turner, Chaz Silance and Randy Whitlock on his way to the final.
NEXT YEAR - The 2018 PDRA Tour will begin at GALOT Motorsports Park in Benson, North Carolina, with the PDRA East Coast Spring Nationals, April 5-7.
SATURDAY NOTEBOOK - LONG SATURDAY SCHEDULE MAKES FOR A THREE-DAY EVENT
Pro Extreme driver Terry Leggett backed up his No. 1 qualifying effort when he won the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) World Finals at Virginia Motorsports Park Saturday night. All other professional-class final rounds and sportsman eliminations were postponed until Sunday morning.
In addition to deciding the Pro Extreme event winner, the PDRA crowned world champions in four of the five professional classes during the completed rounds of elimination.
Leggett drove his supercharged Leggett Logging & Trucking ’71 Mustang to a 3.542-second pass at 214.45 mph to defeat Swedish driver Mattias Wulcan’s 4.672 at 91.92 in the Pro Extreme final round. It was Leggett’s second consecutive event win over Wulcan, who needed to win the race to pass points leader Mike Recchia for the world championship.
“I’ve got such a good group of people around me,” Leggett said. “I don’t really know how to put it into words. The car is great, the motor is great, the people who support me are great – not only my team, but manufacturers like Charlie Buck and Shannon Davis who come out to the races.”
Leggett, who beat Sweden’s Stefan Holmberg and Australian John Zappia before the final round, finishes the season third in points with three No. 1 qualifier awards and the two most recent event wins on tour.
“It’s a lot of icing cake. It’s a good way to go back to the house, kick your feet up over the winter and think about it all,” Leggett added.
Recchia fell in the second round, but earned the 2017 Pro Extreme world championship on the strength of his event wins in his supercharged Agrow Fresh “Chicago Muscle” ’69 Camaro at the GALOT spring race and the Mid-America Indy Showdown.
NEEDED: ONE MORE DAY - Sunday’s continuation of eliminations at the 3rd annual Brian Olson Memorial PDRA World Finals will begin with the second round of Edelbrock Bracket Bash at 10 a.m.
FRANKLIN LEADS PRO NITROUS INTO SUNDAY - The final round in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous presented by MoTeC will feature the two quickest and fastest drivers in class history. Lizzy Musi used a 3.679 pass at a record-tying 206.54 in Frank Brandao’s “King Kong 6” ’15 Dodge Dart to defeat John Hall in the semifinals. In a semifinal race for the world championship, Tommy Franklin drove his Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro to a 3.669 at 205.29 over Jay Cox’s 3.702 at 201.10 in his Buck-powered “Pumpkin” ’69 Camaro.
“It’s pretty special to get the championship because my daughter, Amber, won the Pro Junior Dragster championship, and my youngest daughter finished fourth in her first year in Top Junior Dragster,” Franklin said. “I’m so proud of them both.”
Franklin reset the elapsed time national record with his 3.653 pass in qualifying. He’s appeared in all but one final round this season, and he and Musi have a 1-1 record against each other in 2017 final rounds.
PRO BOOST IN WAITING - After qualifying No. 1, resetting the elapsed time national record, and securing the Andy McCoy Race Cars Pro Boost world championship, Jose Gonzales and Q80 Racing/El General Racing teammate Eric Dillard will not run the final round on Sunday. Gonzales fired off the record 3.638 at 215.34 in his turbocharged “Eleanor” ’67 Mustang to take out Jeremy Ray in the semifinals. Dillard in the Pro Line-powered ’69 Camaro followed Gonzales with a 3.654 at 215.89 to set the speed national record and defeat championship runner-up Ty Tutterow in the supercharged GALOT Motorsports “Tomcat” ’69 Camaro.
“I’ll be honest – I was probably more surprised than our competition with the runs we were making today,” Gonzales said. “When I saw the scoreboard after making that last run, I went on the radio and asked if the numbers were real. I truly didn’t think we could run that fast. It just goes to show that when you have a person like (tuner) Steve Petty, an engine built by Pro Line, and a crew like I have, anything can happen. The car was working perfectly every run.”
Gonzales won the first two races of the year at Valdosta and GALOT, where he was also the No. 1 qualifier.
IT'S GOFORTH VS. MONTECALVO - Finalists Cary Goforth and John Montecalvo ran their PDRA-best and season-best elapsed times in the semifinals to earn their spots in the Extreme Pro Stock final round. Montecalvo ran a 4.02 at 179.76 to defeat GALOT spring race winner Chris Powers, while newly crowned world champion Goforth drove to a 4.022 at 179.25 over Jeff Dobbins. Goforth is seeking his fourth consecutive event win, and Montecalvo is seeking his second victory of the season.
PRO EXTREME MOTORCYCLE - A late-season push has Q80 Racing rider Brad McCoy chasing his second consecutive event win in Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle. He used a holeshot advantage and 4.037 pass at 174.82 to defeat low qualifier Chris Garner-Jones in the semifinals. Waiting for McCoy in the final round will be Canadian dairy farmer Terry Schweigert, who previously took out T.T. Jones with a 4.058 at 174.32.
Travis Davis was crowned the 2017 Pro Extreme Motorcycle world champion, even though he lost to title runner-up Eric McKinney in their first-round matchup. McKinney bowed out in the second round, preventing him from earning enough points to pass Davis.
THE SPORTSMAN REPORT - The PDRA’s four sportsman categories, as well as East Coast Auto Transport Extreme Outlaw 632 and Pilot Electric Outlaw 10.5, will continue eliminations which began Saturday afternoon. Outlaw 10.5 is down to the semifinals, where John Carinci will face Dale Collins Jr. and Mike Decker Jr. will race his son, Mike Decker III. Extreme Outlaw 632, MagnaFuel Top Sportsman, Lucas Oil Top Dragster, Campers Inn RV Pro Junior Dragster, and MegaCorp Top Junior Dragster will resume with the second round of eliminations.
FRIDAY NOTEBOOK – IT’S CROWDED BUT FAST UP IN HERE
WHOLE LOTTA PEEPS HERE - A record turnout of nearly 400 cars was on hand for Friday qualifying at the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) World Finals at Virginia Motorsports Park. Performance records were also set as the all-eighth-mile series completed three professional qualifying sessions.
Time constraints forced the cancellation of a third Friday qualifying session for the sportsman classes. The sportsman provisional low qualifiers are Matt Smith in MagnaFuel Top Sportsman and Jeremy Creasman in Lucas Oil Top Dragster. Chase Wagner leads in Campers Inn RV Pro Junior Dragster with his 7.903-second elapsed time, while Will Creasman tops MegaCorp Top Junior Dragster qualifying with a .002 reaction time.
In addition to the PDRA’s touring five professional classes and four sportsman categories, East Coast Auto Transport Extreme Outlaw 632 and Porter Electric Outlaw 10.5 filled out the World Finals lineup. Dillon Voss in his ’17 Corvette leads Extreme Outlaw 632 with a 4.309 at 165.99 mph. Mike Decker Jr. is the Outlaw 10.5 provisional No. 1 qualifier with his 3.945 at 197.22.
IN IT TO WIN IT - North Carolina logger Terry Leggett charged to the No. 1 spot in Pro Extreme, using a 3.549 at 215.41 to hold off championship hopefuls Mattias Wulcan and Mike Recchia. Mathematically unable to win the championship, Leggett is set on winning the race in his Terry Coyle-tuned ’71 Mustang, even if it means upsetting the title contenders.
“I’m hoping I don’t end up in the middle of that (championship battle),” Leggett said. “I hope they have to run someone else or even each other. I don’t want to be the decision maker because we’re going to try to whoop whoever we line up against. I think the world of all these guys, but we came here to win the race.”
Leggett is trailed by Wulcan, who ran a 3.608 at 212.69 in his supercharged “Blackbird” ’69 Camaro. Recchia, the current points leader, is third in his Agrow Fresh ’69 Camaro with a 3.629 at 211.83. Australian drag racing standout John Zappia in the Noonan Race Engineering ’69 Camaro is fourth with a 3.656 at 213.81.
AS A MATTER OF FACT, I DO OWN THIS PLACE - Defending Pro Nitrous world champion Tommy Franklin began his World Finals weekend by announcing that Franklin Companies LLC had reached an agreement to purchase Virginia Motorsports Park. Seemingly undistracted by the new venture, Franklin uncorked a blistering 3.653 at 205.44 in his Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro to earn the provision No. 1 spot. He will be the new elapsed-time record holder if he can back up the run on Saturday.
“It feels good to come here and be the No. 1 qualifier,” said Franklin, who is leading the points over Jay Cox. “We’re fighting for this championship. It’s going to be a tough battle, but we’re doing what we need to do. The primary thing is just getting up and down the racetrack. We’re making the right calls for the racetrack. I thought we could’ve went .63 or .64, but the water grains held us up. This run gives us confidence. We just need to build on it and take this one round at a time.”
PDRA Drag Wars winner Lizzy Musi is second with her 3.686 pass at 205.69 in the Frank Brandao-owned “King Kong 6” ’15 Dodge Dart. Danny “The Sheriff” Perry sits in the No. 3 spot with a 3.715 at 200.65. On the bump spot is Jim Halsey with a 3.777 pass, making this the quickest field in PDRA Pro Nitrous history.
IT’S GOFORTH, CAUSE HE’S THE MAN - Past PDRA Extreme Pro Stock world champion Cary Goforth secured his second PDRA season title when he won PDRA Drag Wars last month, allowing the Oklahoma native to focus on two things this weekend: winning the World Finals and recording the first official sub-four-second pass in class history. His Dean’s Casing Service/Dewayne Higgins Trucking ’14 Camaro first attempted the latter goal Friday night, posting a 4.024 at 178.78.
“The pressure is off in the sense that we don’t have to worry about the championship, but the pressure is on to be the first to run in the threes,” said Goforth, a three-time winner this season. “We sent three motors back to Sonny’s (Racing Engines) after GALOT just to find some more power for this weekend. We ran 4.006 in testing yesterday when the conditions were the best I think we’ll see this weekend. It was a priority to make a three-second run, but it might have eluded us. Everything will need to be exactly right, and we’re doing everything we can on our end to make that happen.”
Tulsa low qualifier John DeFlorian is in the No. 2 spot with his 4.039 pass at 178.73 in his Amsoil ’16 Camaro. New York’s John Montecalvo is third with a 4.053 at 178.38 in his Haas-built ’17 Camaro.
IS THAT YOU, MATT? - Ninety Top Sportsman entries made qualifying attempts during the first two sessions, easily filling up the Elite 16 and Top Sportsman 32 fields with dozens of alternates. Two-time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Matt Smith leads the Elite 16 field with a 3.775 at 198.88 in Henry Dogay’s “Cajun Nightmare” ’68 Camaro. Virginia-based engine builder Billy “The Kid” Albert is second in Stan Nance’s ’17 Camaro with a 3.818 at 194.77, with 2014 Top Dragster world champion Travis “Carolina Kid” Harvey in third with a 3.887 at 184.84.
TWO IN A ROW - North Carolina’s Jeremy Creasman finished Friday qualifying as the No. 1 qualifier for the second consecutive race, charging to a 3.735 at 192.25 in his ProCharger-boosted dragster. Defending world champion Justin Kirk is second in the supercharged Glockner Truck Plaza dragster with a 3.806 at 188.83, followed by Greg Curtis and his Ohio-based dragster with a 3.815 at 186.72.
ON TAP - The 3rd annual Brian Olson Memorial PDRA World Finals will continue Saturday with a final qualifying session for all categories, beginning with Edelbrock Bracket Bash at 8:15 a.m. Pro eliminations are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.