Women lead the nitro way at Atlanta

Just ahead of Mother’s Day, the ladies topped the winners of the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. Leah Pritchett took her first Top Fuel win of the season, while Courtney Force nabbed her second Funny Car win.


Leah Pritchett raced her Mopar Dodge/FireAde Top Fuel dragster to victory on Sunday, earning her first win of the season and first at the track in Commerce, GA, as well as the sixth overall of her Top Fuel career.


Pritchett defeated Pat Dakin (3.903/293.73 to 6.389/100.55), Bill Litton (3.841/322.50 to 11.552/82.25), Mike Salinas (3.907/312.42 to 4.212/211.66) and Blake Alexander (red light) to get the win. She is now fifth on the Top Fuel points list.


Alexander defeated Antron Brown, Brittany Force, and points leader Steve Torrence to get to his first final-round appearance of his career.


Ten years after sister Ashley Force Hood won the first victory for women in Funny Car at the Southern Nationals, Courtney Force claimed her 10th career win. She got past Jeff Diehl (4.581/221.05 to 5.882/119.23), Tim Wilkerson4.144/297.35), Charlotte winner Cruz Pedregon (4.038/313.22 to 4.255/293.54), and Matt Hagan (4.046/313.73 to 4.148/291/13). She now leads the FC points.


“She did a great job driving and we had the right tune-up,” said crew chief Brian Corradi. “The racetrack is what it is and we’re running the best we can on it. Danny (Hood) and I are doing our best to give her a consistent race car.” 

Nobile, Krawiec take Atlanta wins

In Pro Stock, Vincent Nobile powered his Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro to a victory run of 6.599 at 209.72 to defeat Tanner Gray in his Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro (6.614/209.52) in the final round. This is his first career victory at Atlanta and second Wally of the season.


“I had the car to beat this weekend,” Nobile stated. “I know we didn’t qualify No. 1 but going back after each run and looking at the computer we know we could’ve been the fastest car each session. On race day we got it together and was the fastest car every session. All in all, it was a great day.”


Nobile is now the points leaders for Pro Stock after defeating Alan Prusiensky (6.586/210.05 to 8.433/115.36), Chris McGaha (6.617/209.36 to 7.151/154.39) and No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson (6.610/209.14 to 6.631/209.85) prior to the final round.


Defending PSM world champion Eddie Krawiec rode to the winner’s circle on his Screamin’ Eagles Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson. This is his fourth event victory at the NHRA Southern Nationals and 45th of his career.


“This track has been very challenging for us this weekend,” Krawiec said. “I really had a better bike than what I showed Friday and Saturday because I was not making the proper chassis adjustments to get the bike down the track. We’re going to learn and continue to get better. That’s what we need to do.”


Krawiec was the No. 5 qualifier and was victorious against Melissa Surber (6.870/194.74 to 6.935/190.75), LE Tonglet (6.875/194.35 to 6.878/193.96), the No. 1 qualifier Hector Arana Jr. (6.871/194.86 to 6.942/193.88), and Scotty Pollacheck (6.922/194.91 to 6.958/193.18) in the final round.    

All-female Top Fuel final round for first time at Sydney Dragway

Kelly Bettes (left) with Rachelle Splatt. 


A historic night of racing concluded with the first ever all-female Top Fuel final round at the Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder at Sydney Dragway, in front of a massive crowd on Saturday night, May 5.


Rookie sensation Kelly Bettes outclassed a solid field to best Top Fuel veteran Rachelle Splatt in what was Bettes’s third consecutive win in the 400 Thunder Championship Series.


In a traction-starved contest Bettes took the marbles over her veteran rival – 4.801 to defeat Splatt's tire smoking 5.927. They performed in front of the biggest crowd at the track in some ten years that also saw wins to Wayne Daley in Pro Stock, Steve Reed in Pro Alcohol, John Zappia in Top Doorslammer and Maurice Allen in Pro Bike.


“I grew up as a kid watching Rachelle race in top fuel, and to be in the final against her in the first all-female Top Fuel final – this is a dream!” Bettes said after the victory. “I feel like this is a dream, three consecutive wins in my first season – it’s incredible”.


With the win, Bettes took over the championship points lead from Damien Harris and takes a 33-point lead into the final round of the Championship, the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals at the historic Willowbank Raceway on June 7-10.


DRO’s Australian correspondent Jon Van Daal will have the entire Nitro Thunder race report coming soon.

Williams takes Spring Fling win on final day

The JEGS Pro 32 class drivers were absolutely vicious all week, in some cases with packages even better than some Super Pro cars. Saturday, the final of that class was between two former NHRA world champions in Dan Fletcher and Lee Zane with Fletcher getting the nod to move into the next round of Super Pro where he was dispatched by another champion in his own right, former ‘Fling winner Tommy Plott.


Round six with 16 cars left, Shane Carr defeated Johnny Ennis. John Taylor Jr. took out Jon Siegel. Mark Siegel defeated Howie Adams. Troy Williams got the best of Frank Duplisses Jr. Kevin Brannon took out Larry Ericksmoen, Larry Martin beat Leon Tynes Sr. Mike Daymude defeated Tommy Plott and finally, Junior Foley defeated Shane Maddox to close out the round.


The survivors moving into the semis were Williams, Siegel, Brannon and the lone door car of Martin. Semifinals and it was Williams over Martin and Siegel over Brannon.


For the final, after over 5,000 runs made in five days, it was down to the last two, Williams Jr. with a slight reaction time advantage over Siegel, which was enough to propel Williams to his second Spring Fling win.


The Fall Fling is scheduled for Sept. 18-22 at Bristol (TN) Dragway. 

Pro Mod special set for Rockingham

A Pro Modified field that includes former EOPM Series champion Randy Weatherford (shown) of Danville, VA, 2014 PDRA Pro Nitrous Champion Jason Harris of Pittsboro, NC, and 1995 IHRA Pro Mod Champion Tommy Mauney of Shelby, NC, shares center stage with Danny O’Day’s record-shattering ’34 Ford wheelstander and a pair of jet cars Saturday, May 12, when Rockingham Dragway presents its inaugural Spring Extreme Drags.


“It’s been awhile since we’ve had Pro Mods of this caliber at The Rock,” said track owner Steve Earwood, “(and) anybody that’s ever seen them knows that they are the most challenging vehicles to get down a racetrack.  You never know what to expect.”


Weatherford was the Extreme Outlaw Pro Mod winner the last time the series was contested at The Rock and his nitrous-injected 1969 Camaro will be among the favorites this time, too. Harris will drive the “Party Time” 1969 Camaro and Mauney, a noted chassis builder, North Carolina Motorsports Hall of Fame Member and No. 8 Pro Mod driver on CompetitionPlus.com’s list of the greatest ever, will be behind the wheel of his own ’69 Camaro.


Between pro rounds, drivers in Top Eliminator, Footbrake and Jr. Dragster will battle for NHRA Summit Series and Rockingham Dragway track points and the MXA Motorsports Street Car Shootout will be contested for a $100 top prize and trophies to the winner and runner-up. 

Reichardt wins ‘Sharks of the Strip’ at Gateway

Phillip Reichardt of Festus, MO, won the second round of the new Sharks of the Strip program Friday night at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois. Reichardt faced Sam Dyer of Quincy, IL, in the final. This marked Reichardt’s first attempt at Sharks of the Strip, GMP’s outlaw heads-up, no-time racing program.


Reichardt defeated Dustin Kurz in the first round of eliminations, Jake Schindler in the second and Chris Calkins in the semi-final.


Sharks of the Strip is the newest eighth-mile outlaw heads-up racing experience for the baddest and fastest street cars in the St Louis region. At each Midnight Madness fueled by NOS Energy Drink, the top full-bodied racers will battle it out for cash, glory and the title “King of the Sharks.”


Any engine combination is allowed. Any transmission allowed. Any transmission controller allowed. Any transmission valve body allowed. Any power adder or combination of power adders allowed. Any tire type and size allowed (slicks or radials only). Any suspension allowed. Any exhaust allowed. Any fuel types allowed. Any carb or fuel injection system allowed. No minimum weight. Tube chassis is permitted (must have steel or OEM roof and quarter-panels). Pro tree. Eighth-mile race. No times displayed on the clocks. Water burnouts only. For more information on participating in the Sharks of the Strip program, please contact series coordinator Aaron Isom at 901-605-4021.

Pearsall wins Friday big bucks at Spring Fling

With no time trials, eliminations for the Friday K&N Spring Fling at Galot Motorsports Park began early. A bounty was placed on Thursday’s winner, Mia Tedesco, and John Labbous got that be beating Tedsco in the very first round.


With an extra $1,000 on the line going to the Pro 32 No Box class survivor, the final consisted of Seth Phillips and Kevin Pollard with Pollard taking the win and moving into round six of the main event along with the added cash.


Quarterfinal round survivors going for the $50,000 winners’ purse were Kevin Pollard, Jeff Verdi and Dalton Pearsall, representatives from the three different classes run this weekend, No Box (Pollard), door cars (Verdi) and Pearsall the lone dragster left. In the Pollard versus Kosanka match-up, another Spring Fling innovation, TruSTART, changed the outcome. Leaving first, Pollard was -.001 red which typically would have advanced Kosanka. Unfortunately for Kosanka, he was -.012 red which handed the win to Pollard.


In the semifinals, both Pollard and Verdi had prior bye runs which left Pearsall to take the odd car bye. Verdi then used a 10-pack (.010 reaction time and dead-on the dial with a “0”) to not give Pollard much room, moving the two-time Million Dollar Race winner into the final against Pearsall.

For the final, neither racer was giving anything to the other as Pearsall left the line with a .001 reaction time, while Verdi wasn’t far behind with his own .003. But it was Pearsall running closer to his dial to earn himself his very first big trailer check.  

One more thing off the bucket list: ‘Snake’ makes it through the desert

After a 50-year delay, drag racing legend Don “The Snake” Prudhomme found his redemption in the desert finishing the grueling five-day Yokohama NORRA Mexican 1000 presented by Method Race Wheels. The four-time NHRA Funny Car champion and drag racing legend along with co-driver Canadian Shane Chatwell drove his JEGS  2018 Polaris RZR 1000 prepped by P.J. Jones of PJ’s Performance in Scottsdale, AZ, to a tenth place finish in the Stock Turbo UTV class of the off-road rally run by the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA).


“It was a hell of a run I can tell you that,” said an exhausted but satisfied Prudhomme after the race. “It was a thousand miles worth of trails, dirt roads, rocks, boulders and massive dust clouds. You name it we saw it in the desert. It was unbelievable. Just to make it to the finish line is an achievement. It was just a hell of an experience and I can’t even really put it into words how tough it was.”


Cars, trucks, UTVs and bikes all crossed the final finish line at the conclusion of a journey that took competitors from Ensenada all the way to San Jose Del Cabo during five days of racing. The sense of relief and accomplishment was evident when Prudhomme described some of his adventures on the course.


“We got hit and we hit other race cars. You just couldn’t see out there because the dust clouds were just massive. You had to drive at night and my co-driver saved my ass. We were racing full speed using GPS and massive off-road lights. I have to thank JEGS and PJ Performance for making this happen. Getting the medal at the end is something I will cherish forever,” added Prudhomme.


Prudhomme drove 1,100 of the 1,300 mile-course (including transitions and connecting roads) and crossed the finish line to take the checkered flag with a total time of 29:28:06. The rookie off-road competitor was just three minutes behind his nearest competitor. 

Milan reschedules Heads Up event for May 11

Because of rain followed by high winds, the Aeroquip Head’s Up event scheduled for May 4 at Milan Dragway now will be held on Friday, May 11. Spectator gates will open a 2 p.m. 

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