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The stars of the Professional Drag Racers Association were shining bright on Saturday night, Sept. 10, as all five professional class winners at PDRA Dragstock XIII were decided on the starting line. All of the racing played out in front of the largest crowd in PDRA history.
Tommy D’Aprile scored his second win of the season when Brandon Snider red lit in the NAS Racing Pro Extreme final round. Lizzy Musi and Brunson Grothus used reaction time advantages to win their event titles in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous presented by MoTeC and Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle, respectively. The GALOT Motorsports Park Pro Boost winner was also decided on a holeshot, as points leader Kevin Rivenbark beat Tylor Miller in a North Carolina vs. South Carolina final round. PDRA Extreme Pro Stock winner Doug Kirk joined his son, Justin, in the winner’s circle after a massive holeshot victory.
In the PDRA sportsman ranks, Derrick Brown prevailed in Ronnie Davis Top Sportsman presented by MagnaFuel, while Justin Kirk earned his first event victory in Lucas Oil Top Dragster. Texas’ Kendal Little earned the Talbert Pro Junior Dragster win, and Arellyn Garner-Jones claimed her second consecutive MegaCorp Top Junior Dragster victory.
The Pro Extreme final round was a battle of the two most evenly matched cars on the property. When Tommy D’Aprile kicked off eliminations with a 3.605 at 212.39 mph over Terry Leggett’s 3.654, Brandon Snider followed it up with a 3.609 at 214.25 over John Stanley’s 3.845. Snider and D’Aprile ran identical 3.587s in their semifinal victories over Frankie “Mad Man” Taylor and Jose Gonzalez, respectively. D’Aprile knew he would need a strong run to defeat Snider in the final, but he had all the faith he needed in his Al Billes-led team.
“My mentality going into the final was just do my job, stay calm and collected, and let’s go racing. I was confident in the car and team. I’ve done this long enough that I’m just relaxed and excited to see what’s going to happen when I roll to the starting line,” D’Aprile said.
As the tree dropped, it was Snider who was too excited as his Q80 Racing ’69 Camaro left the starting line just three thousandths of a second too soon. His weekend-best 3.567 at 215.27 would’ve been enough to defeat D’Aprile, who repeated his semifinal performance with another 3.587 to win his second 2016 PDRA race for Mel Bush Motorsports.