Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 2, Page
1. Jason Scruggs '63 Vette 3.893/192.96
2. Bil Clanton '53 Studebaker 3.939/182.75
3. Phil Osborne '63 Vette 3.947/180.07
4. Joshua Hernandez '57 Chev 3.955/187.13
5. Quain Stott '63 Vette 3.966/185.82
6. Frankie Taylor '58 Vette 3.974/183.12
7. Danny Rowe '63 Vette 3.977/188.41
8. Bennie McDonald '53 Vette 3.978/172.32
9. Toney Russell '55 Nomad 3.983/183.15
10. Chip King '02 Avenger 3.984/185.46
11. Todd Tutterow '02 Mustang 3.986/187.31
12. Mike Neal '53 Studebaker 3.989/181.28
13. Eddie Ware '41 Willys 3.994/178.50
14. Joey Martin '68 Mustang 3.997/184.83
15. Thomas Patterson '41 Willys 4.002/185.38
16. Doug Palmer '63 Vette 4.021/181.79
1. Shannon Jenkins '69 Camaro 4.005/186.00
2. Mike Catellana '05 Cavalier 4.068/182.56
3. Burton Auxier '53 Vette 4.068/180.65
4. Randy Weatherford '63 Vette 4.078/179.33
5. Johnny Pilcher '63 Vette 4.103/178.57
6. Rex Kelley '63 Vette 4.106/178.87
7. Keith Baker '63 Vette 4.115/179.61
8. Rickie Smith '63 Vette 4.117/177.93
9. Charles Carpenter '55 Chev 4.131/178.68
10. James Hancock III '98 Vette 4.133/174.59
11. Harold Martin '06 Grand Am 4.144/169.66
12. Terry Housley '41 Willys 4.147/174.01
13. Stan Allen '68 Camaro 4.197/175.25
14. Jamie Hancock '04 Vette 4.202/173.96
15. Kenny Rucker '41 Willys 4.213/171.66
16. Ken Thomas '97 Firebird 4.224/172.29


Words and photos by Ian Tocher

ecord times highlighted day two of the ADRL season opener at South Georgia Motorsports Park, but in the end, it was Mother Nature who ruled as rain postponed eliminations until Sunday. Shortly after the first round of Pro Nitrous competition and just the first pair of Pro Extreme cars went down the track, a cold misty rain began falling, and after confirming with weather radar it would be a lengthy interruption, ADRL officials made the quick decision to shut down the race and try again in the morning.


Earlier in the day, in the second of two qualifying rounds, Jason Scruggs put his hemi-powered ‘63 Corvette on top with an outstanding 3.893-seconds run at 192.96 mph. Though Scruggs recorded a similar time in 2004 during the car’s initial testing at Bradenton, FL, it was the first officially sanctioned pass below 3.90 seconds. Scruggs later said he figured the car “had an .80 in it,” but still was somewhat surprised at the result. “It was rattlin’ a bit and movin’ around a bit,” the Saltillo, MS-based racer said, “but those big Mickey Thompsons held on and made it work.”

Even more impressive, Scruggs was outside the top 16 after his first attempt, but never considered taking the safe route to qualify. “It’s on the ragged edge,” he admitted. “I really ought to make a change, but you don’t want to mess with it too much when it’s running this good.” The incrementals on Scruggs’number-one pass were: 60 feet - .980; 330 feet - 2.610; and 3.893 at the eighth-mile stripe.

Pro Extreme drivers Bil Clanton (left), Todd Tutterow (c) and Frankie Taylor were swapping stories in the staging lanes shortly before rain postponed their elimination rounds to the next day.

Scruggs wasn’t the only one running hard. Bil Clanton and Frankie Taylor made a little history of their own in the opening round of qualifying by recording the first official side-by-side threes–in any Pro Mod sanctioning body. Clanton’s 3.939 held up for second place behind Scruggs, while Taylor’s 3.974 wound up placing him sixth going into eliminations.

Number-three qualifier Phil Osborne went 3.991 straight off the trailer for his first pass of the year, then bettered it to a 3.947 in the second round, and fourth place Josh Hernandez never ventured out of the threes all weekend. All told, 14 qualifiers were in the three-second zone, with Doug Palmer rounding out the 16-car field with a still-stout 4.021-seconds pass. Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, was defending series champion John Lynam, who mustered only a 4.146 in qualifying, leaving Mike Neal as the only driver now to qualify for every ADRL event in history.

Among the 20 entries that failed to get in were Scott Cannon Jr. in the debut of his Vanishing Point-built ‘06 GTO, Troy Critchley in the AMS Corvette, and Bill Kuhlman in his new nitro-fed ‘68 ‘Vette. After battling tire shake throughout testing and qualifying, Kuhlman remained undaunted, saying he’s determined to make the car work “I could settle it down just by putting a couple hundred pounds in it, but I’m committed to running it light for this series. I even cut all the tabs out and left the weight at home,” he said. “I’ll figure it out.”


Tuscaloosa, AL’s Shannon Jenkins led Pro Nitrous qualifying with his Speedtech-backed ‘69 Camaro after laying down a 4.005 at 186.00 mph in the last pass of the opening round. The closest anyone came to “The Iceman” was a 4.068/182.56 by teammate Mike Castellana in his 2005 IHRA championship-winning Cavalier. Burton Auxier also ran 4.068, but was relegated to third due to his slower 180.65 mph speed.


With a new look on his Camaro for ‘06 Shannon Jenkins showed the way in qualifying at Valdosta. (right)

The scoreboard says it all. Jenkins scored the first official three-second pass for a nitrous car. (below)


After nearly four years in hiatus, Rockmart, GA’s Ron Clark brought his blown Chevy-powered ‘70 Beetle to Valdosta to wow the fans with huge burnouts and hard launches. Remarkably, Clark’s ride is tagged, titled, insured, and fully street legal in Georgia.

With 26 entries on the grounds, ADRL officials decided to up the Pro Nitrous field from eight to 16 qualifiers and Ken Thomas secured the final spot with a 4.224 in his ‘97 Firebird. Like his Pro Extreme counterpart, 2005 ADRL Pro Nitrous champ Dan Parker missed the cut after being forced from competition by a broken valve during his first qualifying attempt.

The first round of eliminations was highlighted by yet another history making run–the first three-second pass by a nitrous car in eighth-mile racing. After leaving with a safe .109 reaction against Thomas, Jenkins covered the first 60 feet in 1.017 seconds, reached half-track in 2.666 seconds, and finished in 3.992 seconds at 185.66 mph. “It was a good lap, but there’s still bugs in it,” Jenkins claimed. “We’re running a whole new nitrous system and it ain’t even close to ready yet.” When it was suggested that’s bad news for the competition, the Iceman finally cracked a smile and answered, “Uh huh, very bad. Very, very bad.”

Also advancing to round two were Rickie Smith, Randy Weatherford, Terry Housley, Kenny Rucker, James Hancock III, Auxier, and Harold Martin, who received a redlight gift from Rex Kelley. It was a disappointing end for Kelley and his team after bouncing back from a brush with the wall in Friday’s testing to run 4.106 and qualify sixth.

Eliminations are scheduled to resume at 11 a.m. Feb. 19, with all Saturday tickets good for readmission to the event.