TULSA, Okla. – To avoid running in oppressive heat, qualifying for the inaugural Professional Drag Racers Ass’n’s Under the Lights event at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park began at 6 p.m. Friday, but when the second round didn’t conclude until after 2 a.m. Saturday, PDRA and track officials reached the decision to postpone the third of three scheduled qualifying sessions to 3 p.m. with eliminations to follow Saturday night.
After two completed qualifying rounds on the TRP eighth mile, Jason Scruggs led the premier Pro Extreme class with a track record 3.570-seconds pass at 214.79 mph in his supercharged 1969 Camaro. In Pro Nitrous, Khalid Mohammed was first with a 3.811 at 198.70 mph in another ’69 Camaro, while Todd Tutterow in yet another supercharged version of the classic Chevy placed number one with a 3.853 run at 191.19 in the new PDRA Pro Boost class.
In the naturally aspirated Extreme Pro Stock division, John Montecalvo topped the field with a 4.103 at 176.51 mph in his 2012 Camaro, while Pro Extreme Motorcycle rider Eric McKinney rounded out the PDRA professional class leaders with a 4.082-seconds ride at 172.36 mph aboard his 2012 Suzuki.
First in the sportsman classes, also with one more qualifying opportunity, were Aaron Glaser in Top Sportsman and Phil Esz in Top Dragster, while all three Jr. Dragster qualifying sessions were completed Friday night, leaving Tutterow’s daughter, Tia, on top in Pro Jr. Dragster and Kaylee Shepherd first in Top Jr. Dragster.
Scruggs led both Pro Extreme qualifying rounds and was followed on the list by teammate and current points leader Bubba Stanton. Texas racer Randell Reid was third, followed by Terry Leggett and Mick Snyder in the top five of 16 provisional qualifiers.
Though seventh on the list at 3.631 seconds, Georgia’s Eric Dillard set the fastest speed so far at 220.48 mph in his twin-turbocharged entry. Twenty-five entries made qualifying attempts, with Gene Hector and his “Small-Block Mafia” currently on the bump spot at 3.749 seconds.
Mohammed, based in Houston, improved by just three thousandths from his first run to also lead both Pro Nitrous sessions, with Lizzy Musi, the most recent Pro Nitrous winner on the PDRA trail, second with a 3.819 pass at 196.02 in her 2006 Dodge Stratus. Points leader Jason Harris was third, Tommy Franklin fourth and John Camp rounded out the top five of 16 entries.
Like his Pro Extreme and Pro Nitrous peers, Tutterow led through both qualifying rounds in Pro Boost, followed closely in both sessions by teammate Kevin Rivenbark, who also won the most recent PDRA event last month at Richmond, Va. Mike Knowles placed third, with Canadian racer Jim Bell fourth and Tyler Miller fifth of the 16 Pro Boost entries on the grounds.
The second session of Pro Boost qualifying was marred by a massive transmission explosion and fire in Jerry Yeoman’s turbocharged ’59 Corvette. Just as the driver left the line, his cockpit initially filled with smoke, with a violent explosion following that blew the car’s windows out and set it ablaze in a huge fireball. Though the fire was fierce and Yeoman coasted to a stop near the eighth-mile finish line, he was not seriously injured in the accident. He was, however, transported by ambulance to a local hospital for a precautionary check-up.