DINWIDDIE, Va. – Home track hero Tommy Franklin will chase his third consecutive Pro Nitrous victory from the No. 1 spot at the PDRA Proline Racing Mid-Atlantic Showdown presented by Frederick Line-X at Virginia Motorsports Park.
Franklin fired off a 3.703-second pass at 202.94 mph to lead the field on Friday.
Also qualifying No. 1 in the PDRA’s professional classes were John Strickland in Penske/PRS Pro Boost presented by WS Construction, J.R. Carr in Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock, Dillon Voss in $hameless Racing Pro Outlaw 632 and Ron Hamby in Drag 965 Pro Street.
The PDRA’s sportsman classes completed two of their three qualifying sessions. The provisional low qualifiers are John Benoit in MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by Tejas Borja, Bryan Keller in Lucas Oil Elite Top Dragster, Don Klooster in MagnaFuel Top Sportsman 32 and Josh Duggins in Lucas Oil Top Dragster 32.
In the Jr. Dragster classes, Mallory Logan threw down a perfect 7.900 in the last pair of the second session to earn the provisional No. 1 spot in Coolshirt Pro Jr. Dragster. Maryland’s Zach Shirkey used his .004 reaction time to top the Gilbert Motorsports Top Jr. Dragster field.
Two-time Pro Nitrous world champion Franklin always enjoys performing well at Virginia Motorsports Park, as it’s not only the Fredericksburg, Va., native’s home track, but he also owns and operates the track with his wife, Judy. It was important to him to lay down a number like his 3.703-second run at 202.94 mph in his Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro, especially after winning the first two races of the season.
“I just think it makes it special that we don’t get our teeth kicked in when we’re here,” Franklin joked. “You come here and you want to do good in front of your home crowd. We never get time to test down here, so it’s not like there’s an advantage. But it is nice to do well in front of our friends and family that come down here to see us.”
Narrowly missing the No. 1 spot was Chris Rini, who posted a 3.707-second pass at 201.34 mph in his Buck-powered ATI Performance ’69 Camaro. With a 3.716-second run at 203.55 mph, defending world champion Jim Halsey rounds out the quick three in his Fulton-powered ’68 Camaro.
Strickland wasn’t necessarily shooting for the No. 1 spot when he rolled to the starting line for the third and final Pro Boost qualifying session. It was simply a byproduct of his goal to change qualifying positions to get off the same side of the eliminations ladder as his teammate, defending Pro Boost world champion Kevin Rivenbark.
Strickland’s 3.686-second run at 200.29 mph in his ProCharger-boosted GALOT Motorsports ’69 Camaro moved him just past Rivenbark, who ended up No. 2. Fellow Proline/ProCharger driver Johnny Camp followed behind in third.
A month after Carr’s first No. 1 qualifier award and event win at the Carolina Showdown at Darlington, the Washington-based Extreme Pro Stock veteran found himself qualified No. 1 again on the strength of a 4.067-second pass at 177.74 mph. Tuned by Frank Gugliotta, Carr led all three sessions in his ’20 Camaro with a 4.09-second run and another 4.06-second pass.
Second-generation Mountain Motor Pro Stock driver Johnny Pluchino qualified a career-best No. 2. John DeFlorian Jr., back for his first race of the season, qualified third.
Since failing to qualify at the season-opening East Coast Nationals at GALOT Motorsports Park, 2017 Pro Outlaw 632 world champion Voss has been on a mission. He won the Carolina Showdown at Darlington in June, then added another accomplishment Friday when he drove his family’s nitrous-assisted Voss Racing Engines ’17 Corvette to a 4.239-second pass at 169.57 mph to qualify No. 1.
Fellow Floridian Christopher Holdorf followed Voss with a 4.262-second run at 165.78 mph in his Nelson-powered ’53 Corvette. Wes Distefano took the No. 3 spot.
In the PDRA’s new small-tire class, Pro Street, Hamby shot to the top of the qualifying order with his 4.058-second run at 181.91 mph in his nitrous-assisted ’64 Chevy II. Maryland racer Tim Essick took his home-built, ProCharger-boosted ’18 Mustang to the No. 2 and Brian McGee’s rounded out the top-three.
By just one thousandth of a second, consistent Top Sportsman frontrunner Benoit grabbed the provisional No. 1 spot in Elite Top Sportsman with his 3.804-second pass at 199.88 mph in his Buck-powered, nitrous-assisted ’17 Camaro. Buddy Perkinson qualified No. 2 in his Musi-powered ’69 Camaro, followed by Henry Underwood.
A similarly close battle for No. 1 took place in Top Sportsman 32, where Klooster and Donny Urban both posted 4.044 E.T.s in their nitrous-assisted entries. It was Klooster’s faster 175.96 mph speed that put him in the top spot going into Saturday’s final session.
Keller steered his supercharged KB Trailer Sales dragster to a 3.783-second run at 198.52 mph to qualify No. 1 in Elite Top Dragster. He’s followed by the centrifugal supercharger-boosted dragsters of Michael White and Chase Beverly.
Duggins leads Top Dragster 32 with his 4.163-second run at 167.22 mph in his PAR-powered Maddox dragster.