Lizzy Musi Rockets To PDRA No. 1

Lizzy Musi (Tara Bowker photo)

DINWIDDIE, Va. — Lizzy Musi rocketed to the No. 1 spot in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous Friday night at the Professional Drag Racers Ass’n Mid-Atlantic Showdown presented by Modern Racing.

Musi steered her Edelbrock/Lucas Oil “King Kong 7” ‘18 Dodge Dart to a 3.650 at 207.02 to lead the 18-car field at Virginia Motorsports Park.

One month after recording multiple passes in the 3.60-second range at the PDRA season opener at GALOT Motorsports Park, Pro Nitrous star Lizzy Musi continued her strong early season performances with a 3.650 at 207.02 in the “King Kong 7” ’18 Dodge Dart owned by Frank Brandao and tuned by her father, engine builder Pat Musi.

“It’s awesome to go out there and finally get the No. 1 spot,” Musi said. “My team definitely deserves it. My dad and the team have been working hard at it and this is a good achievement for this whole team, so we’re excited. We know we have a night run tuneup, so now we need the heat-of-the-day tuneup. Hopefully we can get the car consistent, go rounds and take home the win.”

Musi will line up next to Chris Patrick in his Musi-powered ’69 Camaro to start eliminations. Two-time world champion Tommy Franklin qualified No. 2 with a 3.668 at 205.91 in his Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro. Two-time and defending world champion Jason Harris rounds out the top 3 with a 3.708 at 202.61 in the Musi-powered “Party Time” ’69 Camaro.

Pro Boost rookie Kris Thorne picked up his first No. 1 qualifier award after he unleashed a 3.688 at 215.37 in his twin-turbocharged ’17 Corvette during the final qualifying session. With Proline Racing tuner Mikey Rees calling the shots, Thorne also led the first two qualifying sessions with a 3.719 and 3.709, respectively.

Thorne will face Bubba Turner in his supercharged ’68 Camaro in the opening round of eliminations Saturday afternoon. GALOT Motorsports teammates Kevin Rivenbark and John Strickland followed Thorne in the No. 2 and 3 spots, with Rivenbark posting a 3.716 at 199.37 and Strickland running 3.717 at 201.82 in the team’s ProCharger-boosted Camaros.

Todd Hoerner rolled into Virginia coming off runner-up finishes at the PDRA East Coast Nationals and the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals Mountain Motor Pro Stock exhibition race. The Virginia native added another accomplishment to that list when he held off a strong Extreme Pro Stock field to grab the No. 1 spot with a 4.075 at 177.95 in the Zarella family’s Sonny’s-powered ’12 Camaro.

Hoerner will take on veteran Pro Stock driver and tuner Tommy Lee in the first round of eliminations. Lee is driving the ’19 Camaro usually driven by class veteran John Montecalvo. Chris Powers, who won the recent NHRA 4-Wide Nationals in Mountain Motor Pro Stock, qualified No. 2 with a 4.075 at 177.39 in his Sonny’s-powered Liberty’s Gears ’14 Camaro. Past world champion and season opener winner John Pluchino recorded a 4.076 at 176.30 in his Kaase-powered ’13 Mustang to qualify third.

Defending Pro Outlaw 632 world champion Johnny Pluchino won the season-opening East Coast Nationals in early April, but he still wasn’t completely satisfied with the performance of the Kaase-powered ’06 Ford Escort he drives for car owner Dominic Addeo. Pluchino’s 4.220 at 168.37 was closer to what the second-generation driver was looking for from the entry.

Pluchino will have lane choice over No. 14 qualifier Vinny LaRosa in his Voss-powered ’71 Duster in the first round of eliminations. Past world champion Dillon Voss posted a 4.242 at 169.68 in his Voss Racing Engines ’17 Corvette to qualify No. 2, followed closely by East Coast Nationals runner-up Wes Distefano in his Musi-powered ’68 Camaro with a 4.247 at 172.34.

The PDRA’s lone two-wheeled category made its season debut Friday night as Pro Nitrous Motorcycle joined the series for their first of six races on the eight-race PDRA tour. Chris Garner-Jones capitalized on a productive Thursday test session by racing his way to the No. 1 spot with a pair of 4.03s and a 3.984 at 177.37 aboard his Jones Racing ’17 Hayabusa.

Garner-Jones will face Terry Wynn and his Jacksonville, Florida-based ’13 Hayabusa in the opening round. Past world champion Travis Davis rode his Davis Racing entry to a 3.997 at 177.07 to qualify No. 2. Defending world champion Ronnie “Pro Mod” Smith qualified third with a 4.048 at 171.99 on his Innovative Performance ’16 Hayabusa.

The PDRA’s sportsman classes received two qualifying sessions, with a third and final session scheduled for Saturday morning. The provisional low qualifiers are John Benoit in MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman, Scott Duggins in Top Sportsman 32, Brian Bednar in Lucas Oil Elite Top Dragster and Phillip Sexton in Top Dragster 32.

Leading the fields in the Jr. Dragster classes are Joshua Talvacchio in Coolshirt Pro Jr. Dragster presented by Knoxtown Products with a perfect 7.900 pass and Gayge Farrell in Gilbert Motorsports Top Jr. Dragster with a .008 reaction time.