HARTSVILLE, S.C. — Mike Recchia, the most recent Pro Extreme winner on the Professional Drag Racers Ass’n tour, is well on his way to another strong performance at the PDRA Spring Nationals at Darlington Dragway.
The Illinois native is currently qualified No. 1 with a 3.61-second pass at 211.96 mph after two of three qualifying sessions during the PDRA’s first stop at the legendary South Carolina track.
It may appear as though Mike Recchia loaded up his Agrow Fresh ’69 Camaro after winning the last race on tour and unloaded it at the Spring Nationals to qualify No. 1, but it wasn’t that simple. Recchia’s 3.61 at 211.96 is actually the result of a lot of hard work by his team.
“The funny thing is this isn’t the engine we ran at the last race at GALOT,” Recchia said. “All of the parts we ordered last December just came in, so we put this new engine and driveline together. We have a few bugs in the system, but we’ll go through the car tonight and squash those bugs. But it feels great to win the last race then back it up with this performance here.”
Chasing Recchia is PDRA Valdosta winner Tommy D’Aprile in the Mel Bush Motorsports ’15 Corvette with a 3.614 at 208.43 and Sweden’s Mattias Wulcan with a 3.615 at 209.50 is third.
“The guys behind us are super-fast people,” Recchia said. “You’ve got (Jason) Scruggs, D’Aprile and Terry Leggett. We’re finally beginning to swing with these guys. It’s been a long struggle.”
Defending Pro Nitrous world champion Tommy Franklin holds the top spot after running a 3.706 at 204.17 in his “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro. The Fredericksburg, Virginia-based businessman praised his Tommy Franklin Motorsports team, but also the Darlington Dragway and PDRA staffs for their part in the day’s success.
“The race track has been stellar all weekend,” Franklin said. “It was 140 degrees out there today and the car was just bolted to the track. Great facility, great track prep and great guys out here. Just gotta thank the Lord for keeping us safe.
“We had a great event out here tonight. I was really trying to go a 3.69 – I’m going to be greedy. But to go 3.70 at 204 in these weather conditions is just great. It just speaks a lot for my crew, my family, all of my people back home taking care of the businesses, and this Pat Musi horsepower and Jerry Bickel-built race car.”
Last year’s PDRA Pro Extreme world champion, Brandon Snider, made an offseason move to Pro Boost. He debuted an AAP-backed ’69 Camaro at the second race of 2017, just days after picking it up from chassis builder Jerry Bickel Race Cars. While that first outing was not successful, the Alabama native is already well on his way to a strong second race after posting a 3.721 at 202.07 Friday night.
“We tested (Thursday), went a 3.76 on a 137-degree track,” Snider said. “We came out today in the heat and just totally screwed it up, just lost it. We found a few issues here and there, went back and sorted it out. This is a different class, different car, different engine program – everything is different from Pro Extreme. Having this put in your lap and to learn it quickly is a real challenge. It’s a real challenge for all of us. We’re just going to keep picking at it.”
Oklahoman Cary Goforth topped the Extreme Pro Stock field on Friday night for the second time this season. He drove his Dean’s Casing Service/Dewayne Higgins Trucking ’15 Camaro to a 4.048 at 178.36 in the night session after struggling on his first pass of the day.
“I feel really good right now,” Goforth said. “I felt good after the first session. I wasn’t even a bit upset about not getting down the first session because I knew we could come out here and run well in the night session. And I don’t want to look like we’re only running good in the night session. I think we can run really well in the heat. If you don’t run well in the heat, you’re not going to win a championship. That’s just the way it is. Everybody can run well when it’s cool.”
A full field of 16 entries arrived at Darlington Dragway to make up the Pro Extreme Motorcycle field, currently led by Travis Davis. The PDRA East Coast Nationals winner posted a 4.044 at 175.78 in the second session to claim the top spot. Close behind Davis are Chuck Wilburn with a 4.051 at 175.30 in second and Ashley Owens with a 4.059 at 172.35 in third.