PDRA expands Top Dragster field for 2018

The PDRA introduced a new program for MagnaFuel Top Sportsman this year that featured the chance for up to 48 cars to qualify. The top 16 qualifiers automatically entered their own class, Elite 16, while the bottom qualifiers formed a separate 32 or 48 car field, based on the number of total cars entered.


The same program will be in place for Top Dragster in 2018, which again will be sponsored by Lucas Oil.


“This year was a huge success for MagnaFuel Top Sportsman in having the Elite 16 and the regular 32 car Top Sportsman field,” explained PDRA’s Bob Harris. “We’ve had 16 of the fastest Top Sportsman cars in the country running consistently low numbers. Since it was such a success, we’re going to continue that program for Top Sportsman in 2018 and also offer it for Lucas Oil Top Dragster. We’re very excited about the ways this will support our Top Dragster racers and enhance the PDRA.”


For this program, qualifying will continue to operate in the same way, all cars qualifying together. Once qualifying is complete the top 16 cars automatically enter the Elite 16. The remaining field will consist of either 16 or 32 cars, depending on the number of entries.


All four classes of Top Sportsman and Top Dragster will run for a world championship and each class will run for its own “660 Man” trophy at every event.  

Rain forces cancellation of racing, but OREC Open House will be held

With multiple inches of rain falling over the last 10 days on the Onawa Racing and Events Complex, officials have cancelled the racing portion of the Open House planned for Saturday, Oct. 14, at the facility in Onawa, IA.


“With the facility still under construction, the immense rainfall has made conditions unfavorable for parking or moving around on any non-paved surfaces,” said Scott Gardner of Gardner Race Track Consultants, overseeing the project.


The Open House will still take place with the plan to park the general public on the race track surface and have the Meet and Greet in the Events Center. Gates will open at 10 a.m. with the official welcoming at noon. 

B-J to donate Super Snake sale price to Las Vegas First Responders fund

Auction company Barrett-Jackson will rally around Las Vegas first responders and those affected by the recent mass shooting tragedy with several initiatives Oct. 19-21 during the 10th Annual Las Vegas Auction at the Mandalay Bay Resort.


The entire sale price of a rare 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake to be auctioned will go to a special fund that supports Las Vegas first responders, the company has announced.


“All of us at Barrett-Jackson are heartbroken over the tragic event in Las Vegas (Oct. 1),” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “Like many people around the country, this event hit close to home. We are returning to Las Vegas for our 10th annual auction to stand by our partners. We had many friends in attendance at the concert, and were deeply saddened to learn the son of one of our valued customers tragically lost his life. There are no words to express our sorrow as we all try and cope with what happened and, like many around the country, our focus immediately turned to what we could do to help. This car will sell during our live broadcast on Discovery Channel on Saturday, and is one of the many steps we are taking to stand with Las Vegas at this difficult time.”


The Super Snake, donated by Barrett-Jackson president Steve Davis from his personal collection, is a 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake 40th Anniversary Edition. The car was originally owned by former Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields and was documented to be the seventh built that year, the company noted.


Not only was it one of the first Shelby GT500s to be built since the 1970 model year, it was transformed by Shelby Automobiles (now Shelby American) in Las Vegas into a Super Snake edition car under the watchful eye of Carroll Shelby himself, who signed a special book documenting the car. The 600-plus-hp muscle car was recorded as the 11th Super Snake manufactured that year. The Shelby also received the coveted 40th anniversary option, with commemorative badges, upgraded brakes, new suspension and other enhancements.


Barrett-Jackson also plans to support first responders by offering two free tickets to the event, which can be claimed by presenting proper identification at the Mandalay Bay box office. In addition, the company is arranging for onsite donation opportunities that will benefit those affected. 

Trio of Kiwis to race at Willowbank on October 28

The Queensland Drag Racing Championship will culminate on October 28 at Australia’s Willowbank Raceway with the popular series set to feature the wild Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars to add some extra fire to the event. Among the huge field of racers looking for glory in Queensland, a strong New Zealand contingent will be enjoying the sunshine and hopefully, some race wins.


The Kiwi crew will be led by Morice McMillin, who pilots the “One Bad Kiwi” nitro funny car.


McMillin explained “From a Kiwi perspective, Willowbank Raceway is one of the most iconic tracks in Australia and to compete at this track is something that even as a kid, I always wanted to tick off the bucket list.


“To have now driven a flame-throwing 4000 horsepower nitro car down the 400m track at over 400km/h is beyond expectations, it’s a dream come true!”


Another racer making the trip is Pete Stirling who has been peddling his ‘78 Camaro down the Australian racetracks for over 10 years now, having shipped the car over from Nelson, NZ, in 2004.


Using a nitrous-fed engine combination at the time of the car’s debut, Stirling changed to a supercharger and stepped up to Supercharged Outlaws in 2012. Stirling currently sits second in QDRC points and he knows he must bring his ‘A’ game to outlast the competition. Stirling


“The racers in Supercharged Outlaws are so tough and these cars are fast and such a handful, you need to be very sharp.” Stirling added, “Nothing is a gift in this class!”


The third member of the Kiwi trio is Lee Sherwin who steers the Pro Drill Ford Escort. Sherwin and his dedicated family team fly over to Australia for every QDRC event.


“We are pumped to watch too, it's not every day you get to see a nitro funny car in action, let alone 12 of them at the same time, and being part of the event makes it that much better,” said Sherwin, who is currently sixth in the points, just 17 points behind first place.


The October 28 round of the QDRC will feature 12 Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars, wheelstanders, a dedicated Kid’s Play Zone, and a full field of support classes.  

Conway, Williams, Wright lead ‘Thunder in the Heartland’ victors

Sean Conway, Kirk Williams, and Ed Wright all scored final victories Sunday, Oct. 8, at the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, South Central Division, Thunder in the Heartland at Thunder Valley Raceway Park in Noble, OK.


Conway, Spring, TX, had an easy final round victory, cruising down the strip at 6.236 seconds, 168.95 mph. James Stevens, Gothenburg, NE, had mechanical issues prior to the Top Alcohol Dragster final round and could not make the run.


The Top Alcohol Funny Car final round came down to the wire. Williams, Glenwood, IA, came out of the gate strong, recording his quickest pass of the weekend, 5.660 seconds, 254.09 mph to hold off a hard charging Doug Gordon of Paso Robles, CA, for the holeshot victory. Gordon runner upped at 5.635 seconds, 261.32 mph.



COMP: Kevin Self, Caddo, OK, '32 Bantam, H/EA, 8.963, 147.78 def. Chase Williams, Carthage, TX, '14 Spitzer, C/DA, 8.152, 152.54.


SUPER STOCK: Ed Wright, Sand Springs, OK, '96 Trans Am, SS/JA, 10.325, 127.85 def. Jacob Pitt, Mansfield, TX, '03 Stratus, FGT/H, 9.704, 136.44.


STOCK: John McLaughlin, Flagstaff, AZ, '70 Road Runner, H/S, 11.355, 116.88 def. Jeff Lopez, Irving, TX, '14 COPO, FS/C, 9.554, 134.95.


SUPER COMP: Austin Williams, Burleson, TX, '15 Miller Drgster, 8.945, 158.75 def. Chase Huffman, Burleson, TX, '05 Mullis, 8.937, 147.37.


SUPER GAS: Luke Bogacki, Centerville, Ill., '15 Csrc, 9.921, 168.79 def. Gary Michell, Ennis, TX, '77 Pinto, 9.887, 135.21.


SUPER STREET: Cory Lytle, Mustang, OK, '67 Chevelle, 10.894, 119.84 def. Chris Vang, Parker, CO, '67 Chevelle, 10.875, 129.31.


SPORTSMAN MOTORCYCLE: William H. Keele Jr., San Antonio, TX, '82 Kawasaki, 9.261, 137.95 def. Gene Hudel, San Antonio, TX, '07 Kawasaki, 9.271, 140.33.


TOP SPORTSMAN: Kirk Piepke, Pauls Valley, OK, '07 GTO, 7.199, 189.55 def. Larry Demers, Carroll, IA, '06 Cobalt, 7.208, 191.77.


TOP DRAGSTER: Bradley Thompson, Vernon, TX, '16 Copeland, 6.313, 214.18 def. Ross Laris, Raceland, LA, '15 American, 6.450, 219.13.

Tennessee, Florida drivers prevail in The Rock’s Summit ET Finals

Fayetteville, North Carolina’s Chip Johnson and Clinton’s Steve Foley came close but it was high school student Hunter Edmundson of Pekanello who kept the home state from being shut out Saturday, Oct. 7, in the NHRA Southeast Division Summit ET Finals at Rockingham Dragway.

Hunter Edmundson (far lane) used a .010 package to turn back Gage Burch of Palmetto, FL, in the High School final, denying Burch a double-up win at The Rock. Burch earlier had driven his 1980 Chevy Malibu to victory in the Sportsman Race of Champions. 


Brendan George of Gainesville, FL, Tim Griffith of Cedar Bluff, VA, Van Greer of Kingsport, TN, and Dennis Stewart of St. Petersburg, FL, were the winners in Super Pro, Pro, Sportsman and Pro Bike, respectively, in a race rushed to conclusion because of the likelihood of heavy rain.


Each winner earned a berth in the national championship race to be contested in conjunction with the NHRA’s Auto Club Finals at Pomona, CA, in November, where the Southeast champions will compete against champions from the NHRA’s seven other geographic divisions.


The Jr. Dragster portion of the event was postponed by the rain and, because of schedule conflicts, will not be made up until next June in conjunction with the Jr. Dragster Eastern Conference Finals in Bristol, TN. 

Gainesville takes NHRA Southeast Division team title

Gainesville Raceway won the NHRA Southeast Division Summit Racing Series Team Championship over Bristol Dragway and Atlanta Dragway, while Brendan George led the list of individual winners at the Southeast Division Summit Finals at Rockingham Dragway.


The team from Gainesville racked up 41 points to hold off Bristol Dragway, with 36 points, and Atlanta Dragway, who scored 30 points. Rockingham Dragway and Music City Raceway rounded out the top five finishing fourth and fifth with 26 and 22 respectively.


Joining George with individual trophies and advancing on to the NHRA Summit National Championship were Tim Griffith, Van Greer and Dennis Stewart who each won their eliminator. Via a special wild card drawing held early this year, Troy Stafford will also move on to the nationals in Pomona, CA, by winning the division’s Summit Race of Champions event in Pro ET.


George, Gainesville, FL, drove his ’09 dragster to the win in Super Pro, capping it off with a 4.758 second lap at 140.75 mph to defeat Chip Johnson, Fayetteville, NC. In the Pro ET class, Griffith, Cedar Bluff, VA, raced to victory in his ’77 Vega with a 6.648 second run at 108.45 mph against Steve Foley.


Greer, Kingsport, TN, took home the trophy in Sportsman again this year defending his 2016 title. He took the win against Thomas Kleppin, White House, TN in 7.535 seconds at 85.94 mph. In Super Pro Motorcycle, Stewart, St. Petersburg, FL, won over Scott Delong, Boynton Beach, Fla., who fouled.

Chip Johnson, a former Rockingham track champion and IHRA national event winner, couldn’t overcome a .022 of second final round starting line deficit and lost the title to George (far lane) by .007 of a second in a race between dragster and 1980 Malibu.


In Sportsman, Burch, Palmetto, FL, took the win for the second year in a row with a lap of 7.509 seconds at 88.85 mph in his ’80 Malibu against Kenneth Anderson, Lake Worth, FL. Turner, Bluff City, TN, took the win in Super Pro Motorcycle over Rick Eaton, Venice, FL, with a lap of 5.746, 121.44.


Stafford beat out Steve Foley in the Pro E.T. Race of Champions for the NHRA Summit National Championship wild card entry. Stafford, Orlando, FL, went 7.083, 94.52 in his ’73 Dart. 

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