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PDRA : McKinney wins at the Spring Nationals



Rockingham Dragway
April 10-12, 2015


At the end of a rare three-day event for the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA), North Carolina drag racing legends Todd Tutterow and Rickie Smith won in Pro Extreme and Pro Nitrous, the top two classes for the 2nd annual PDRA Spring Nationals at the state’s historic Rockingham Dragway. Also picking up pro class wins in the all-eighth-mile event were pole sitter Anthony Disomma in Pro Boost, reigning Pro Extreme Motorcycle Champion Eric McKinney, and top qualifier Phil Esz in the debut of Pro Open Outlaw.

Eric McKinney’s bike was dripping oil by the time it finished a 4.09 at 177.16 pass in the Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle final to handily defeat a 4.36 at 156.19 by first-time finalist Ricardo Knights. But that didn’t matter to the defending PDRA champion, who was the only rider to remain in the 4-ohs through all four rounds of eliminations, too, beating Wes Hawkins, Travis Davis and Dave Norris in the preliminaries.

“We had to change the motor right before the semis, put old faithful in it, and it pulled us through,” said McKinney, who started from the number-one position with a 4.05 at 176.28 mph aboard the 2012 Suzuki tuned by teammate and crew chief Ashley Owens. “I think he got out on me, my reaction times have been terrible here all weekend, so I had to count on my team a lot this weekend. This thing makes a ton of power on the top end.”


Round 1 Eliminations
W. Eric McKinney 0.079 4.041 177.88
L Wes Hawkins -0.087 5.189 138.58

W. Casey Stemper 0.942 No Time
L. Terry Scheigert No Time

W. Ronald Procopio 0.106 4.098 172.61
L. Kim Morrell 0.054 4.243 164.09

W. David Norris 0.136 4.106 172.06
L. Christopher Garner 0.055 4.223 164.35

W. Chuck Wilburn 0.077 4.146 171.77
L. Ashley Owens 0.150 4.125 171.27

W. Ricardo Knights 0.074 4.228 164.99
L. Brad McCoy 0.104 4.204 167.26

W. Bay Bay Yarbrough 2.508 No Time
L. Monte Campbell No Time

W. Travis Davis 0.066 4.185 170.02
L. Burke Forster 0.126 4.230 169.00


Round 2 Eliminations

W. Casey Stemper 0.028 4.153 149.03
L. Bay Bay Yarbrough 0.122 4.193 171.84

W. David Norris 0.045 4.101 172.36
L. Bay Bay Yarbrough 0.122 4.193 171.84

W. Eric McKinney 0.053 4.064 174.68
L. Chuck Wilburn 0.021 4.301 139.00

W. Ricardo Knights 0.039 4.264 165.38
L. Ronald Procopio 0.039 4.490 119.84


Round 3 Eliminations

W. Eric McKinney 0.049 4.061 178.00
L. David Norris 0.031 4.118 172.81

W. Ricardo Knights 0.026 4.182 166.89
L. Casey Stemper 0.045 4.218 143.96



W. Eric McKinney 0.071 4.094 177.16
L. Ricardo Knights 0.045 4.363 156.19
Final Qualifying

1 1 Eric McKinney 4.051 176.28
2 1134 Casey Stemper 4.100 171.69
3 5 Ronald Procopio 4.111 171.38
4 10 David Norris 4.118 170.51
5 2 Ashley Owens 4.132 170.02
6 2323 Brad McCoy 4.145 167.66
7 12 Bay Bay Yarborough 4.166 169.19
8 613 Burke Forster 4.198 167.70
9 9 Travis Davis 4.205 171.01
10 233 Monte Campbell 4.213 167.09
11 1990 Ricardo Knights 4.220 165.15
12 1302 Chuck Wilburn 4.224 169.49
13 110 Christopher Garner 4.228 162.90
14 7 Kim Morrell 4.246 163.87
15 730 Terry Schweigert 4.391 156.86
16 44 Wes Hawkins 4.746 144.40


After two more rounds of qualifying Saturday for the 2nd annual Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) Spring Nationals, there were no changes at the top of the pro class lists at North Carolina’s historic Rockingham Dragway.

However, both sportsman classes saw the number two qualifiers from Friday’s two sessions step up to take over the top spot for eliminations. Additionally, one round of eliminations for all classes were completed Saturday night with the remainder of the race scheduled for completion on Sunday.

Rookie driver Tricia Musi, whose 2009 Stratus broke on the line for Friday night’s session, made a statement Saturday morning when she ran a potential record 3.90 seconds at 193.07 mph to oust veteran Ronnie Davis from the number-one position in MagnaFuel Top Sportsman. She would have needed to back up her elapsed time within one percent during the event to secure the official record, but a red-light start in the opening round of racing against Glenn Butcher ended her weekend.

Musi still left “The Rock” as a winner, though, by defeating 2014 class champion Dan Ferguson in the final of a special Chassis Engineering shootout for the top four Top Sportsman qualifiers. “This is only my second race so I’m pretty happy to already win something,” she said. “Next race I’m going to go for the record, too.”

In Dart Top Dragster qualifying, Bob Sheridan Jr. leapfrogged over Friday leader Craig Sullivan with a 3.92-seconds blast at 178.71 mph in the morning session.

Also scoring on Saturday night was number-one starter Shannon Smith in the special South East Gassers exhibition as he drove his “Pale Rider” ’55 Chevy to a final-round win over Tim Bailey and his “Alley Cat” ’41 Willys.

Meanwhile, Jason Scruggs remained atop the NAS Racing Pro Extreme order with a 3.54 run at 217.42 mph in his ’69 Camaro, but was eliminated from round one of racing when his supercharger drive belt broke during the burnout. That allowed the Dominican Republic’s Jose Gonzalez to advance to round two on Sunday, where he’ll face off against Mike Recchia.

Also advancing were Terry Leggett after posting a personal best 3.55 at 215.27, North Carolina’s own Todd Tutterow, defending class champ Bubba Stanton, Sweden’s Adam Flamholc, and Dubai drivers Mohammed Buhumaid and Badir Ahli, who will race each other.

In Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous, top qualifier Jay Cox set low ET of the meet so far with a 3.72 win to send him to round two against Chris Rini, while reigning champion Jason Harris will race past class champion Mike Castellana.

On the other side of the ladder, current back-to-back NHRA Pro Mod champ Rickie Smith will go up against past Pro Nitrous champ Stevie Jackson and Travis Harvey will face John Camp, who outran number-two qualifier and season-opening race winner Tommy Franklin in the first round.

Precision Turbo Pro Boost number-one qualifier Anthony Disomma also went quicker and faster in the first round of racing with a 3.79 pass at 213.33 mph to beat Jim Bell and reach Tylor Miller on Sunday morning. Also advancing were Rick Fleck, Brian Hicks, teammates Kevin Rivenbark and John Strickland, who will race one another, and Jeremy Ray, who will race Kevin Fiscus, winner of the PDRA’s 2015 season opener last month in Texas.

Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle rider Eric McKinney continued the trend of top qualifiers going quicker and faster in eliminations with a 4.04 pass at 177.88 against a redlighting Wes Hawkins. McKinney, the defending class champion will race Travis Davis, while Dave Norris takes on Chuck Wilborn, number-two starter Casey Stemper will race Bay Bay Yarborough, and Ron Procopio will suit up against Ricardo Knights.

The new Powershield Pro Open Outlaw class featured an eight-car field, so it will already be down to the semi-finals when racing resumes on Sunday. Number-one starter Phil Esz will race Jody Stroud with the winner to face either Eddie Lykins or Mark McElwee for the Spring Nationals title.

The rare, three-day PDRA event at ‘The Rock’ will resume at 11 a.m. Sunday with final eliminations. In addition to the PDRA pro and sportsman classes, kids aged 8-17 will compete in two Jr. Dragster classes sponsored by Huddleston Performance.


Jason Scruggs of Saltillo, MS, led through both rounds of Pro Extreme qualifying Friday for the 2nd annual Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) Spring Nationals at North Carolina’s historic Rockingham Dragway. Also qualifying number one in the PDRA pro classes were Jay Cox in Pro Nitrous, Anthony DiSomma in Pro Boost, Phil Esz in the debut of the PDRA’s Pro Open Outlaw class and defending Pro Extreme Motorcycle champion Eric McKinney.

In the PDRA sportsman classes, Georgia racer Ronnie Davis made the only three-second pass in MagnaFuel Top Sportsman at 3.981 seconds and 181.69 mph to lead after two qualifying rounds, while Craig Sullivan paced the Dart Top Dragster field with a 3.945 at 180.84-mph combination. Also, Kimberly Messer placed first in Huddleston Performance Pro Jr. Dragster and Connor Glaser led the way in Huddleston Top Jr. Dragster.

Driving a new ’69 Camaro with less than a dozen total passes on it, Scruggs posted a run of 3.57 seconds in the opening round, then ran 3.542 seconds at 217.42 mph in the evening session to lead the 16-car NAS Racing Pro Extreme field into two more rounds of qualifying on Saturday before the first round of eliminations are run for all classes that night.

“That was a good run, but I’m not sure it’s going to last,” Scruggs said. “I think there’s supposed to be a cold front coming in and the air should be a little drier tomorrow, so there’s definitely a few cars that can step it up. But so can we if we have to.”

Close behind Scruggs is teammate and defending class champion Bubba Stanton at 3.548, followed by Mustafa Buhamaid, winner of the PDRA season opener last month in Texas, North Carolina’s own Terry Leggett and John Stanley, who ran a career-best 3.59 seconds to round out the top five.

Cox also led after both rounds of Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous, finishing with a 3.744-seconds pass at 200.35 mph that satisfied a long-held goal for the Smithfield, NC-based driver.

“We’ve run a couple of .74s already this year, but I’m tickled to death because I finally got my first 200-mile-an-hour time slip,” he explained. “This is my first year with fuel injection and I’ve got my good friend Danny Perry here with me. He’s been looking over my trouble spots and we picked up quite a bit in the back half thanks to him.”

Texas winner Tommy Franklin is currently second at 3.75 seconds, followed by past class champions Steve Jackson and Mike Castellana. Lizzy Musi, driving a borrowed ’69 Camaro after crashing her own car at Dallas last month, placed seventh with a 3.80 pass that ended with a long, fast ride through the shutdown area after her parachutes failed to deploy.

“It was pretty dark and bumpy down there and I was just squeezing the brakes as hard but as gentle as I could because you don’t want to get the tires sliding,” Musi said. “I got it stopped before the track ended, though, so no big deal, fortunately.”

A total of 23 drivers made qualifying attempts in Pro Nitrous with defending class champion Jason Harris the first of seven not yet qualified after his ’68 Firebird ran a best of 3.90 seconds.

The twin-turbocharged ’67 Mustang of New Jersey’s DiSomma didn’t make it down the track in round two, but his 3.805 pass at 210.24 mph from round one held up to place him on top of 18 Precision Turbo Pro Boost entries. Placing second with a 3.841 effort was Kevin Rivenbark in a supercharged ’67 Mustang, with Texas winner Kevin Fiscus third in another turbocharged Mustang at 3.844 seconds.

After missing the opening qualifying round for the PDRA’s new Toefco Pro Open Outlaw class, Phil Esz of Amelia, OH, stepped up with a 3.644 run at 202.67 to lead eight entries into Saturday’s action. Eddie Lykins, Mark McElwee and Jody Stroud filled out the top half of the field.

With 16 bikes showing up to contest the Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle class, all are guaranteed a race-day slot. McKinney, who won last month in Texas, again set the pace in qualifying with a 4.078 pass at 177.32 aboard his nitrous-boosted 2012 Suzuki. Casey Stemper was second at 4.100, followed by McKinney’s teammate and tuner Ashley Owens, Brad McCoy and Ron Procopio.

In addition to the PDRA’s official classes, the South East Gassers, featuring period-correct race cars typical of the 1960s and ’70s, engaged in a 12 car exhibition at the PDRA Spring Nationals. Though elapsed times or speeds are deliberately not displayed, Shannon Smith led the way in his ’55 Chevy after two qualifying rounds were in the books. He was followed by a trio from the Stott family as Donovan Stott and his ’48 Anglia were second, his uncle and South East Gassers organizer Quain Stott was third and Donovan’s father, Mitch, placed fourth.

The all-eighth-mile PDRA event at ‘The Rock’ will resume with two more qualifying sessions starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by the opening round of eliminations for all classes at 6 p.m. that night. Final eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.

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