PDRA Summer Drags Title; Ahli, Pittman, Garner-Jones Also
MARTIN, MI (June 28, 2015) -- Twenty-four hours after making
the first 3.60s eighth-mile pass in Pro Nitrous history to
qualify first for the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA)
Summer Drags, Pat Stoken left U.S. 131 Motorsports Park,
located halfway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo in
Western Michigan, as the event winner, too.
"Wow, what a weekend. It's like a dream; only dreams end
like this," the logging company owner from Eureka, MT, said.
"To become the quickest nitrous car in the world and then to
win the race, geez, it's just unbelievable. I'm not even
sure I could believe if we hadn't just lived through it."
Also earning pro class wins were Bader Ahli with his first
in Pro Extreme, Alan Pittman in Pro Boost for the first
time, Chris Garner-Jones with his second-straight race title
in Pro Extreme Motorcycle and Jody Stroud in Pro Open
In the sportsman classes Tim Lawrence won his first PDRA Top
Sportsman trophy, Joe Hessling prevailed in Top Dragster,
Preston Tanner won Pro Jr. Dragster and Caleb Russell got
the job done in Top Jr. Dragster. Additionally, Matt Sackman
won a consolation race for non-qualifiers from the Top
Sportsman and Top Dragster classes.
Bader Ahli started his '69 Camaro from the fourth position
in NAS Racing Pro Extreme after running 3.52 at 212.16 mph
in qualifying. Defending event champion Randell Reid
qualified number one with a 3.51 at 214.39, with Jason
Scruggs and Brandon Snider following in second and third,
In eliminations, Ahli opened with a fortunate free pass in
round one with a traction-challenged 4.58 run at just 130
mph after Carl Stevens Jr. failed to show. A comfortable win
over Duane Rister followed before Ahli took out Todd
Tutterow with a sizable .068 holeshot in the semis. That
paired Ahli with Mike Recchia for the final after Recchia
also advanced from the semis with a holeshot victory over
The final was decided at the starting line as Recchia's
screw-blown '69 Camaro barely moved when its transmission
broke, while Ahli posted a 3.62 at 210.77 to earn his first
PDRA race title.
"I was really relaxed. I felt like this race was mine. The
car left good but it shook a little and I just had to ride
through it," said Ahli, who with the win took over the
points lead from teammate Mustafa Buhumaid. "You need luck
more than anything else to win here (PDRA), but now my car
is starting to be more consistent and I think in the next
five races you will see us doing better."
Pat Stoken claimed the number-one starting position in his
bright orange 2014 Camaro by going an unprecedented 3.69
seconds at 201.07 mph in the third round of Switzer Dynamics
Pro Nitrous qualifying on Friday night (June 26). For being
the first to dip below 3.70 seconds he also won a $5,000
bonus paid by Bryant Crane and Rigging.
"Between Brandon Switzer and Reher-Morrison motors and Rick
Jones at RJ Race Cars, everything just worked perfect this
weekend; everything just came together. Everybody did an
excellent job," Stoken said.
Close behind in second at 3.70 seconds and 201.70 mph was
Steve Jackson, Stoken's eventual rival in the final round.
To get there, though, Stoken first had to go through Bob
Gulitti, Jim Sakuvich and Mike Castellana in the semifinals.
On the opposite side of the ladder Jackson had a free pass
from round one when Keith Haney was unable to answer the
call for eliminations, but blew the scoop off his '69 Camaro
with a nitrous backfire at the end of his run. With repairs
made for round two, Jackson won a tight race against Jay Cox
before ousting two-time defending NHRA Pro Mod champ Rickie
Smith from the semis.
Stoken left first with a .029 light to Jackson's .063 in the
final and never looked back, winning in 3.75 seconds at
199.03 mph while Jackson got out of the groove and had to
shut down early in order to avoid crossing the centerline.
"We were just thinking we wanted to get down the track; we
didn't want to give it away," Stoken said later. "The track
was great here all weekend and we went straight down it
pretty much every time, no problems at all. This PDRA is
really a great organization to race with and it was great to
see the fans out here today, too. They made it a lot of
The win vaulted Stoken from 12th to eighth in season points,
while Jackson moved up from seventh to third, trailing only
Smith and leader Tommy Franklin.
It had been three years since the last time Alan Pittman
visited victory lane as a driver, but he steered the
roots-blown '69 Camaro owned by Terry and Terri Green to the
Precision Turbo Pro Boost title at the PDRA Summer Drags in
"I won an Extreme 10.5 race here on my way to the
championship in 2012, so this track has been very, very kind
to me. I love coming here," Pittman declared.
A well-known chassis builder who created the car at his shop
in Greenville, SC, Pittman qualified eighth in the 16-car
field with a 3.88 pass at 189.08 mph, compared to top
qualifier Todd Moyer who drove his twin-turbocharged 2014
Camaro to a 3.83-seconds lap at 2015.10 mph.
Regardless, it was Pittman who reached the final round
against number-three starter Jim Bell after knocking off
Jason Hamstra in round one, catching a break when Jeremy Ray
went red in round two, and taking out a traction-challenged
Eddie Rogers in the semis.
"That one round I went up there knowing the transmission was
broke, but I went ahead and staged just in case he redlit
and when the tree came down I went red, but he did too, but
even worse," Pittman explained of his advancement past Ray.
"That was our lucky break."
Bell, meanwhile, beat Tylor Miller and Brian Hicks before
winning with a holeshot over teammate Kevin Fiscus in the
Unfortunately, Bell timed out at the tree in the final
round, however, automatically handing the win to Pittman,
who ran 3.87 at 190.68 to cap off his weekend.
"When we built this car we put a 481X motor in it, but we
just put a new 526 Brad Anderson Hemi in it and came here
untested," Pittman said. "It just won the race so I think
it'll be staying in there."
With the win, Pittman climbed from 13th to sixth in Pro
Boost points, while Fiscus took over the lead from Kevin
Rivenbark, who debuted a brand-new Jerry Bickel-built 2015
Corvette at the Summer Drags, where he qualified 11th, but
lost a close race to a holeshot by Hicks in the opening
In Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle it was a repeat of the
previous event four weeks earlier in St. Louis, as Chris
Garner-Jones rode his 2014 Suzuki to the number-one starting
position, then defeated defending class champion Eric
McKinney (who had won each of the first three PDRA races
this season) for the race win.
After three rounds of qualifying Garner-Jones led the slim
five-bike field with a 4.04-seconds ride at 174.28 mph, with
McKinney just four-thousandths of a second behind at 177.03
mph and Terry Schweigert third at 4.11 and 169.94 mph.
In eliminations Garner-Jones opened with a 4.07 bye run,
then defeated Schweigert with a 4.05 before turning things
up for the final with a 4.02 at 174.15 to overcome a .012
holeshot leading to a 4.06 pass at 175.99 by McKinney.
"I wasn't aware of where he was; all I know is he wasn't in
front of me. You know, (McKinney) is a great racer. I look
up to the man, I really do," Garner-Jones said in victory
lane. "He's been doing this a lot longer than me and he's
won a lot of races, so I'm going to take advantage of any
chance I get and when we race it's really going to be a
Leaving the track, McKinney retained a strong lead in points
over teammate Ashley Owens in second place, but Garner Jones
climbed one position over Schweigert to third overall with
five races remaining in the 10-event season.
As soon as Jody Stroud arrived at the top end of U.S. 131
Motorsports Park after defeating Eddie Lykins in the Toefco
Pro Open Outlaw final he climbed from his "Zombie Rage"
dragster and did his best Ricky Bobby impression. Literally
running around his car while stripping off his driver's suit
and clothing and yelling "I'm on fire!" Stroud stopped only
after someone assured him, "It's okay, you're not on fire,
Ricky Bobby," just like in the "Talladega Nights" movie
starring Will Ferrell.
"I was so glad someone gave me that out because I was almost
down to my underwear," said Stroud, who revealed he'd
promised his crew the night before that he'd perform the
skit if he won the second Pro Open Outlaw race held this
year. "They reminded me just before we ran the final what
I'd said, so being as crazy as a dooky house bat I had to go
through with it," the New Carlisle, OH-based driver added.
Stroud started number one with a 3.66 pass at 198.50 mph in
an 8-car field after 11 entries made qualifying attempts. He
made it past Michael Scheel and set a new ET record for the
class with a 3.61 win over Bryan Keller in the semis. Lykins,
meanwhile, started third and beat Eddie Careccia and Phil
Esz to reach the final round.
Once there, Stroud left with a .009 advantage off the line,
then ran 3.62 at 198.41 for the win while Lykins had to
pedal and posted a 3.95 at 186.41 mph.
Top qualifier Tricia Musi set a new elapsed time record of
3.934 seconds on her way to the MagnaFuel Top Sportsman
final, where she came up short in a pedaling contest against
Tim Lawrence. It marked the first PDRA event win for
Lawrence, the number-14 qualifier from Princeton, WV, who
dedicated the race to his wife's recently passed-away
mother, Edna Farley.
The Dart Top Dragster win at the PDRA Summer Drags went to
number-eight qualifier Joe Hessling, who ran his Procharger-equipped
machine to an off-the-pace 4.17 win at just 138.89 mph in
the final round over Jim Prevo.
The PDRA Huddleston Performance Pro Jr. Dragster win went to
number-11 qualifier Preston Tanner, with the Huddleston Top
Jr. Dragster title going to first-place qualifier Caleb
Matt Sackman took the win in the consolation Top
Sportsman/Top Dragster added in race.
The PDRA will
return to action July 16-18, with the inaugural PDRA
North-South Shootout at Maryland International Raceway in
Budds Creek, MD.
ABOUT THE PDRA
With offices in Pittsboro, North Carolina, and Saltillo,
Mississippi, the Professional Drag Racers Association is the
top sanctioning body in the United States for the sport of
eighth-mile drag racing. The PDRA’s professional categories
include Pro Open Outlaw, Pro Extreme Motorcycle, Pro Boost,
Pro Nitrous and Pro Extreme, the quickest doorslammer class
in drag racing. The 2015 PDRA schedule consists of 10
national events. For more information on the PDRA, visit
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