“I knew Tommy could cut a light and had a really fast car,” Recchia said,
who recorded a 3.591 at 208.01 in the final. “My son [Michael Recchia]
does my tuning for me, and he said, ‘It’ll make it down, but I don’t know
if it’ll beat a .52.’ So I knew I had to do my job on the tree. I’m not
sure what happened with Tommy. He must’ve been distracted because that’s
not Tommy – he’s always spot-on.”
The event win was especially rewarding for Recchia and his Roselle,
IL-based team. While he’s come close on several occasions, Recchia hadn’t
won a professional touring series event during his time as an eighth-mile
“This win validates everything we’ve been doing for the last five or six
years. Trying to keep up with these guys [in Pro Extreme], it seems like
we’re always a year or six months behind everyone’s performance. Finally I
feel like we’re getting somewhat closer to them, but there’s still more to
be had. This win just validates everything we’ve been working towards –
the engine swaps, the transmission work and everything else we do,”
First-time PDRA Pro Nitrous winner James Hancock’s day started rather
unspectacularly – a 3.839 over Todd Howard in the first round and a 3.744
over No. 16 qualifier Brian Shrader in the second round. The Brian
Shaw-owned Speedtech ’69 Camaro then stepped up and came out on the
winning end of two of the tightest races of the weekend.
In the semifinals, Hancock left the starting line just one thousandth of a
second ahead of opponent Randy Weatherford and maintained the lead to win,
3.722 to 3.729. Waiting for him in the final round was No. 2 qualifier
Tommy Franklin. Again, Hancock used a starting-line advantage to secure
the win. This time, however, it was a holeshot victory as Hancock ran a
3.701 at 200.65 to Franklin’s 3.700 at 203.86.
“It was a good race,” said Hancock, who tunes the Sonny’s-powered entry
along with Fuel Tech’s Luís Fernando Backes de Leon. “I enjoy racing
everybody – it’s not like you want to outrun them, we just want to outrun
ourselves. You want to obviously win and go to the next round, but I like
Tommy and all the guys out here. Outrunning them is not really want I want
to do, but if that’s what it takes to win the race, that’s what we have to
After 23 cars made qualifying attempts, the twin-turbocharged '67 Mustang
of the Dominican Republic's Jose Gonzales sat atop the Pro Boost field
with a stout 3.711-seconds pass at 212.26 mph. Second on the 16-car
qualified list was Tommy Gray and his supercharged '06 Corvette from
Maryland, followed by GALOT Motorsports' own John Strickland from nearby
Harrells, NC, in a blown '69 Camaro.
After taking out James Beadling and his Ohio-based '14 Camaro in round
one, Gonzales won a close race in the quarter-finals against Buffalo, NY's
Melanie Salemi and her supercharged '68 Firebird. In the semis, Gonzales
led stripe-to-stripe over Sweden's Adam Flamholc in a '63 Corvette with a
3.712 pass at 213.40 mph that also earned him lane choice for the final
against Strickland, who drove through "Turbo Todd" Moyer and GALOT
teammate Ty Tutterow before running 3.722 at 198.61 to beat Jeremy Ray on
his side of the ladder.
Gonzales was obviously up for the challenge, as he left with a .032
holeshot, then made his quickest and fastest run of the weekend at 3.685
seconds and 214.48 mph, while Strickland also made his best pass at 3.719
and 198.88 mph.
"We knew it was going to be tough with Strickland and the whole GALOT
Motorsports team. They're always very fast, and they were on their home
track so we knew we had to tickle it a little bit and make it just a
little bit faster because you never know how fast they'll be able to go,"
Gonzales said. "The final was good for us. The car went straight down the
track and conditions could not be better. The whole PDRA and Jason Miller
did an outstanding job on the track all weekend long."
EXTREME PRO STOCK
Pennsylvania’s Chris Powers entered the PDRA East Coast Nationals simply
wanting to get some experience behind the wheel of his new ATI Performance
’14 Camaro. After qualifying respectably in eighth with a 4.108, he
charged through Mountain Motor Pro Stock veterans John DeFlorian, Dwayne
Rice, and newcomer Matt Giangrande to reach the final round in the car’s
“This is a new deal we put together,” Powers said. "We just came out to
test this weekend and get some seat time since this is my first time in
the car. I have a great crew behind me. This weekend definitely worked out
way beyond expectations.”
With Extreme Pro Stock standout Cary Goforth waiting for Powers in the
final round, crew chief Rob Bealko applied a more aggressive tuneup to
the Sonny’s Racing Engines 830-cubic-inch bullet. The tune worked,
allowing Powers to match his 4.097 elapsed time from the second round at
176.90 to defeat Goforth’s 4.100 at 176.53.
“When you’re racing against the best, you find anything you can to get
ahead. Our expectation was to just go A-to-B, so we just kept doing the
A-to-B thing. The final round was definitely the hardest one to get by.
[Cary Goforth]’s the best in the business, so I knew we had our work cut
PRO EXTREME MOTORCYCLE
With a career-best run in the final round, third-place qualifier Travis
Davis earned his third PDRA Pro Extreme Motorcycle win after scoring twice
in 2014, the inaugural year for the all-eighth-mile series.
Defending class champion Eric McKinney qualified first with a 3.996 run at
178.78 mph aboard his 2012 Suzuki GS, while his teammate, Ashley Owens,
started second, followed by Davis in third and Chuck Wilburn rounding out
the top half of the eight-bike field.
All but McKinney survived the opening round of racing, with Davis easily
defeating Canada's Burke Foster before edging out Owens by 13-thousandths
of a second in round two. Wilburn, meanwhile, beat Foster's Canadian
teammate Terry Schweigert, then sent Chris Garner-Jones packing from the
Wilburn left first in the final, but Davis quickly recovered from a .015
starting-line deficit to win in 3.988 seconds at 176.05 mph over Wilburn's
4.062 at 175.27 effort.
"That was our first three-second pass and we've been trying to get that
for a couple of years, so for it to come in the final and get us the win
here, well, we couldn't have scripted it any better," said Davis, from
Douglas, GA. "It's a big relief, too, to finally get back in the winner's
circle. We couldn't be any happier right now."
The next race on the 2017 PDRA tour is the PDRA Spring Nationals, May
18-20, at Darlington Dragway in Darlington, SC.
VIEW ALL Race Results via Drag Race Central
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 Extreme Motorcycle, Extreme Pro Stock,
Pro Boost, Pro Nitrous and Pro Extreme, the quickest doorslammer class in
drag racing. The 2017 PDRA schedule consists of eight national events. For
more information on the PDRA, visit www.PDRA660.com.
Photo: Gary Rowe / PDRA660.com