Wulcan qualified third and made his way past Wesley Jones and past world
champion Jason Scruggs before meeting low qualifier Mike Recchia in the
final round. Wulcan’s ’69 Camaro moved off the starting line first,
allowing his 3.604-second pass at 209.50 mph to defeat Recchia’s 3.555 at
212.46, which stood for low et of the event.
“These are the fastest cars in the world. I drove a Pro Mod in Europe. We
won the 2014 FIA championship, then we went to Qatar and tried going 200
meters (roughly 660 ft). We started liking that, then we crashed our old
Pro Mod car. We had thought about switching to the screw blowers, so that
was the time to make the move. That move paid off today,” Wulcan added.
Defending world champion Tommy Franklin managed to pull off a clean sweep
of the weekend, qualifying No. 1 and recording low et of three rounds in
the process of winning his first Pro Nitrous race of the season.
Franklin posted a 3.706 at 204.17 to qualify No. 1, but he was looking for
more out of his Pat Musi-powered ’69 Camaro. He found what he was looking
for in a 3.699 at 203.90 second-round victory over John Hall. Franklin
backed down his “Jungle Rat” entry to run a 3.711 at 204.62 over Lizzy
Musi, then a 3.722 at 203.71 to defeat Randy Weatherford’s 3.732 at
“We just tried to pick away at it,” Franklin said of his eliminations
strategy. “We actually started to get some power with the cool air rolling
in so we slowed it down to get it down through there. The 3.69 was nice.
Getting the No. 1 qualifier and the win is awesome.
“Like always, I thank the Lord, my crew, my family, all of my employees
taking care of things back at home, and all of the fans who come out and
watch the PDRA. It’s one heck of a show.”
Perennial Pro Boost contender Melanie Salemi charged to her first win
since the 2015 Rockingham fall race. Racing out of the seventh spot,
Salemi drove her Strange Engineering-backed “Purple Reign” ’68 Firebird to
consecutively quicker runs through eliminations.
“It felt really good to get the win tonight,” Salemi said. “I went to a
couple big finals last year and it was disappointing that we couldn’t come
out on top for those, but coming here with even tougher competition, I
think it’s really awesome that we were able to pull it together tonight.”
Driving a G-Force Race Cars entry built by her brother-in-law, Jim Salemi,
and tuned by her husband, Jon, Melanie first ran 3.796 at 195.91 to beat
Jerico Balduf in the opening round. She improved to a 3.758 at 197.89
unopposed when points leader José Gonzales ran into problems. Quicker
still, Salemi posted a 3.746 at 198.41 over “Turbo” Todd Moyer, then a
3.732 at 198.24 to defeat GALOT Motorsports driver John Strickland’s 3.756
“We actually struggled when the cool air came to us this weekend,” Salemi
admitted. “We had a good car in the heat, so hopefully we can continue
that on for the rest of the summer.”
EXTREME PRO STOCK
After doing battle with some of the toughest drivers in Extreme Pro Stock,
Aruba’s Trevor Eman can now add a PDRA trophy to his impressive trophy
“We’ve been doing this for a while and we’re always chasing a
championship, of course, but we have managed to win a race with all of the
different sanctioning bodies we’ve raced in,” Eman said. “We won a race in
the IHRA, won a race in the ADRL, and now add to that winning a race with
Eman qualified his Aruba.com ‘11 Mustang in the fifth spot and raced past
Dwayne Rice, Benson race winner Chris Powers and class veteran Cary
Goforth before facing 2016 World Finals winner Buddy Perkinson in the
final round. Though Perkinson grabbed a starting-line advantage, Eman
drove around him with a 4.079 at 176.33 over Perkinson’s 4.175 at 170.00.
“Today was a tough day. Qualifying didn’t go too well for us yesterday. We
put a good run in finally after making some big changes today. Every run
after that just kept getting better and better. It was a long, exciting
“The team worked really hard today. I have a team that wakes up at 7
o’clock in the morning, works on the car all day, and here we are standing
in the winner’s circle at 2 a.m. almost 20 hours later. My hat’s off to
the team. They did a phenomenal job today. Adam and Andy (Lambert) from
Precision Racing Shocks helped us really well today and they put us on a
different direction that I think really helped us. We’re very excited for
what the car’s doing now and we look forward to the next race,” Eman
PRO EXTREME MOTORCYCLE
Travis Davis found himself in a familiar place Saturday night when he won
his second consecutive Pro Extreme Motorcycle race on the PDRA tour. He
also qualified No. 1 aboard his Timblin Chassis ’12 Suzuki.
“It’s a good feeling to get another win,” Davis said. “The track was hot
and tricky; had all different kinds of conditions to deal with. I chose to
sit out the last qualifying session today because it was so hot and I
didn’t feel like I was going to improve. We chose to get ready for
eliminations and focus on that challenge.”
The soft-spoken Georgia rider slowed from his qualifying pace to a 4.286
in the opening round, but improved to back-to-back 4.05s to defeat Burke
Forster and Brad McCoy. Davis used a better reaction time and his best run
of the day, a 4.039 at 174.83, to win the final round over multi-time and
defending world champion Eric McKinney and his 4.017 at 177.73.
“That’s two in a row for us. We went 3.98 at the last race, which was a
big shock to me, too. We’re tickled. We have a good program going right
now, and maybe we can keep it going,” Davis added.
EXTREME OUTLAW 632
A battle between two young Floridians proved to be one of the best races
of the day in Extreme Outlaw 632. No. 2 qualifier Dillon Voss drove his
Voss Racing Engines ’10 Camaro to a 4.337 at 166.05 over Jordan Ensslin’s
4.363 at 163.10 in the final round. The two drivers left the starting line
just one thousandth of a second apart.
“This is our first national event win; it’s big,” Voss said. “The team
worked hard this weekend. We have a fast, consistent race car. We
qualified three-thousandths off the pole. It’s been a great race car all
weekend. We’re very happy.”
TOP SPORTSMAN/TOP DRAGSTER
The Top Sportsman final round was won on the starting line when
Jacksonville, North Carolina’s Dwayne Silance cut a perfect .000 reaction
time alongside John Benoit. Silance posted a 4.11 on his 4.10 dial-in,
while Benoit broke out with a 4.086 on his 4.09 dial. Silance previously
defeated Bruce Thrift, Cam Clark and Jordan Wood before the final.
Top Dragster winner Matt Cooke had to wait over a second to leave the
starting line after No. 16 qualifier Noah Strickland took off, considering
Cooke’s 3.92 dial and Strickland’s 5.06 dial. Young Strickland had the
better reaction time, but he broke out with a 5.039 ahead of Cooke’s 3.97.
Cooke’s previous opponents in eliminations were Russ Whitlock, Angie
Travis and Jimmy Sackuvich.
The 2017 PDRA Tour continues in two weeks at the PDRA North-South
Shootout, June 1-3, at Maryland International Raceway in Mechanicsville,
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
Photo: Gary Rowe