BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — A near-perfect reaction time and weekend-best 3.665-second, 205.35 mph blast carried Jay Cox to his first Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous victory of the season at the PDRA Stroud Safety Doorslammer Derby presented by Classic Graphix at Beech Bend Raceway Park Saturday.
Also taking home wins in the pro classes were Todd Tutterow in Penske/PRS Pro Boost presented by WS Construction, Justin Kirk in Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition, and Wes Distefano in $hameless Racing Pro Outlaw 632.
After struggling for the last eight months, Cox was motivated to get back to winning form in his Buck-powered Butner Construction “Pumpkin” ’69 Camaro. The consistent top-three player found his way back to the winner’s circle for the first time since July 2020, using a .003 reaction time paired with a 3.665-second pass at 205.35 mph to beat Ron Muenks and his quicker 3.656-second run at 206.16 mph in the final round.
“Man, this win is huge,” Cox said. “Everybody knows I struggled all year last year. We fought and fought and fought. I finally figured the problem out about two weeks ago. We went and tested at Darlington for 3-4 days and made sure we fixed the problem. To come out here and run like we did round after round and not tear anything up, that’s the win for me. Getting the trophy and the check at the end of the day is just icing on the cake.”
Tutterow continued to pick up momentum in his return to Pro Boost competition as a teammate and tuner for P2 Racing team owner Kurt Steding. Even though Tutterow had one of the quickest cars in each round, he won three of four rounds on the starting line when his opponents went red. In the final round, Randy Weatherford left .003 seconds too soon on a 3.644-second pass, while Tutterow cut a .008 light and slowed to a 4.864-second run at 105.23 mph after losing traction.
“I had three red lights [in the other lane], but I guess that’s the intimidation factor sometimes,” Tutterow said. “We made good, consistent laps. We were quickest or second quickest every round except the last round. I just tried to rotate the earth up there. It happens every now and then. Thanks to Kurt Steding; he allows me to be here with P2 Racing. It’s a dream come true to run PDRA like this this year.”
The Cinderella story of the weekend happened in Extreme Pro Stock, where third-generation Mountain Motor Pro Stock racer Kirk enjoyed the biggest weekend of his young career. Driving the Buck brothers’ “Big Daddy Warlock” ’05 Cavalier, Kirk qualified No. 2 and fired off a career-best 4.063-second pass at 177.07 mph in the final round to defeat 2018 world champion Steven Boone and his 4.076-second pass at 177.07 mph.
“I really don’t know how to feel,” said Kirk, who made the trip to Bowling Green after another race was rained out in Texas. “This is all I’ve ever wanted to do, race a Pro Stock car. It’s just a dream come true. If there’s a long-haul award, we’d get it this weekend. Eddie and W.R. [Buck], we work so hard. A lot of people don’t realize how much it takes to run one of these cars. It’s not easy, but we got the job done. I’m proud of everyone involved.”
In a rematch of the final round from the East Coast Nationals, defending Pro Outlaw 632 world champion Distefano evened his score against fellow $hameless Racing driver Jimmy Pelcarsky. In the final round, Pelcarsky left before the tree activated, while Distefano posted a 4.166-second run at 170.54 mph in his Musi-powered Race Star Wheels/$hameless Racing ’68 Camaro to take the win.
“This win means everything,” Distefano said. “Obviously, we’re in a great place as far as the points chase goes with a runner-up and a win. The car just did great. I can’t say enough about my crew. We had a bit of adversity, had to swap engines and we got through that and were able to seal the deal. It’s always good to have the challenges and overcome them.”
The Doorslammer Derby also included racing in the PDRA’s sportsman classes, where the winners were Chris Nyerges in MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by Tejas Borja, Jeff Libla in Lucas Oil Elite Top Dragster, Stacy Hall in MagnaFuel Top Sportsman 32, and David Petrofske in Lucas Oil Top Dragster 32. Austin Slone earned the Edelbrock Bracket Bash presented by COMP Cams win in his ’18 Worthy dragster, running a 4.474-second pass on a 4.47 dial-in to defeat Jesse Warner in his ’94 S-10.
In the Jr. Dragster classes, Hunter Davis ran the table in his Hanson, Kentucky-based ’20 Halfscale dragster, qualifying No. 1 and claiming the Coolshirt Systems Pro Jr. Dragster event win with a 7.927-second pass on a 7.90 dial-in in the final round. Davis defeated Blake Combs. Eli Wiggins picked up the win in Classic Graphix Top Jr. Dragster, running an 8.924-second pass on an 8.90 dial-in to beat Parker Deweese.