Pb Camp Near Over Rivenbark Roger Richards Photo.jpg
Johnny Camp (near lane) defeated Kevin Rivenbark in the final round of the PDRA's East Coast Nationals. (PDRA photo)

East Coast Nationals Is A Camp Out

BENSON, N.C. — After Johnny Camp earned his first Professional Drag Racers Ass’n victory at GALOT Motorsports Park last fall, the Penske/PRS Pro Boost presented by WS Construction racer earned his second victory in the series Saturday night during the East Coast Nationals presented by FuelTech.

Camp earned his first victory last year after making the move to Pro Boost with a ProCharger-boosted ’69 Camaro under the Proline Racing umbrella. This weekend, Camp stepped up when it mattered most, using a holeshot advantage and a 3.668-second pass at 203.61 mph to hold off Kevin Rivenbark’s 3.644 at 205.13 in the East Coast Nationals final round.

“It feels great to start the season with a win,” Camp said, thanking NGK Spark Plugs, Proline Racing Engines, Chris Tatman Electric, and Camp Bros. Concrete Pumping. “We have a new engine package, a little bit different cylinder head. I can’t say enough about Proline. Awesome crew. It’s not me, it’s all of us. It’s a team effort. In my opinion, these are the best drivers here in PDRA. Even to qualify and go rounds means you’re doing something.”

Two-time Pro Nitrous world champions Jim Halsey and Tommy Franklin added another final-round match to their growing head-to-head record as the two continue to lead the class. Halsey added the win to his column, ripping off a 3.649 at 206.26 in his Brandon Switzer-tuned ’68 Camaro to eliminate Franklin’s 3.673 at 204.17.

Jim Halsey (near lane) and Tommy Franklin. (PDRA photo)

“Tommy and I were talking about it in the staging lanes – we can’t get away from each other,” Halsey said. “He’s top of the class. If you’re going to be the man, he’s the guy you’ve gotta beat.”

Extreme Pro Stock racer Chris Powers went into the East Coast Nationals with an extra motivating factor inspiring him to chase victory at the season opener. He wanted to win the event in memory of legendary engine builder Sonny Leonard, who passed away in January.

When engine damage prevented opponent Steven Boone from making the call for the final round, Powers was able to deliver a win for Leonard. He chose to take the tree and idle down the track in his Sonny’s-powered Sonny’s Racing Engines ’14 Camaro while announcer Derrick Beach described Leonard’s accomplishments and impact on the sport.

“[The win] meant everything to us,” Powers said. “We’ve worked our butts off. That’s all we wanted to do is get to the winner’s circle and put something on for Sonny for all his dedication and hard work for this class and all of motorsports that he’s done. I’m just glad that we were fortunate enough and had the horsepower under the hood to get it done. I know he rode with us. I’m just glad we were the ones to get it done for him. His daughter [Kelly] and folks from Sonny’s are here. It’s awesome for them to support us like they do and give us the best they’ve got.”

In one of the best weekends ever for the PDRA’s Pro Outlaw 632 class, E.T. record holder Jimmy Pelcarsky pulled out a major victory over new $hameless Racing teammate Wes Distefano in the final round, which featured the quickest side-by-side pass in class history. Distefano grabbed a slight starting line advantage and clicked off a career-best 4.151 at 170.84, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Pelcarsky’s 4.136 at 170.15 in his small-block ’15 Camaro.

“I’d like to thank Dave Swallow [of $hameless Racing], my dad Tom Pelcarsky, my uncle Wayne Pelcarsky, and my son Thomas,” Pelcarsky said. “We did it. First race of the year, we’re coming out swinging and we’re going for the championship. We’re back, baby.”

In a quest for improved performance, three-time and defending Pro Nitrous Motorcycle world champion Travis Davis upgraded the engine management technology in his Timblin Chassis ’18 Hayabusa over the winter. The work resulted in a career-best performance and a win for Davis, as he used a 3.995 at 175.30 to defeat championship runner-up Chris Garner-Jones and his 4.078 at 173.90 in the final round.

Longtime Outlaw 10.5 competitors Jesse Lambert and Tim Essick were the last two drivers standing in Pro Street, a small-tire class PDRA unveiled in 2020 and revamped over the offseason. Lambert qualified No. 1 in his twin-turbo ’04 Mustang and continued to lead the class in eliminations. He used a 4.019 at 199.73 to drive around Essick, who left the starting line first but trailed by just .007 at the finish line with a 4.054 at 183.29.

In Elite Top Sportsman, Tim Molnar earned the first win of the season in his nitrous-assisted ’68 Camaro. He went red by .003 in the final round, but Erica Coleman went red just a few thousandths sooner in her Fulton-powered ’68 Camaro. Molnar went on to run a 3.871 on a 3.85 dial-in, while Coleman ran 3.975 on a 3.96 dial-in.

It was a battle of class veterans in the Top Sportsman 32 final round, where Ronnie Proctor and Scott Wasko faced off. Wasko left .011 too soon in his ’11 GXP, allowing Proctor to race on for the win with a 4.448 on his 4.33 dial-in in his ’09 Mustang.

A pair of ProCharger-boosted entries squared off in the Elite Top Dragster final round, as 2019 world champion Kellan Farmer took on No. 2 qualifier Michael White. A quicker reaction time helped White seal the deal, securing the win with a 3.811 on a 3.79 dial-in in his ’15 Maddox dragster. Farmer, debuting a brand-new ’21 Race Tech dragster with a new ProCharger combination, followed with a 3.915 on a 3.90 dial.

Racing out of the No. 35 spot in the Top Dragster 48 field, TG Paschal managed to make it to the final round to take on No. 4 qualifer Matthew Buck. Buck had the better reaction time in his West Palm Beach, Florida-based ’00 Worthy dragster, but he slowed to a 4.48 on a 4.10 dial-in while Paschal ran a 4.552 on a 4.52 dial in his ’12 Race Tech dragster to get the win.


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