HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Two-time Pro Nitrous champion Tommy Franklin backed up his season-opening victory by securing another event win at the PDRA Carolina Showdown presented by ProCharger at Darlington Dragway Saturday night.
He took out defending world champion Jim Halsey in a marquee Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous final round at the second race on the seven-race revised PDRA tour.
Rinse and repeat was the order of business for Franklin at the Carolina Showdown. He matched his performance from the season-opening East Coast Nationals in late May, qualifying No. 2 and winning the race. His Musi-powered “Jungle Rat” ’69 Camaro was locked in the 3.60s through eliminations, recording low E.T. of each round.
Franklin set low E.T. of the event in the final round with a 3.648-second blast at 204.73 mph alongside No. 1 qualifier Jim Halsey, who slowed to a 4.492-second run at 119.33 mph.
“The goal is to win every one of [the races],” Franklin said. “But I think that’s everybody’s goal when we pull in. That’s all we try to focus on. I say it all the time: this is the toughest competition in drag racing. There’s some awesome teams out here: Halsey, [Jay] Cox, [Chris] Rini, Lizzy Musi. All of them are just super-fast, so to outrun them and be quick of the event just means a lot.”
It was an all-GALOT Motorsports, all-ProCharger-boosted, all-Pro Line-powered, all-’69 Camaro final round in Pro Boost, as teammates John Strickland and Kevin Rivenbark squared off in a final round for the first time since 2016.
Strickland used a holeshot advantage and 3.668-second run at 202.16 mph to finish ahead of the defending world champion and his 3.684-second pass at 203.71 mph.
“It’s been a long time since an all-GALOT final,” said Strickland, who was the runner-up at the last race. “This is our second year with the Pro Line group, so it was really exciting for the whole group to be a part of a GALOT team final. [Team owner] Mr. [Earl] Wells has done a really good job of putting us in situations where we have some of the best equipment and the best people with us. We couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to work with. They’re constantly improving. ProCharger stepped up and they’re improving their product all the time and giving us what we need to be successful.”
A wire-to-wire performance put J.R. Carr and his brand-new RJ Race Cars-built ’20 Camaro in the PDRA Extreme Pro Stock winner’s circle for the first time. The Mountain Motor Pro Stock veteran recorded low E.T. of the event, a 4.035-second run at 178.50 mph, in the final round to defeat Elijah Morton and his 4.113-second pass at 175.37 mph in his Allen-powered Morton Brothers Motorsports ’18 Mustang.
Even though he won the East Coast Nationals at GALOT Motorsports Park in late May, defending Pro Nitrous Motorcycle champion Travis Davis wanted to make some changes to his Timblin-built Hayabusa for the Carolina Showdown.
When those changes didn’t work, Davis returned to what worked at GALOT. It worked again, as he strapped a holeshot advantage on Chris Garner-Jones in the Pro Nitrous Motorcycle final round and held on with a 4.045-second run at 175.71 mph to beat Garner-Jones’ quicker 4.003-second pass at 172.91 mph.
A DNQ at the East Coast Nationals motivated 2017 Pro Outlaw 632 champion Dillon Voss and his family-based team to rebound in a big way at the Carolina Showdown. He qualified No. 2 in his Voss-powered ’17 Corvette and steadily improved to a winning 4.21-second run at 170.52 mph alongside Wes Distefano’s 4.25-second pass at 170.20 mph in his Musi-powered $hameless Racing ’68 Camaro in the final round.
Dewayne Silance added another PDRA 660 Man trophy to his trophy case after he put together a 4.043-second run on a 4.02 dial-in in his Buck-powered ’68 Camaro to defeat Buddy Perkinson in the Elite Top Sportsman final round. Perkinson, racing in his second consecutive final round, cut a .001 light and went 3.818 seconds on a 3.78 dial-in in his Musi-powered ’69 Camaro.
North Carolina sportsman racer Steve Furr scored his second consecutive Elite Top Dragster victory, this time using a 3.926-second pass on a 3.88 dial-in in his ’13 American dragster to defeat Russ Whitlock in the final round.
In Top Dragster 32, Steven Boone’s .004 reaction time and 4.319-second run on a 4.28 dial made for a winning package in his ’17 Danny Nelson dragster. Opponent Nick Meloni broke out with a 4.262-second pass on a 4.27 dial-in in his ’16 Dan Page dragster.
Joe Soucek Jr. was the winner in Edelbrock Bracket Bash.
In the Jr. Dragster classes, Kaylee Love ran a perfect 7.900-second pass in her ’17 Halfscale dragster to defeat Nyckolas Shirkey in the Coolshirt Pro Jr. Dragster final round. Shirkey’s younger brother, Zach, had better luck in Gilbert Motorsports Top Jr. Dragster, going 8.965-second run on a 8.95 dial-in to take down Spencer McGee in the final round.