Jim Halsey (Tara Bowker photo)
Jim Halsey (Tara Bowker photo)

Halsey Leads Bowling Green PDRA Field

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Two-time world champion Jim Halsey continued his dominance in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous by claiming his second No. 1 qualifier award of the season at the Professional Drag Racers Ass’n Stroud Safety Doorslammer Derby presented by Classic Graphix on Friday night.

Halsey’s Fulton-powered ’68 Camaro covered the Beech Bend Raceway Park eighth-mile strip in 3.651 seconds at 208.01 mph.

Kevin Rivenbark (Penske/PRS Pro Boost presented by WS Construction), J.R. Carr (Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition) and Wes Distefano ($hameless Racing Pro Outlaw 632) also claimed No. 1 spots in the pro classes.

Like most of the other Pro Nitrous competitors, Halsey wasn’t able to get down the track during the first qualifying session. But when the air cooled off and the track tightened up, Halsey’s Brandon Switzer-tuned “Daddy Shark” ’68 Camaro came alive, laying down a 3.651 at 208.01 to take the No. 1 spot.

“We struggled a little bit with the racetrack on the first run, but that’s to be expected with all the rain we got here yesterday,” said Halsey, who thanked Switzer and his crew, Eric Davis, Michael McMillan and Cathy Crouse. “We were pretty happy to run what we did on the second run. We made two good runs. We ran a .69 earlier in the heat and the .65 there. We feel pretty good going into Saturday.”

Two-time Pro Boost world champion Kevin Rivenbark laid down the quickest pass of the season so far – a 3.628 at 209.52 – to put one of two ProCharger-boosted GALOT Motorsports ’69 Camaros in the No. 1 slot going into race day. Rivenbark was one of nine entries in the 20-car qualifying order to dip into the 3.60-second range.

“When it left, I knew it was on a pass,” said Rivenbark, who thanked team owner Earl Wells. “It just felt good. The pass before, it went a .67 but it rattled a little bit. I knew when the track came around tonight, and Jamie [Miller] touched it up a little bit, it was going to run.”

A 4.048 carried Carr to the No. 1 spot in Extreme Pro Stock at the season-opening East Coast Nationals, and a slightly quicker 4.043 at 180.77 did it again at Bowling Green. Carr and tuner Frank Gugliotta stepped up for the final qualifying session, jumping to the top of the qualifying order in the final pair.

“It’s a lot of pressure [to perform], especially when the car is there,” Carr said, thanking sponsors CP Carrillo, Liberty’s Gears, Maxima Oils, Fuel Up Cafe, Race Ugly Speed Shop, Ram Clutches, and RJ Race Cars. “There’s no excuses. Last race I didn’t do a very good job. Starting out here, I didn’t do the best job the first round of qualifying, but I didn’t lose my confidence or get upset. I just regrouped and it all came together. We’re really, really happy.”

Defending Pro Outlaw 632 world champion Wes Distefano made a statement to close out the final qualifying session, recording a 4.105 at 174.59 on a single pass. The pass in his Musi-powered $hameless Racing/Race Star Wheels ’68 Camaro gave Distefano the No. 1 spot and the first part of a new class E.T. record.

“It pulled the wheels pretty good and it felt like it was moving just a little bit, but nothing where it was getting too far out of the groove,” Distefano said. “I didn’t realize how good of a run it was until I saw the .10 on the board.”

Pelcarsky, who won the season opener in his small-block-powered $hameless Racing ’15 Camaro, filed in behind Distefano with a 4.149 at 171.40. Florida’s Chris Holdorf qualified third in his Nelson-powered Dewitt Custom Concrete ’53 Corvette, running a 4.237 at 166.72.

The provisional low qualifiers in the PDRA’s sportsman classes are John Benoit in MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by Tejas Borja, Michael White in Lucas Oil Elite Top Dragster, Mark McDonald in MagnaFuel Top Sportsman, and Robert Pickens in Lucas Oil Top Dragster. The sportsman classes will get one final qualifying session Saturday morning.

After two of three qualifying sessions, Kentucky’s own Hunter Davis is the provisional low qualifier in Coolshirt Systems Pro Jr. Dragster with a 7.900 in his ’20 Halfscale dragster.


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