NORWALK, Ohio – Small-tire racing star Daniel Pharris went to the provisional No. 1 spot in Penske/PRS Pro Boost presented by WS Construction during a proactive Thursday qualifying session to kick off the PDRA DeCerbo Construction American Doorslammer Challenge presented by Callies.
Driving the GALOT Motorsports ’69 Camaro, Pharris covered the Summit Motorsports Park eighth mile in 3.649 seconds at 207.05 mph.
With rain in the forecast for Friday and Saturday, PDRA and track officials decided to run the first qualifying session on Thursday evening.
Racing in cool conditions, Jim Halsey (Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous), JR Carr (Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition), Jimmy Pelcarsky ($hameless Racing Pro Outlaw 632, Eric McKinney (Drag 965 Pro Nitrous Motorcycle) and Tim Essick (Drag 965 Pro Street) also topped the fields in their respective professional classes.
The PDRA’s sportsman classes also completed one early qualifying session, with provisional low qualifier spots going to Buddy Perkinson (MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by Tejas Borja), Michael White (Lucas Oil Elite Top Dragster), Donny Urban (MagnaFuel Top Sportsman 32) and Mike Knott (Lucas Oil Top Dragster 32).
In the Jr. Dragster classes, Macy Underwood is the provisional low qualifier in Coolshirt Systems Pro Jr. Dragster with a 7.905-second pass in her Quinton, Virginia-based ’21 Mike Bos-built dragster. McKenzie Hogan, in from Youngsville, North Carolina, tops the Classic Graphix Top Jr. Dragster field with a .015 reaction time.
While the weather forecast shows rain for most of the day Friday and Saturday, PDRA officials will attempt to run a second qualifying session during any windows of opportunity that open.
“We’re all keeping an eye on the weather and we’ll do our best to give everyone one more qualifying session,” said Tyler Crossnoe, race director, PDRA. “If that happens Friday or Saturday, great. If not, we’ll run a second session on Sunday and go racing from there. We’ll keep everyone updated on the PDRA Facebook pageand PDRA660.com.”
Pharris teamed up with the GALOT Motorsports team for a run at the PDRA Pro Boost world championship earlier this year. It took one of his best runs in the car in big-tire Pro Mod trim to top the 19-car Pro Boost qualifying order at Norwalk. His 3.649-second run at 207.05 mph in the Steve Petty-tuned GALOT Motorsports ’69 Camaro was the quickest of eight passes in the 3.60s.
“Honestly, we tried to keep it as safe as possible,” Pharris said. “Could we have gone faster? Probably. Have we been faster? Yes. It’s kind of a double-edged sword. You want to go No. 1 but you also want to make the field too. We were going to do whatever it took to get down the track. If it shook and I had to get out of it, I was gonna try to get back in it and try to run it down there just so we could put a number up. But it’s kind of like Russian roulette. We swung as hard as we thought we needed to swing and it stuck. We’re happy with it.”
Johnny Camp, who won the PDRA season opener in his ProCharger-boosted Hells Bells ’69 Camaro, qualified No. 2. Kurt Steding in his screw-blown P2 Contracting ’20 Camaro is third.
A strong pass in Thursday testing indicated Halsey and his Brandon Switzer-tuned “Daddy Shark” ’68 Camaro had what it would take to qualify well in the evening’s lone session. Sure enough, the defending Pro Nitrous world champion laid down a 3.65-second pass at 208.04 mph to take the provisional No. 1 spot by a sizable margin.
With 10 solid Extreme Pro Stock entries in the staging lanes for the first qualifying session, Carr knew he had to make a representative run to at least get in the eight-car field. Crew chief Frank Gugliotta gave him more than enough horsepower to do that, pushing the ’20 Camaro to a 4.048-second run at 180.26 mph to lead the field. If Carr stays in the top spot, it will be his fourth consecutive No. 1 qualifier award going back to the 2020 World Finals.
After some rule changes affected the Pro Outlaw 632 class following the last race on tour, Pelcarsky was determined to keep his small-block-powered $hameless Racing ’15 Camaro running at the front of the pack. The Sagamore Hills, Ohio-based driver accomplished that, recording a 4.187-second pass at 168.87 mph to lead the 18-car qualifying order.
Three-time champion McKinney rocketed to the top spot in Pro Nitrous Motorcycle on the strength of a 4.01-second pass at 178.35 mph aboard the McKinney Motorsports Hayabusa typically piloted by his teammate and tuner, Ashley Owens. The Ohio rider hopes to dip into the 3-second zone before the event is over.
Pro Street, the PDRA’s newly revamped Outlaw 10.5-style class, surged to 10 cars in the opening qualifying session of the class’ second stop on the tour. Essick had what it took to top the list in his home-built “Brown Sugar” ’18 Mustang, posting a 4.013-second run at 186.74 mph.
Perkinson, the defending world champion in Elite Top Sportsman, drove his Musi-powered LAT Racing Oils ’69 Camaro to a 3.808-second pass at 195.53 mph to sit atop the Elite Top Sportsman portion of the Top Sportsman qualifying sheet.
White, who frequently tops the Elite Top Dragster field with his centrifugally supercharged ’15 Maddox dragster, is in the familiar No. 1 spot with his 3.745-second pass at 193.24 mph.