Harvey, Powers, A. Franklin, Garner-Jones, Riddle, and
Mota Secure Victories at PDRA Mid-Atlantic Showdown
DINWIDDIE, Va. (April 23, 2023) – Two of the most prolific
drivers in nitrous Pro Modified racing, Jim Halsey and
“Tricky” Rickie Smith, squared off in the Switzer Dynamics
Pro Nitrous final round Sunday afternoon at the
Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) Mid-Atlantic
Showdown presented by Classic Graphix. Racing at Virginia
Motorsports Park, Halsey won when Smith went red. Halsey
recorded a weekend-best 3.646-second pass to go
back-to-back at the second stop on the 2023 PDRA tour.
The professional class winners also included Travis Harvey
in WS Construction Pro Boost presented by P2 Contracting
and Ty-Drive, Chris Powers in Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro
Stock presented by AED Competition, Amber Franklin in M&M
Transmission Pro 632, Chris Garner-Jones in Drag 965 Pro
Nitrous Motorcycle, Bill Riddle in Menscer Motorsports Pro
Street presented by Afco, and Derek Mota in Afco Super
Street presented by Menscer Motorsports.
The sportsman winners were Donny Urban in MagnaFuel Elite
Top Sportsman presented by PAR Racing Engines, Steve Furr
in Laris Motorsports Insurance Elite Top Dragster, Chad
Traylor in MagnaFuel Top Sportsman presented by Corbin’s
RV, and TG Paschal in Laris Motorsports Insurance Top
Dragster. Rick Hustwayte picked up the win in Edelbrock
Bracket Bash presented by COMP Cams.
The Jr. Dragster wins went to Brayden Davis in Coolshirt
Systems Pro Jr. Dragster presented by PRP and Gavin Wood
in Classic Graphix Top Jr. Dragster presented by PRP.
Davis, who won in Pro Nitrous Motorcycle and Pro Jr.
Dragster at the season opener, collected his second
consecutive win by defeating No. 1 qualifier LJ Lewis in
the final round. Davis ran 7.906, while Lewis broke out
with a 7.873, both on a 7.90 index. Wood, who calls VMP
his home track, was victorious over past world champion
Rowan Parlett in the final round. Wood was first off the
line and ran 8.963 on an 8.95 dial-in to Parlett’s
too-quick 8.927 on an 8.96 dial-in.
Four-time and defending Pro Nitrous world champion Jim
Halsey won the season-opening East Coast Nationals, but it
wasn’t a smooth and easy victory. This weekend, he and his
tight-knit team battled back from the struggles they faced
at the season opener, claiming a second consecutive win in
the process. Facing “Tricky” Rickie Smith in the final
round, Halsey recorded a 3.646 at 206.32 in his
Fulton-powered “Daddy Shark” ’68 Camaro. The win light
came on in Halsey’s lane when Smith went .012 red on his
“It's nerve-racking,” Halsey said of facing Smith. “You
know he's good – a good driver and a good tuner. He does
everything right. You have to be on your A-game, and we
didn't take him lightly, that's for sure.”
Halsey is now tied with two-time world champion Tommy
Franklin as the winningest drivers in PDRA Pro Nitrous
“After what happened at the last race, we put in a lot of
hard work between the races,” said Halsey, who credited
tuner Brandon Switzer, wife Cathy, crew chief Eric Davis,
and crew members Michael McMillan and Brian Chin. “It took
a lot of thought and a lot of hard work and going back to
what we know works best for us. I have the best crew there
is in the world, there's no doubt about that.
“Gene [Fulton] pretty much closed the shop down for the
last week and a half to get my stuff back together,”
Halsey added. “Eric spent the last week and a half down
there with Stacy [Hall] getting everything together. These
guys deserve all the credit. I'm just the one that gets to
Halsey qualified No. 1 before using a 3.665 at 206.01 to
beat Blake Housley in the first round of eliminations on
Friday night. He ran a 3.686 at 204.54 in Saturday’s
second round to knock out Mike Achenbach, who slowed to a
5.084. A 3.656 at 206.57 over Jay Cox’s 3.921 sent Halsey
to the final round on Sunday.
Smith, the 2015 Pro Nitrous world champion, qualified
third in his Musi-powered Parkway Ford ’22 Mustang. He
started eliminations with a 3.684 at 204.54 victory over
Cam Clark, then ran a consistent 3.683 at 206.54 to beat
Tommy Franklin. The King, North Carolina-based driver
stepped up to a weekend-best 3.654 at 206.67 to finish
ahead of Fredy Scriba’s 3.696, earning lane choice for the
final in the process.
Another ultra-competitive weekend in Pro Boost ended with
a final round between two Big Dog Shootout veterans,
Travis “The Carolina Kid” Harvey and Jason “Party Time”
Harris. The two drivers were quick on the starting line
and at the finish line throughout eliminations, and the
final round was no different. Harvey cut a perfect .000
reaction time in his ProCharged GALOT Motorsports ’69
Camaro and ran a 3.592 at 209.88 to win on a holeshot.
Harris was no slouch with a .017 light, but his 3.586 at
208.65 wasn’t quick enough to get around Harvey.
“I just want to thank God first of all for giving me this
opportunity,” Harvey said. “Racing against Jason, I've
been racing him all my life and I know he's a great
competitor. I knew I had to do my job, and I'm sure he
felt the same way. Everything just lined out and worked
well, from coming off the trailer to the end. It's been a
great car. I just want to thank GALOT Motorsports, Pro
Line Racing, [tuner] Steve Petty, and Vaughn Miles and
Eric Holland for giving me the opportunity to drive this
Harvey, who reached the semifinals at the season opener,
is looking to become the fourth different driver to win a
Pro Boost world championship with GALOT Motorsports.
“This just puts us in a great position,” Harvey said. “If
we can keep this thing healthy and don't have any parts
issues, I think we'll be a big threat come the end of the
Harvey picked up his first No. 1 qualifier award on Friday
before beating James Beadling’s 3.771 with a 3.617 in the
opening round. He ran a 3.634 at 207.98 to move past Scott
Lang in the second round, then won his semifinal pairing
with Ken Quartuccio on a holeshot. Harvey’s 3.616 beat
Quartuccio’s 3.591 by a .001 margin.
Harris qualified third in his ProCharger-boosted “Party
Time” ’69 Camaro, then ran a 3.624 at 207.30 to defeat Rob
Cox. A close race followed in the second round, where
Harris used a .002 reaction time to leave first on “Nova
Joe” Albrecht and his .005 light. Harris was first to the
finish line with a 3.643 to Albrecht’s 3.669 in Fletcher
Cox’s ’69 Camaro. A holeshot advantage also helped Harris
get the semifinal win over Johnny Camp, as he ran a 3.611
over Camp’s 3.583, which was low E.T. of the event.
EXTREME PRO STOCK
After qualifying No. 1 and losing in the second round at
the East Coast Nationals, Chris Powers was determined to
get back into the late rounds at Virginia. He steadily
worked his way through eliminations in his Sonny’s Racing
Engines ‘21 Camaro before capitalizing on final-round
opponent Elijah Morton’s untimely red light. Powers lifted
shortly after leaving the starting line, while Morton laid
down a 4.053 after going red by .035.
“This feels really good,” said Powers, the 2021 world
champion. “We had a good car at GALOT. I couldn't see out
of the front of the car, so we chopped the scoop down and
did a little work to it. We're back right where we want to
be. The car's definitely bad fast. Chuck's got it figured
out, for sure.”
VMP is the home track for Sonny’s Racing Engines and the
late Sonny Leonard, adding another layer of importance to
“I gotta thank Sonny's,” Powers said. “They're working
nonstop seven days a week on these engines. That's a
brand-new engine we put in the car at GALOT. We're really
impressed with the performance of it. Thanks to ATI
Performance for everything they do. MVM Wheelie Bars,
Chuck Samuel, Rob Bealko, my wife, my son, and my
daughters that help. It means a lot.”
Powers qualified No. 5 before using a 4.068 to get past
Jeremy Huffman and his 4.134. A consistent 4.069
eliminated John Montecalvo’s 4.099 in the second round. In
a semifinal race between the two most recent world
champions, Powers cut a .001 reaction time and laid down a
4.050 to beat Johnny Pluchino’s 4.067.
Morton, who qualified second in his Allen-powered Morton
Brothers Motorsports ‘19 Mustang, opened eliminations with
a 4.083 over rookie Daryl Stewart’s 4.086. Second-round
opponent Dillon Voss couldn’t make the call, and Morton
lifted to an 8.235. He then ran a 4.05 to win over Alan
Drinkwater’s 4.058 in the semifinals.
For the second race in a row, reigning Pro 632 world
champion Amber Franklin faced off with class newcomer Jeff
Melnick in the final round. Melnick won their first match,
but Franklin got him back with a holeshot win in her Musi-powered
“OG Jungle Rat” ‘69 Camaro. With a .005 reaction time,
Franklin recorded a 4.155 at 171.60 to hold off Melnick’s
4.141 at 177.42.
“Any time you can get a win on a holeshot, you feel really
good as a driver,” Franklin said. “Jeff Melnick and that
whole O'Brien team are great, and I knew going into the
final that I had to do my part. They've got a fast car and
Jeff's a great driver. Losing in the final round at GALOT,
we knew we had to get after it. Getting the win here feels
good. I know we have a lot of momentum, and hopefully we
can defend that number one on the door.”
It was an especially meaningful home track win for
Franklin, who dedicated her win to numerous people.
“This one's definitely for Lizzy [Musi] and [Red Line
Oil’s] Mark Beatty's dad,” Franklin said. “This is my
first win since my grandpa passed away. I just want to
thank God, my family, Red Line Oil, Pat Musi Racing
Engines, Jerry Bickel – this one's also for him – Hoosier
Racing Tires, Menscer Motorsports, and Jeff and Sam
Franklin, who now has two low qualifier awards to start
the season, made her best pass of the event, a 4.131 at
176.10, to beat Mike Murphy and his 4.202. She defeated
Walter Lannigan Jr. with a 4.169 at 174.84 in the second
round. She had a bye run in the semis, using it to prepare
for the final round with a 4.141 at 172.96.
Melnick qualified No. 4 driving Alan O’Brien’s small-block
AMC-powered Greenbrier Paving & Excavating ‘20 Camaro
before running a 4.152 over Gary Hood in the first round.
He followed that up with a 4.154 to knock out Alan
Drinkwater. He fired off low E.T. of the event, 4.121 at
178.83, to beat Doug Nicholl’s 4.20 in the semifinals.
PRO NITROUS MOTORCYCLE
Past Pro Nitrous Motorcycle world champion Chris
Garner-Jones bounced back from an early exit at the season
opener by riding his T.T. Jones Racing Hayabusa to the win
after qualifying No. 1. He went down the track on a single
in the final round, as opponent Meshal Al-Saber’s Q80
Racing Hayabusa shut off as he was staging. Garner-Jones
laid down a 3.982 at 176.79 for the win.
“This win feels great, especially after our first outing,”
said Garner-Jones, who thanked his brother and tuner,
William, as well as Red Line Motorsports Media, FuelTech,
and PDRA. “We're not making excuses, but we ran good once
we put the right combination in the bike. It was just a
round too late. I feel like we could've won that race. But
we came out here and ran some stout numbers from testing
all the way to the final round. We didn't go in the fours
all weekend. Every pass was three-ninety-something. It
In the first round of eliminations on Friday night,
Garner-Jones set low E.T. of the event with a 3.952 on a
single. He lined up against rookie Brayden Davis in the
semifinal, but the race was over on the starting line when
Davis went red by .014 on a 3.984-second pass.
Garner-Jones was ready with a 3.996 at 177.53.
Al-Saber, who also reached the final round at the season
opener, qualified No. 2 on the Brad McCoy-tuned Q80 Racing
entry. He ran a 3.985 on a first-round single when Gerald
Smith couldn’t make the run. The Kuwait-based rider made
his best run of the weekend, a 3.963, on a single in the
Like Pro 632, the Pro Street final round was a rematch of
the final round from the season opener. The top two
qualifiers, Tim Essick and Bill Riddle, lined up for a
3-second battle between Essick’s ProCharged “Brown Sugar”
’18 Mustang and Riddle’s roots-blown Corrigan Race Fuels
‘89 Camaro. The race was over on the starting line, as
Essick left too soon on a 3.954-second pass. In the other
lane, Riddle fired off a 3.939 at 188.94 to tie the 2023
score between the two standouts.
“We kind of struggled [in qualifying],” said Riddle, who
thanked Corrigan Race Fuels, Mickey Thompson Tires,
Motorsports Unlimited, SSI Superchargers, and his wife.
With the hot track, I wasn’t sure what to do, what the
track would take. We just started inching up on it. Today
against Tim I knew I had to put one on it, so that's what
we did. The competition this year is absolutely awesome.
We're starting to get some full fields. It's only a matter
of time until these other guys are right there. It's
pretty good this year. I like it.”
Riddle qualified second in his Michigan-based Camaro, then
ran a 4.014 to take out Chris Tuten and his 4.356 in the
first round. He dipped into the 3-second zone with a 3.998
on a second-round bye run, earning lane choice for the
semifinals over Bill Lutz. He then took a slight holeshot
advantage over Lutz and followed through with a 3.95,
while Lutz had to lift after hiking up the front end.
Essick earned his first low qualifier award of the season,
taking home the special Victus Sports baseball bat trophy.
His path to the final round started with a 3.991-second
bye run, the quickest pass of the opening round. He then
ran a 4.023 to beat Carmen Damiani’s 4.172. The reigning
world champion was unopposed for his 3.966 in the
semifinals, as Nick Agostino couldn’t make the call.
Super Street saw different winners at each of the three
races the class completed in 2022, and that diversity
continued when Derek Mota scored the win in his Super
Street debut. Using consistent low 4.70-second passes, he
reached the final round to face Paul Curry. Curry wasn’t
able to start his ‘70 Nova, while Mota drove Dave
Mancini’s turbocharged ‘68 GTO to a 4.888 at 158.87 to
collect the fourth win in the young history of the class.
“This win means everything,” said Mota, who built the car
at his own shop, Mota Racing Fabrication. “We struggled
with the car in testing. We only had six runs on it coming
into here. We got here, used the test sessions to our
advantage, then Jamie [Miller, tuner] found some stuff
with the four-link and made changes. We went out there in
E1 and went a .73, then we backed it up with a .74, then
we went a .72 in the semis, then [Curry] couldn't start.
We gave him as much time as PDRA would allow him. I don't
like to win like that, but they make the rules, not me.”
After a trial period last season, Super Street will run
six of the eight PDRA points races to compete for a world
championship this season.
“We are going to run for the championship,” Mota
confirmed. “This sets us up in a good spot. We should be
sitting No. 1 right now with a brand-new car. We learned a
lot this weekend. We got a lot of good data going home.
We're just going to try to progress from here.”
Mota qualified fourth, then ran a 4.731 to beat JC
Beattie’s 5.056 in round one. His 4.741 was enough to beat
past winner Wes Ervin and his 4.852. A holeshot advantage
paired with a 4.729 helped Mota knock out No. 1 qualifier
Blake Denton and his 4.727 in the semifinals.
Curry, the No. 2 qualifier, was consistent in the first
two rounds with a 4.753 over Don Barnett and a 4.757 to
beat Matt Schalow. He stepped up to a 4.715 on a semifinal
bye run to earn lane choice for the final.
Two quick nitrous-fed Chevrolets were set to meet in the
Elite Top Sportsman final round, but Chris “Nitrous”
Nyerges and the Schween Motorsports team weren’t able to
finish repairs to their Buck-powered ’20 Corvette in time.
That allowed another past world champion, Donny
“Hollywood” Urban, to close out a solid weekend of racing
with the win. He broke the staging beams in his ’69 Camaro
to get the win.
Six rounds of Top Sportsman competition came to a close
when Virginia’s own Chad Traylor and Connecticutt’s
Brandon Miller met in the final round. Traylor was off the
starting line first in his ’63 Corvette and ran 4.442 on a
4.43 dial-in to get the win over Miller, who broke out
with a 4.379 on a 4.39 dial-in in his 2000 Chevy S-10.
Past world champions Steve Furr and Kellan Farmer raced
through three rounds of Elite Top Dragster competition to
meet in an all-North Carolina final round. With a .009
light and a 3.866 on a 3.85 dial-in, Furr picked up his
second consecutive win in his Right Trailers ’13 American
dragster. Farmer was closer to his 3.87 dial-in with a
3.875 in his ’20 Race Tech dragster, but he was behind off
the starting line with a .042.
Past Top Dragster world champion TG Paschal found himself
back in the winner’s circle after defeating Ken Batchelor
in the six and final round. Both drivers left with .009
reaction times, but Batchelor broke out with a 4.309 on a
4.31 dial-in in his ’18 Mullis dragster, while Paschal ran
a 4.306 on a 4.29 dial-in for the win in his ’12 Race Tech
The next race on the 2023 PDRA schedule is the DeCerbo
Construction American Doorslammer Challenge presented by
Callies Performance, May 25-27, at Summit Motorsports Park
in Norwalk, Ohio.
ABOUT THE PDRA
Celebrating its 10th season in 2023, the Professional Drag
Racers Association is the top sanctioning body in the
United States for the sport of eighth-mile drag racing.
The PDRA’s professional categories include Pro Boost, Pro
Nitrous, Extreme Pro Stock, Pro Nitrous Motorcycle, Pro
632, and Pro Street. The series also features sportsman
racing in Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, Pro Jr. Dragster
and Top Jr. Dragster. The 2023 PDRA schedule consists of
eight national events, plus the Summit Racing Equipment
PDRA ProStars. For more information on the PDRA, visit