Michigan’s Cadotto Joins Franklin, Harris and Pluchino as PDRA Winners~ Three-time Top Fuel World Champion Larry Dixon used his considerable driving skill to win the nitro feature Saturday at US 131 Motorsports Park, sharing the winners’ circle with former series champions Tommy Franklin and Jason Harris who claimed Pro Modified titles in the PDRA portion of the US 131 Northern Nationals.
Dixon, whose 62 tour victories are the second most in NHRA Top Fuel history, turned back 18-time tour winner Spencer Massey in round one before dispatching clutch tech-turned-weekend driver Gary Pritchett in the final to prevail for the second straight year on Michigan’s fastest track.
Dixon posted quick time of the event when he covered the 1000ft course in 3.841 seconds against Massey. He came back to run 3.863 in the final, winning easily when Pritchett dropped a hole in the Lagana brothers’ track record-holding “Nitro Ninja.”
Other winners outside of those in the PDRA series were former Bakersfield nostalgia Top Fuel Champ Jimmy Young of Salem, Wis., Vandalia’s Mark McElwee, who drove the “Buzz’s Nitro Bomber” Chevy II to its second straight win in the nostalgia Funny Car class and Josette Roach of Melbourne, Fla., who beat Larsen Motorsports teammate Zach Costello of Palm Bay, Fla., in the jet dragster final.
Franklin used a .020 starting line advantage to nip four-time PDRA World Champ and current Pro Nitrous point leader Jim Halsey of Havre de Grace, Md., in the final for his second win in five races. Harris also won for the second time this year in Pro Boost, riding an improbable .000 reaction time to victory over Kurt Steding of Pittsburgh, Pa., in a battle of early model versus late model Chevy Camaros.
Second generation pro and defending series champ Johnny Pluchino of Smithtown, N.Y., got his first win of the year in Extreme Pro Stock, point leader Jeff Melnick of Hubbard, Ohio, won again in Pro 632 and, in becoming one of only two event winners from the host state, Westland’s Chris Cadotto drove his 1997 Dodge RAM truck past Bill Lutz’s ’68 Camaro for an upset victory in Pro Street.
Other PDRA winners were Dan Ferguson of Clover, S.C. (Elite Top Sportsman), Nick Meloni of Brentwood, N.H. (Top Sportsman), Ashley Johnson of Cynthiana, Ky. (Elite Top Dragster) and Kalamazoo’s Treyton Parker (Top Dragster).
Next feature event at US 131 will be the 19th annual Honor Credit Union Funny Car Nationals, Sept. 8-9. Those who purchase in advance can save $5 on the admission price with even more deeply discounted tickets available at your local Honor Credit Union.
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MARTIN, Mich. – Results from the US 131 Northern Nationals featuring the stars of the PDRA at US 131 Motorsports Park. Hometowns are Michigan unless otherwise indicated. Results include reaction time, track time, target time when applicable and finish line speed:
TOP FUEL Semifinals – Gary Pritchett, Avon, Ind., .044, 3.868, 323.28 mph, def. Krista Baldwin, Pittsboro, Ind., .067, 4.948, 149.85 mph; Larry Dixon, Avon, Ind., .054, 3.841, 306.12 mph, def. Spencer Massey, Fort Worth, Texas, .064, 3.939, 301.81 mph.
TOP FUEL Final – Dixon, .060, 3.863, 309.92 mph, def. Pritchett, .033, 4.058, 247.39 mph.
TOP FUEL Consolation – Massey, .027, 3.899 285.17 mph, def. Baldwin, .076, 4.372, 214.80 mph.
FRONT MOTOR TOP FUEL DRAGSTER – Jimmy Young, Salem, Wis., .142, 5.604, 254.09 mph, def. Julius Hughes, Gainesville, Fla., .099, 6.283, 175.64 mph. Semifinalists – Larry Goche, Flushing, and Shawn Bowen, Goodrich.
NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR – Mark McElwee, Vandalia, Mich., “Buzz’s Nitro Bomber” Chevy II Funny Car, 5.359, 215.96 mph, was unopposed.
JET DRAGSTER – Josette Roach, Melbourne, Fla., .063, 6.014, 164.55 mph, def. Zach Costello, Palm Bay, Fla., foul, 5.968, 265.64 mph.
JET TRUCK – Jerry McCart, Ponce Inlet, Fla., triple engine Ford F650, .297, 9.919, 164.41 mph, was unopposed.
PDRA Championship (race five of eight in 2023 series)
PRO NITROUS – Tommy Franklin, Fredericksburg, Va., 1969 Chevy Camaro, .028, 3.639, 204.64 mph, def. Jim Halsey, Harve de Grace, Md., 1968 Camaro, .048, 3.635, 207.38 mph. Semifinalists – Marcus Butner, Tobaccoville, N.C., 1969 Camaro, and Jim Widener, Batesville, Ind., 2017 Corvette.
PRO BOOST – Jason Harris, Pittsboro, N.C., 1969 Camaro, .000, 3.605, 206.42 mph, def. Kurt Steding, Pittsburgh, Pa., 2022 Camaro, .022, 3.789, 158.17 mph. Semifinalists – Dustin Nesloney, Orange Grove, Texas, 2022 Camaro, and Scott Lang, Charlotte, N.C., 2018 Camaro.
EXTREME PRO STOCK – Johnny Pluchino, Smithtown, N.Y., 2013 Mustang, NA, 4.080, 177.30 mph, def. Alan Drinkwater, Osteen, Fla., 2013 Mustang, NA, 4.096, 175.85 mph. Semifinalists – Chris Powers, Carlisle, Pa., 2021 Camaro, and Tony Gillig, Huntley, Ill., 2010 Pontiac GXP.
PRO 632 – 1. Jeff Melnick, Hubbard, Ohio, 2020 Camaro, .023, 4.159, 156.20 mph, def. Jason Ventura, Pompano Beach, Fla., 1970 Camaro, .037, 4.435, 166.24 mph. Semifinalists – Amber Franklin, Fredericksburg, Va., and Lexi Tanner, Rensselaer, Ind., 2015 Camaro.
PRO STREET – Chris Cadotto, Westland, 1997 Dodge RAM truck, .044, 3.962, 182.70 mph, def. Bill Lutz, Canal Winchester, Ohio, 1968 Camaro, .104, 4.723, 114.18 mph. Semifinalists – Tim Essick, Port Tobacco, Md., 2018 Mustang, and Nick Agostino, Markham, Ontario, Canada, 1969 Camaro.
ELITE TOP SPORTSMAN – Dan Ferguson, Clover, S.C., 1968 Camaro, .018, 3.813 on a 3.810, def. Bryan LaFlam, Gilbert, Ariz., 1967 Mustang, .032, 3.797 on a 3.770. Semifinalists – Chris Nyerges, Middlefield, Ohio, 2020 Corvette, and Glenn Butcher, Doylestown, Ohio, 1969 Camaro.
TOP SPORTSMAN – Nick Meloni, Brentwood, N.H., 1969 Camaro, .013, 4.275 on a 4.260, def. Joe Roubicek, Niceville, Fla., 1968 Camaro, .025, 4.248 breakout on a 4.250. Semifinalists – Mark Payne, Waynesboro, Va., 2006 Cavalier, and Dan Germano, Macedon, Ky., 1968 Camaro.
ELITE TOP DRAGSTER – Ashley Johnson, Cynthiana, Ky., .030, 3.842 on a 3.830, def. Tom Martino, Youngstown, Ohio, .036, 3.885 on a 3.870. Semifinalists – Tony Positano, North York, Ont., and Russ Whitlock, Mocksville, N.C.
TOP DRAGSTER – Treyton Parker, Kalamazoo, .010, 4.528 on a 4.500, def. Dickie Smith, Waldorf, Md., .075, 4.400 on a 4.390. Semifinalists – Rikki Molnar, Seville, Ohio, and Tisha Wilson, Salisbury, N.C.
PRO JR. DRAGSTER – Spencer McGee, Pelion, S.C., .013, 7.919 on a 7.900, 82.98 mph, def. Mallory Mattox, Lynchburg, Va., .002, 7.930 on a 7.900, 81.77 mph. Semifinalists – Cissy Hoyk, Hickory, N.C., and Toby Haisel, Martin.
TOP JR. DRAGSTER – Victoria Beaner, Labelle, Fla., .062, 8.927 on an 8.900, 73.21 mph, def. Ayden, Tilghman, Henrico, Va., .059, 8.965 on an 8.900, 73.53 mph. Semifinalists – McKenzie Morgan, Dudley, N.C., and Ellie Vesper, Milan.
BRACKET BASH – Nick Shirkey, Ridgley, Md., .040, 4.649 on a 4.630, 147.25 mph, def. Unknown #129X, .019, 4.728 breakout on a 4.730, 143.63 mph. Semifinalist – Phil Thompson, Grand Haven.