(Words and Photos by Joe Grippo) Well, a few weeks back I finally got to attend a PDRA event, the Northern Nationals. Last year was to be the first event at my home track, Maple Grove Raceway but we all know how most of 2020 went. This year Tyler Crossnoe and company made it happen and the racers showed up and beat up on the Grove’s sticky surface. The PDRA (Professional Drag Races Association) runs on the 1/8 mile with some of the baddest doorslammers and insanely fast dragsters on the planet.
With classes like Extreme Pro Stock, Pro Nitrous and Pro Boost, Pro Outlaw 632 and Pro Street all manner of big tire was covered. Strong fields in these classes made for tight qualifying and killer eliminations. JR Carr took Extreme Pro Stock, Pennsylvania’s own “Mountain Man” Mike Achenback crushed the Pro Nitrous class, Pro Boost was won by Kevin Riverbank, Wes Distefano came out on top of the Pro Outlaw 632 group and Tim Essick in his Brown Sugar Mustang was victorious in Pro Street.
PDRA also contests a full slate of Sportsman classes featuring Top Dragster and Top Sportsman, a Bracket Bash and even Junior Dragsters. Steve Drongowski was the Top Dragster champ and Nick Meloni took the trophy in Top Sportsman. Joe Ithieu was the last person standing in the all-run Bracket Bash, while Zach Starkey took the Pro Jr. title and Donald O’Meara won the Top Jr. crown.
In closing, the PDRA put on a very professional, efficient weekend of racing while fighting some nasty heat and humidity plus a few dreaded rain incidents. The track surface and schedule never suffered, and downtime was minimal. All in all, it was a very well done event and I had a blast. Can’t wait until next year to hopefully do it again at the 2022 Northern Nationals at the Grove.