2014 Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series Awards Celebration recognized world champions Cary Goforth (Pro Stock)
It took five weeks, four rain delays and racing at two tracks in neighboring states, but the all-eighth-mile Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) finally crowned winners of its postponed Dragstock event from North Carolina’s Rockingham Dragway Oct. 12, at Virginia Motorsports Park (VMP), near Richmond.
PETERSBURG, Va. - Summary of eliminations in Extreme Pro Stock at the 2014 Professional Drag Racers Association Tour, PDRA Dragstock XI:
Round 1: Richard Penland, Belmont NC, '10 Mustang, Right lane, (0.186) 4.084 178.21 was unopposed Doug Kirk, Lenore WV, '13 Mustang, Right lane, (0.062) 4.729 126.77 def. Trevor Eman, Pos Chiquito AW, '11 Mustang, NT-No Show John Pluchino, Commack NY, '06 Escort, Right lane, (0.050) 4.135 176.35 def. Brian Gahm, Lucasville OH, '13 Mustang, (0.093) 5.200 109.31 John Montecalvo, Center Moriches NY, '14 Camaro, Right lane, (4.126) 17.493 177.16 def. Cale Aronson, Chillicothe MO, '10 Mustang, (0.064) 88.000 41.07 Round 2: C Aronson, Right lane, (0.108) 4.148 173.67 def. D Kirk, NT-Broke Before Staging R Penland, Right lane, (0.113) 4.615 162.57 def. J Pluchino, (0.081) 9.394 79.16 Round 3: C Aronson, Right lane, (0.062) 4.100 174.45 def. R Penland, (0.114) 4.729 138.66 Low ET: Dean Goforth 4.076 seconds Top Speed: Richard Penland 178.21 MPH
Finally in Pro Stock, Cary Goforth did the unthinkable by winning two championships in one weekend with the IHRA and PDRA racing series. Goforth made the start Friday in Richmond, Va. with the PDRA, clinching the championship with that organization, before boarding a plane and maing the trip back to Memphis, Tenn. for the IHRA World Finals. When Goforth secured his spot in the field in Memphis, Goforth officially clinched his second Pro Stock championship of the weekend and fifth overall title in the class.
“Crazy is a good description for this weekend. It was certainly not the most ideal of situations, but we knew this is something we had to do,” Goforth said. “We knew when we took on this ambitious schedule that this was a possibility, but luckily I have a dad who is just as crazy as any 20-year-old trying to do this. He likes to think outside of the box and I am appreciative of that. Everything he has done for us has been a blessing.”
Despite the ultimate outcome of the weekend, Goforth ended up going out in the first round, setting the stage for a final between Brad Waddle and Kevin Bealko. Bealko left early on the tree, handing Waddle his second win of the season. But it was Goforth’s amazing ride that captured headlines on Sunday.
“I don’t know if something like this is ever going to happen again, so we are really going to embrace this,” Goforth added. “What really hit me was winning five championships, that is really something special. There are not a lot of people who can say that. That is the big time and that is really what hits home for me.”
Pro Stock – Brad Waddle, Salina, Kan., ’13 Mustang, 9.473, 96.42 def. Kevin Bealko, Bridgeport, W.Va., ’14 Camaro, foul
The IHRA Summit Racing Equipment World Finals kicked off on Friday with one round of Nitro Jam professional qualifying and one round of eliminations for most sportsman classes until Mother Nature took over on a soggy evening at Memphis International Raceway.
In Pro Stock John DeFlorian, driver of the AMSOIL-sponsored Black Diamond Motorsports 2012 Camaro, placed his machine in first on a tricky track with a 7.482-second lap at 142.42 mph. His teammate Kevin Bealko was second with an 8.295 at 118.16.
Cary Goforth, driver of the Goforth Racing entry, was Friday’s other big storyline, flying from Richmond, Virginia – where he wrapped up the PDRA championship earlier in the day – to qualify for the IHRA Summit World Finals in his attempt to wrap up two separate championships in one weekend. Goforth currently has a 99-point lead over DeFlorian.
To say that Cary Goforth, driver of the Dean’s Casing Service Pro Stock Camaro, has a good year, would be an understatement at best. This season alone he’s had numerous wins across two organizations. He currently holds a sizeable points lead in both PDRA Extreme Pro Stock and IHRA Pro Stock. While this is a new year for all classes with the PDRA’s inaugural tour, it is also a ‘welcome back’ year for Pro Stock with IHRA, after a four year hiatus. Both organizations have just one race left to determine the 2014 Champions. And these races will be held on the same weekend, one just outside of Richmond, Virginia and the other close to Memphis, Tennessee.
While mathematically Cary Goforth stands a pretty good chance of winning both the PDRA Championship and the IHRA Championship without showing up to either event, he’s not willing to take that chance. It’s clear he’s had to go to great lengths and put in long hours to be in the position that he is, but his greatest task might still lie ahead of him.
“For the Championship in each organization, Cary has to run two guys named John,” explained Cary’s dad and team owner Dean Goforth. “In the PDRA it’s John Pluchino. We have to show up at Richmond and make one run down the race track. That’s all we have to do. John Pluchino would have to win both of the races, qualify number one and set a world record. That would be pretty impossible, but we know John Pluchino, and he’s pretty good. He could possibly do all these things. Sure as the world we wouldn’t show up, and he would do all those things, and we would lose the Championship.
“Cary is going to take his car, in a smaller trailer with a dually pickup, to Richmond. And he’s going to make one run. About a mile north of Richmond track there’s an airport, and, thank God, we just happen to have a little ol’ airplane. So he’s going to leave the track Friday, get on the plane there, and fly to Memphis that night. I’m going to be in Memphis with two cars- my car and our back up car. All he’s gotta do at Memphis is the same thing he’s gotta do at Richmond. At Memphis, though, it’s a different John, John Deflorian. John Deflorian has got to do about the same thing John Pluchino’s got to do, but if we didn’t show up he might do it. And this is the kind of thing that ain’t gonna happen to a person too many times in their life- getting the chance to run for two championships in one year. But, hey, you’re pretty fortunate to get to run for one.
“Anyway, I got two guys coming with Cary to Richmond,” Dean continued. “And as soon as they get the car in the trailer they’re going to take off back to Memphis and try to get that car back to Memphis for Cary so he won’t have to drive the backup car. But I’m taking the backup car just in case, because Cary will only get one qualifying session at Memphis. The first two will be run Friday night when he’s in Richmond. We’re trying to cover every base.”
If it’s possible to run two events in one weekend that are over 800 miles apart, it’s Team Goforth that can pull it off. Cary explains how they overcame difficulty at the beginning of 2014 to have their best season yet:
“We had our crew chief from the last three years quit on us right before the Tucson race after telling us all winter he was on board. That left a bitter taste in my mouth and I think it will for a long time. I don’t think anybody can blame me for that. On a day and half’s notice Todd Hoerner said he thought he could get Jeff Dobbins to come. Jeff said ‘Let me get some stuff together and get stuff arranged and I”ll get out to Tucson.’ This is a relationship that has been really good, and I hope it will last for years to come. Jeff and Cindy and Jeffrey are really good people. They’re really sharp at doing what they do. We’ve had a good year. We’ve had an outstanding year. Actually, we’ve had the best year we’ve ever had with Jeff on board. We feel like we gave away three or four races, but that’s normal. That’s hard to gripe about. I’m very appreciative of my crew. We think, how can next year get better than this and we used to think how can this year be better than what we had last year. I wanna be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Everybody has rough years, but I’m going to fight to keep that from happening. You would be an a-hole to gripe about this year. It started out shaky, of course, but we got Jeff to come over here and we picked up right where we left off. It’s been an incredible year.”
“Hey, we’re tickled to death to be where we are with both sanctions,” added Dean. “We’ve not missed but one race either side with both organizations. We’ve been gone as long as five weeks in a row. And now Cary is helping Richie Stevens in NHRA. I don’t think we’ve seen him since Rockingham. We’ve had a very busy season.”
“Since I was a little kid all I ever wanted to do was drive a Mountain Motor Pro Stock car and I’ve already done way more than I ever thought I would do,” Cary voiced. “Winning races was way more than I thought I would do. I got to thinking about it a couple weeks ago and I got to adding this up and I thought, pulling this off is gonna make you a five time champion in Pro Stock. Right now that comes to mind more than anything, because that puts you in company that’s pretty elite. Everybody says how do you want to be remembered? When it’s comes that my time’s done, I just want people to know I gave all my heart and all my soul to this deal. The sacrifices we’ve had to make, being away from family, the sacrifices they’ve had to make without us there. Five championships – thinking about what it takes to do that – we were gone a helluva long time away from home since we started this back in 2006. It took three years for us to start doing well. Kids these days want to start out winning immediately. They don’t want to work their way up the ladder or pay their dues, but it just don’t work that way, especially in drag racing. You’ve got to have a program and that just takes time. It takes a lot of heartache and parts break, too. Right now, I wouldn’t say I know what I’m doing, but I’ve learned a heck of a lot since I started in 2006.
“Dad told me first round at Rockingham [PDRA Dragstock] – we had car trouble and I barely got in. I was number eight and he was one – he said, ‘I’m going to give you this round and you’re going to win this Championship.’ That’s not something we normally do. I told him I didn’t want him to do that. He said, ‘I don’t care. You have no choice, you have no say. Look, Cary, everything I’ve done here in this deal is for you. It’s not for me; it’s for you. If I win a race or qualify number one every now and then that’s just a bonus.’ And, ya know, what do you say to that? First thing you want to do is cry. Everybody on this team has worked hard. I’ve worked hard, but he’s been the one to make the most sacrifices and put in the hours that I could never do. I don’t have what he has, and I wish I did. He’s a great man for working hard and doing what it took to be competitive again. It took almost 20 years to get back to the top. That’s a long time. There was a lot of hard work, sacrifices, late nights, 24/7, 365. No birthdays, holidays, no time off. That’s just the way the industry is. I’m so thankful to him for giving me that chance.”
Cary had hoped to clinch his PDRA Championship at the Dragstock event in early September. However, when the event was rained out and postponed until the PDRA Championship Finals, he was one short round away from making that dream come true. Now, however, he has the opportunity to win two Championship from two organizations in the same weekend.
“Jason and Mitchell Scruggs, Bob Harris, Gene Hector, Tommy Franklin, Roger Hinson – they all took on a new organization, including us [Pro Stock] when they didn’t have to,” continued Cary. “Being the first champion of an organization like that, that sticks in your mind. And being the first IHRA champion since they’ve had us back is on my mind, too. You’re kinda shooting for two perks here. Hopefully, with the good Lord’s help we can do that.
“We appreciate both sanctions,” added Dean. “Both of them have worked hard to keep us both running and we are thankful that we’ve had the opportunity to compete in the PDRA and IHRA and now have a chance at two Championships.”
Watch Cary’s PDRA Championship run on the Motor Mania Live Feed beginning October 9th.
IHRA’s Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series will wrap up the 2014 season with some intriguing battles and some great racing entering the final event of the year at the Summit Racing Equipment World Finals October 10-11 at Memphis International Raceway.
Pro Stock will feature IHRA’s only other un-claimed championship, as Oklahoma native Cary Goforth brings a healthy 99-point margin over John DeFlorian into the final event of the season. Goforth, in the Dean’s Casing Service 2014 Chevrolet Camaro, has amassed three wins in 2014, while DeFlorian, in the AMSOIL-sponsored Black Diamond Motorsports Camaro, has one win and reset to IHRA Pro Stock elapsed time and mile per hour records earlier this year.
The pair will be joined in Memphis by Goforth Racing teammates Todd Hoerner and Dean Goforth, Black Diamond Racing’s Kevin Bealko, Scott Hintz, Brad Waddle, Matt Bertsch, John Konigshofer and more.
PDRA Extreme Pro Stock teams have been waiting for their perfect chance to break the 4 second barrier. They have been as quick as 4.024 (Cary Goforth, Rockingham Dragway, April 2014) and as fast as 180.81 MPH (John Montecalvo, Rockingham Dragway, April 2014), but the elusive 3.99 has avoided these fierce naturally aspirated machines.
This weekend the PDRA heads to Virginia Motorsports Park for the Championship Finals. Temperatures will drop down into the 50s for the evening sessions, making for prime record-setting conditions. A 3.90 elapsed time in Pro Stock has never seemed closer.
John Montecalvo, current MPH record holder, is hoping he’ll be the first to capture the title of First in the Threes. “We feel we have all the right ingredients and believe that the conditions at Richmond will warrant a 3 second run,”stated the two time Champ. “There are several teams out there capable of doing that and we hope to be the first. We’ve got good Sonny’s power and a good RJ car. Justin’s been doing a great job of tuning the car. William Cavallo is on data acquisition and we’ve got Jeff Owen on the clutch. Of course, Lois Anne will be there putting her touch on the car as well. We’ve got a great team. Hopefully we hit it right and we’ll be the first ones to hit that 3.”
Sonny Leonard Racing Engines, besides powering the quickest and fastest XPS machines in the PDRA, is also sponsoring the Sonny’s 3-Second Club. The first three competitors in XPS to run a 3.99 or quicker will receive a monetary reward, commemorative plaque and a personalized Sonny’s 3-Second Club ring.
“We appreciate Sonny stepping up to sponsor the 3-Second Club,” continued Montecalvo. “He is a huge part of our success and we hope to be the first to join his club.”
2 races, 9 states, 2 trips to Canada and 1 additional international date still to come – check out the official 2015 IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series schedule!
February 6-7 Southwestern International Raceway (Tucson, AZ)
March 13-14 San Antonio Raceway (San Antonio, TX)
April 17-18 Bradenton Motorsports Park (Bradenton, FL)
April 24-25 Palm Beach International Raceway (Jupiter, FL)
May 29-30 Cordova Dragway Park (Cordova, IL)
June 19-20 Maryland International Raceway (Budds Creek, MD)
June 26-28 Grand Bend Motorplex (Grand Bend, ON)
July 10-11 Spokane County Raceway (Airway Heights, WA)
July 17-19 Castrol Raceway (Edmonton, AB)
August 7-8 US 131 Motorsports Park (Martin, MI)
September 11-12 Dragway 42 (West Salem, OH)
October 9-10 Memphis International Raceway (Millington, TN)
After a productive meeting with Extreme Pro Stock drivers at the recent PDRA Dragstock event in Rockingham, N.C. both the PDRA and the Mountain Motor Pro Stock teams are making efforts to have the class back for the PDRA’s sophomore season. PDRA Race Director, Bob Harris, stresses that they want to have Pro Stock as part of the their program and hopes that teams and sponsors support the class.
“We’re willing to do what it takes to have Extreme Pro Stock as a regular class with the PDRA,” stated Harris. “We’ve enjoyed having them this year. We just need to see that the drivers and sponsors are willing to support us in this as well.”
Cale Aronson, driver of an Extreme Pro Stock Mustang, had to miss parts of the inaugural PDRA tour, but has made the commitment to follow the entire season in 2015. “We really enjoy being part of the PDRA as it hosts the world’s fastest door slammer cars in the world and works to promote the interests and needs of all involved, from the spectators to the teams,” told Aronson. “We are looking forward to working with the PDRA team to better promote not only our own class, but the organization as a whole and many of our sponsors are looking forward to continuing support as well. It was great hearing from Jason Scruggs, how much he enjoyed Pro Stock and how it was the class that originally brought about modern door slammer cars!”
Class spokesman and former World Champion John Montecalvo echoed sentiments: “We had a very productive meeting with the PDRA staff and look forward to seeing growth in the class next season. We’ve made eighth-mile racing our home over the last several years and have especially enjoyed this year with the PDRA. We look forward to our future with this fast moving new series that has experienced phenomenal growth in just its first year.”
“The Rockingham meeting went well and we were assured that with some help from us, Pro Stock will be back in 2015. I, as well as many other teams, were excited about the good news. We are all looking forward to racing in the PDRA in 2015,” added John Pluchino, who is currently second in PDRA Extreme Pro Stock points and is excited for the opportunity to continue his success with the PDRA next season.
Class manufacturers and sponsors were also in the XPS meeting and also voiced their commitment to supporting the class.
“Coming off a great spectator turnout in Rockingham it is great to hear PDRA’s plans to continue with the Pro Stock class for 2015,” told RAM Clutches’ Pat Norcia. “Pro Modified began as Pro Stockers on steroids, which essentially paved the way for the Pro Nitrous, Extreme, and Boost classes. I look forward to PDRA continuing to develop eighth-mile drag racing in 2015.”
“My backbone is with large cubic inch Pro Stock, naturally aspirated engines,” agreed Sonny Leonard, CEO of Sonny’s Racing Engines. “With Pro Stock back in 2015, our company will be involved.”
As one of the four owners of the PDRA and the original force in founding the organization, Jason Scruggs hopes that having a home for Mountain Motor Pro Stock within the PDRA will help the class thrive:
“The PDRA is excited to have Pro Stock cars back for 2015,” he concluded. “We want what’s best for the Pro Stock class. I’ve been a huge fan of Pro Stock since the late ‘80s. We want a class that’s healthy, that’s growing, and that has a good show for our fans. We want the IHRA to have a good show of Pro Stock cars, as well since they are also having the class back next year. So we are going to have to work together as organizations and with the Pro Stock community to do what’s best for the class and help them grow. Hopefully new cars will be built and new drivers will join the class. They have two good places to race now, and we would like to see the class prosper and get back to where it was 15 years ago.”
RAIN WASHES OUT ROCKINGHAM’S DRAGSTOCK XI PRO MOD RACE
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – Heavy rain washed out final eliminations Sunday in Dragstock XI at Rockingham Dragway…
Very hard rain… All remaining elimination rounds will be run at VMP in October…