VP SWEEPS ADRL CLASS WINNERS AT VIRGINIA MOTORSPORTS PARK
PETERSBURG, VA (May 22, 2010) At the American Drag Racing League (ADRL) Speedtech U.S. Drags III at Virginia Motorsports Park Saturday, VP Racing Fuels was the common denominator for the champion crowned in every class. The event marked only the second ADRL race of KH Al-Thani’s career, but in a Pro Extreme class loaded with top talent on a record-breaking weekend, it was the Qatar native who proved to be the quickest learner.
Al-Thani didn’t set any time or speed records with his supercharged 1968 Camaro on the eighth mile at Virginia Motorsports Park (VMP) on Saturday, but he did emerge as the most consistent Pro Extreme competitor, using VP’s M1 Methanol to knock off Joshua Hernandez in the championship round in front of a near-capacity crowd.
Al-Thani’s Al-Anabi Racing teammate Shannon Jenkins also won in Pro Nitrous, Gary White of Titan Motorsports prevailed in the Extreme 10.5 final, Brian Gahm successfully defended his 2009 Extreme Pro Stock event title and Ashley Owens scored his second consecutive Pro Extreme Motorcycle win.
After qualifying second, Al-Thani knocked off veteran Brian Daniels, rookie Mick Snyder, and former two-time class champion Jason Scruggs to reach Hernandez, the winningest driver in Pro Extreme, in the final round. Al-Thani turned in a strong 3.65-seconds pass at 210.60 mph to beat the 4.00 at 183.22 mph by Hernandez, who had to pedal his Fight Me MMA (mixed Martial Arts)-backed ’57 Chevy to regain traction.
Al-Thani, the 2009-10 Arabian Drag Racing League Pro Extreme champion, said having teammates like crew chief Frank Manzo and newcomers to the team, Tim and Kim Richards, were critical to his success. “They’ve made a big difference,” Al-Thani said of the Richards’ tuning contribution. “You wouldn’t believe how many things they’ve changed on the car.”
After celebrating his 56th birthday and the top qualifying spot on Friday, Jenkins followed up with a consistent performance on raceday. Powered by VP’s C23 race fuel, he overcame a holeshot by Steve Vick in round one, won with his own holeshot over Jim Halsey in round two and outran Al-Anabi teammate Burton Auxier in the semi-finals.
That set up an entertaining side-by-side race against “Tricky Rickie” Smith in the final round that began with the Pro Nitrous legends engaging in a short staging duel before Jenkins, known as “The Iceman,” left with the starting-line advantage, then went 3.89 at 194.27 mph in his ’68 Camaro to beat Smith’s 3.95 at 188.83 in a similar ride and earn his first ADRL win in 10 months.
In Extreme 10.5, Gary White emerged as the Speedtech U.S. Drags III champ, having beaten Dwayne Wolfe, David Hance, Jeff Naiser and Todd Moyer, setting low elapsed time (ET) of each round along the way. In the final, Moyer made his best pass of the day with a game 4.03 at 194.55, but White used VP’s M5 Methanol to leave with a sizeable holeshot and set low ET of the meet for the class with a 3.95 run at 186.74 mph in his turbocharged, six-cylinder 2007 Scion.
Brian Gahm used VP’s Q16 race fuel to qualify his Extreme Pro Stock ’07 Mustang in the seventh position, then led stripe-to-stripe over every one of his opponents, including Cale Aronson, Dean Goforth, John Montecalvo and Cary Goforth in the final. In a classic Ford vs. Chevy showdown, Gahm left first, then won with a 4.10 pass at 175.07 to Goforth’s 4.12 at 175.57 mph in his ’08 Cobalt.
Ashley Owens did almost exactly as he did at the ADRL’s previous race last month in Georgia, only this time he left with not only the race win and a new ET record; he reset the official Pro Extreme Motorcycle speed record, too. Using VP Import race fuel, he qualified his Fast by Gast 2010 Suzuki on top with a then-record 4.06 pass, then cruised past Derrick Holloway and Eric McKinney before officially lowering the class elapsed time mark to 4.05 in a semi-final win over Kim Morrell, who earlier in the day had become the ADRL’s quickest and fastest female bike rider. In the final round, Owens met up with number-two starter Terry Schweigert from British Columbia, Canada, who made a decent 4.16 run at 169.40, but it was no match for another 4.06 at a record 178.21 mph by Owens.
The American Drag Racing League returns to action June 11-12, with the ADRL Ford Drive One Summer Drags VI at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan.