A mix of first-time winners and past world champions collected victories Saturday night at the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) North-South Shootout at Maryland International Raceway. The all-eighth-mile series crowned winners in six professional categories and seven sportsman classes at the second stop on their eight-race 2018 tour.
PRO EXTREME MOTORCYCLE
Three-time Pro Extreme Motorcycle world champion Eric McKinney missed the season-opening PDRA East Coast Spring Nationals, but he came back swinging this weekend aboard his McKinney Motorsports Suzuki. The Ohioan rider powered to a 3.998 at 177.70 in the final round, but it was his superior reaction time that allowed him to overcome the quicker 3.973 at 175.87 by Maryland’s Ronnie Smith.
“My lights were horrible all weekend. I thought whether we get beat or not (in the final round), I’m going to get fired,” McKinney laughed. “I pulled one out there in the final. To come back to the PDRA and win the first one we come back to is awesome. I just really appreciate Drag 965 and the other class sponsors, as well as Vance & Hines, Fast by Gast, and my family for their support.”
McKinney qualified No. 5 and used a series of 4.0-second passes to defeat Terry Wynn and Paul Gast. He was set to race his tuner, teammate and No. 1 qualifier Ashley Owens in the semifinals, but Owens chose not to swap motors after wounding his engine in the previous round. Smith, the No. 7 qualifier, appeared to be the rider to beat as he posted a 4.022 and a pair of 4.002s before recording the quickest pass in class history in the final round.