Coming off the Fall King of the Crown Pro Extreme Motorcycle (PXM) win two weeks prior, the Grothus Dragbikes (GDB) crew was encouraged about their recent performance but also realistic about their chances of overcoming the 5.5 round points deficit they faced in the PDRA. Only two events remained in the PDRA season & it would take a near miracle to leapfrog the current points leader who was coming off a PDRA win himself. Nonetheless, Ed, Bradley, Brunson & Graham loaded up Honcho in the mini bus & bear'ed down for the southeast coast.
GDB arrived Friday morning just as the gates were opening & were able to secure a spot right at the 660 ft mark next to their good friend, turbo guru & 2018 PDRA Firecracker Nationals event winner, Ehren Litten. The GDB crew wasted no time getting to business & picking up right where they left off two weeks prior by running low elapsed time for all nitrous bikes on the property with the 4.049 at 175.44 mph good enough for the number two spot behind Terry Schweigert’s turbo blast of 4.016 at 178 mph. After not being able to get the Racepack download from Q1 & the GDB crew running on fumes of sleep from the previous all night’s drive, they sat out qualifying session two to get some much needed rest & had a front row seat to watch Terry Schweigert lower the PXM record to a beastly 3.968 at 181.60 mph.
As the sun went down over beautiful Darlington Dragway before the third & final qualifying session, the elapsed times did too in a big way. First, Brunson joined the elusive three second club as he made a career best run of 3.998 at a whopping 177.51 mph (1.003 60 ft). Next, Schweigert ripped off a jaw dropping 3.914 at 184.58 mph aboard his turbo charged entry, sending the motorcycle drag racing world into a frenzy.
With a total of 11 PXMs on the property & recent rule changes expanding to all run fields up to 16 bikes, Brunson was paired with the points leader & current nitrous PXM record holder Ronnie Smith of Pasadena, MD. Although Ronnie had been struggling this particular weekend, GDB knew there was a high likelihood he would rip off a low 4.0 second run first round. Just as predicted, Ronnie clicked off a 4.031 in the heat of the day to Brunson’s slightly slower 4.067 but Brunson’s size-able hole-shot netted him & GDB the round win by .024 (.015 to .077 on the starting line).
Brunson’s quarter final draw seemed to be a popular one of 2018, number five qualifier and 2017 defending PDRA PXM Champion Travis Davis of Douglas, GA. Now having Racepack data back up & running, Brunson & GDB crew were able to tune off the previous 4.06 & laid down a much improved & much needed 4.024 at 176.61 mph to Davis’ 4.049 at 177.03 mph for a total win margin going to Brunson by .028 (.007 to .011 on the starting line). That big round win gave Brunson the earned bye run in the semi-finals where he would break the beams to save parts and face the winner of the Ehren Litten turbo entry & Spencer Allen nitrous entry.
Allen’s nitrous equipped entry was victorious with a 4.11 to Litten’s clutch slipping 4.33, putting Allen in his first PDRA event final. Allen automatically earned lane choice when Brunson chose to break the beams in the semis. Allen chose the left lane, putting Brunson in the right lane which he had not run all weekend. However, lane choice would not be a factor in the all nitrous PXM final as Brunson streaked away to a second career best run of 4.016 at 175.99 mph for the win to Allen’s respective 4.082 at 174.55 mph.
The final round win capped off an unforgettable event for GDB and put them within a round and a half of the points leader going into the PDRA World Finals in two weeks at Virginia Motorsports Park.