Taylor Makes X-DRL Debut, Heads Top Qualifiers At Thunder Valley Madness At Bristol Dragway


In his first race with the X-treme Drag Racing League (X-DRL) at its debut appearance at Bristol Dragway, Pro X-treme standout Frankie Taylor left an immediate impression at X-DRL Thunder Valley Madness.

Taylor dipped into the 3.60s right off the trailer and then ended the day with an even bigger bang, closing out three rounds of qualifying on Friday with an incredible 3.646 at 209.07 mph.

“It was good to start off on that note. We ran well right off the trailer and that’s always a great thing,” Taylor said. “That last run, it was nice and smooth, and went right down the track.”

Other top qualifiers through three sessions in Bristol included Jim Laurita (Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous), Cary Goforth (X-treme Pro Stock), Todd Moyer (Precision Turbo & Engine Pro Turbo), Dan Stevenson (X-treme Pro Modified), Ronnie Davis (Mickey Thompson Top Sportsman) and Kevin Fisher (Top Dragster).

Joining Taylor in the 3.60s was Tommy D’Aprile, who also made his X-DRL debut by going a terrific 3.655 at 206.10 mph, and Brandon Pesz, who checked in with a 3.693 at 204.45 mph.

While Taylor enjoyed the 3.646, he was just as pleased with the consistency heading into eliminations.
“We were trying to finish with more than just the one good run, so putting together that final pass was good. It’s nice to get a couple of good passes under our belt,” Taylor said. “The car is running well right now.”
The final qualifying session takes place at 10 a.m. on Saturday with eliminations to follow in the X-DRL’s first appearance at Bristol Dragway.

Jim Laurita had a new car and switched to a clutch for the first time, but the results in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous were impressive. Sporting a Jerry Bickel Race Cars Camaro, Laurita made a spectacular pass during the second qualifying session, going 3.898 at 194 mph.

“That was our first full pass in the car and it was pretty fun,” Laurita said. “We wanted to try something different, and driving a clutch car was a lot of fun. The guys on the team think there’s a lot of potential and we’re just getting comfortable with it.”

Laurita was the only driver in the class to reach the 3.80s, but Pat Stoken, Bob Rahaim and Billy Glidden are all right behind with a 3.90, 3.91 and 3.92, respectively.

It’s a dynamic change for Laurita in switching to a clutch from an automatic, but the early results were strong.

The new Reher-Morrison engine with an EFI set-up from Switzer Dynamics provided splendid results, giving Laurita confidence heading into eliminations.

“This EFI from Brandon (Switzer) is going to be something special, that’s for sure,” Laurita said. “I’m surrounded by some really talented crew guys, so they make my job easy.”


Cary Goforth got the rebound he was hoping for in Bristol after a disappointing outing at the X-DRL debut at his home track in Tulsa, going to the No. 1 spot in X-treme Pro Stock in the final qualifying session with a 4.082 at 176.03 mph.

In fact, it was an impressive one-two punch from Goforth Racing on Friday, as Cary’s father, Dean, was only bumped to No. 2 on Cary’s final run after going 4.085 at 176.67 mph.

“Both cars are running well and responding well, and I’m really happy for dad,” Cary Goforth said. “To be No. 1 and No. 2, it’s been a long time, and it’s awesome.

“The cars are responding to the changes we’ve made, but I’m just really happy for dad. He can still drive and do this really well.”

While the Goforths and their Jerry Haas Race Cars GXPs, powered by Sonny’s Racing Engines, put together one solid run after another on Friday, John DeFlorian and his Black Diamond Motorsports 2012 Jerry Haas Race Cars Camaro was the only other car to reach the 4.00s, running 4.094 at 175 mph.

DeFlorian is looking for back-to-back X-DRL wins in Pro Stock, but Cary Goforth hopes to prevent him from doing that.

“We were just a little bit off kilter, but hopefully we’re back to doing what we know how to do,” Cary Goforth said. “This was the type of day we needed, and I finally had a decent light today. I think we had to have a sense of urgency. If we don’t do something quick, we’ll be in trouble.”


In the new Precision Turbo & Engine Pro Turbo class, Todd Moyer got the run he was looking for in his final pass of the day, going 3.913 at 201.01 mph.

Just moments before, Jose Gonzalez was the first driver in the class to get into the 3-second zone in Bristol, but Moyer followed with as smooth of a pass as he’s had in 2013.

“We knew that was there. Chase (Driskell) is doing a great job, and we figured out what the track could handle,” Moyer said. “We took some power of it to get down the track, but we’re getting a handle on it.”


Dan Stevenson didn’t have quite the success he had off the trailer in Tulsa en route to his first X-treme Pro Modified win, but Stevenson made up for it during the final session. Stevenson moved into the top spot by going 3.923 at 191.73 mph in his Jerry Bickel Race Cars Camaro, on par with what he ran to get the victory in Tulsa.

Rookie standout T.J. Tindle is right behind with a strong 3.94 at 188 mph heading into Saturday.

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It took until the final qualifying session on Friday, but Ronnie Davis put together the top pass of the day in Mickey Thompson Top Sportsman. After struggling to get down the track in two previous sessions, Davis went a strong 4.11 at 178.92 mph to claim the No. 1 qualifying spot.

“We were pretty happy with that run, everything worked just the way it was supposed to. If we can repeat that tomorrow, and I believe we can, I think we have a good chance at the win,” Davis said.

Aaron Glaser was bumped from the No. 1 spot, but he’ll be No. 2 heading into eliminations after running 4.14 at 172.45 mph.

The fields are set for Mickey Thompson Top Sportsman and Top Dragster after three qualifying sessions. They will go right into eliminations when they begin on Saturday.


In Top Dragster, Kevin Fisher was the No. 1 qualifier, running a 4.277 at 163.61 mph. Fisher stayed close to that all day in Bristol, proving that he may have the bracket car to beat during eliminations.

Darrell Reid jumped into the No. 2 spot with a strong final run on Friday, going 4.278 at 167 mph.

In Pro Junior Dragster, Ryan Tolley is in the top spot with a 7.900.


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