FINAL NOTEBOOK – CHAMPIONS CROWNED, 2019 IS IN THE BOOKS
HALSEY SEALS THE DEAL – Jim Halsey and his Fulton-powered ’68 Camaro held a firm grip on the Pro Nitrous field all season long, and the Maryland native added an exclamation point to his career-best season by clinching the championship, setting the ET record and winning his fourth race of the season. Final round opponent Jason Harris, the outgoing world champion, went red by .004, while Halsey sailed on to a record 3.613-second pass at 207.37 mph.
“For as long as I’ve been in it, it’s a lifetime goal to be a champion in a national organization like this,” Halsey said. “We ran IHRA for years, we ran ADRL. I’ve won Indy, I’ve won Shakedown, I’ve won Yellowbullet Nationals, but I’ve never won a big series championship against competition like we have here. It’s just awesome.”
“It’s just the best feeling in the world right now,” added Halsey, who thanked his team led by tuner Brandon Switzer and crew chief Eric Davis. “We’ve had an excellent year to start with, and to finish it off with the win, the championship and the record going into the winter, it’s pretty awesome.”
Halsey qualified No. 1 and started eliminations with a 3.654 at 206.99 over a red-lighting Dane Wood, then stepped up to a 3.643 at 207.40 to defeat John Decerbo and his 3.717 at 202. Halsey lowered the boom again in the semifinals over Chris Rini’s 3.682 at 204.11, running 3.615 at 208.07, which backed up Halsey’s 3.613 in the final as the new world record.
Harris, the No. 2 qualifier in his Musi-powered “Party Time” ’69 Camaro, took out John Vergotz in the opening round with a 3.692 at 203.98. He ran a 3.666 at 205.38 alongside a red-lighting Tommy Mauney and his 3.695 in the second round, then used a holeshot advantage and 3.657 at 205.63 to eliminate Lizzy Musi and her 3.639 at 208.46 in the semifinals.
SECOND TIME IS THE CHARM – While the stars of Pro Boost were thinking about championships and world records, class newcomer Mike DiDomenico stealthily worked his way to the final round in just his second PDRA race of the season. There, he used a sizable holeshot advantage to take out No. 1 qualifier and record holder Randy Weatherford. DiDomenico drove his roots-blown CNC Performance Products ’68 Camaro to a 3.726 at 180.81 next to Weatherford’s 3.641 at 208.55.
“I didn’t feel any pressure going into the final round,” DiDomenico said. “We were just blessed to be at this point. I told my guys, ‘Win or lose, you guys did a fantastic job.’ We met or exceeded our expectations. Winning was just a bonus at that point. We didn’t anticipate anything like this. We had a lot of luck with us. We had a couple guys go red, and sometimes in racing you gotta have a little luck on your side. God was looking out for us a little today. I’m just overwhelmed.”
DiDomenico qualified No. 7 and started his string of high-3.60-second passes with a 3.693 at 200.26 over Anthony DiSomma, then a 3.689 at 200.14 to Eric Gustafson’s red-lighting 3.622 at 206.80. He caught another break in the semifinals when John Strickland threw away his 3.632 at 201.28, allowing DiDomenico to move on to the final round with his 3.688 at 199.97.
Weatherford was the talk of the event in his ProCharger-boosted WS Construction ’19 Camaro, which qualified No. 1 with a record-setting 3.597. The former Pro Nitrous standout won first round with a 3.631 at 208.33 over Bubba Turner and second round with a 3.616 at 208.84 over Chuck Ulsch’s 3.682. He followed that up with a 3.617 at 208.52 to defeat Melanie Salemi and her 3.651 at 205.79 in the semifinals.