JUPITER, FL (April 14, 2011) – It didn't take long for the American Drag Racing League's (ADRL) talented drivers and riders to hit the ground running at the first event of the season.
Now, the 2011 ADRL Tour hits its second stop – the Safety-Kleen Spring Drags II at Palm Beach International Raceway – with plenty of interesting storylines.
Here are the biggest ones heading into the ADRL's first trip to the Sunshine State.
The ADRL will make its first appearance in Florida and at Palm Beach International Raceway and many are anticipating a memorable event.
Despite the ADRL having not raced at PBIR before, the track is a popular testing destination for competitors and PBIR has always earned high marks.
OWENS NEARING BIGGEST RECORD
Racing just 15 minutes from her home, winning this race would mean the world to defending ADRL Pro Extreme World Champion Kim Morrell. With a huge following of friends and family expected, it will be interesting to see how she reacts to the moment.
But it will be tough to chase down Ashley Owens, who debuted a new bike at the season-opener to incredible results. He had three straight runs of 4.02, winning the event in the process.
Now PXM's winningest rider has even bigger goals for PBIR, including an all-time mark. A victory would give Owens 11 in his storied career, tying him with Billy Glidden for the most wins in ADRL history. A 3-second run – the first in PXM – also appears to be close for Owens and the Fast by Gast team.
CAN ANYONE STOP AL-BALOOSHI?
The seemingly unstoppable Khalid Al-Balooshi has just one round loss in six events this year in the ADRL and Arabian Drag Racing League, an absolutely incredible number considering the talented competition he's faced.
That makes him the headline-stealer with his continued string of records and wins, but there is close company. Pat Stoken showed no rust in his runner-up finish in Baytown, while newcomer Rickie Jones ran well without pushing the limits of his new car.
Jim Halsey was the No. 1 qualifier at Royal Purple Raceway as well, meaning there are numerous drivers capable of running with Al-Balooshi.
As is usually the case with this remarkable class, it should all make for incredible racing at PBIR.
PARITY LOOKS TO CONTINUE IN PRO EXTREME
Not surprisingly, this class quickly showed its impressive depth in Baytown. A number of top competitors, including two-time PX World Champion Jason Scruggs, Mike Janis and John Stanley, failed to make the qualifying field as Jason Hamstra claimed the victory. Expect the qualifying bump to get even lower in this loaded field, especially if the weather cooperates.
Not many picked Hamstra to win the first event, but he posted incredible performances late in eliminations. It was a bit of an underdog's day in Baytown as well, as semifinalists included the low-budget Lowmad team of Joey Martin, Hamstra and 2010 ADRL Rookie of the Year Mick Snyder, who continues to make strong improvements.
It truly is anyone's race in this class and expect that to play out one more time at PBIR.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN EXTREME PRO STOCK AND EXTREME 10.5?
Anything can happen in a drag race and that has always seemingly been evident in Extreme 10.5. Dan Millen's surprise first-round exit came as a shock to many, but it simply indicated that nothing is guaranteed. With Lamar Swindoll's impressive debut, things certainly got a little more interesting in this class.
In Extreme Pro Stock, Cary Goforth and his new team looked in mid-season form with the victory, but he didn't have the only impressive performance. Pete Berner appeared plenty motivated at Baytown, going 4.06. That first ADRL win didn't come, but he appears to be closing in on it. He'll stay on course at PBIR, but plenty of newcomers like Richie Stevens Jr. and Tony Gillig continue to make this an exciting class.