Drag Illustrated Issue 168, May 2021 - Page 42

Special Section
DRAG RACING HAS LONG BEEN A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD , A PLACE WHERE MEN AND WOMEN FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE CAN COMPETE ON THE SAME STAGE AND GET THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES . THAT MUCH IS EVIDENT IN THE PDRA , WHERE A DIVERSE GROUP OF PEOPLE COMES TO- GETHER TO CREATE ONE OF THE MOST COMPETITIVE YET FUN , FAMILY-FRIENDLY RACING ORGANIZATIONS IN THE SPORT . FROM SERIES CO- OWNER JUDY FRANKLIN AND PRO CLASS STARS LIKE MELANIE SALEMI AND LIZZY MUSI TO RISING STARS IN THE SPORTSMAN AND JR . DRAGSTER CLASSES , WOMEN ARE LEADING THE WAY AND SHAPING THE FUTURE OF THE PDRA . ¶ FOR THIS MONTH ’ S PDRA SPECIAL SECTION , DRAG ILLUSTRATED AND THE PDRA ARE HIGHLIGHTING JUST A FEW OF THE WOMEN WHO HELP MAKE THE ORGANIZATION WHAT IT IS .
MELISSA SWITZER ( On Cover ) As a daughter of Pro Modified legend “ Tricky ” Rickie Smith , Melissa Switzer grew up at the racetrack around nitrous-assisted Pro Mods . She spends even more time around bottle-fed race cars now as she works alongside her husband , nitrous oxide guru Brandon Switzer , at Switzer Dynamics . The small five-person company is heavily involved in the PDRA ’ s Pro Nitrous class its title sponsor and a leading manufacturer offering innovative products and customer support .
“ That ’ s been one thing we ’ re really proud of ,” Switzer says of their support of Pro Nitrous , which actually predates the PDRA . “ I try to make it a point to come and help be customer service as much as I can while
I ’ m here so Brandon doesn ’ t get bothered as much . We love running over here . It ’ s just a great place to race . The people are great . The Franklins do a great job . It ’ s just always killer and we have a great group over here running . It ’ s made it a lot of fun to be here . I wouldn ’ t miss PDRA for nothing , and I don ’ t .”
Switzer can be found on the starting line every time Pro Nitrous is running . She ’ s had an up-close look at the class as its competition level has grown by leaps and bounds .
“ There ’ s no give anywhere ,” Switzer says . “ It ’ s just been amazing to watch . I just know everybody is running so fast and the drivers are stepping up their game to cut good lights . It ’ s just awesome competition .”
LEXI TANNER
In the PDRA ’ s second season , siblings Preston and Lexi Tanner won the 2015 Pro Jr . Dragster and Top Jr . Dragster world championships together . Five years later , they ’ re racing together again in big cars , with Preston taking on Penske / PRS Pro Boost presented by WS Construction in a screw-blown Corvette and Lexi jumping into $ hameless Racing Pro Outlaw 632 in a naturally aspirated ’ 14 Camaro .
“ It ’ s truly a dream come true ,” Tanner says of the opportunity to move up to the pro classes with her brother . “ As Jr . Dragster drivers , we watched the pro classes with aspirations that someday we would be behind the wheel , but neither of us imagined it would be this soon . I ’ m incredibly grateful for my parents , who gave me this opportunity .”
Tanner has had her eye on the 632 class since it joined the PDRA a few years ago . When she took the Super Gas class in a door car at Frank Hawley ’ s Drag Racing School , she knew she wanted to get into a door car . She ’ s continued the learning experience in her own car this year , and she ’ s ready to take the next step : adding nitrous oxide to the Camaro ’ s setup for the fourth race on tour .
CRYSTAL CORBIN
With positions at PDRA and Virginia Motorsports Park , Crystal Corbin wears many hats . During the week , her duties include managing the day-to-day office operations at VMP , as well as coordinating PDRA
LEXI TANNER CRYSTAL CORBIN
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