Drag Illustrated Issue 168, May 2021 | Page 43

Special Section
ticketing and booking travel for the PDRA staff . Once the race weekend is underway , she can be found handling racer registration , making sure media members are fed , working with the host track to ensure the spectator gates are handled , and handing out low qualifier and special awards , as well as coordinating the winner ’ s circle experience .
It can be an overwhelming amount of work , but Corbin is passionate about her involvement with the series , so much so that she was awarded the 2020 Spirit of the PDRA award .
“ Receiving the Spirit of the PDRA award is such an honor ,” Corbin says . “ The fact that it was given to me by my coworkers and peers makes it even more special . I love working and being a part of the PDRA and all that it stands for , so to be recognized as the ‘ spirit ’ of such a special organization is amazing !”
Joining the PDRA early in the 2016 season started as an opportunity to help out and spend time with her cousin , PDRA and VMP co-owner
Judy Franklin , as well as her nieces , Amber and Ashley Franklin . But it ’ s become so much more for Corbin as she ’ s gotten to know everyone involved in the series .
“ I love the people , from the racers , crews , and their families to my coworkers ,” Corbin says . “ I ’ ve have also enjoyed meeting the staff and racers at the other tracks we have visited . The people are what make the series , the racing is just a bonus .”
Erica Coleman doesn ’ t hesitate to answer when asked why PDRA ’ s MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by Tejas Borja appeals to her .
“ The competition ,” she says . “ You have to be at your best . It ’ s an excellent group of people and you could go home with a . 00 package . It just makes you be on your game .”
Coleman , who operates Purnell Body Shop with her husband , David , will celebrate 10 years of being cancer-free in July .
“ That ’ s the reason I got this car ,” Coleman says of her Fulton-powered ’ 68 Camaro . “ When I got cancer and
got done with treatment , we were like , ‘ If we ’ re ever going to do it , now ’ s the time to do it because you never know .’”
The Camaro that Coleman now drives to eighth-mile passes in the 3.80s is actually the same car Jim Halsey drove to the first 5-second quarter-mile pass for a nitrous car in 2008 . The Coleman and Halsey teams work together now , always parking side-by-side and joining each other on the starting line .
“ If it wasn ’ t for the help of Jimmy and Cathy [ Crouse ], it ’ s just my husband and me and the dog [ Ziva ],” says Coleman , who also credits Brandon and Melissa Switzer for helping the team . “ I ’ m thankful that they ’ re with us so if we do get into trouble they can help us and go to the line with us . It ’ s a family thing . You spend more time with this family than you do your own family sometimes .”
Tara Bowker first started photographing PDRA events in 2014 . She had been shooting drag racing
events for about a year , and when she heard there was a “ Christine ” ’ 58 Plymouth Fury Pro Mod themed after her favorite Stephen King thriller , she jumped at the chance to shoot it at the PDRA ’ s first stop at Virginia Motorsports Park .
Bowker has been shooting PDRA events ever since , gradually increasing from a few events a year to all eight per season for the last few years . No matter the distance between her home in southeast Pennsylvania and the races , she drives to each event in her “ track truck ” affectionately known as “ Strykr .” She ’ s drawn to the PDRA because of the family atmosphere , but the abundance of Pro Mods doesn ’ t hurt either .
“ I love how there ’ s the rivalries but at the end of the day everyone comes together ,” says Bowker , who grooms show dogs during the week . “ Growing up with only a single mother , it ’ s my type of a ‘ family reunion ’ every year that I really look forward to . Every bit of vacation days I get at work I save for PDRA events .”
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