Drag Illustrated Issue 177, July / August 2022 - Page 64

PDRA CLASS OF 2022 CELEBRATING PDRA ’ S HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES BY NATE VAN WAGNEN // PHOTOGRAPHS BY TARA BOWKER

AS A FAMILY-BASED ORGANIZATION , THE PDRA HAS ALWAYS CREATED A POSITIVE AND UPLIFTING ENVIRONMENT FOR ITS YOUNG RACERS AND PARTICIPANTS . THAT INCLUDES A FAIRLY NEW TRADITION OF FORMALLY CELEBRATING THE PDRA COMMUNITY MEMBERS WHO RECENTLY GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL . THE PDRA ’ S “ CLASS OF 2022 ” FEATURED THE CHILDREN OF RACERS IN VARIOUS CLASSES , AS WELL AS DRIVERS IN THE JR . DRAGSTER CLASSES , COOLSHIRT SYSTEMS PRO JR . DRAGSTER AND CLASSIC GRAPHIX TOP JR . DRAGSTER , BOTH PRESENTED BY PHILADELPHIA RACING PROD- UCTS . ¶ DURING THE DECERBO CONSTRUCTION AMERICAN DOORSLAMMER CHALLENGE PRESENTED BY CALLIES AT SUMMIT MOTORSPORTS PARK IN LATE MAY , THE PDRA RECOGNIZED THESE GRADUATES BEFORE PRE-RACE CEREMONIES ON THE STARTING LINE . BEFORE “ WALKING ACROSS THE STAGE ,” THE GRADS CAME TOGETHER FOR A PRAYER WITH GOD SPEED MINISTRY CHAPLAINS RENEE BINGHAM , MIKE IMHOFF , CHIC LANASA , AND TAMMIE SMITH .

NYCK SHIRKEY

Shirkey , the 2020 Pro Jr . Dragster world champion , will attend the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to pursue a degree in Aeronautical Science . He graduated high school with distinguished honors . He ’ s currently working towards his private pilot license , while his career goal is to fly commercial after flying for regionals . After a win at the North vs . South Shootout , Shirkey is chasing one more Pro Jr . Dragster world championship .

SARAH VERGOTZ

Vergotz , the daughter of Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous driver John Vergotz , plans on joining the police force once she turns 21 . A former Jr . Dragster driver , she ’ s qualified for the IHRA Bracket Finals 10 times over the course of 11 years of racing . In her first year in a “ big car ,” Vergotz finished 10th in points at her home track . She races with her brother , John Jr ., and beat him for the first time in a big car after years of trying in Jr . Dragsters .

ROBERT RICHARD

Richard , a photographer covering the PDRA , graduated from Madison High School in Madison , Ohio , along with Auburn Career Center ’ s Advanced Manufacturing program . Richard ’ s passion for drag racing is shown through his pictures taken all around the track . Besides his love for racing and photography , he is pursuing a career in machining . He can always be spotted at the track with a camera in his hand and a smile on his face .
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