story and Tara Bowker photo courtesy of PDRA with additions by Tim Hailey
Seventeen-year-old Brayden Davis made headlines at the season-opening East Coast Nationals when he became the first racer in PDRA history to double-up in a pro class and a Jr. Dragster class. It was his Pro Nitrous Motorcycle debut, and he warned the class that he’s there to follow in the footsteps of his father, four-time world champion Travis Davis.
This past weekend at PDRA’s Fulton Racing Engines North vs. South Shootout presented by Penske Racing Shocks at Maryland International Raceway, he did it again—winning for the second time in three races. He also won in Pro Jr. Dragster again, which expanded to a 32-car field since his last win.
In an incredible Pro Nitrous Motorcycle final round, Davis started with a .009 reaction time advantage over past world champion Chris Garner-Jones and followed through with a 3.976 at 176.37 to beat Garner-Jones’ 3.989 at 165.21.
“This is better than the first one,” said Davis, who thanked parents Travis and Brandy Davis, Stuart Crane with Warpspeed Racing, Timblin Chassis, Monster Race Products, Fast By Gast, Worldwide Bearings, and Perry’s Performance. “The first one was really unbelievable for me, and then to come out here and do it again, it’s hard to do it out here.
“The bike class is tough, the Jr. Dragster class is tough. I got the best of the best – my dad and my mom and the equipment we have. It’s all on me. It’s never on them. It’s usually me that screws us up. We were fortunate enough to get it done here. It was kind of smooth sailing this weekend.”
Davis started eliminations with a monster match-up against multi-time world champion Eric McKinney, leaving first and running a 4.022 at 175.68 to beat McKinney’s 4.05. “My drag racing program sucks,” said Eric’s dad Scott McKinney. I guess we think we can just show up and do good if you don’t test or do any work. It’s too tough for that.
“Brayden’s bad ass they got a hell of a program. Travis says it’s really easy to tune because he’s so light. Like Gaige Herrera.”
To which Brayden’s mom Brandy added “He would love to ride (NHRA) Pro Stock Motorcycle for a team if he ever had the opportunity. He is getting more comfortable riding Pro Mod.”
Comfortable indeed. Brayden’s second-round opponent Jay Fisher broke after leaving the starting line, while Davis stepped up to a 3.982 at 176.07 to earn lane choice in the semis. A consistent 3.983 at 176.42 gave him the win light over points leader Meshal Al-Saber and his 3.992.
Garner-Jones qualified No. 2 aboard his T.T. Jones Racing Hayabusa and used a 4.047 at 175.68 to beat Terry Wynn’s 4.227 in the first round. He won a side-by-side race with Tyron Lemons, leading with a 4.008 at 177.86 to a 4.031. He used his semifinal bye run to record a 4.018 at 176.12.
Davis had to hurry back to the starting line after winning in Pro Nitrous Motorcycle to run the Coolshirt Systems Pro Jr. Dragster final round against Ashley Franklin, who went red by .003 seconds. In the other lane, Davis broke out with a 7.884 on a 7.90 dial-in.