Among multiple event winners of Duck X Productions events, Roger Holder and his twin-turboed ’68 Nova undoubtedly have the greatest winning percentage. Two out of three visits have finished in the winner’s circle.
His first time out with the car last fall in No Mercy 10 at South Georgia Motorsports Park, Holder drove to victory in the Carolina No Time class, then fell with mechanical woes in this spring’s Lights Out event at SGMP, but returned to victory lane May 23, in promoter Donald “Duck” Long’s Covid 8 event at Orlando Speed World Dragway.
“Yeah, it’s pretty amazing,” Holder said after beating Ziff Hudson in the Pro 275 final for Covid 8. “You always hope to win big races like this, but when it happens it’s kind of hard to believe sometimes.”
After initially having trouble hooking up to the Orlando eighth mile in Friday afternoon qualifying, Holder eventually put together an outstanding 3.85 lap at 206.89 mph to slot in behind only Mark Micke with a record-setting 3.82 that took the top spot. After 16 cars made qualifying attempts, Scotty Gaudagno rounded out the Pro 275 field with a 3.96 at 188.86 to mark the first all-three-second, eight-car field in class history.
“When we got here we put brand-new shocks on it, which probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but I think in time we needed them,” Holder said.
“But we did struggle the first three rounds (of qualifying), so we were kind of behind the eight ball, then obviously we got a couple of decent passes and were able to start chipping away at it. So after getting the shocks right everything was pretty smooth. We’ve had to get over a lot more stuff that that before.”
Raceday started with a solo 3.88 at 207.50 for Holder after seventh-place qualifier Don Burton suffered breakage in his ’92 Mustang. Holder’s biggest break, though, may have been Micke’s first-round exit after losing traction against “Scotty G.”
The semi-finals saw Hudson and his twin-turbocharged ’90 Mustang take down Gaudagno with a 3.85 pass that narrowly gave him lane choice for the final over Holder, who ran 3.86 at 204.20 to beat Blake Copson in his first-ever P275 outing.
When the green light flashed for the final, a pair of identical .022 reaction times registered and both cars appeared to be glued together as they passed the starting tree. Then Hudson abruptly faded.
“In the final I was expecting another .85, .86, but right before it made the one-two shift the charge pipe for my turbos blew apart, just separated completely and left a two-inch gap between the charge pipe and the manifold,” Hudson explained.
“I thought the car had just shut off, that’s what it felt like, but we had lost all boost. We were side-by-side for a long ways, but as soon as it made the shift we lost all power.”
Meanwhile, Holder went on to post another 3.86 at 206.42 mph to take another Duck X win home to Bakersfield, CA.
“I knew Ziff had run an .85 the run before and we had run an .86, so I figured he probably had a little more in the tank, so I gave it a little more, too, just hoping not to spin the tires,” Holder said. “I didn’t see him at all, so I think he had some problems at the start and I ended up getting the win. Sometimes you have to have a little luck go your way, too.”