Maryland Represented in DI's 30 Under 30

December 5th, 2023

   Story courtesy of:  MIR


MECHANICSVILLE, MARYLAND (December 5th, 2023) - This year’s Drag Illustrated (DI) 30 Under 30 brings many people we see at MIR. Racers, Tuners, Photographers, and others have all made for an interesting list showcasing the talents in drag racing and the personalities of those that are based in the Mid-Atlantic region. Drag Racing is alive, well, and growing, and if anyone says otherwise, then they need to look no further than with DI’s 30 Under 30 List.

Two men close to home made this year’s coveted list. Our very own Darrel Jackson Jr of JRC Photos made this year’s list. Spending just a handful of minutes with Jackson, you can see his talent and passion for the sport he has been involved with for most of his life. In a short number of years, he has grown tremendously as a photographer and as a person at his home track here in Southern Maryland. After working under the wing of Maryland International Raceway (MIR) track photographer Anthony (AJ) Pinder of AJ Pinder Snapshots, he branched out to grow his brand, talents, and showcase the many different angles of photography in drag racing. Jackson and Pinder have a large following with the racers at MIR, and it is great to see one of the rising stars in the media world get the recognition he deserves. 

Another man who made the list is Late Model Performance owner Alec Bledsoe. He started out as a GM tuning specialist, but his passion for bringing the best to his customers has helped him grow his knowledge in ways few can rival. He has grown from streetcar tuning to also tuning in multiple radial tire heads-up categories. Tuning for racers Johnny Haislip, Buddy Buser, and others competing in Warriors Outlaw, MPC Real Street, and other categories not just at MIR, but at different tracks on the East Coast. He has also expanded his capabilities to Pro Mod, tuning the nitrous flame-slinging machine of Jack Ford, who primarily runs with the Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association (NEOPMA) and the PDRA in the Pro Nitrous category. For the last three years, Bledsoe and Late Model Performance have been the primary sponsor for the Midnight Madness streetcar program, which runs at MIR on select Friday nights.

A Front Wheel Drive (FWD) racer who frequents MIR at multiple events also made the cut. The only driver to go into the 7’s on the ¼ mile with the Honda B-Series and K-Series motors, Bradley Dillon. Dillion put himself on the map after taking the first Dodge Neon into the 8’s and was able to go as quick as 8.2 at 180 miles per hour. Dillon would not be able to reach the 7 second zone with the Neon, as he would be involved in an on-track incident while chasing the elusive number. Two weeks after the accident, Dillion was standing in the winner’s circle at MIR after winning the Xtreme Front Wheel Drive (XFWD) category at the Fall 2019 HDay event while driving a B-Series powered Honda Civic for Import superstar Shawn Ramey. Dillon’s first trip into the into the 7’s would come with the Ramey Racing team. In doing so, he was the second driver ever to accomplish the feat and quickly became a household name in the Import world. He also garnered the attention of the legendary Norris Prayoonto. Prayoonto dubbed Dillion to drive Goldie, taking over for the late Robert Mapps. Dillon went to the 7’s with the K-Series powered Civic, becoming the first, and only driver, ever to do so with both the B-Series and K-Series power plants. It won’t be long before he takes his new Neon into the 7’s, and when he does, he would be the first driver to take both Import and Domestic FWD cars into the 7’s on the ¼ mile.

The list continues with racers that we see here consistently at MIR. Former full time XDA Pro Street racer Gaige Herrera, who currently runs NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle, and has been nothing short of the word dominating on the Vince and Hines Suzuki. 2-time Haltech World Cup Finals presented by Wiseco winner and YouTube sensation Garrett “Cletus McFarland” Mitchell, 2023 Wild Street winner Ronny Rhodes, World Cup Qualifiers Mac Brosnan, and Kiefer Simpson also made the cut. PDRA regulars Alan Drinkwater, Blake Denton, and young aspiring tuning sensation Evan Salemi were also named. While we may see the later once per year, they are regulars with their series have been able to showcase their talents at their home series, and also here at MIR.


To read the full story on all of this years 30 Under 30 CLICK HERE