When the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) announced the formation of its new Afco Racing Super Street presented by Menscer Motorsports class, Blake Denton knew he had to be a part of it. He couldn’t have predicted then that he would walk away with the inaugural Super Street world championship after a breakout 2023 season. Denton won twice and was runner-up once to claim another PDRA title for Tommy Franklin Motorsports.
Wheeling his nitrous-assisted, Musi-powered ’76 Camaro, Denton qualified No. 1 at the first three races of the six-race Super Street season, beginning at the Mid-Atlantic Showdown presented by Classic Graphix at Virginia Motorsports Park. He then won the next two races, the DeCerbo Construction American Doorslammer Challenge presented by Callies at Summit Motorsports Park and the Fulton Competition Engines North vs. South Shootout presented by Penske Racing Shocks at Maryland International Raceway.
In the second half of the season, Denton had to hold off championship runner-up Derek Mota, who won the season opener but had to miss a race due to a broken crankshaft. Mota dominated the final three races, qualifying No. 1, setting the record, and winning at all three events. Denton reached the semifinals at two of those three races, while also reaching the final round at the ProFabrication DragWars at GALOT Motorsports Park. He clinched the title at the Pro Line Racing Brian Olson Memorial World Finals presented by ProCharger at Virginia.
“We knew he was coming,” Denton said of his title fight with Mota. “We knew if we just got to the finals, we knew we didn’t have a chance, but we did our job and we got the points we needed to stay ahead and keep pushing for it. Like at the World Finals, I got to the semis and got beat on a holeshot by Matt [Schalow] and he made a heck of a run. A lot of pressure was off after second round.”
Another highlight of the season came at DragWars when Denton proposed to longtime girlfriend Amber Franklin, the 2022 M&M Transmission Pro 632 world champion, in the winner’s circle. The father-daughter duo of Amber and Tommy Franklin won together for the second time since Amber made her Pro 632 debut in late 2021.
One race later at the World Finals, Denton got to celebrate a world championship double-up with his future father-in-law, as Tommy secured his third Pro Nitrous world championship.
“This is something our team dreams about,” said Denton, who thanked fiancée Amber, Judy and Tommy Franklin, parents Wendy and Wesley, the Tommy Franklin Motorsports crew, Pat Musi at Pat Musi Racing Engines, Mark Micke and M&M Transmission, Red Line Oil, and Hoosier Tire. “To have two cars win a championship in pro categories, it’s a big deal for us. Especially with a new car that we’re not used to. After learning it and making it better, it’s a good feeling.”
Denton and the rest of the 2023 world champions will celebrate their accomplishments at the annual PDRA Championship Awards Banquet on Friday, Dec. 8 in Indianapolis.