With two wins in the first three races of the 2023 Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) season, Donny “Hollywood” Urban looked like an early favorite to win the MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by PAR Racing Engines world championship. The 2018 world champion added a runner-up finish and consistent performances through the rest of the season to claim his second series championship.
“I don’t even know how to put it into words,” Urban said in the championship winner’s circle. “This one means more than anything. I’ve won the five-day bracket championship stuff, all the IHRA stuff, but this one means the most. It was a lot of work.”
After finishing fourth in the 2022 championship standings, Urban started the 2023 season with a semifinal finish at the season opener. He won back-to-back races at the Mid-Atlantic Showdown presented by Classic Graphix at Virginia Motorsports Park and the DeCerbo Construction American Doorslammer Challenge presented by Callies at Summit Motorsports Park. Urban went to the final round again at the Fulton Racing Engines North vs. South Shootout presented by Penske Racing Shocks at Maryland International Raceway, finishing runner-up to past Top Sportsman world champion Dan Ferguson.
Urban clinched the title during the Pro Line Racing Brian Olson Memorial World Finals presented by ProCharger at Virginia, where he fell in the second round. He held off former Top Sportsman world champion Chris “Nitrous” Nyerges by almost two rounds.
“At the beginning of the year, we went to three finals in a row, won two of them,” Urban said. “But then we kind of fell off, completely got lost, and chased problems. Tagged the wall in Michigan. But the man upstairs looked after me. Gotta give Him the glory. It was a nailbiter.”
Urban extended gratitude to his wife, Anita, and the people who help him run his nitrous-fed, Nesbitt-powered ’69 Camaro at a championship level in the fast bracket racing world of PDRA Elite Top Sportsman.
“My wife, Anita, she’s behind me 100% percent. Not happy about it all the time, but she’s still here with me,” Urban laughed. “I never make a run without her. All my people: Jered and Jody Gall that help me at every race, and Jeffrey Barker at home. He tunes remotely most of the time since he has his own schedule to keep up with. I can’t be thankful enough for everybody. I appreciate PDRA and Tommy and Judy [Franklin] and God Speed Ministry. It just goes on and on. I’m so thankful for everybody. This one means the world.”
The PDRA will celebrate its 2023 world champions during the annual PDRA Championship Awards Banquet on Friday, Dec. 8 in Indianapolis.