Forget bringing a knife to a gun fight.
All Mark Prothero has is a wooden spoon this weekend at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Super Stock.
Granted, Prothero’s awesome green ’57 Volkswagen with black flames is likely one of the wildest cars anyone will see in Indianapolis this week, but there’s no denying that in a class filled with big dogs, Prothero is barking with a Chihuahua.
His VW packs a 135 cubic-inch motor that makes about 260 horsepower, but that’s of no concern to the Whittier, Ca. native.
When things go his way – and going his way can mean as quick as a 10.43 – Prothero and his unique VW can feel as big as a giant.
“I think I am (a giant), but those monsters, those Hemis and Camaros are bad boys. But this car runs good for 135 cubic inches,” Prothero said.
He struggled on Wednesday, as his 11.210 on an 11.60 index (-0.390) had him 153 out of 163 cars.
That’s also why he had motors and parts scattered throughout his pits that made his humble operation look like a Top Fuel undertaking.
But that’s just Prothero doing everything he can to get the car running like he knows it can.
“Right now we’re having problems between first (gear) and second (gear), on the gear change. It wants to cut off. So, I think the engine over-revved, so to be safe we’re pulling that motor and putting in our back-up motor,” Prothero said.
“We’re going to go through the ignition and try to get those gremlins out of this thing and get ready for the third round of qualifying.”
To get to that 10.43 range or perhaps even quicker, Prothero is turning to his green motor, which is aptly called the “Green Hornet,” and ran a career-best 10.43 at this year’s NHRA Winternationals in Pomona.
It will replace the “Black Mamba” motor that couldn’t find its sweet spot on Wednesday, but rest assured that no matter what motor is inside Prothero’s VW, it won’t be among the biggest barkers in Indy. Of course, the biggest bark can often mean little in Super Stock.
While the VW is certainly no big-block Chevrolet or a nitro-burning Hemi, don’t bother trying to discourage Prothero this weekend, even if he’s still trying to dodge bullets with that wooden spoon.
“We know we can go a lot faster,” Prothero said. “We were .80 under (the index) at 7,000 feet (at the Winternationals), so we should be at least .90 under here.”
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