As the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx returns to zMAX Dragway on Sept. 14-16, Mike Castellana and Leah Pruett will be looking for continued success at a track that has treated them well during the course of their careers. This state-of-the-art facility rewards those that are focused on racing and a win in a city that is known for motorsports is one that shines bright on any racer’s resume.
Castellana was the most recent winner at zMAX Dragway when he drove his Al-Anabi Racing ’12 Chevy Camaro to his third NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series career victory at the race in April. He and his team are anxious to return to the Queen City and a track that is very familiar to them.
“We won there at the first race of the season and have a pretty good handle on the track over there,” Castellana said. “Hopefully the conditions are pretty similar when we go back and we can set the car up similar to that. We have a pretty good baseline to start with when we enter the track.”
Leah Pruett was to face Castellana in the finals during that race but was unable to make it to the starting line after her car suffered extreme engine damage during the semifinals. The loss stung, but it was also a learning experience for her and the R2B2 Racing team.
“It was super hard and I didn’t know what to think,” Pruett said. “Are you a good sport if you show up and watch the race or are you a good sport if you don’t? I finally said I would like to see what Castellana was going to run and what I would have been up against. I went up and stood up in my lane and watched the run and it was very hard. We’ve learned from it. We have the extra parts now that are needed and I hope that doesn’t happen again.”
zMAX Dragway was the sight of Pruett’s first career win in the Pro Mod category in 2011 and even with the disappointment of the race in April she still ranks it as one of her favorite tracks.
“I feel like that track has been very, very good to us and we have done very well so I can’t wait to get back there,” she said. “We will definitely have a shot at winning the race. Right now everything is very tight in the points and I’m still in the mix. The very beginning of this year you’re really thinking points and getting a good head start, but now it is all about getting a good finish. I can’t wait until Charlotte.”
The NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx teams will be coming off a short week as they finished the rain-delayed Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus on Sunday. The tight turnaround will be challenging for the drivers and the teams, but they are looking forward to the intense racing.
“We’ve got a good routine going and once you get the momentum going you are fine with that,” Castellana said. “When you get to a track and you have a good idea on how to set the car up it really takes a lot of guess work out of it.”
“If we have turbo issues, or converter issues, or transmission issues, we send those out like any other team to get fixed, as well as all the other Pro Mod teams,” Pruett explained. “So the manufacturers might have a bit of a work overload and maybe products won’t be finished in time and that is something that is kinda on my mind.”
With only three races remaining in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx 2012 season, the series battle has tightened with Castellana now leading the points by only four over Rickie Smith. Troy Coughlin sits in fourth, Don Walsh holds down fifth with Danny Rowe in sixth. The series will next race at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals in St. Louis and will conclude the season in Las Vegas at the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals on Oct. 25-28.
Other top drivers expected to compete in the event will be Roger Burgess, Jay Payne, Shannon Jenkins, Steve Matusek and Ken Lang.
Featuring the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer cars with an extremely diverse collection of vehicles, including ’63 Corvettes, ’68 Camaros, ’67 Mustangs and ’68 Firebirds as well as late-model cars, the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx offers something for every kind of hot-rodding enthusiast.
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