2013 NHRA U.S. NATIONALS - PRO MOD

Written by Bobby Bennett; Photos by Roger Richards, Rhonda McCole, Michelle Simmons, Richard Muir.

           

          MONDAY NOTEBOOK - JANIS SEALS THE DEAL WITH INDY WIN

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          pm winner3Mike Janis picked up his second career win in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Series on Monday at the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. The race is the seventh of 10 races in 2013 for NHRA’s popular 250-mph doorslammer touring series.

          Janis also earned his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals win by powering his Valvoline Chevy Camaro past points leader Rickie Smith in the final round, denying Smith of his third straight victory in the series. Janis posted a winning run of 5.952 seconds at 241.41 mph in his supercharger-powered Camaro, topping Smith’s 5.955 at 241.37 in his nitrous-injected IDG Racing Camaro in the championship round.

          Smith, who was also the No. 1 qualifier, maintained the points lead in the class, though Janis jumped from sixth to the third position with the winning performance.

          Janis’ road to victory started with a round-best 5.976 at 241.15 in a first-round win against Jimmy Widener. He followed that up by going 5.976 at 242.23 to beat Kenny Lang and advanced to the final round by powering past Kevin Rivenbark with a 5.999 at 241.54.

          The next NHRA Pro Mod Series race takes place Sept. 13-15 as part of the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by NAPA AUTO PARTS at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.

           
          Monday's final results from the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at Indianapolis. The race is the seventh of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.

          Mike Janis, Chevy Camaro, 5.952, 241.41  def. Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.955, 241.37.

           
          Final round-by-round results from the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at Indianapolis, the race is the seventh of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series:

          ROUND ONE -- Von Smith, Chevy Camaro, 6.023, 237.80 def. Mike Castellana, Camaro, 6.064, 240.51; Kenny Lang, Chevy Corvette, 6.003, 240.72 def. Pete Farber, Dodge Daytona, 6.045, 241.37; Troy Coughlin, Corvette, 5.977, 244.43 def. Tim Tindle, Camaro, DQ; Kevin Rivenbark, Pontiac Firebird, 6.033, 234.74 def. Mike Knowles, Camaro, 6.005, 241.58; Kevin Fiscus, Ford Mustang, 5.977, 240.98 def. Eric Latino, Camaro, 10.993, 78.92; Harold Martin, Corvette, 6.034, 230.80 def. Danny Rowe, Camaro, 9.947, 101.55; Mike Janis, Camaro, 5.976, 241.15 def. Jimmy Widener, Mercury Cougar, 6.078, 232.43; Rickie Smith, Camaro, 6.199, 229.86 def. Jason Hamstra, Mustang, 21.838, 34.26;

          QUARTERFINALS -- R. Smith, 5.967, 240.08 def. V. Smith, 6.052, 236.55; Coughlin, 6.043, 243.63 def. Fiscus, 6.218, 240.08; Janis, 5.976, 242.23 def. Lang, 5.983, 241.63; Rivenbark, 6.085, 233.40 def. Martin, 6.053, 236.13;

          SEMIFINALS -- Janis, 5.999, 241.54 def. Rivenbark, 7.793, 118.21; R. Smith, 5.948, 240.72 def. Coughlin, 5.951, 247.02;

          FINAL -- Janis, 5.952, 241.41 def. R. Smith, 5.955, 241.37.


          Point standings (top 10) following the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at Indianapolis, the race is the seventh of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series -

          1.  Rickie Smith, 572; 2.  Troy Coughlin, 474; 3.  Mike Janis, 460; 4.  Kenny Lang, 422; 5.  Von Smith, 409; 6.  Mike Castellana, 390; 7.  Danny Rowe, 377; 8.  Clint Satterfield, 321; 9.  Chip King, 318; 10.  Pete Farber, 314.


          get-attachment.aspxDAN PARKER MAKES INCREDIBLE RACING HISTORY - On March 31, 2012, Dan Parker’s life changed forever.

          Parker, while testing a Pro Nitrous Corvette in Steele, Alabama, was injured in a freak accident which left him blind.

          “I was driving my Pro Mod car that I drove for Bill George,” said Parker, who was the 2005 American Drag Racing League Pro Nitrous world champ. “The car just took a hard right turn at the eighth-mile mark and hit the wall. Nothing that we can tell had a mechanical failure or anything. We don’t know what happened. I have no memory of the entire day. I woke up two weeks later in the hospital and a few days later they realized I was blind.”

          Although Parker lost his eye sight, he didn’t let it stop him from making racing history and inspiring others.

          On Aug. 26, 2013, Parker became the first official blind man to race a motorcycle at the Bonneville (Utah) Salt Flats. Parker clocked a speed of 55.331 mph.

          “It feels good,” Parker, 43, said. “It has been a goal of mine for about nine months to do this project, sort of my healing process to get back out in my shop. Get my mind back thinking and working with my hands. Everybody has tragedies in their life and some worse than others. I hope that anybody, especially someone who is going through blindness, or war veterans who are coming home who might be paralyzed or blind, for everybody to realize you can regroup and get back a normalcy of life. You have to adapt to it, but it can happen.”

          The motorcycle Parker rode was one he made.

          “We hand-built it,” Parker said. “I made a lot of the parts myself and designed it myself. It is a three-wheel trike specifically designed to go to Bonneville for land speed racing. I 100 percent independently rode the Salt (Flats). I have a navigation unit guidance system built by Patrick Johnson that is based off a GPS and it gives me audible cues. If I go to the right it starts to give me a tone. The further outside the right center line I go, the higher the tone increases and it decreases as I get back. It shuts the motorcycle off when I go through the finish line. It shuts the motorcycle off if I go too far right or left. They also have the ability to remotely shut the motorcycle off from the chase truck.”

          During Parker’s run he rode for two miles.

          “I started off at mile one and then I was measured between mile two and three,” Parker said. “So between miles two and three I averaged 55.331 mph.”

          Parker was quick to thank those who made it possible for him to make history.

          “Star Racing has helped me and the National Federation of the Blind has helped me and just tons of people helped get me to the Salt (Flats),” Parker said. “It has been tough (going blind), but the support from my girlfriend and my family and all my friends in the racing world has definitely made it a lot easier. The people who have reached out to me, it has just been amazing. It has been a hard adjustment for everybody, but we get through it every day. For the most part, I am adapting to my new life pretty well.”

          Now that Parker has made history, he has even higher goals for the future.

          “Next year I want to go back to Bonneville and make even more passes,” Parker said. “Possibly in the future I would like to have a car project and try to reach 100 mph in a car.”



           

           

          SUNDAY NOTEBOOK

          TRICKIE RICKIE DOMINATES - No. 1 qualifier Rickie Smith won his first-round match-up and stayed red-hot during the first round of eliminations on Sunday during the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. The race is the seventh of 10 races in 2013 for NHRA’s popular 250-mph doorslammer touring series.

          Smith, who is the points leader, kept up his strong weekend pace in his IDG Chevy Camaro, putting together a pass of 6.199 seconds at 229.86 mph in his first-round win against Jason Hamstra. That came on the heels of finishing as the No. 1 qualifier in his nitrous-injected entry, as his 5.963 at 240.68 gave him the top spot for the second straight race.

          Smith will be seeking his third straight NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series victory on Monday and will meet Von Smith in a second-round match-up. Von Smith, a former world champion in the class, knocked off fellow Al-Anabi Racing racer Mike Castellana in his supercharger-powered Camaro with a run of 6.023 at 237.80.

          Tim Tindle was involved in an on-track incident as his Camaro went out of control near the finish line in a first-round loss to Troy Coughlin. Tindle exited the car under his own power. Coughlin, the defending world champion, and his JEGS.com Corvette will race Kevin Fiscus in the second round. Fiscus went 5.977 at 240.98 in his opening-round victory.

          Other first-round winners included Mike Janis, who went a round-best 5.976, setting up a second-round match-up with Kenny Lang. The final quarterfinal matchup will feature Harold Martin, who beat Danny Rowe, and Kevin Rivenbark, who went 6.033 at 234.74 in his first-round win against Mike Knowles.

          Eliminations for the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series will continue Monday at approximately 2:30 p.m.

           
          THE SCOREBOARD - First round results from the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at Indianapolis, the race is the seventh of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.


          ROUND ONE - Von Smith, Chevy Camaro, 6.023, 237.80 def. Mike Castellana, Camaro, 6.064, 240.51; Kenny Lang, Chevy Corvette, 6.003, 240.72 def. Pete Farber, Dodge Daytona, 6.045, 241.37; Troy Coughlin, Corvette, 5.977, 244.43 def. Tim Tindle, Camaro, DQ; Kevin Rivenbark, Pontiac Firebird, 6.033, 234.74 def. Mike Knowles, Camaro, 6.005, 241.58; Kevin Fiscus, Ford Mustang, 5.977, 240.98 def. Eric Latino, Camaro, 10.993, 78.92; Harold Martin, Corvette, 6.034, 230.80 def. Danny Rowe, Camaro, 9.947, 101.55; Mike Janis, Camaro, 5.976, 241.15 def. Jimmy Widener, Mercury Cougar, 6.078, 232.43; Rickie Smith, Camaro, 6.199, 229.86 def. Jason Hamstra, Mustang, 21.838, 34.26:


          THE VIEW FROM THE OTHER LANE - Troy Coughlin understands being ahead in his first round match against Tim Tindle was good for him in more ways than one. He scored the victory during the first round of Pro Modified eliminations at the GM Performance NHRA Nationals but most importantly he was free and clear of the mayhem transpiring behind him.

          "I didn't know there was a wreck until I could see the trucks coming up the track," Coughlin said. "Then the guys on the radio said, 'Is everything all right?' because they couldn't see that well. I said, 'Yeah.'"

          Tindle's Camaro hit the wall violently and rode the wall before barrel-rolling to a stop.

          "I'm glad he's OK," Coughlin said. "He's a good racer, as good as any of us out here."




           



          SATURDAY NOTEBOOK

          smith rickieSMITH RACES PAINFULLY WITH 9 3/4 FINGERS - Pro Modified veteran and current GM Performance NHRA U.S. Nationals No. 1 qualifier Rickie Smith learned a painful lesson Thursday during a test session at zMax Dragway in Concord, NC.

          Smith learned a plastic fan can sever a finger the same as a metal one.

          “I got in a little bit of a hurry and reached down to grab the fan to take it off, which we normally do when we get ready to go run and stuck my fingers in the fan blades,” Smith explained, with a grimace on his face. “Those fans aren’t sharp, they are dull plastic, about an eighth-of-an-inch thick – and it more or less beat it off, instead of cutting it off.”

          Smith said he was transported to a local hospital, along with the severed part of his index finger.

          “They basically leave it up to the patient whether they want to reattach the finger,” Smith said. “With everything I have going on, three races in a row; I just decided to leave it off. I realized in about a month from now if this [surgical repair] didn’t take then the doctors will want to cut it off and I will be going through the mess again.”

          Smith said the doctor reattached the bone and covered the wound with the existing skin.

          “He pulled it all back together and I guess it’s about a half-inch shorter now,” Smith said.

          smithOn Friday, Smith ran a 6.042 during Friday’s lone session and then returned on Saturday with an early shut-off 6.11 to maintain the provisional No. 1.

          Smith gets a chuckle out of the ribbing which suggests he’s just as efficient with 9 3/4s fingers as a full complement of ten.

          “I will be happy when the soreness is gone,” Smith said. “It’s pretty sore.”

          Smith said he had safety equipment supplier Carl White fashion a glove which allowed him to put two fingers into one opening so he could efficiently drive.

          “Tough putting the glove on because that finger don’t want to be touched at all,” Smith said. 

          HOW IT SHOOK OUT - Saturday's results after the first two of three rounds of qualifying for the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at Indianapolis, the race is the seventh of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.  Qualifying will continue Sunday for Sunday's first round of eliminations.

          1. Rickie Smith, Chevy Camaro, 6.042, 240.51; 2. Von Smith, Camaro, 6.061, 236.75; 3. Danny Rowe, Camaro, 6.080, 240.51; 4. Mike Janis, Camaro, 6.080, 238.76; 5. Harold Martin, Chevy Corvette, 6.081, 234.41; 6. Eric Latino, Camaro, 6.086, 240.08; 7. Mike Knowles, Camaro, 6.093, 240.72; 8. Tim Tindle, Camaro, 6.093, 203.83; 9. Kevin Fiscus, Ford Mustang, 6.102, 240.85; 10. Troy Coughlin, Corvette, 6.118, 242.67; 11. Pete Farber, Dodge Daytona, 6.152, 239.74; 12. Jimmy Widener, Mercury Cougar, 6.162, 229.74; 13. Mike Castellana, Camaro, 6.165, 237.42; 14. Bill Lutz, Camaro, 6.172, 243.19; 15. Kevin Rivenbark, Pontiac Firebird, 6.184, 230.84; 16. Jason Hamstra, Mustang, 6.196, 231.40.

          Not Qualified: 17. Chip King, 6.206, 241.71; 18. Kenny Lang, 6.225, 236.17; 19. Chris Juliano, 6.261, 222.99; 20. Clint Satterfield, 6.272, 236.42; 21. Steve Matusek, 6.315, 225.56; 22. Doug Winters, 6.325, 222.66; 23. Craig Cawte, 6.337, 228.31; 24. Todd Tutterow, 6.931, 159.66.

           

           

           

          FRIDAY NOTEBOOK

          RICKIE SMITH LEADS FIRST DAY INDY PRO MOD

          pm 2Rickie Smith powered his IDG Chevy Camaro to the qualifying lead on Friday in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. The race is the seventh of 10 races in 2013 for NHRA’s popular 250-mph doorslammer touring series.

          Driving his nitrous-injected Camaro, the red-hot Smith, who is looking for his third straight Pro Mod win in 2013 and is the series points leader, put together an impressive run of 6.042 seconds at 240.51 mph.

          Von Smith and his Al-Anabi Racing Camaro ran a 6.061 at 236.70 to take the second spot. Eric Latino sent his Camaro to third, going 6.086 at 240.08. Mike Janis was fourth with a 6.087 at 238.09 and Mike Knowles rounded out the top five, going 6.093 at 240.72. Defending world champion Troy Coughlin posted the top speed in his JEGS.com Corvette at 242.67 and is currently qualified seventh.

          Should Smith hang onto the top qualifying position, it would give him the No. 1 qualifier for the second time during the 2013 NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.

          Qualifying continues Saturday at 2 p.m. (ET) and 5:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series eliminations start Sunday at 5 p.m. and continue Monday starting at approximately 2:30 p.m.

          WHERE THEY STACK UP - Friday's results after the first one of four rounds of qualifying for the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at Indianapolis, the race is the seventh of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.  Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's first round of eliminations.

          1. Rickie Smith, Chevy Camaro, 6.042, 240.51; 2. Von Smith, Camaro, 6.061, 236.75; 3. Eric Latino, Camaro, 6.086, 240.08; 4. Mike Janis, Camaro, 6.087, 238.09; 5. Mike Knowles, Camaro, 6.093, 240.72; 6. Tim Tindle, Camaro, 6.093, 203.83; 7. Troy Coughlin, Chevy Corvette, 6.151, 242.67; 8. Kevin Fiscus, Ford Mustang, 6.163, 239.14; 9. Mike Castellana, Camaro, 6.183, 237.42; 10. Kevin Rivenbark, Pontiac Firebird, 6.184, 230.84; 11. Chip King, Dodge Daytona, 6.206, 241.71; 12. Kenny Lang, Corvette, 6.225, 236.17; 13. Chris Juliano, Mustang, 6.261, 222.99; 14. Jason Hamstra, Mustang, 6.263, 231.40; 15. Steve Matusek, Mustang, 6.315, 225.56; 16. Jimmy Widener, Mercury Cougar, 6.324, 225.94.

          Not Qualified: 17. Doug Winters, 6.325, 222.66; 18. Craig Cawte, 6.337, 228.31; 19. Harold Martin, 6.595, 218.19; 20. Bill Lutz, 6.734, 153.02; 21. Todd Tutterow, 6.931, 159.66; 22. Clint Satterfield, 8.237, 170.56; 23. Pete Farber, 11.220, 95.09; 24. Danny Rowe, 12.170, 83.55.

          SCREW SUPERCHARGERS MIXED FOR PRO MOD COMMUNITY - The NHRA’s tech department is contemplating allowing use of screw blowers in their Pro Modified division. These superchargers are primarily run in the Top Alcohol divisions and remain the choice for eighth-mile doorslammer drag racing.

          The revelation from the NHRA in a report published by CompetitionPlus.com has inspired mixed reactions from those competing on the tour.

          The NHRA’s plan, as detailed by Director of Technical Operations Glen Gray, if this legislation pans out, will be to back these supercharger combinations down to equal those of the roots superchargers currently in competition.

          In most eighth-mile applications, the screw superchargers run in the range of 128-percent overdrive. The current limit on the NHRA’s roots combination is 14-percent.

          Jimmy Rector, a past alcohol Funny Car champion and now crew chief for Pro Mod racer Danny Rowe, doesn’t necessarily have a problem with the potential of a new supercharger, he just believes the combination should have to work its way into competitiveness.

          “If they are brought in the right way, I don’t have a problem with it,” said Rector. “Let’s do some dyno testing and take the best blown motor out here to do some testing and then compare it to the roots. Maybe knock it down 100 horsepower and let them work for years like we had to. What I do have a problem with them doing is saying two pulleys, and an ADRL motor and an NHRA are the same. You can’t run the same engine over here [NHRA] that you do there [in ADRL]. Those engines have all the power in the world. These have been developed. If it’s done the right way, I don’t have a problem. But just handing them two pulleys, I have a problem with that.”

          When asked where the screw superchargers should start with in regards to overdrive percentage, Rector said he, like many of those challenged with finding the right combination, doesn’t have the answer.

          “I’m hearing 30-percent, but I don’t know what that number is, nobody does,” Rector admitted. “I’m willing to bring one of my motors down, let them bring one of theirs. At the end of the day, let’s fix it before they bring it to the track if they bring it in.”

          Steve Matusek knows the feeling of being the new combination on the block. Just years ago, his turbocharged combination was introduced to the class which had previously only been open to nitrous and superchargers. He’s of the mindset, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

          “It could be a good thing but right now we are experiencing the best parity the class has ever had. It would really be bad to throw a wrench into the operation. From my standpoint, I’d just prefer to leave the rules the way they are, at least for another year. Let the chips fall where they may.”

          Rickie Smith, Friday’s provisional low qualifier at the GM Performance NHRA U.S. Nationals, has been critical of the non-nitrous power adders in the past. He believes the class parity is the best it’s ever been and for the NHRA to consider bringing in the screw supercharger is adding a lot of work for the tech department.

          Smith is okay with the inclusion of the screw supercharger as long as competitiveness isn’t granted the combination without “paying their dues”.

          “We already have three combinations in the class as it stands, and this is probably the most even we’ve had the cars this year. Now you want to add in this fourth one which is going to be something else for the tech department to do. They’re having enough trouble keeping enough money to run this deal. The way I look at it, you have to keep good tech people in here and everybody doesn’t know about all of this stuff going on. I guess if they want to bring these screw blowers in, just keep them down to start with and let them work their way up. Don’t let them come in and immediately have an advantage.”

          The NHRA plans to begin testing of the screw superchargers in the off-season.

          SEEKING HIS FIRST - Mike Castellana has simple but challenging goals for the season. He wants to win a race and also the series championship. Winning the most prestigious on the NHRA drag racing series wouldn't be a bad first race win.

          “Our plan is to win the championship,” Castellana said.  “To do that we need to qualify No. 1 and win most of them.  It’s too late in the season to make any mistakes. One bad showing and the Championship is over for us.”

          Castellana has run strong this season with two No. 1 qualifying efforts, first at the season-opening event in Gainesville and then secondly in Houston. He ranks fourth presently in the points.

          Indy traditionally has been a strong race for the veteran nitrous racer from Westbury, NY. As strong as he's run, a Big Go win has eluded him.

          “We’ve run great two years in a row in Indy, and I know we are capable of winning,” Castellana said. “We feel good and ready for the challenge. It’s always a very tough field of drivers. You are racing the best of the best.”

          Castellana says 2013 has presented its share of trials.

           

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