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or the last four years Kenny Nowling has been the driving force behind the Dave Wood, Tommy Lipar backed AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod program. He did virtually everything connected with putting on the show from parking to promotions to setting up the invitation list for the events. Last year he did double duty managing not only the AMS/TLR series at NHRA events but also the new ADRL eighth-mile series for Outlaw Pro Mods.

When a deal between Dave Wood and Evan Knoll that would have guaranteed the NHRA Pro Mod series for three more years fell apart Dave Wood also withdrew his support and as this issue of DRO goes to “press” there is no done deal for a NHRA Pro Mod series. Kenny Nowling has been blamed by some racers for NHRA dropping their Pro Mod program and instead convincing his backers to support the fledgling ADRL. We thought our readers might like to hear from the guy in the middle of the biggest story in drag racing currently.

Words by Jeff Burk, photo by Bret Kepner

First off can you tell us what you know about the NHRA Pro Mod program and why, as of today, there isn’t one.

Nowling: What I can tell you is that Mike Ashley is working to put together a program to insure Pro Mod for the future with the NHRA with a group of companies. As far as Dave Wood’s and AMS Staff Leasing’s involvement with NHRA goes, Dave Wood simply made a decision that, when Even Knoll withdrew his support for the class, he could no longer justify being the sole backer of the NHRA program. It was a simple business decision.

Why did Evan Knoll withdraw his support of the Pro Mod class?

NOWLING: I have not spoken with Evan about it, so that is something you would have to ask him.

What happened to Tommy Lipar’s commitment?

NOWLING: Tommy Lipar was Dave Wood’s financial partner in backing the series in 2005 primarily to keep it going. He never had any intention of making a financial commitment beyond 2005.

About how much money does it take per year for the NHRA Pro Mod series?

NOWLING: With administration cost, purse for the racer, paying for the TV program on ESPN2 and various expenses, the cost in 2005 was just over one million dollars.

Did you have anything to do with Dave Wood’s decision to withdraw from NHRA? Did you try to talk him out of doing so?

NOWLING: No to both questions. Working for Dave Wood and the AMS series was not only a significant portion of my income, but also something I thoroughly enjoyed and was passionate about, so I had as much desire to see it continue as anyone. However, I completely understood and supported Dave’s decision not to carry the entire financial burden on his own.

Is there any chance Dave Wood would be a part of the NHRA Pro Mod series if Mike Ashley and his team put a deal together?

NOWLING: You really should ask Dave Wood that question. I will tell you that Dave and I have discussed it and he will probably be involved, but on a much smaller scale than before. I will also tell you that if Dave does get involved again with the NHRA Pro Mod series and wants me to be involved, I would do whatever he asks of me.


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