Doctor Burk’s Time Machine…2003
Aug 29, 08 | 2:27 pm
The 2003 Pro Mod race was historical for a couple of reasons. It marked the first time in the history of professional qualifying at the U.S. Nationals that a driver who was qualified for a pro field (and qualified number one at that!) withdrew to attend another drag race.
When the rains that year forced a one-week postponement of the U.S. Nationals, number one qualifier Billy Harper and his nitrous-injected Viper left the track and went to the IHRA race at Norwalk because he was in the race for the IHRA Pro Mod championship.
In fact, three other drivers who would have remained in the field based upon their times the first week, Shannon Jenkins, Mike Castellana, and Mitch Stott, also opted to race at the IHRA national event instead of the U.S. Nationals. (I think that to this day the NHRA management holds a grudge against the Pro Mod class because of what they consider to have been a slight by those racers to the U.S. Nationals.)
After two more rounds as the U.S. Nationals resumed, race car builder and former IHRA World Champ Tim McAmis was on the pole with a 6.223 and the bump spot was a 6.278 by Texan Thomas Patterson. Before the postponement Billy Harper was on the top of the qualifying list with a 6.213 and Mitch Stott was on the bump at 6.271.
Interestingly the number of nitrous cars qualified for the race on Monday would have been three but because of the postponement it was down to one, Rickie Smith. Despite the odds Smith became the third-straight nitrous car to win the U.S. Nationals, trailering another Smith, Von Smith driving for Roy Hill. Von, a veteran Alky Funny Car driver left on Rickie by almost four-hundredths (.024 to a .060) but his 6.286/227.69 charge wasn’t enough to hold off the charge of Rickie, whose 6.240 was enough to get him to the finish line about three feet in front of Von.
It is also interesting to note that once again no driver bettered the Speed and ET record set by Jim Oddy and Fred Hahn the very first year the Pro Mods ran.
Final Qualifying Results
1 Tim McAmis, Hawk Point, MO, ‘63 Vette 6.223, 224.36
2 Fred Hahn, W. Seneca, NY, ‘02 ‘Vette 6.224 , 221.42
3 Rickie Smith, King, NC, ‘63 “Vette 6.226, 224.40 *
4 Von Smith, Oak Ridge ,TN, ‘03 Mustang 6.228, 228.04
5 Mike Stawicki, Medina, NY, ‘63 Vette 6.260, 226.70
6 Mike Ashley, Melville, NY, ‘41 Willys 6.265, 224.73
7 Chip King, Roxboro, NC, ‘01 Dodge Avenger 6.266, 226.96
8 Thomas Patterson, Houston, TX, ‘41 Willys 6.278, 224.70
------------ Not Qualified ------------
9 Rick Stivers, Lexington, KY, ‘63 ‘Vette 6.291, 223.95
10 Troy Critchley, Wylie, TX, ‘94 ‘ Vette 6.356 , 220.37
11 Scott Ray, Greenville, OH, ‘63 ‘Vette 6.366, 219.94
12 Wayne Torkelson, Concord, CA, ‘55 T-Bird 6.373, 221.49
13 Marty McGinnis, Gravois Mills, MO, ‘37 Chev 6.440 , 218.44
14 Zach Barklage, Lake Ozark, MO, ‘02 Pontiac 6.466, 218.83
15 Al Billes, Barrie, ON, ‘53 Studebaker 6.861, 130.99
16 Bill Hill, St Louis, MO, ‘53 Chevy Corvette 7.341, 194.52
And now back to 2008:
Hernandez looking to take points lead with Indy win
Defending JEGS Pro Mod world champion Josh Hernandez has been in the finals every time he’s raced Pro Mod at the U.S. Nationals and holds a 1-2 win/loss record; this weekend, he’s looking to even the score at two wins and two runners-up.
Currently just 51 points out of the lead, Hernandez’ accomplishments this season have once again been championship-quality. While points-leader Tony Pontieri and the other competitors have had six events to earn their positions, the Texas-native has only raced five, missing one event due to scheduling conflicts.
“It’s been a good season so far,” Hernandez said, referring to his two event wins, three No. 1 qualifying efforts and second place in the points race.
“I’d like to make it an even better season by winning Indy and taking the points lead,” he added with a smile. (Todd Dziadosz photo)
Tindle hoping for first win
With only four races remaining in the JEGS ProMod Challenge, Tim Tindle has improved in performance and is looking to gain ground at the biggest race of the year; Indy.
The driver of the Tindle Enterprises GT 500E Mustang will compete in this weekend’s Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park and is looking to score his first win of the season. Tindle realizes that the competition couldn’t be any tougher, but he is more than ready.
“I’m very confident right now,” Tindle said. “I know that we have a bad hot rod going into the race. I just want to go out there and qualify good and then have some fun. The plan is to focus on one round at a time and then perform better than we have all season long. If we do that, then we will improve our position in the series.
“Yes, I’m like everybody else at Indy,” Tindle added, ”I want to win.”