Volume X, Issue 8, Page 13

Brought to you by Ohio Crankshaft

Friday Photo Gallery

Aug 30, 08 | 3:47 pm

Photos by Chris Haverly

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Can defending Indy winner Harold Laird do it again this year?

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Will Joshua Hernandez take over the points lead?

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Scott Ray gets his hands a little dirty before taking the ‘53 Vette onto the track.

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Raymond Commisso drives a Firebird, hence the flames.

Doctor Burk’s Time Machine - 2004

Aug 30, 08 | 3:37 pm


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Harold Martin

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Richie Stevens


Photos by Ron Lewis

This marked the last year that the Pro Mod field was limited to just the quickest eight qualifiers, and also saw the largest field in the short history of the race when 29 cars and drivers were invited to compete.

In 2004 an Indy Pro Mod rookie Harold Martin came with an EFI/nitrous combination and put his car into the number one slot with s 6.183/229.12. For the third straight year no one came close to Jim Oddy and Fred Hahn’s track ET record of 6.17 they had set at the inaugural event but Richie Steven’s 231+ in eliminations was the first ever pass in the 230 range and of course re-set the track record pass.

Once again there were three nitrous cars and five blower cars qualified, but for the first time the top two spots were claimed nitrous cars: those of Harold Martin and Jim Halsey. How tough was it to qualify for this race well the defending Nationals champion and the 2002 winner neither one qualified for the race nor did IHRA defending World Champ Mitch Stott.

Despite the ongoing claims of some nitrous racers of the unfair advantage blower cars have over nitrous you couldn’t tell it at the Nationals. The final round came down to the one and two qualifiers, Martin and Halsey, and for the fourth consecutive year a nitrous Pro Mod driver was in the winner’s circle at Indy getting the trophy.

In that final round Martin’s EFI combination succumbed and he could only manage an off the pace, engine smoking 6.898/157.43. In the other lane Cecil County Dragway manager/driver Jim Halsey motored to a 6.271/223.76 for his first U. S National title.

In tomorrow’s Time Machine Indy gets a 16-car Pro Mod field and a few other surprises and Dr. Burk makes sets the odds for the 2008 Pro Mod race on Sunday and Monday.

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Jim Halsey.

2004 Final Qualifying Results/Best Speed and ET

1 Harold Martin, New Hutson, NY, ‘02 Grand Am 6.183 229.12 *
2 Jim Halsey, Street, MD, ‘63 Corvette 6.196 226.89 *
3 Richie Stevens Jr., Metarie, LA, ‘94 Mustang 6.201 230.65
4 Fred Hahn, Elma, NY, ‘01 Corvette 6.219 228.19
5 Mike Janis, Lancaster, NY, ‘63 Corvette 6.234 2 226.96
6 Mike Ashley, Melville, NY, ‘67 Mustang 6.236 225.63
7 Dan Rowe, Laguna Hills, CA, ‘63 Corvette 6.242 227.57
8 Mike Castellana, Westbury, NY, ‘68 Camaro 6.249 226.05*

------------ Not Qualified ------------

9 Al Billes, Barrie, ON, ‘53 Corvette 6.251 229.20
10 Jay Payne, Claremont, CA, ‘67 Camaro 6.264 229.00
11 Tommy Gray, Baltimore, MD, ‘04 Mustang 6.264 227.88 *
12 Dennis Radford, Baker City, OR, ‘01 Viper 6.281 225.11*
13 Kirk Kuhns, Yorba Linda, CA, ‘01 Viper 6.288 225.97
14 Billy Harper, Paducah, KY, ‘00 Viper 6.316 224.06 *
15 Chip King, Semora, NC, ‘01 Avenger 6.323 226.62
16 Zach Barklage, Eldon MO, ‘04 Grand Am 6.326 225.86
17 Troy Critchley, Wylie, TX, ‘41 Willys 6.330 223.39
18 Rickie Smith, King, NC, ‘63 Corvette 6.331 221.71*
19 Scotty Cannon, Lyman, SC, ‘53 Studebaker 6.340 221.31
20 Mike Stawicki, Medina, NY, ‘63 Corvette 6.366 224.02
21 John Scialpi, West Covina, CA, ‘57 Belair 6.373 220.44
22 Ricky Stivers, Lexington, KY, ‘63 Corvette 6.381 223.76
23 Quain Stott, Columbus, SC, ‘63 Corvette 6.393 222.95
24 Brian Daniels, Jackson, OH, ‘63 Corvette 6.493 218.34 *
25 Bill Hill, St Louis, MO, ‘53 Corvette 6.494 215.75
26 Mitch Stott, Mill Spring, NC, ‘63 Corvette 6.555 222.51
27 Marty McGinnis, Gravois Mills, MO, ‘37 Chevy 6.560 211.03
28 Scott Ray, Greenville, OH, ‘63 Corvette 6.596 214.62
29 Shannon Jenkins, Tuscaloosa, AL, ‘68 Camaro 7.883 120.88

* nitrous injected engine

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Aug 30, 08 | 2:27 pm

By Scott “Woody” Woodruff

We’re off to a great start here in Indianapolis with one of five rounds of professional qualifying now in the books. Joe Baker, the winner of our first two races this year, has joined back up with Roger Burgess (whose car he drove to his second win in Houston) and it looks like he picked up right where he left off as he zoomed up to the No. 1 spot with a 6.030. Great job, Joe!

In all, 10 racers posted 6.0-second passes in the first round so it certainly looks like everyone came to win. It’s only going to get better, I’m sure, as most drivers told me they severely underestimated how good the track was for that session.

We started the weekend with our usual driver’s meeting where we went over the info everyone needs to get through the race with no hiccups. We also talked about our big season-ending bash at Treasure Island.

Things turned a little more serious when we started talking about next season. We all agreed that the series took a definitive upward turn this season and we know we’ve impressed the NHRA powers-that-be with the show we’ve produced. It’s not time to make the next step and that’s going to require more money. (Doesn’t everything in racing?)

We need some sponsorship dollars, both for our race teams and for the series. Pro Mod racing is hot and a recent poll on a drag racing message board site ranked us up there with Top Fuel and Funny Car as far as classes that get the most interest from drag racing fans.

To attract sponsors, we need to be able to offer them a TV package for exposure and some hospitality of some kind so these are the major issues we’re going to address moving forward.

JEGS can’t rescue the series every year just for the sake of keeping it alive. It has to make fiscal sense, whether it’s JEGS name on the series or any other entity. We’ve got a great product; it’s time to take it to the next level.

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Tony Pontieri (Ron Lewis photo)

Friday Re-cap

Provisional No. 1 qualifier Joe Baker helped the JEGS Pro Mod Challenge return to action in grand style Friday at the 54th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals as the series shook off the rust of two months off since its last event. Baker powered down O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis in 6.030 at 236.01 mph to put his R2B2 Corvette in the early lead at drag racing’s most prestigious event.

Baker’s elapsed time was actually matched by veteran racer Tim Tindle, but the early season points leader got the nod as the No. 1 qualifier due to his superior top speed. Baker won the first two JEGS ProMod Challenge events in Gainesville, Fla., and Houston, the second race in the same car he’s driving this weekend.

“It feels great to start the U.S. Nationals out on top,” said Baker. “The combination of the great track condition and the power we were getting out of this car contributed to this smooth run. We really had good conditions to run in tonight and for us to hit the combination as well as we did on the first run leaves us really confident for the rest of the weekend. I couldn’t be happier than I am right now.

“We were a little nervous since this was the first race in this car since Houston, but I am very happy with the way it performed. I need to thank Roger Burgess and R2B2 for giving me the great opportunity to come out and compete.”

The first qualifying session went smooth with 14 of the 22 cars making good, clean low six-second runs down the quarter mile.

The drivers that will be battling to get into the field during the remaining four sessions of Saturday and Sunday are Troy Coughlin, Steve Engel, Raymond Commisso, Brad Personett, Shannon Jenkins and Kirk Kuhns.

Baker cooks up a great opening run at U.S. Nationals

Aug 30, 08 | 2:23 pm

Provisional No. 1 qualifier Joe Baker helped the JEGS Pro Mod Challenge return to action in grand style Friday at the 54th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals as the series shook off the rust of two months off since its last event. Baker powered down O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis in 6.030 at 236.01 mph to put his R2B2 Corvette in the early lead at drag racing’s most prestigious event.

Baker’s elapsed time was actually matched by veteran racer Tim Tindle, but the early season points leader got the nod as the No. 1 qualifier due to his superior top speed. Baker won the first two JEGS ProMod Challenge events in Gainesville, Fla., and Houston, the second race in the same car he’s driving this weekend.

“It feels great to start the U.S. Nationals out on top,” said Baker. “The combination of the great track condition and the power we were getting out of this car contributed to this smooth run. We really had good conditions to run in tonight and for us to hit the combination as well as we did on the first run leaves us really confident for the rest of the weekend. I couldn’t be happier than I am right now.

“We were a little nervous since this was the first race in this car since Houston, but I am very happy with the way it performed. I need to thank Roger Burgess and R2B2 for giving me the great opportunity to come out and compete.”

The first qualifying session went smooth with 14 of the 22 cars making good, clean low six-second runs down the quarter mile.

The drivers that will be battling to get into the field during the remaining four sessions of Saturday and Sunday are Troy Coughlin, Steve Engel, Raymond Commisso, Brad Personett, Shannon Jenkins and Kirk Kuhns.

Start the parity

Aug 30, 08 | 12:14 pm

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By Susan Wade
Photos by Ron Lewis

For the first time in several seasons, the JEG’s ProMod Challenge field has a supercharged-nitrous balance.

And Friday evening at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, Joe Baker and Tim Tindle gave the supercharged contingent the edge by the slimmest of margins over the nitrous posse of Mike Castellana and Rickie Smith.

All ran 6.03-second elapsed times in the first of four qualifying runs for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the 75th race in the eight-year history of the series.

Baker, who began the season with a victory at Gainesville, Florida, and runs under the R2B2 umbrella of Roger Burgess, led the way with a 6.030-second pass at 236.01 mph.

He edged Tindle, who clocked an identical time to the thousandths in his own ‘67 Shelby GT Mustang, missed out on the provisional top spot with a slower 235.39-mph speed. Tuning his car is former IHRA Pro Mod champion Quain Stott.

The nitrous cars grabbed the early attention, though, as Rickie Smith came out in the second pairing with his ‘63 split-window Corvette and recorded a 6.039-second E.T. at 234.25 mph. Two pairs later, Castellana shaved three-thousandths of a second off that in his Al-Anabi ‘68 Firebird.

Reiging series champion Josh Hernadez, driving the Team Rage ‘68 Camaro, ended up sixth—behind Jay Payne and his 6.045-second run in his ‘69 Camaro—in the tentative order but posted top speed so far at 238.01 mph.

Hernandez, a 15-time winner, is second behind Tony Pontieri in the standings and is trying to make up ground after a scheduling conflict caused him to miss the Atlanta event. Pontieri is 13th.

The first round of eliminations will take place Sunday afternoon.

Danny Rowe and Harold Laird rounded out the top half of the field.

Burgess sits on the bump with an 8.079-second R.T. at 107.53. Unqualified after the first session are Troy Coughlin, Seve Engle, Ray Commisso, Brad Personnett, Shannon Jenkins, and Kirk Kuhns.

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