Hoover Claims Torco Pro Modified Shootout Title
Defeats Mike Castellana to claim biggest single-day payday in Pro Modified racing
Martin, Mich. (Aug. 2, 2008) -- As Ed Hoover sat in the staging lanes, waiting for IHRA's track staff to clean up an extensive oil-down, he tried not to think about what was at stake. He was set to square off with Mike Castellana in the final round of the $100,000 Torco Pro Modified Shootout, and the track clean-up caused him to sit there in the driver's seat of his '68 Camaro and try to think about anything but the fact that the winner of the race would pocket $50,000.
Hoover's mind was at ease because he knew, regardless of how much the track and weather conditions changes from the time he left his pit area to when he would actually head down the track, he had the right guy making the calls on his car.
"It was tough sitting there, but those things happen," he said. "Al Billes calls all the shots on this car and he made all the right calls today."
When the wait was over Hoover claimed the $50,000 first prize before the race even began. Castellana, one of the steadiest drivers in the Pro Modified ranks, lit the red-light by a razor-thin -.002 of a second. Though he won the Shootout at the starting line, Hoover had no idea he had earned the top prize until fellow competitor Jim Halsey talked to him at the end of the track.
"I didn't see his red-light. I knew I had to be on my game and I didn't know what kind of light I had," Hoover said. "But for $50,000 I'll take it. This was a great win for Trussell Motorsports and my entire crew. I got out of the car kicking myself in the head, then Jim Halsey came over and told me he red-lit. I just wanted to make sure he wasn't lying before I got too happy. I couldn't believe it."
Hoover had to drive through the strongest field of Pro Modified racers assembled this season to claim the championship. In the first round he defeated Halsey, then knocked off defending World Champion Scott Cannon Jr. in the semifinals. Castellana topped Kenny Lang (a two-time winner on the circuit this season) and Chip King to advance to the run for the money.
Halsey could not believe how the final round unfolded.
"This is great. I've never been in as big a money race as this one and Mike usually doesn't make mistakes like that," he said. "He's a great driver and I respect him for everything he's done. But it was our turn. You have to have a little bit of luck on your side."
Castellana pocketed the $20,000 runner-up prize.
The Torco Pro Mod Shootout championship continued a recent hot streak for Hoover. He advanced to the final round in Budds Creek a month ago before winning the Mopar Canadian Nationals at Grand Bend Motorplex in late July. Though it took a little while for Hoover to get on track this season he had a simple explanation...new car blues.
"We turned a corner in this car, we have it working good and that's what you get when you have good equipment," Hoover said. "This G-Force car has been very good to us. Our car last year was great but it took a race or two to get a handle on this one. But it has a window in it now. It could be wrong and still go down the track fast. That's what you have to have because the track changes, the sun comes out, people oil the track and it changes. You have to have a car that can take all the elements. We feel like we have that."