Gainesville: Raymond Commisso preview

Commisso enters Pro Mod season with target on his back GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 9) -- Canadian racer Raymond Commisso is a veteran of Pro Mod competition, and as he enters this weekend's 41st annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals as part of...

Commisso enters Pro Mod season with target on his back

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 9) -- Canadian racer Raymond Commisso is a veteran of Pro Mod competition, and as he enters this weekend's 41st annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals as part of the inaugural class of the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series he will carry the mantle of a class favorite.

Since joining R2B2 Racing full-time, Commisso has gone from a freewheeling and mostly underfunded independent to a well-supported professional driver and his performances on the racetrack have taken a noticeable upturn. He currently holds the national elapsed time record of 5.881 seconds and has recorded the quickest run in history at 5.817 seconds. People are starting to take notice.

"Always before I have been the underdog when I've been drag racing," Commisso said. "I've always had a low budget and never had the best of everything, but I loved to race -- that's why I kept doing it.

"Now it's the other way around. I pull into the park and I know I'm one of the top cars around. I know I can go out there and qualify No. 1 and win races. Being connected with Roger has been the greatest thing in my career."

A restaurateur in his native Toronto, Commisso is relishing his new frontrunner status.

"I want everybody to bring their A-game to every race because I always being mine," he said. "I like the pressure; it makes me perform better.

"This weekend will be the toughest competition of my racing career. The best of the best are going to show up for this one. Whoever wins will deserve it because there will be no slouches out there with all the heavy-hitting teams on the entry list."

An exhibition category for the past decade, NHRA now officially recognizes Pro Mod as a competition class. As such, racers will be vying for Wally trophies, the longtime symbol of drag racing excellence.

"It's like when you dreamed of that special bike as a kid," Commisso said. "When you finally got it, it was so special. Running for a Wally is like a dream come true. Everybody wants to be a pro NHRA drag racer and run for that trophy and now here we are doing it. It's something I've wanted my whole life.

"We have the car to get it done. We're testing right now and we just completed the fastest run ever for a blower car -- 5.800 seconds at 251.50 mph. It gives you confidence when you have a car working this good. It was a brand-new racecar when we got her and our first full run with it was off the charts. I can't wait to get to Gainesville and start racing for real."

-source: r2b2 racing

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