Back to the track where he set a career best in 2011, running 5.781 seconds
The standings for the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series list Mike Castellana with one victory and have him second in the points standings. But as far as the veteran Pro Mod racer is concerned, the best is yet to come.
Castellana is hopeful that comes this weekend during the 45th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. The race is the fourth of 10 during the 2014 NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series and also New York native Castellana’s home track. He set a career best at the track in 2011, running 5.781 seconds.
“I can’t complain where we’re at, but we’re fortunate to have had a couple breaks,” Castellana said. “We’re just working on getting more consistent and also getting faster. You have to take advantage of everything and we have done that, but if you’re not going forwards you’re going backwards. There’s no standing still in this class.”
Another New Yorker, Mike Janis, is the defending winner at the Englishtown event, which is presented by Powerocks in 2014. Castellana, who has five career Pro Mod victories, will be one of the favorites in the talent-heavy class this weekend, but he is also after a more complete performance.
Castellana’s season started with a victory at Gainesville, outrunning defending world champion and current points leader Rickie Smith in the final round. He advanced to the finals at Houston before falling in the second round in Atlanta, but Castellana knows his nitrous-injected Camaro is capable of much more. He also knows consistency is imperative in a class that boasts impressive talent and depth.
“The competition right now is the best I’ve seen in this class and it’s continuing to grow,” Castellana said. “Everyone is running fast and running well and that’s a positive for the class. Of course when you have more guys running well you have to continue to step up your game. We’re trying new things, trying to make the car more consistent and hopefully we’ll see those results.”
Castellana has always performed well at Englishtown, as evidenced by the brilliant run in 2011, but he is still looking for his first NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series at his home track. It could come this weekend, but the class is loaded with contenders, including Charlotte winner Janis, former champions Von Smith and Troy Coughlin, Kevin Fiscus, and teammates Danny Rowe and Steve Matusek.
Castellana expects fast conditions and he is ready to put on a show in front of what will be a large gathering of friends and family.
“The air is going to be good, there’s going to be a lot of fast cars and we have to be on top of our game,” Castellana said. “You can run some of your best E.T.s at this track, it’s just a matter of being consistent. We have to put it all together. I just have to do my job as a driver and try not to think about the pressure. It’s all about doing my regular routine and then hoping for the best.”
Featuring the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer cars with an extremely diverse collection of vehicles, including ’68 Camaros, ’67 Mustangs and ’68 Firebirds as well as a variety of late-model muscle cars, the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series offers something for every kind of hot-rodding enthusiast.
The event also will showcase thrilling racing action in the NHRA Mello Yello Series and the NHRA Lucas Oil Series.
NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, May 30, with sessions at 3:30 and 5:45 p.m. continuing with one qualifying session on Saturday, May 31 at 2:30 p.m. Round one of eliminations is later on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. Pro Mod eliminations continue on Sunday starting at approximately 2:30 p.m.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at (732) 446-7800 or visit www.racewaypark.com. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.