Pro Mod: Gainesville Saturday qualifying notes

Mike Janis nails top spot at the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 20, 2004) - Mike Janis, in a '63 Corvette, qualified No. 1 at the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge, an NHRA exhibition class, which opened...

Mike Janis nails top spot at the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 20, 2004) - Mike Janis, in a '63 Corvette, qualified No. 1 at the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge, an NHRA exhibition class, which opened its season at the NHRA Mac Tools Gatornationals.

Regarding finishing at the top of the qualifying ladder, Janis said, "We went back to our tune-up of last year in St. Louis to find a starting point. We are used to running IHRA events where the track is prepared a different way. We had to start out slow in the first session because we were the first pair out. We enhanced our tune-up throughout qualifying and today was the end result. I would like to thank Eaton Automotive, our new sponsor, for supporting us."

Janis blazed the Gainesville Raceway quarter-mile in 6.157 seconds at 230.94 mph. Von Smith, driver of the Lipar Racing-owned 2003 Ford Mustang GT qualified second with a pass of 6.160 seconds at 231.30 mph. Smith continued the torrid pace he started in 2003. At the end of last season, Smith went to the final round in the final four events, winning the final two.

Mike Ashley with an elapsed time of 6.175 seconds qualified third. Ashley debuted his Unique Performance Shelby G.T. 500E at this event. This special edition Pro Modified is endorsed by Carroll Shelby, who made a special appearance during today's final qualifying session.

Also on display in Ashley's pit area is an exact replica of the same Shelby G.T. 500E nicknamed "Eleanor" and featured in the blockbuster movie "Gone in 60 Seconds." Ashley's Shelby G.T. 500E is aptly nicknamed, "Gone in 6.0 Seconds."

Ed Hoover, from Gilbert, S.C., rounds out the top half of the eight-car field by qualifying No. 4. Zack Barklage, from Lake Ozark, Mo., ran a career best 6.201 second elapsed time and a career best speed at 231.48 mph to qualify him in the No. 5 position. It is the first time to qualify for the 18-year-old driver, the youngest driver currently competing on the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge.

Reigning IHRA champion Mitch Stott, from Mill Spring, S.C., Canadian Al Billes and Rickie Smith, from King N.C., in the lone nitrous assisted engine car, finished in the sixth, seventh and eighth spots respectively and round out the field.

Of note, Fred Hahn, from West Seneca, N.Y., the reigning DRO/NMM Pro Mod Cup champion, failed to make the field by three thousandth of a second in the Jim Oddy-owned 2000 Corvette.

Final eliminations for the eight-car NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge will begin at 11 a.m. (ET) tomorrow.

First-round pairings for Sunday's eliminations for the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge, an NHRA exhibition class, being held at the 35th annual MAC Tools NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday.

Pro Modified -- 1. Mike Janis, Chevy Corvette, 6.157, 230.94 vs. 8. Rickie Smith, Corvette, 6.225, 225.22; 2. Von Smith, Ford Mustang, 6.160, 231.30 vs. 7. Al Billes, Corvette, 6.223, 229.24; 3. Mike Ashley, Mustang, 6.175, 229.47 vs. 6. Mitch Stott, Corvette, 6.217, 230.06; 4. Ed Hoover, Corvette, 6.190, 229.53 vs. 5. Zach Barklage, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.201, 231.48.

-nascar-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Janis , Fred Hahn , Ed Hoover , Rickie Smith , Al Billes , Mike Ashley , Zach Barklage , Von Smith