50th Cordova World Series of Drag Racing preview

Pro Mod racers Barklage and Ray at 50th World Series of Drag Racing CORDOVA, Ill. (August 21, 2003) -- NHRA AMS Pro Mod Challenge drivers Zach Barklage and Scott Ray will be tuning up for the 49th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Labor Day...

Pro Mod racers Barklage and Ray at 50th World Series of Drag Racing

CORDOVA, Ill. (August 21, 2003) -- NHRA AMS Pro Mod Challenge drivers Zach Barklage and Scott Ray will be tuning up for the 49th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Labor Day weekend at Indianapolis Raceway Park, when they compete this weekend at the 50th Anniversary O'Reilly Auto Parts World Series of Drag Racing at Cordova Dragway Park in Cordova, Ill.

The World Series of Drag Racing is the longest continuous running drag racing event and will feature the Pro Mods in two qualifying sessions on Friday and one and Saturday, with the eight car Pro Mod eliminations being conducted as part of the feature presentation on Saturday night.

As part of their individual farewell tours, headlining the feature races on Saturday will be a match race between two of the biggest names in the history of drag racing, 'Big Daddy' Don Garlits and Shirley Muldowney. The pair then moves to Indy and their final appearance at the historic and prestigious U.S. Nationals. After 2003, these giants of the sport will no longer strike fear in the hearts of their competition, but rest assured that their competition will always be in awe of the pair.

Barklage, 19, the young lion, and Ray, 43, the veteran, will be using the Cordova Dragway Park drag strip as a testing ground for the new blower overdrive rule that will be in effect when the Pro Mods take to the Indy quarter-mile for the seventh of 10 races in the NHRA AMS Pro Mod Challenge, an NHRA exhibition class.

Instead of the previous 29-percent overdrive, the new rule now calls for 25-percent. The percent of overdrive is how much faster you can spin the supercharger than the crankshaft. So, 29-percent over means you're spinning the supercharger 29-percent faster than the crank. Anytime you take percentage away you reduce the speed of the supercharger, thus in essence reducing the boost. Boost equates to horsepower so you're reducing horsepower and performance.

Zach Barklage, driver of the Mark Barklage Drywall 2002 Pontiac Grand Am, jumped from the frying pan into the fire when he made the switch from bracket racing to Pro Mod. In circle track vernacular it would be like moving from the short track bullrings to superspeedways in one quick season.

At the age of 15, Barklage started out racing a bracket car on his local area tracks before putting a blower driven engine in his bracket car and moving to Pro Mod. Beginning at 16, the Eldon, Mo., driver cut his teeth learning his trade on outlaw tracks before moving to the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge at Indy last year.

Ray, in the Carquest Auto Parts/Ohio Crankshaft '63 Corvette, is running the entire 10-race schedule on the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge. The Greenville, Ohio driver, along with Barklage, is one of the favorites to claim the Pro Mod title at Cordova.

Action for the 50th Anniversary O'Reilly Auto Parts World Series of Drag Racing will get off to a fiery start during Friday night's Happy Joe's Pizza and Ice Cream Parlors Night of Thrills with jet cars, wheelstanders, supercharged Funny Cars, Pro Mods, Brian Kohlman's 1968 altered wheelbase, nitro-burning Dodge and a special appearance by Megasaurus, the car crunching, fire breathing mechanical monster. The night will be capped off by a giant fireworks show.

Saturday is the big day as Cordova celebrates its 50th year of World Series action. In addition to Garlits and Muldowney and Pro Mods, Nitro Funny Cars, Fuel Altereds, jet cars, wheelstanders and eliminations in the Drag Racing Online Quick 8 will unfold throughout the day.

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Series Drag
Drivers Shirley Muldowney , Scott Ray , Don Garlits , Zach Barklage