Epping, NH - For IHRA racers choosing to power their Pro Mod hot rods with supercharged engine combinations, the 2000 season has so far been one they'll either never forget or not want to remember. Either way, through it all, Canadian Al Billes...
Epping, NH - For IHRA racers choosing to power their Pro Mod hot rods with supercharged engine combinations, the 2000 season has so far been one they'll either never forget or not want to remember. Either way, through it all, Canadian Al Billes has done his best to roll with the punches.
Billes, and his record-setting yellow Studebaker, both suffered the trials and tribulations of 'take it away and then give it back' as the IHRA struggled with their ongoing problem of attempting to keep both sides in the popular doorslammer class happy. It's hard to say at this point, but they may have finally gotten very close to the combination of rules that will make the racing fun again. Only time will tell.
One thing's for sure, at the Amalie Oil Northern Nationals, the supercharged guys were looking a lot racier after shedding some unwanted weight, and the top five of the quickest Pro Mod field ever was made up of three blower cars and two nitrous machines. Billes was in the number two spot, having dipped into the 6.20's for the first time this season when he carded a solid 6.295 @ 224.85 in the preliminaries.
With the purple-flamed Stude' finally back in competitive racing trim, the Billes Racing team was justifiably excited about getting the elimination rounds underway on Sunday. Unfortunately, their enthusiasm was to be short lived. Al drew Ohio's Pat Moore in the first round, and what promised to be a great drag race went sour almost immediately for Billes. Just off the line, the car was rattled hard by severe tire shake, and Billes shut things down before doing any terminal damage to the drivetrain.
All in all, it was a good news, bad news kind of weekend for the Billes team at New England Dragway. Because, even though they were sent to the sidelines in the first round, they gained something that has been hard to come by so far this year. The confidence that their car is one of the best in the class, and can run the big numbers it was designed to run. There's nothing like losing a little weight to put the old spring back in your step. Or in this case, the old 6.20's back in your log book.
Armed with a whole lot of fresh baseline information, watch for the Canadian team to come out swinging at the next IHRA race, which is scheduled for Sept. 21-23 at the CARQUEST Autumn Nationals in Rockingham, N.C.