Rockingham: Pittman wins Pro Modified

ROCKINGHAM, NC - In racing, as in stick and ball sports, pre-season competition is not often regarded too seriously as an indicator of a team, or a racer's, performance potential in the regular season. But in the case of Pelzer, SC chassis ...

ROCKINGHAM, NC - In racing, as in stick and ball sports, pre-season competition is not often regarded too seriously as an indicator of a team, or a racer's, performance potential in the regular season. But in the case of Pelzer, SC chassis builder Alan Pittman, the momentum that began to develop at the Majesty Homes Groundhog Warm-up in Darlington, SC. in February has just continued to build in impressive fashion. After winning that event, Pittman and his Westbrook Motorsports team took their supercharged '41 Willys to the IHRA's official pre-season test event, the CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open in Dinwiddie, Va., where they were again the class of the field.

>From there, Pittman and crew made drag racing history as they traveled to Gainesville, Florida in mid-March for the NHRA's first ever Pro Mod exhibition race. During the 32nd Annual running of the Mac Tools Gatornationals, Pittman punched out a career-best 6.21/226 during qualifying to claim the pole position, and despite the fact that the finals were rained out, there was no throwing cold water on "Big Mo" from that point. In an understated comment at the time, Pittman said, "being in the position that we're in now sure beats being behind the eight ball. I'm impressed with what we've been able to accomplish thus far."

Looking back, all of that was just a big lead-up to this weekend's 31st Annual Holley Springs Nationals at Rockingham Dragway where Pittman, a finalist for the IHRA's Rookie of the Year award last year, came out swinging once again. His beautiful self-built Willys, motivated by a new engine program courtesy of Redline Design's Darren Mayer and Troy Critchley, posted a 6.335/219.94 to outrun 44 would-be challengers and claim the top spot after the first round. In the second round, an over-aggressive tune-up resulted in a loss of traction and a 6.390 pass, which pegged him in an improvable ninth spot after the first day.

On Saturday, Pittman's third attempt yielded a 6.322/220.58. Turning up the wick for the last stanza, Pittman climbed to third overall with an impressive clocking of 261/221.34. In eliminations, Pittman dispatched Mike Castellana, Ronnie Hood and Mike Janis before meeting top nitrous competitor Mitch Stott in the final. At the green, the former bracket racer cut a solid .447 light and outran Stott all the way through the top end to claim his first national event win, 6.260/221.20 to 6.334/220.

So Pittman has three wins in four events, and the season is just one race old. As for the so-called sophomore jinx, Pittman just laughs at the idea, and rightly so. As far as his future competition is concerned, however, there's nothing humorous about the second-year driver's strong early showing. Momentum being the great motivator that it is, it could be a long, tough year for many of them.

Visit the Westbrook Motorsports website at www.westbrookmotorsports.com.

-Brian Wood

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Series Drag
Drivers Mike Janis , Alan Pittman , Ronnie Hood , Troy Critchley