Stanton, MI - In spite of the fact that the IHRA would like to mold all the Pro Mod cars into one homogeneous mix, there's no doubt that the fans and the racers are very conscious of the differences, and the griping, that exist in the class. So...
Stanton, MI - In spite of the fact that the IHRA would like to mold all the Pro Mod cars into one homogeneous mix, there's no doubt that the fans and the racers are very conscious of the differences, and the griping, that exist in the class. So when the 'penalized party de jour' has a member that stands up to defend his brethren, it makes news.
This is nothing new in the popular doorslammer class, of course. It's been going on for ten years, and it will likely go on for many more. Trying to balance the proverbial playing field while maintaining the blower/nitrous content that makes Pro Mod so interesting is in all likelihood a nearly impossible task. On the other hand, this semi-annual controversy certainly generates press, and spikes fan interest, which is the name of the game in big league sports today.
At the rescheduled completion of the rained-out CARQUEST Northern Nationals, there were only three supercharged cars in the field, Fred Hahn's Corvette, Alan Pittman's '41 Willys and the familiar yellow and purple '53 Studebaker of Barrie, ONT.-based Al Billes.
Billes had qualified #11 two weeks ago with a 6.520/218.18, and knew he had to improve on that come race day, since some of the nitrous-aided cars were dipping into the 6.30's, and running way fast, in the 229 mph region.
In the first round, Billes made up for an earlier time trial run that he had to abort when Pat Moore's new '57 Chevy rolled through the eyes at the starting line. Billes had a freebie, and laid down a solid 6.478/220.08 to move on to the next round. He earned lane choice over Alan Pittman's blown Willys for his effort.
In the second round, Billes took a slight lead off the line, but it turned out to be no contest as Pittman's wild Willys started to chase its tail before going up in smoke at half track. Billes run a 6.497/218.71 to keep his drive alive, and moved on to the semis, where he had lane choice again, this time over the 2000 Viper of Billy Harper.
Harper rated the advantage over Billes, and with this knowledge firmly entrenched his mind, the aerospace engineer knew that he needed to equalize the differences on the starting line. He did what was required of him out of the gate, but the .05 advantage when coupled with a 6.508 was not enough to fend off the 6.413/217.44 of Harper.