SMITH EMERGES AS YET ANOTHER TITLE CONTENDER IN EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE GET SCREENED AMERICA PRO MOD SERIES AS CIRCUIT HEADS TO ATLANTA DRAGWAY COMMERCE, Ga. -- Three races into the first season of the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing...
SMITH EMERGES AS YET ANOTHER TITLE CONTENDER IN EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE GET SCREENED AMERICA PRO MOD SERIES AS CIRCUIT HEADS TO ATLANTA DRAGWAY
COMMERCE, Ga. -- Three races into the first season of the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series and there have been three different winners.
If that's a trend that will continue during the remaining seven events, determining a world champion may come down to the final round of the final race of the season.
If that scenario plays out, it will be just fine with the circuit's most recent winner and emerging title contender, veteran drag racer Von Smith, of Oak Ridge, Tenn. With a very talented field of competitors racing for the inaugural NHRA Pro Mod crown, Smith and his peers expect nothing less than a memorable, thrilling duel to determine the champ.
Smith picked up his first official Pro Mod Wally and tossed his hat into the championship ring by winning the recent event at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis.
"I hope that's the first of many," Smith said after the win.
Following his St. Louis victory, Smith sits in second, one point behind series leader Kenny Lang in the Get Screened America Pro Mod Series point standings. Smith hopes to continue his advance toward the top spot during the Pro Mod portion of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, May 14-16.
After a shaky start to the season that included a DNQ at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in Florida, Smith rebounded in Houston to post a semifinal finish at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals. Now that the former standout in Top Alcohol Funny Car has found the Pro Mod winner's circle, he hopes to make it a place he visits often.
"I was talking with Howard (Moon, crew chief) and said that if we could ever get on a roll, it would be hard to knock us off," Smith said. "I hope that is where we are now."
Featuring the world's fastest and most unique doorslammer cars with an extremely diverse collection of vehicles, including '63 Corvettes, '68 Camaros, '67 Mustangs, '68 Firebirds as well as late model cars, the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series offers something for every kind of hot-rodding enthusiast.
Smith says he enjoys the challenge of man-handling his Barwa / Al-Anabi Racing '68 Camaro, which covers a quarter-mile race distance in just under six seconds at more than 250 mph.
"A typical race in this thing is one round you make it down and the other one you are turning over," Smith said. "If you don't do that in four rounds, you've done well."
Smith says he appreciates team owner Sheik Khalid Al Thani for giving him the opportunity to compete in such a diverse and wildy-unpredictable racing adventure.
"Sheik Khalid loves the sport and you can see it from all the classes he participates in," Smith said. "It's a dream come true for us; it has really worked out well. We want to get back on track. We've had our backs against the wall for some time."
In addition to Smith, other pre-race favorites in the category are series points leader Lang, who won the season-opener at Gainesville Raceway, Houston winner Danny Rowe, and several other veteran racers who have competed in multiple NHRA classes, including Jay Payne, Melanie Troxel and Troy Coughlin. Others to watch include Roger Burgess, Ray Commisso, Burton Auxier, Joe Baker, Mike Knowles and Ed Hoover.
* SCHEDULE: Get Screened America qualifying sessions are scheduled for 3:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. on May 14 and the final qualifying session is at 1:15 p.m. on May 15. The first round of eliminations begins May 15 at 4 p.m. Pro Mod eliminations will continue on Sunday, May 16, starting at approximately 2 p.m.
* TICKETS: Tickets are available for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals. Please call NHRA at (800) 884-6472 or visit www.ticketmaster.com to purchase tickets online.
* ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise 30-minutes of racing highlights from the Get Screened America Pro Mod Series portion of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals Sunday, May 23 at 11:30 a.m. (ET).