Pro Mod Challenge: Jim Oddy at IRP

Oddy-Hahn on Summit entering Indy CLERMONT, Ind. (August 26, 2003) -- The premier Pro Mod exhibition class takes to the Indianapolis Raceway Park quarter-mile track for the seventh of 10 events on the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge, ...

Oddy-Hahn on Summit entering Indy

CLERMONT, Ind. (August 26, 2003) -- The premier Pro Mod exhibition class takes to the Indianapolis Raceway Park quarter-mile track for the seventh of 10 events on the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge, being held over Labor Day weekend in conjunction with the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.

Leading the 2003 DRO/NMM Cup Pro Mod point standing, the Jim Oddy-owned, Fred Hahn-driven, Summit Racing Equipment-backed Corvette is an early favorite to take home their third win of the season.

Oddy, from Elma, N.Y., a suburb of Buffalo, has been a fixture at the Indy track for nearly forty years. He started visiting Indy in 1964.

"I started in 1964 as a spectator, sleeping in the trunk of a '60 Pontiac in the parking lot," said Oddy (pictured right). "During that entire first visit I felt that this would be a cool place to race. I went home and built a B-Gas Anglia and went back in '65 and won the B-Gas class."

Oddy's drag racing career officially began in 1959, however. He took his '36 Chevy coupe that he drove to high school and put a '57 Chevrolet 6-cylinder engine in it and took it to the local Buffalo-area drag strip. By summer, Oddy was winning.

"I will never forget the first time I won. The head guy at the track gave me an envelope with 35 dollars in it and I thought he wanted to buy my car. I quickly told him it wasn't for sale and he just as quickly told me that he didn't want to buy my car, the money was for winning," said Oddy. "We've come a long way since those days, but it was a good time."

After winning class at Indy in 1965, Oddy sold that car and built a AA Gas Supercharged and ran several years in that class before switching to BB Gas Supercharged, winning his class at the '69 Indy event. Then in 1972, Oddy won both his class and Competition Eliminator in an Opel GT with a supercharged Chrysler gasoline engine.

"That was absolutely my biggest moment in Indy, winning Competition Eliminator," said Oddy proudly.

Talk to any racer about Indy and he will tell you there is a certain mystique about racing at the "granddaddy" of all NHRA events. Oddy is no exception when it comes to the mystique of the U. S. Nationals.

"I think that (the mystique) all started from us old-timers," explained Oddy. "All there was back then was Pomona and Indy. Everybody saved everything they had to do the one big race they had at that time and that big race was Indy. Indy was the event that you prepared all season to go to. Indy was "The Big Go".

"It you win Indy, it outshines any other win and no other win holds the importance that Indy does. It's the first thing you say when someone asks you how the year went -- Great, we won Indy."

As to this year's race at Indy, Oddy says, "We've been testing since we knew of the rule change for blowers that reduced the overdrive. An additional four percent was knocked off the overdrive. Instead of 29-percent, the new rule now calls for 25-percent. We've gone to two races testing new pieces. Also, we've been on the dyno trying to insure that we are competitive, so that when we get to Indy we can concentrate on qualifying. That's going to be the biggest job of all. I'm hearing that there are going to be around 30 Pro Mods at Indy vying for only eight spots.

"That's also why we went to Norwalk, Ohio (IHRA 26th annual Sunoco World Nationals) this past weekend. We went there with some other equipment to evaluate for this weekend at Indy. Preparation is the deal, but the hardest thing is to get one of those eight spots."

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.

"I really thought we were in major trouble with the rule change, but I'm pleasantly surprised," added Oddy. " It seems like the blower guys, being as devoted and aggressive as they are, have mounted a comeback. I can't tell you the blower cars will dominate the nitrous cars, but right now it looks like we can run with them. The table looks pretty even right now. Weather will play an important part at Indy. High humidity and high temperatures will really hurt the supercharged cars there."

Since 2000, Oddy and Hahn, who joined forces in 1989, have raced with financial backing from Summit Racing Equipment. It has been a great marriage. The pair took Summit directly to the IHRA championship that first year.

"It has been a great run since 2000. The association with Summit is a perfect blend of people and teams. We look forward to a continued relationship next year and hopefully, we can continue our relationship for as long as we want to do this.

"Summit Racing has the team spirit and team concept. If you look at the Summit Racing Equipment employees, they're racers at heart. Most of them have been racers at one time or another.

"When you pull in and look around, there's no mistaking, you're at Indy. If Fred and I could win Indy in this Summit Racing Corvette, it will be one of, if not, the biggest accomplishments we've achieved in the 14 years we've been together," concluded Oddy.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Fred Hahn