Pro Mod: Madison Saturday summary

Mike Janis takes top spot for NHRA AMS Pro Mod Challenge MADISON, Ill. (June 26, 2004) -- Qualifying at the NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals is now complete for the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge, an NHRA exhibition ...

Mike Janis takes top spot for NHRA AMS Pro Mod Challenge

MADISON, Ill. (June 26, 2004) -- Qualifying at the NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals is now complete for the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge, an NHRA exhibition class.

Yesterday's start to qualifying was anything but normal as the opening session seemed it would never end. The 90-minute session was plagued with problems right from the start.

First, Scott Ray from Greenville, Ohio, went into the sand trap at the end of the track when his parachute failed to work after being clocked going slightly over 214 mph. Actually, Ray went through the sand trap and was collected by the net which caught his supercharger injector and sent that crashing through the windshield of his '63 Corvette. Scott emerged from the car uninjured.

Next came the oil downs, the worst of which was shortly after Ray's incident and caused a lengthy clean up in both lanes. Things then returned to normal for the opening stanza and the remaining qualifying sessions were run with very few incidents.

When all was said and done, Mike Janis, from Lancaster, N.Y., emerged in the No. 1 spot when he drove his '63 Corvette down the Gateway International Raceway in 6.169 seconds at 231.00 mph.

Nitrous cars were in a minority at St. Louis as the nitrous team of Mike Castellana, who won this event last year, and Shannon Jenkins, who took home the brass ring in 2002, opted to sit out this weekend's AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge. As a result, only three nitrous cars tried to qualify for the eight-car show. The trio includes Billy Harper, in a '00 Viper, Dennis Radford, in a '02 Viper and Rickie Smith, in a new Jerry Bickel-built '63 Corvette. Of the three, both Harper (No. 8) and Smith (No. 6) made the field.

The remaining six qualified cars all run supercharged engines. Rounding out the eight-car field were Fred Hahn (No. 2) Von Smith (No. 3) Mike Ashley and teammate Danny Rowe (Nos. 4 and 5 respectively) and 20-year-old Zach Barklage (No. 7).

PRO MOD NOTES:

St. Louis Connection: Local St. Louis Pro Mod favorite Bill Hill made his 2004 NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge debut at Gateway Int'l Raceway. Unfortunately, Hill did not qualify for the St. Louis event. The longtime friend of Augie Busch IV, in the Budweiser-backed '53 Corvette, plans to run two additional tour stops at Indianapolis and Memphis. The remainder of his time will be dedicated to running mostly Outlaw Pro Modified events.

Now There's One: Canadian Al Billes, who has won three NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge events this year, failed to make the show for the first time in 2004. That leaves Von Smith, from Oak Ridge, Tenn., in the Tommy Lipar Racing-backed '04 Mustang as the only driver to qualify for all six events contested thus far this season.

First-round pairings for Sunday's eliminations for the sixth of 10 events on the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge, an NHRA exhibition class, being held at the eighth annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals at Gateway International Raceway. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday:

Pro Modified -- 1. Mike Janis, Chevy Corvette, 6.169, 231.00 vs. 8. Billy Harper, Dodge Viper, 6.228, 225.33; 2. Fred Hahn, Corvette, 6.194, 229.51 vs. 7. Zach Barklage, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.226, 231.87; 3. Von Smith, Ford Mustang, 6.208, 230.49 vs. 6. Rickie Smith, Corvette, 6.225, 223.73; 4. Mike Ashley, Shelby Mustang, 6.218, 227.23 vs. 5. Dan Rowe, Corvette, 6.223, 228.69.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Janis , Fred Hahn , Scott Ray , Shannon Jenkins , Rickie Smith , Al Billes , Bill Hill , Mike Ashley , Zach Barklage , Von Smith , Danny Rowe