BAYTOWN, Texas (April 8, 2004) - After qualifying for his first NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge, an exhibition class, at the NHRA Mac Tools Gatornationals, the first of 10 Pro Mod events scheduled for 2004, Pro Mod driver Zach Barklage...
BAYTOWN, Texas (April 8, 2004) - After qualifying for his first NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge, an exhibition class, at the NHRA Mac Tools Gatornationals, the first of 10 Pro Mod events scheduled for 2004, Pro Mod driver Zach Barklage is off to a fast start this season.
Barklage, now 19, started out racing a bracket car on his local area tracks at the age of 15. One year later, the Eldon, Mo., driver moved to Pro Mod, learning his trade on the Pro Mod outlaw circuit. He then joined the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge at Indy of 2002.
Although he failed to qualify for a NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge event in 2002 or 2003, Barklage's fortunes have turned in 2004. In addition to qualifying fourth at the NHRA Gatornationals the weekend of March 19-21, he was No. 1 qualifier at the season-opening IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals in San Antonio, Texas the weekend of March 26-28.
Barklage credits his tuners, Mark Barklage and Chad Wilson, for his sudden found success.
"We learned a lot last year and this year has started out perfect," said Barklage. "I didn't expect to do this good this year this fast but I'm happy we are. Our hard work has paid off.
"My dad and Chad, together with tuning consultant Darren Mayer, are doing an awesome job tuning on the car. We're running good and, as a driver, I like it. It gives you added confidence to know that when you go to the track you can run those numbers and be right up there with the big dogs."
Barklage, currently No. 6 in DRO/NMM Cup point standings, plans to keep up the pressure at the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, in Baytown, Texas, just outside Houston, the next stop for the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge. Pro Mods will qualify on Friday and Saturday, April 16 and 17, with final elimination for the eight-car field on Sunday, April 18.
"We're going to try our best at Houston. You've got to be on your game to get in these eight-car fields. I'd love to nail down number one again. It was awesome when we did that at the IHRA event in San Antonio and fourth at the NHRA race wasn't too shabby either. I'd love to win the event in Houston. Now that we're running better, we have a whole lot better chance than that we did last year," added Barklage, who campaigns and updated '04 Pontiac Grand Am.
"In closing, I would like to thank my mom and dad, who make my racing possible and Chad Wilson, Hal Luke and Andy Denny, who keep this car going."