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Nitro Shots: The Annual Pro Mod Edition

The Mello Yello Series Pro classes of Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle may be the primary focus of Nitro Shots, but there’s always room to share some love with some of the other racers you might see at an event. Pro Mod is also a professional class that runs a 10 race schedule and is definitely worth checking out if you happen to be at one of those events.

So what is a Pro Mod? The quick definition would be to say it’s kind of like Pro Stock on steroids. For a more detailed explanation, Pro Mod features all kinds of cars, most often a mix of classic or late model muscle and sports cars. You’ll see a lot of Camaros, first generation and fifth generation, Mustangs of similar variety, first generation style Firebirds, or maybe Corvettes. Some look more stock than others, which might feature a longer nose to help provide stability.

NHRA 2016 Pro Mod Mike Castellana courtesy NHRA media
Mike Castellana won two weeks ago but missed the field the following week in the super competitive Pro Mod class. (Photo courtesy NHRA)

Competitors also have a number of choices as far as power adders. Turbos, superchargers and nitrous oxide are all allowed and all race side by side in the same class. In case you are wondering, no it does not seem that one power adder really has that big of an advantage over another, although frequently competitors will argue for their engine of choice. Cars typically run in the five second range at speeds of around 250 mph.

The class is almost always full and is always super competitive. Consider the fortunes of a couple of drivers over the past three events. Billy Glidden finished in the runner-up spot three races ago but then failed to make the 16-car cut in qualifications the following week. Meanwhile, Mike Castellana was the winner the week Glidden missed. Move forward to the next week and Glidden got the win, while Castellana missed the field and didn’t make it to eliminations. That’s how tight the competition is.

If you want to check out the Pro Mod series, you can also do that much easier on television this year. FOX Sports is airing half hour recap shows of the Pro Mod races on Thursday nights within a few weeks following each event. That just happens to be today if you want to catch the coverage from the Summernationals held a few weeks ago (and if you do, ignore my spoiler!). Tune in at 9:30 PM ET on FOX Sports 2.

What’s News?

* It’s not even July but Pro Stock point leader Jason Line and second place Greg Anderson have already clinched their spots in the championship Countdown field. Line and Anderson have won every race for the class this season, with Line capturing seven wins and four runner-up finishes and Anderson scoring five wins and four runner-up results. Fellow KB Racing driver Bo Butner is the closest competitions, sitting third, 478 points behind Anderson.

Driver Profile: Erica Enders-Stevens

NHRA 2016 Erica Enders head shot courtesy NHRA media

Category: Pro Stock
Hometown: Houston, TX
Date of birth: Oct. 8, 1983
2016 car: Mopar Performance/Elite Motorsports Dodge Dart GT
Crew chief: Rick Jones/Rickie Jones
Team Owner: Richard Freeman

Career Highlights:
Career wins/runner-up finishes: 21/14
Best points finish: 1st in 2014 and 2015
Career best ET: 6.461, Dallas, 2015
Career best speed: 215.55, Englishtown, 2014

2015 – Won second consecutive NHRA Mello Yello Series Pro Stock world championship; scored a career-high nine victories, the most for any female driver in a single NHRA season; moved into second place on the all-time wins list for professional female drivers, trailing only Angelle Sampey; six-time No. 1 qualifier; won K&N Horsepower Challenge for second consecutive year.

2014 – Won NHRA Mello Yello Series Pro Stock world championship, the first female driver to win the Pro Stock title and third to win a professional title; won six races; six time No. 1 qualifier; won K&N Horsepower Challenge.

2012 – Won four races and became the first female to win an NHRA Pro Stock race; one of the two women to claim wins at the same event in Seattle; two time No. 1 qualifier; finished fourth in points.

2011 – Scored three runner up finishes; two time No. 1 qualifier; won the fan vote for the K&N Horsepower Challenge.

2006 – Earned first career No. 1 qualifier; scored 10 round wins.

2005 – First female to reach a final round in Pro Stock; won eight rounds in her rookie season.

Follow Erica: @erica_enders on Twitter, Erica Enders Racing on Facebook, eestevens430 on Instagram

Some Things Most People Don’t Know About Erica: Actually most people do know that Erica was the subject of the Disney movie Right on Track, a movie that focused on the challenges and triumphs of females in male dominated sports. Erica and her sister Courtney did all of the “stunt” driving for the movie and were on set for the entire six weeks of filming. She still has fans coming to the pits to this day telling her they saw the movie as it still airs on Disney Channel.

Hey Ya’ll, Watch This!

Eddie Krawiec was the winner in Pro Stock Motorcycle last weekend in Norwalk, but he had a few anxious moments in both the semifinal and final rounds. Watch what happens to Krawiec at the end of his run in this clip. In both rounds, brake issues flared up an Krawiec was forced into the gravel pit to get the bike stopped. He also used a generous helping of his Flintstone brake on this run.

Word of the Week: Pro Tree

You might notice that the Christmas Tree is lit up different ways for different classes. For the heads-up classes of Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle, Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, Super Comp and Super Gas, all three of the amber lights on the tree are lit simultaneously, followed four-tenths of a second later by the green starting light. This is called a Pro Tree. The goal is a perfect reaction time of .000. Drivers will actually “go on yellow” to try to hit this sweet spot.

NHRA on TV:

ProgramDate/TimeChannel
AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS
QualifyingFriday, November 10, 6:30 PM ETFS1 (Live)
QualifyingSaturday, November 11, 6:00 PM ETFS1 (Live)
EliminationsSunday, November 12, 4:00 PM ETFS1 (Live)
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About Toni Montgomery

Toni Montgomery
A writer for Frontstretch since 2002, and editor since 2006, Toni heads up the NHRA coverage for the site. She’s responsible for post-race coverage in the weekly Pace Laps multi-series round-up along with the weekly Nitro Shots column featuring news and features from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. An award-winning former writer for the Presbyterian Church, Toni works in web design and freelances with writing in North Carolina.

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