CHARLOTTE, NC – September 15, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – As a veteran of the class, Steve Matusek loves the impressive depth and talent in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. But Matusek also saw first-hand the result of that much talent in a racing weekend when things don’t go as planned.
Matusek could not get on track at the most recent race in Indy, failing to qualify for the first time this season against a field that once again topped 30 cars. Getting a chance at redemption comes soon, as Matusek and the rest of the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series competes as part of this weekend’s ninth annual NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing is presented by The Real Pro Mod Association.
Matusek and his Agave Underground Chevrolet Camaro are part of a field that includes 31 cars, meaning another challenging weekend awaits.
“Of the 31 cars at Charlotte I would say probably 29 of them have a legit chance of winning the race,” Matusek said. “It makes you dig down but I tell you what, I love it. I would much rather have it this way where every qualifying round means something. Even though there’s a lot of pressure, there’s a lot of camaraderie in the points. We’re all doing it because we love it and it’s just a really unique class.”
This weekend’s race, which will air on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and FOX Sports 2 (FS2), is the eighth 10 events in 2016 in the NHRA Pro Mod class. Two-time world champion Rickie Smith is the current points leader, with Troy Coughlin sitting 87 points back heading into the final three events of the year.
Matusek’s teammate, Danny Rowe, is the defending winner of the event. That gives Matusek good vibes heading into the weekend despite the recent struggles in Indy.
“We have some good experience at this race track,” Matusek said. “(Crew chief) Jimmy (Rector) is coming back with a vengeance this weekend and we’re going to be very aggressive. That’s going to go one of two ways.”
Matusek hopes it is the opposite of what happened in Indy, where a series of issues led to him qualifying 17th and missing eliminations in what ended up being the quickest field in NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series history. It was a stark contrast to Matusek’s early-season success that included two semifinal berths and had him sitting as high as third in points.
The Indy struggles dropped him to sixth, but that hasn’t dimmed Matusek’s outlook for what his team can accomplish this weekend in Charlotte as he searches for his first career NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series victory.
“I’m very excited to get back in the car but the margin for error is very slim in this class,” Matusek said. “There are a lot of quality cars. But we feel like we have a good race car. We stumbled in Indy and a couple things that could have gone our direction didn’t. But we’re very confident. We’re going out there swinging and hopefully we can qualify well, go rounds and win. To do that in a class like this would be very rewarding.”
Featuring the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer race cars, the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series offers something for every kind of hot-rodding enthusiast. The class is highlighted by historic muscle cars, like ’67 Mustangs, ’68 Firebirds and ’69 Camaros, as well as a variety of late model American muscle cars. With more than 3,000 horsepower, the suspended door pro mod cars travel the quarter-mile in less than six seconds at speeds exceeding 250 mph.
NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, September 16 with qualifying sessions at 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., continuing with the final qualifying session on Saturday, September 17 at 12:15 p.m. Round one of eliminations is slated for Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-455-FANS (3267). Tickets also are available online at www.zmaxdragway.com. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES FACT SHEET: NHRA CAROLINA NATIONALS
WHAT: Ninth annual NHRA Carolina Nationals, the eighth of 10 events in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Series. The race will also showcase the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
WHERE: zMAX Dragway- Track is located on Hwy 29 off I-85 at exit 49 (Speedway Blvd.) in the Concord, N.C. area.
COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 630 feet above sea level.
WHEN: Friday through Sunday, Sept. 16-18
FRIDAY, Sept. 16 – NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 2:30 and 5 p.m.
SATURDAY, Sept. 17 – NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 12:15 p.m.; first round of eliminations at 2:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, Sept. 18 – Pre-race ceremonies, 11 a.m.
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES eliminations continue at 1: 35 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 6, FS2 will televise 30 minutes of coverage at 10 p.m. (ET).
PAST WINNER: Danny Rowe, 2015; Troy Coughlin, 2014; Von Smith, 2013; Leah Pritchett, 2012; Leah Pritchett, 2011; Melanie Troxel, 2010.
TRACK RECORDS: 5.815 sec. by Melanie Troxel, Sept. ’11; 256.55 mph by Troxel, Sept. ’11.
NATIONAL RECORDS: 5.751 sec. by Jonathan Gray, March ’16, Gainesville, Fla.; 258.71 mph by Melanie Troxel, June. ’11, Englishtown, N.J.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 455-FANS. Tickets also are available online at www.zmaxdragway.com.
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS
GLENDORA, CA — Point standings (top 10) following the seventh of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
1. Rickie Smith, 571; 2. Troy Coughlin, 484; 3. Bob Rahaim, 421; 4. Von Smith, 358; 5. Michael Biehle, 354; 6. Steve Matusek, 345; 7. Bill Glidden, 339; 8. Mike Castellana, 288; 9. Khalid alBalooshi, 276; 10. Danny Rowe, 265.
About National Hot Rod Association
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 23 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association