CONCORD, NC – April 27, 2018 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Months of work and off-season testing paid off in a major way for Jim Whiteley last weekend and the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service veteran is hoping to parlay that into more success this weekend.
Whiteley earned his second career NHRA Pro Mod victory in Houston, seeing an impressive breakthrough after an intense amount of work. That has Whiteley excited for the event which takes place as part of this weekend’s NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway. It will mark the second year the class will race in the four-wide set-up, something Whiteley enjoyed in his J&A Service/Y-Not Racing Yenko Camaro a year ago.
“It’s more fun than all get out, especially if you can get in the car and get the starting line deal worked out,” said Whiteley, who is currently second in points behind three-time world champion Rickie Smith. “For sure we all enjoyed it, and I think the general consensus was it worked real well, and everyone in the class went in there and got it done, no problem. I know we enjoyed it and had a lot of fun, and we’re looking forward to this weekend.”
The race, which is presented by Al-Anabi Performance, is the third of 12 events during the 2018 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service season and will be shown on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and Fox Sports 2 (FS2). Mike Castellana is the defending event winner, but Whiteley certainly heads to Charlotte with plenty of momentum.
He knocked off an impressive list of drivers en route to the win in Houston, including Castellana, who had two wins in 2017, former world champion Khalid alBalooshi, Stevie “Fast” Jackson, who also won two races last season, and Rick Hord in the final round. Whiteley was impressive on the starting line, but the former two-time Top Alcohol Dragster champion was simply glad to see all the extensive work from the off-season pay off.
“This was huge and we kind of went in a different direction than Steven (Whiteley, Jim’s son who also races in the class),” Jim Whiteley said. “Pretty much everything about our car is different. It’s taken a lot of hard work and we’ve tested our butts off. But everybody has worked their butts off and the win was extremely meaningful. We’ve certainly put in our share of time, and at times it’s easy to get discouraged, so the efforts have paid dividends and we’re excited.”
But success one week in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service class doesn’t guarantee much for the next week, especially with a class this loaded on talent. A total of 35 cars will face off at zMAX Dragway, marking the second time in three races this season that more than 30 cars have competed in an event, and Whiteley is well aware of the challenge that presents. But more than anything, Whiteley knows it also speaks highly of the class, which continues to boast impressive progress and standout racing at every event, something that will again be apparent racing four-wide this weekend in Charlotte.
“There’s a lot of good cars on the racetrack and it’s a huge deal to see it all evolve,” Whiteley said. “This class has gotten to be as much desired by the spectator as any of them. All of these drivers know how to go fast and they’re all capable of doing something real special. When NHRA gave us a fourth qualifier (this year) and now we’re racing on Sunday, it sent the mindset to all the racers that this class is the real McCoy.”
Featuring the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer race cars, the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service 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.
E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service qualifying begins Friday, April 27 with two qualifying session at 3:45 and 6:15 p.m., continuing with the final two qualifying session on Saturday, April 28 at 3:15 and 5:15 p.m. Round one of eliminations takes place on Sunday, April 29 at 12:55 p.m.
To purchase general admission or reserved seats for the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, please visit www.zMAXDragway.com or call the box office at (800) 455-FANS (3267). Tickets for children 13 and under are free with any paid adult ticket. For more information about NHRA, please visit www.NHRA.com.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, and E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. 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 program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; 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