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Danny's Corner

First Contact: Pro Mods Invade Arkansas!

by Danny White (3/28/99)

Carl Blanton's American Drag News Magazine in conjunction with Prescott Raceway held the first ever Pro Modified race in the state of Arkansas. The opening race of the A.D.N. Bracket Series was the Razorback Nationals with the unlimited Pro Mods as the feature stars. The field was to be an eight-car qualified field but when only four survived Saturday qualifying, the format was changed slightly. The cars were paired off and the winners of the two first round races came back for the final with the losers facing off to decide third and fourth place.

The track at Prescott has been host to fast bracket cars, but not to the power and caliper of machinery Pro Mods represent. The Northwestern Arkansas blown Super Pro Corvette of Ken Jordan at 4.99 had held the track record. The record soon fell in the first round of qualifying with Nathan Martin in the Stove Parts 97 Firebird running a very crossed up 4.71 shut off pass that was only run on the first stage of nitrous. The record was busted again by Cushing, Oklahoma's very own Jason Davis in his and his father's all-red '97 Monte Carlo with Davis' best ever run of 4.50. J.R. Sandlin had trouble getting down the track with 5.20's in the ex-Chuck Peterson blown 1970 Chevelle he calls the Bad Attitude. Sandlin left his mark though with a full track burnout to give the fans something to remember. The run that floored everybody was when Gaylen Smith's Texas Bounty Hunter showed late Saturday night. Smith laid down the run of the weekend after the Saturday program was over in the blown BAE 1995 Camaro with a pedaling 4.36 to take the record away from Davis.

The first round Sunday had the two blown cars racing each other and the nitrous cars racing one another to ensure a blown vs. nitrous final. The blown cars laid down solid burnouts with Sandlin staging first. Smith came in seconds later. Smith was on a super run with a 1.03 sixty foot time while Sandlin was off pace. However, Smith's car threw the blower belt at the 200 foot mark letting Sandlin by for the win. The Bad Attitude car almost lost when at the 400 foot mark the car broke loose and blacktracked nearly crossing the center line. Sandlin's time was a 5.23, 145.23, to Smith's coasting 7.61, 55.48. Smith said the car was on another good run that would have been better than the Saturday night run.

The second pairing had the two late model nitrous cars facing off with Davis vs. Martin. The race was almost anticlimactic when Davis's reverser broke and he had to be pushed back to the starting line by his and J.R. Sandlin's crew members. The cars left together with a super 1.02 short time for Martin and a 1.04 for Davis. The two were neck and neck until Martin got severely crossed up, forcing him to shut off and giving Davis get the win. Davis ran his best ever time in the beautiful Monte Carlo with a 4.48, 160.75, to Martin's good 4.71, 127.85, coaster in the colorful purple and yellow Firebird. Martin's weekend was not without high points -- he set low elapsed time in Top Eliminator with a 4.62 in his personally-built Cameron Race Cars soft tail dragster.

The final between Jason Davis and J.R. Sandlin was not meant to be as rain halted racing for another day. We hope the track owners will try to get the Pro Mods to run again with Carl Blanton's American Drag News Series, but nothing is concrete as of now. The next stop for the A.D.N. series is at the Stephens' family Paris Drag Strip with the first annual Lone Star Challenge in a couple of weeks.

Danny White
ddgw@valornet.com

 

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