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Danny's Corner

Big Fun on the Bayou

Pro Mods in Shreveport!

by Danny White (9/6/98)

The new Red River Raceway in Gilliam, Louisiana, held its Days Of Thunder Pro Mod race over the Labor Day weekend with $10,000 up for grabs. The race was supposed to feature a 16-car field but only seven showed to race. Factors keeping the field down were broken cars from a Texas Quick 8 Association race Friday night in Sealy, Texas, and several IHRA racers saving their parts and travel time for the IHRA race in Epping, New Hampshire. The other factor was IHRA legal Pro Modified rules restriction, legal keeping many "anything goes" racers from the Texas Quick 8 Association and from the Deep South at home in their trailers.

The final qualifying order saw Gary Shearer from LaPorte, Iowa, taking the pole position in his 1966 Corvette. Shearer set a new track E.T. record with a super 6.520, 209.85 on the final pass in qualifying. In second place was Mansfield, Texas, standout Landon Jordan with a 6.581, 212.83. The 212.83 mph pass gave Jordan's Tommy Mauney-built "The Kid" '63 Corvette the new track speed record. The unique EFI Pontiac powered '68 Barracuda of Billy Harper from Paducah, Kentucky, motored to a good 6.656, 206.92 for third. The Torrance Racing '94 Grand Am with Charles Wooten driving ran its best ever time for fourth. A 7.027, 198.77 just missed the six-second zone and the double century mark.

Shreveport-based Mike Steele took the fifth spot in his Outlaw Pro Street Firebird sponsored by Snapper. The all red Firebird ran a best of 7.388, 191.38 on slicks as opposed to the treaded tires he usually runs. Steele's run was one of his best ever, but Steele hurt the engine in doing so  --  he was out for the rest of the weekend. The number sixth qualifier was the Timmer Chevrolet '94 Camaro of Jerry Hicks with a troubled 7.886, 194.35 pass. Hicks was returning to racing after an early year accident and had trouble all weekend long. Hicks did get down the track in an early Sunday test run, a good 7.110, 201.04 showed promise. In the final qualifying spot was Matt Tolbert in his Austin, Texas-based Global Engineering 1987 Camaro at an off pace 8.647, 166.09.

The first round opened with Wooten running a solo pass when Mike Steele could not show. Charles ran a problemed 8.265, 159.89 resulting in an engine failure that put him out for the rest of the day. The second race had Billy Harper facing off against Jerry Hicks. Hicks redlighted his chances away while Harper ran a consistent 6.642, 206.86. Hicks added insult to injury by crossing the centerline in his ex-Ed Burnley, ex-Landon Jordan Camaro. Landon "The Kid" Jordan defeated Matt Tolbert, the Corvette's 6.620, 210.83 defeating the small block Camaro's improving but far behind 8.449, 160.10. The final run of the first round saw Shearer take a solo pass of 6.582, 202.58 in the Shearer & Roberts '66 Corvette.

The semi finals had Billy Harper beating Landon Jordan off the line and covering him from start to finish with a super 6.604, 207.53 to a piston-burning 6.834, 202. The final race of the semi finals had Shearer take another solo when Wooten could not make it. Shearer ran another super run of 6.584, 210.69 to take lane choice over Harper.

The final race was a close match up on paper based on Shearer's Sunday best of 6.58 and Harper's best of 6.60. Shearer, winner of the Summer Nationals at Cordova, was considered the favorite because all his runs had been in the 6.50s over two days. The race was a nail biter as Harper and Shearer left and stayed side by side. As they got near the finish line, Shearer got crossed up and was disqualified when he ran over the clocks with a 6.873, 168.35 while Harper ran a 6.618, 195.93 to win the $10,000 winner's check.

Red River Raceway should be commended for gambling the big dollars to put on the Days Of Thunder Pro Mod event. More luck with scheduling and perhaps a format change will provide this event the full field of cars it deserves.

Danny White


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