E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Finals Delayed by Rain
The Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals saw the popular E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod division kick off its 2020 season with an open test session on Friday at the Indianapolis track. As part of the National Hot Rod Association’s “New Normal”, drivers and teams who did not compete in last weekend’s nationals sponsored by E3, which included Pro Mod, Factory Stock, and Top Fuel Harley Motorcycles, were allowed to test equipment on-track for the first time this year. Originally scheduled for debut in Gainesville FL at the Gatornationals in March, a last-minute delay was issued by the sanctioning body when state agencies directed the event to be postponed due to the pandemic. NHRA officials followed the guidelines set forth by Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, and postponed a portion of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Nationals due to worry about worsening conditions from COVID-19.
Sportsman racing was contested at the 51st annual running of the Gatornationals but without ticketed spectators in attendance. Sportsman categories for Comp, Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, and Super Gas as well as Top Dragster presented by and Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers were contested on Thursday (see Competition Plus Magazine online for results). Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle, E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod, Factory Stock Showdown, Top Alcohol Dragster, and Top Alcohol Funny Car were postponed until the tentative date in June. After much discussion with teams, track officials and promoters, the NHRA originally announced tentative plans to resume action for all major classes at Gainesville Raceway on June 5-7, 2020. However, the uncertainty caused by the spread of the coronavirus in Florida, again forced NHRA officials to postpone the Gatornationals until September 25-27.
When you combine the long layoff with temperatures in the 90s at Lucas Oil Raceway, the return of the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod division to staging produced some exciting moments on Friday. Jeffrey Baker spun his nitrous-assisted Baharin 1 Camaro during an early burnout taking out a track camera and barely missing the starting tree. Back in action behind the wheel of the Jerry Bickel-built Camaro, doorslammer legend Jason Scruggs was fast right off the trailer and qualified for the Pro Mod finals on Sunday before the rain delay. The cotton-farmer from Tupelo MS will line up next to Chad Greene’s Bond-Coat Corvette when the Pro Mod final round continues prior to the NHRA Indy Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway on Aug. 3-6. Either Greene or Scruggs will become a first-time winner in E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod division, as Richie Smith, Bo Butner, Mike Castellana, Mike Janis and Todd Tutterow were among the favorites eliminated in earlier rounds.