Gonzalez Wins E3 Pro Mod at Mile High Nationals
The E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service made its first-ever appearance at Thunder on the Mountain outside Denver in the fifth event of its 2021 NHRA season. Year after year, Bandimere Speedway hosts one of the National Hot Rod Association's most thrilling races of that season. With driver’s having to squeeze every ounce of power out of the motors at an elevation that is more than a mile high, the altitude affects everything in a very unique way. Generally speaking, an engine loses three percent (3%) of its rated power for every 1,000 feet of altitude gained, which has crews scrambling to find the right engine tuning and aerodynamics to deliver the most horsepower to the track with over a 15% deficit.
Everyone expected the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod division would have a thrilling debut at Bandimere Speedway for the NHRA Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals, and Saturday’s qualifying rounds did not disappoint. Rookie Pro Mod driver J.R. Gray Jr., who is actually a standout grudge racing superstar, lost control of his Gray Contracting supercharged Camaro as he attempted his first timed run of the weekend. Nearing the finish line at over 230 mph, Gray’s Camaro drifted toward the centerline before making a hard righthand turn into the outside retaining wall. Thankfully, Denver has plenty of hills and the Bandimere track design includes an uphill runoff area. Sliding along on his roof, the Pro Mod rookie came to a stop and exited the vehicle under his own power with only damage to his pride; and owner Mike Janis’s racecar. Janis praised Wally Stroupe and SRC Motorsports for building safe Pro Mod cars for his team to drive.
With J.R. Gray Jr. a scratch on Sunday, Jose Gonzalez inherited a two-round bye entering the elimination rounds. Then, Gonzalez had to rely on a .015 reaction time for a holeshot beat out a faster (236.09 mph) Brandon Snider in the semifinals. Snider had eliminated Number One qualifier Justin Bond in the quarterfinals. Stevie “Fast” Jackson worked his way past Robert Costa and Jim Whiteley enroute to the Pro Mod final round against Gonzalez. Jackson nailed a .016 RT to Jose’s .049 reaction time, but Gonzalez relied on his ProCharger-powered Q80 Racing/EGR Racing Camaro to beat Jackson to the line with 5.972 ET to Jackson’s 6.040 elapsed time. Gonzalez was the only Pro Mod driver to make a five-second run on Sunday. Capped off by the quickest run of the weekend in the final round, the victory gave Dominican born Gonzalez his fifth career win and allowed the doorslammer veteran to extend his 2021 points lead in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod division.
Photo courtesy of Facebook video
Lucas Oil NHRA Brainerd Nationals
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service returns to action Aug. 18-22 as part of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway at Brainerd, MN.