Mike Janis Claims the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Title
Coming into Round 12 of the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series, two of the sports legendary drivers and crew chiefs were set to do battle for the 2018 Pro Mod Championship at The Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Each represent decades of participation in the sport and both with a clear understanding of what it takes (and what it means) to finish atop a championship season in NHRA. Less than a week before the series started at the Gatornationals, North Carolina native Rickie Smith received a sponsorship call from the Bahrain 1 Racing Pro Mod contingent to join the team. Mike Janis on the other hand was already set to crawl behind the wheel of the Mike Janis Superchargers/AAP 1969 Camaro. At the time, neither knew that it would come down to the NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip in Las Vegas.
The 2018 Pro Mod season for both drivers was as different as the cars they drive. Rickie Smith's Bahrain 1 Chevy Camaro relied on nitrous oxide as a power source to score three victories on the year at Gainesville, Topeka, and Norwalk. Mike Janis scored a single Pro Mod victory at the Virginia Nationals in Richmond, but his supercharged '69 Camaro posted the most consistent finishes of the season suffering just one first-round loss to Smith's four. Though Smith had dominated the class in 2016, both drivers were coming off forgettable 2017 campaigns, where Smith competed in 8 of twelve events following back surgery and Janis failed to qualify at 5 of the twelve races.
Qualifying went all Janis's way as the New York native posted the fifth fastest time giving the veteran a 27-point lead over Smith going into Sunday's elimination rounds. The season-ending scenario had Smith needing to win two more rounds than Janis to claim the 2018 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing series. With all the cards stacked in his favor, Janis promptly lost in Round One with 5.78 ET to Mark Caruso's 5.76 ET. The title certainly appeared in jeopardy when Smith pulled the holeshot to eliminate the "Carolina King" of Dallas winner Jeremy Ray. However, NHRA Carolina Nationals winner Rick Hord defeated Smith in Round Two, handing the championship to Janis.
As the smoke cleared, it was a great 2018 season for the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing series presented by J&A Service. Race fans love the "run what you brung" attitude of the doorslammer class that features 3,000 horsepower supercharged and nitrous burning power plants. E3 Spark Plugs thanks all the participants, families, teams and sponsors that made this year special. Follow E3 Spark Plugs blog posts and RPM: Real Pro Mod for details about 2019. See you at the track.
Photo courtesy of RPM: Real Pro Mod
Featuring the world’s fastest and most exotic doorslammer racecars, the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service offers something for every kind of drag racing fan. 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. Visit Real Pro Mod online to learn more.