One of drag racing’s most durable drivers – Mike Castellana — is a first time Indy winner….

Pro Mod veteran Mike Castellana scored his first career victory at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals event (and 10th NHRA title overall) when he slippped past Rickie Smith on a holeshot in the final round for E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion presented by J&A Service.

The series was presented by Hot Wheels in Indy and marked the ninth of 12 races in 2019.

Mike Castellana’s 10th career NHRA win was the biggest win of his career!

For Castellana, it was his first Indy triumph after finishing as the runner-up two previous times. He went 5.758-seconds at 248.43 mph in the finals in his blown Al-Anabi Performance Camaro, beating Smith’s 5.747 at 250.83 by a mere 17 inches thanks to a better reaction time. It is Castellana’s second win in 2019 and 10th in his E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Series career.

“I just go up there and do my own thing and to try to win,” Castellana said. “It was pretty close at the finish line. I knew it was tight. It feels great to win this, especially for my team. They work their butts off all weekend, so it’s great.”

Castellana, who qualified second with a 5.751 at 248.93, picked up round wins against Sidnei Frigo, Doug Winters and AAP teammate Brandon Snider to reach the final round.

Rickie Smith was the event runner-up and pole qualifier.

Smith, a three-time world champ and the No. 1 qualifier this weekend, advanced to his 23rd career final round thanks to round wins against Eric Latino, Khalid AlBalooshi and defending world champ Mike Janis.

The event at Indy was a swift and time field for sure – with the 16-car field spread out between pole qualifier Smith’s time of 5.717 secs and the bump spot being held by Canada’s Eric Latino at 5.819 secs.

Kahalid alBalooshi – racing his Bahrain 1 Racing turbocharged Camaro — mastered top speed of the event at 255.19 mph.

Canada’s Eric Latino qualified on the bump spot with his fast evolving GESI Camaro.

Chad Green Hospitalized

Pro Mod class racing at Indy did include the event’s most harrowing moment overall.

During the first pair of the final qualifying session on Sunday evening – Chad Green (from Texas) had a very wild high-speed crash which saw his nitrous injected late model Camaro cross lanes get airborne, flip over and then land back on its wheels.

The impact from the incident resulted in Chad being transported by ambulance to Indiana University Methodist Hospital where he later underwent surgery to address an upper back injury.

Scott Okas — who recently collected that $100G first place win from Drag Illustrated at Denver — qualified at Indy but lost out in round #1

Both Bob Rahaim and Khalid alBalooshi qualified deep at Indy. KAB (near lane) set top speed of the event at 255.19 mph.

Brandon Scheider had another strong NHRA race going to the semi-final round in his supercharged C7

Defending World Champ Mike Janis debuted a new Camaro – qualified #4 and went to the “final 4”.

The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service continues at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Sept. 27-29 in St. Louis. It is the 10th of 12 races during the 2019 season.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications and Bruce Biegler
Photos by Bruce Biegler & Steve Embling

To view additional Pro Mod class images from Indy link to the LMLCMedia gallery presentation: HERE