Two of Western Canada’s most promising turbocharged Pro Mod teams were in test mode last weekend in Florida…..
The all new Pontiac Firebird – expertly built by central BC’s RH Racecars and the rekindled Ford Mustang for JB Power Centre patriarch Jim Bell (from Edmonton) were entered for competition at the RPM event held at IHRA sanctioned Palm Beach International Raceway.
For both cars, which feature Pro-Line racing engine programs, the end results were both promising and mixed.
In it’s first ever competition Shane Molinari (who is from Washington state) got the stunning new RH Racecars team car into the 16-car program on the bump with a 6.220 secs qualifier – before losing out in round one. (In post event testing however the car subsequently ran extremely well hitting a 5.82 secs at 252 mph!)
Jim Bell initially did not qualify – but was inserted back into the program for a consolation race which afforded him the opportunity to race alongside fellow turbo Mustang racer Michael Biehle. Bell was behind the wheel of his Ford Mustang which has been rebuilt following it’s violent crash back at Rockingham in 2014 and which is now tuned by Brad Personett.
Bell then had a top end incident when (according to observers) one of the parachutes appeared to malfunction while deploying. That resulted in the Mustang making contact with the left side guard wall and spinning out. Most importantly – Jim was not injured, avoided contact with Biehle, and the car’s damage is reportedly not too extensive.
The season opening event for the independent RPM Pro Mod circuit was won by Colorado’s Steven Whitely driving his supercharged YNot Racing Cadillac. Whitely won from the #3 qualifying position (5.780 secs) and his win came over very swift field — with the top 5 qualifiers all in the 5.7 secs zone!
Post by Bruce Biegler
Photos by Bryan Epps (BME Photography)