NHRA’s J&A Services Pro Modified class racing during the Carolina Nationals featured a final round battle between two native Canadians…
Danny Rowe, who now lives in California but is originally from Calgary Alberta, scored his 5th career national event win at the pinnicale NHRA Pro Mod racing level when he defeated Ontario’s Eric Latino in a truly impressive final round battle.
Rowe, who had introduced his brand new supercharged Agave Underground Tequila Corvette C7 into competition at Indianapolis, put that machine to good use by powering past the competition from the No. 2 qualifying position. Prior to meeting Latino, he had outran Dan Stevenson, Jim Whiteley and Steven Whiteley.
In the final, he gained a slight starting line advantage before sprinting to a winning 5.941 seconds at 245.09 mph. Latino trailed just barely, with a 5.950 at 244.92 in his ’69 Camaro.
With the victory, Rowe moved to seventh in the points standings, 107 back of series leader Mike Janis, who was defeated in the opening round of eliminations. Janis is followed in points by Troy Coughlin and Billy Glidden.
For Eric Latino (from Port Perry) the final round appearance marked his best showing to date in NHRA Pro Mod competition. After qualifying #12 (5.939 secs) Eric’s Quality Plus Compressors/GESI supercharged Camaro was arguably the most consistent of all the Pro Mod cars through eliminations. That included consecutive runs of 5.936 – 5.929 – 5.941 secs while taking the measures of Troy Coughlin Jr, Troy Coughlin Sr. and event low qualifier Khalid alBalooshi (5.859 secs) in earlier competition.
Ohio’s Troy Coughlin provided the event’s most harrowing moment when while racing against Latino in the second round had his Jegs Mail Order turbocharged Corvette C7 catch fire like a fuel Funny Car on the top end.
Thankfully Troy combined some expert driving with some fast response from NHRA’s Safety Safari to escape the incident without injury. Regrettably his awesome machine suffered significant damage however.
“We were a little more spectacular than we wanted,” Coughlin said. “It was on a good run but then it kinda laid over and caught on fire. You could see the whole engine compartment on top on fire, but I kept my foot in it a little bit further. I could see him (Eric) starting to go around me a little bit, but I let off, got on the chutes, and pulled the fire bottles.”
“I got it stopped over toward the wall — because the last thing you want to do is tear the track up or tear the car up,” he added. “We’re trying to assess things but we’ve probably got $200,000 worth of damage that we’ve got to get fixed up. We’ll work on it. We’re not done, for sure.”
The NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series continues next weekend Sept. 25-27th with the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.
Posted by Bruce Biegler
Photos by Roger Richards