“Crazy Fast” Pro Mods at Mission

Mission Raceway held it’s annual Pro Mod event feature last weekend.   The event which was run out in an “Outlaw” format included some remarkable (260+ mph!) terminal speeds by California’s Mike Maggio – the event winner…

It’s a  year of transition in Western Pro Mod racing, as the political fracturing wihin the West Coast Pro Mod Association last year resulted in very few racers and events on their schedule this year, and the operators of Mission Raceway Park, following a very disappointing Pro Mod event last year, decided to bring in the West Coast Outlaw Pro Mod Association, primarily based in California and Arizona, for the big annual door car bash. 

The distance to Canada and the costs involved in travel resulted in only three of the WCOPMA teams making it, but thankfully, there were five B.C. and Alberta cars on hand, making for an eight-car show. 

Mike Maggio used big top end speeds to win at Mission -- he beat Canada's Joe Delehay in the final

The purist, this writer included, might question an Outlaw car with no restrictions in weight, cubic inches or blower specs being called a Pro Mod, as there is no common standard on which to base performance, as there is with, say, an NHRA-spec car like the five Canadian cars were. In theory, these Outlaw cars should be deep in the fives at over 250 mph every run on a decent track, and one of them, Mike Maggio from San Dimas, California, followed the script in his ’70 Camaro that had run 5.70s at Las Vegas.  

After running two unofficial high-250s in Friday testing, hopes were high heading into the weekend, and he served notice with a 5.82 at 253 to lead qualifying ahead of fellow Californians Dan Nickelson and Rod Burbage, with Jay Syvertsen leading the Canadian contingent in his all-new RH Racecars ’57 Chevy with a 6.33. 

Also debuting a new RH car, a ’70 Camaro, was veteran Trevor Lowe, and things didn’t go well, as, in the second qualifier, he got way out of shape and saved it a few times and threw the chutes, and as he hit the brakes, an oil line broke and spewed the slippery stuff both on the windshield and under the tires. Into the wall he went at 1,000 feet, head-on at a reported 70 mph, and the car was too damaged to continue, although apparently repairable.


Trevor Lowe debuted his stunning new RH Race Cars '70 Camaro at Mission but unfortunately collected the guardwall during weekend action

Sunday turned out to be the hottest day of the year (32 degrees C but little humidity) at Mission with “average” corrected altitude somewhere in the 2,000-plus foot range, but for Maggio, it was only warm and the altitude was low compared to what he is used to. He took advantage of his first-round single (with Lowe out) to dial down the ET and crank up the speed, and the result was the latest in a long list of Mission firsts, the fastest run ever by a door car of any kind, 261.09 mph at a mere 5.90. The other two Outlaws lost in the first round, Burbage with a .004 foul, and Nickelson head-first into the opposite-side wall at 200 feet after blowing the tires off his Viper.

That set up the race everyone wanted to see, the quickest Outlaw versus the quickest “legal” Pro Mod, the only Western car with a five-second time slip, Joe Delehay. The Albertan had been fighting issues with the burst panel, running a good 1,100-foot 6.18/223 in Round One, so another five was definitely in the plans and he was loaded for bear, which Maggio certainly is. Both drivers pedaled on the hot track, though, Delehay clicking it to a 10.11 while Maggio got it settled down for a 6.19 at “only” 255. The other semi saw Edmonton’s Wade Sjostrom run his third pass in the 6.60s to take care of Dwayne Grosart, still coming to grips with his new Brad Anderson engine. 

B.C.'s Jay Syvertsen ran his new RH Racecars '57 Chevy last weekend

In the final, Maggio was obviously the prohibitive favourite, and he again went for conservative ET (5.94) on the hot but well-prepared track, but ran it out the back door with a 261.02 to back up the previous 261.09. Sjostrom had issues and shut it down early. 

Was the WCOPMA experiment at Mission a successful one that should be repeated? Certainly, more cars coming up from the U.S. would be nice, but the performance of the three that made it was crowd-pleasing, and the five Canadians put on their usual good show. By the sounds of it, there is a new racing association brewing, which should become more clear at the $30,000 Pro Mod race at Edmonton on Labour Day weekend, and one might assume that the cars in such a group will be more to the “Outlaw” side than the “NHRA legal” side. With the right management and promotion, it should be a winner. 

We’ll have to wait and see on all that. One can assume, though, that Mike Maggio went home from Mission a happy racer, running speeds that most TAFCs can’t approach and winning the race.

Photos and Posting by:  Gerry Frechette