NHRA’s 2nd Pro Modified event of the season was an exciting affair — but for some of the wrong reasons!
The event which was the second of ten season stops for Pro Mod cars in NHRA, was held during NHRA’s Springnationals race at Royal Purple Raceway east of Houston. Racing was pretty ferocious, it was a crash marred affair that included some serious incidents including even the final round!
Colorado’s Steven Whiteley emerged victorious for the first time in his career and was declared the event winner despite not making it to the finish line in the championship final round. That was because his opponent – 2014 World Champion Rickie Smith — lost control of his machine and collected both guard walls immediately in front of Whitely (narrowly missing him) which forced him to stop on the track.
Whiteley shut off his J&A Service/Y-NOT Racing ’69 Chevrolet Chevelle and hit the brakes shortly after leaving the starting line while Smith’s errant late model IDG Chevy Camaro was disqualified after it shook and made an immediate right turn to cross into the right lane right in front of him. Smith hit the right wall before turning back across the lanes to also hit the left wall.
Prior to that, Whitely, who had qualified #16 (at 5.941 secs) had upset Pete Farber, Shane Molinari and Troy Coughlin in earlier rounds of Pro Mod class action.
The event included some other incidents during Pro Mod class qualifying involving racers Jonathan Gray and Sidnei Frigo. Gray was forced to withdraw from class competition after Friday’s first session when his Harry Hruska-owned Precision Turbo-sponsored late model Camaro clipped the guard wall on the top end hard after an apparent rear tire failure. Thankfully the New Mexico-based Pro Mod rookie class driver was not injured in that incident, however his impressive qualifying run of 5.868 secs was nullified.
Then later that day, Sidnei Frigo, 44, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, was involved in a much more serious incident when his turbocharged Corvette went out of control on the top end – flipped over the guard wall and rolling several times, Sidnei was airlifted by helicopter to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston after the second round qualifying incident. Reports later confirmed that he had suffered a broken left arm and had corrective surgery on the arm Saturday, April 30. Thankfully his prognosis is for a full recovery – however his C7 Corvette was destroyed in the very frightening incident.
You can view the YouTube footage of Sidnei’s thing : HERE
Rickie Smith was the quickest of 29 cars entered for the Houston event – dashing to a super 5.779 secs which was the low qualifying effort and low ET for the class.
Troy Coughlin, racing his Jeg-sponsored C7 set top speed for the meet while qualifying #2 with an astounding 255.92 mph terminal speed.
Posted by Bruce Biegler
DragRaceCanada file photos