Next Pro Mod Era Debuts

Pro Modified class racing  kicked off it’s new era for NHRA following an important off-season reorganization of both format and racer organization.  But the first final round for it’s newest venture featured two very wily class veterans…

Mike Castellana outran defending series champ Rickie Smith in the final round to win the Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals held at Gainesville.   That was the conclusion to the first event for the circuit which is now self driven and self sponsored by the newly formed (RPM) Real Pro Mod Association.

Castellana’s Al-Anabi Racing Camaro powered to a performance of 5.865 seconds at 244.52 mph to hold off Smith’s nitrous-injected IDG Camaro, which trailed with a 5.890 at 245.72. It was the Muttontown N.Y. native’s fifth career victory and first at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville.

The Pro Mod final at Gainesville featured two wily veterans with Mike Castellana (near lane) taking the measure of Rickie Smith.

The Pro Mod final at Gainesville featured two wily veterans with Mike Castellana (near lane) taking the measure of Rickie Smith.

Castellana was consistent in his four runs, taking out Todd Tutterow, Steven Whiteley and Raymond Commisso before facing off against Smith.

Smith, the No. 5 qualifier in his IDG ‘12 Chevy Camaro, was looking for his second victory at Gainesville, having defeated Castellana in the final here two years prior. The father of two-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Matt Smith who had previously announced his retirement following the 2013 season campaign, had defeated  Kevin Fiscus, Troy Coughlin and No. 1 qualifier Danny Rowe on the way to the final.

The Gainesville race was a super solid affair with no less then 27 cars attempting to crack the elite 16-car field.  That bump spot was a very swift 5.959 secs.

Transplanted Canadian and now California resident Danny Rowe was the performance star of the race recording low ET of the meet at 5.858 secs driving his Agave Underground-sponsored supercharged Camaro before then going on to a “final four” placing on Sunday.  Don Walsh, driving a turbocharged Ford Mustang set top speed of the event at 251.16 mph.

The Pro Mod Drag Racing Series returns for it’s next event (2nd of 10 races) on April 25-27 for the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston.

Danny Rowe (near lane) does a burnout along side his teammate Steve Matusek

Danny Rowe (near lane) does a burnout along side his teammate Steve Matusek

Winner: Mike Castellana 5.865 244.52 5th
R/UP: Rickie Smith 5.890 245.72
Low ET: Danny Rowe 5.858
Top Speed: Don Walsh 251.16
Bump Spot: 5.959


The return to action for Toronto's Ray Commisso was impressive - he went to the "final four".

The return to action for Toronto’s Ray Commisso was impressive – he went to the “final four”.

Canadian racer participation in the class was impressive - including Manitoba's Kenny Lang and Alberta's Jim Bell.

Canadian racer participation in the class was significant – including Manitoba’s Kenny Lang and Alberta’s Jim Bell.

RPM Association Special Awards

The Real Pro Mod Association (RPM) prides itself in being formed by racers, for the purpose of benefiting racers. To that end, many RPM members won prizes and bonuses surrounding the NHRA Pro Mod Series race in Gainesville, FL.

A list of RPM sponsors including Mickey Thompson Performance, JE Pistons, Powerocks, and Redhorse Performance Inc. presented the following to RPM member drivers:

Driver’s Meeting prize drawings – Mike Knowles won a $3,000 set of Mickey Thompson Wheels, while Troy Coughlin, Todd Tutterow, Ricky Smith and Craig Cawte each won $250 of JE Pistons product certificates.

Mike Castellana and Don Walsh Jr. each won a $60 Powerocks Rose Stone portable cell phone charger.

New sponsor, Redhorse Performance Inc., contributed to the RPM Association through Bonus Awards, which will be sent to the following drivers from the Gainesville race.

Redhorse Performance Inc. $300 Qualifying Bonus – Dan Stevenson, Jim Laurita Jr, Jason Hamstra, Kevin Fiscus, Jim Bell, Eric Latino, Todd Tutterow, and Mike Knowles

Redhorse Performance Inc. $500 Quarter Final Bonus – Steve Matusek, Troy Coughlin, Mike Janis, and Steven Whiteley

Redhorse Performance Inc. $750 Semi-Final Bonus – Danny Rowe, and Raymond Cammisso

In addition to winning $10,000 in purse money from the NHRA as the event Pro Mod Champion, Mike Castellana also won the $500 Larry Jeffers Race Cars Best Reaction Time Award on Sunday, March 16 in Gainesville for cutting a .004 reaction time in the final round.

Visit the Real Pro Mod Association website:  HERE

Results posted by:  Bruce Biegler, NHRA Communications & Nicole Erickson

Photos by:  Bruce Biegler