Real Pro Mod is Real Deal!

Some new enhancements to NHRA’s Pro Mod Drag Racing Series has that class on a very serious upswing and long time Canadian drag racing affectionado John Waldie is at the helm….

After evolving from concept to reality in a very short period of time the independent R.P.M. (Real Pro Mod) racing group’s board of directors is injecting both a new vision and some new momentum for the fan favourite category within NHRA national event races.

John Waldie, a highly successful car dealership owner (who just recently retired) and who has been a fixture within Canada’s drag racing scene as far back as the 1960’s,  is extremely optimistic about the class and the future for it’s racers.

“The RPM came to be from an idea born at SEMA back in 2012,” revealed Waldie, RPM’s appointed President.  “We’ve got a lot of support from NHRA’s President Tom Compton and his staff who is really helping us take this all forward.”

Long time Canadian drag racing proponent John Waldie is helping to lead a new charge for NHRA Pro Mod class racers.

Long time Canadian drag racing proponent John Waldie is helping to lead a new charge for NHRA Pro Mod class racers.

The RPM directorship includes some of the real movers and shakers within that racing genre.  That includes transplanted Canadian Danny Rowe, as well as influential racers and manufacturers Troy Coughlin, Mike Knowles, Harry Hruska, Steve Matusek and Mike Castellana.

“I’ve had a long history within drag racing that included extensive involvement in both Pro Stock and Pro Mod,” John continued. “I’m at a time in my life where I want to give something more back to racing so I was very pleased with this selection the board gave me.  The series’ fresh new concept combined with NHRA’s great racing venues and safety is I think very exciting for everyone.  I know it’s a dream come true for me.”

This upswing for the NHRA Pro Mod class has become apparent quickly.  During NHRA’s recent Amalie Oil Gatornationals, a 28-car Pro Mod field was contested.   That event included with NHRA’s co-operation a much higher profile for the class within the schedule, something serious fans of drag racing have long desired.

According to Waldie, the reaction from racers to this next era for NHRA Pro Mod has been nothing short of amazing.

“Since we started this we have received 73 serious inquiries from specific racers — from a wide range of categories — about fielding Pro Mod cars,” he revealed. “NHRA currently has limits as to how many entries they can allow per event within their various categories – starting with a target of 22 cars for Pro classes.  They then can move that number up by increments of two according to the specific event’s overall car count.  At this point we have 39 well funded teams that have each offered a commitment to run the entire 10-race series.  We use NHRA’s grading point system to determine entry.”

That kind of math is pretty impressive.   In comparison to other NHRA Pro classes which have unfortunately often been borderline as to being full fields of 16 or not – Pro Mod class cars are anything but.  Simply put — they are modern day drag racing’s most progressive overall single category.  The projection for 2014 is particularly impressive.  Just as recent as last season,  NHRA Pro Mod Series races required just 1 grading point to secure entry. Compare that to the fact that all of the 2014 races will see a minimum of 4-5 grading points to get a team through the pit gates.

All of those facts hold well for the future.   While it is only speculation that NHRA Pro Mod class racing will expand beyond it’s allotted 10 events only per season at this point – I think it’s safe to say — that is trending.

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

The RPM group fielded a highly impressive on-track product during the recent NHRA Amalie Gatornationals event.

“Right now there are no plans in place for more then 10 NHRA RPM events per season,” John added.  “But we are working hard with NHRA and we are learning from each event experience.   One of our objectives and my personal dream is to present a 32 car field for each event.   In that concept we would hold our first round of eliminations on Saturday — in prime time.”

Waldie explained that right now the independent series is funded by an very impressive group of visionary and committed individual sponsors – a list that already includes J&A Services, PowerRocks, Jegs Performance Products, Precision Turbo & Engine and Aeromotive.

He also stated that the door slammer series is not being considered within the NHRA series sponsor Mello Yello Championship domain – at least at this time.  But certainly NHRA’s series fan base may have reason to be optimistic too about some positive changes for the future on that primary sponsorship front.

For more information on the Real Pro Mod group visit their official website:  HERE

Editors Note:  We were also pleased to learn the John’s dedication to drag racing will include him being the Grand Marshall for the NHRA Summit Racing Southern Nationals which will be held at Atlanta Dragway this coming May 16-18th.   We congratulate John on that much deserved honour!

Photos and Posting by:  Bruce Biegler