The NHRA’s first J&A Service Pro Mod Series event of 2017 was of a record setting swift pace…..

The perpetual momentum gaining class drew in 27-cars for it’s season opening event vying for only 16-available slots and in the end they produced a popular but first time circuit winner.

It was Steven Whiteley (from Grand Junction CO) who raced to his first career win during the J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series event portion of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. The weekend’s Pro Mod racing was presented by Jerry Bickel Race Cars — and was the first of 12 scheduled races for the coming season.

Steven Whiteley prevailed to win the first NHRA Pro Mod series race of 2017.

After qualifying #5 with his supercharged 2014 Cadillac CTS-V, Whiteley advanced to the final round by first beating opponents Todd Tutterow, Mike Janis and Troy Coughlin.

That afforded Whiteley a final round date versus series veteran Mike Castellana in the final round. There, Whiteley was able to post a winning time of 5.791 seconds at 253.52 mph to the trailing run of 10.192 at 87.94 of Castellana.

Now racing a supercharged car – Mike Castellana placed R/UP.

The Whiteley family was able to celebrate the victory in style as his mother Annie won the Top Alcohol Funny Car event on Sunday as well.

“It doesn’t get any better than this. It’s such a blessing being in the winner’s circle with my mom,” Whitely said. “I can’t express how thankful I am. Not only for J&A Service on a couple of accounts. They sponsor this series, but it’s more intimate than that, at least for me. You know, J&A Service, that’s Jim and Annie Whiteley, that’s Mom and Dad. These guys don’t understand how much more this hits me. I just let the clutch petal go. My guys make this happen. I cannot thank them enough.”

Pro Mod class racing at Gainesville was a super swift program that included a bump spot set at 5.855 secs held by Canadian Eric Latino (Port Perry ON).

With new class rules now in hand –Canada’s Eric Latino recorded the quickest ET yet in NHRA Pro Mod racing.

Latino however, racing his newly acquired supercharged Chevy Camaro, was not done there. After winning his first round, Eric Latino proceeded to reset the NHRA national elapsed time record in round #2 — albeit during a losing effort. Latino was credited with a stunning pass of 5.727 seconds (the quickest ever seen in NHRA) while racing along side Troy Coughlin’s turbocharged Jegs Corvette from Ohio. Troy did manage to rain on Eric’s performance parade when he combined a brilliant .008 RT with a winning time of 5.758 secs to edge out Eric’s record quick run.

Another turbocharged Corvette – driven by Brazil’s Sidnei Frigo set top speed for the Pro Mods at 256.70 mph. NHRA Pro Mod class newcomer Steve “Fast” Jackson had qualified #1 with a 5.781 secs.

Brazil’s Sidnei Frigo set top speed and also survived another super scary top end -near miss – during qualifying!

Impressive for sure were the new nitrous-injected late model entires of Rickie Smith (top) and Shannon Jenkins

To view additional Pro Mod class images from Gainesville – visit our event photo gallery:  HERE 

NHRA circuit newcomer Steve Jackson qualified #1 for the eliminator at Gainesville.

We really like the look to the Pro Mod Firebird driven by Shane Molinari – from the Pacific Northwest.

The next race for NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series goes April 28-30 at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C.

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler