A NHRA Pro Mod “Double Header”

Pro Mod class fans attending NHRA’s AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals got a special treat as they witnessed dramatic conclusions to not one — but two races — at St. Louis…..

On Sunday,  Mike Knowles raced to his first career victory in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series at the event held at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Knowles, who qualified 14th, outran former world champion Von Smith in the final round to earn the win in the all Chevy Camaro final round. Knowles used a quicker reaction time in his supercharged Knowles Transportation ’68 Chevy Camaro and a final round performance of 5.934 seconds at 244.65 mph to take the victory over Smith, whose supercharged Dr. Moon/Al-Anabi Racing ’69 Camaro posted a quicker, but losing 5.929 at 241.80.

Knowles advanced to his second career final round appearance with round-wins over Steven Whiteley, Kevin Fiscus and Todd Tutterow.

“It’s incredible,” Knowles said. “I’ve got my family here and that’s what it’s all about. They’ve chased me around state to state. We’ve finally done it. For my crew – it’s just fantastic.”

With the win, Knowles moved to 10th in the points standings. Series points leader Rickie Smith, who lost in the semifinals to Von Smith, holds a 76-point lead over Troy Coughlin. Mike Janis sits 77 points back in third place.

Mike Knowles drove his great looking supercharged Camaro to a career first Pro Mod win in NHRA

Mike Knowles drove his great looking supercharged Camaro to a career first Pro Mod win in NHRA

Event Essentials:  NHRA AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals:

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Knowles’ win on Sunday had been preceded by a win for Troy Coughlin during Saturday’s event schedule who sped to victory to conclude the rain delayed NHRA Pep Boys Carolina Nationals title which had originally been scheduled for Sep. 14th.

Coughlin raced to victory in that delayed finale – topping Western New York’s Mike Janis in another all Chevrolet match up.

Coughlin was first off the line and powered to a winning performance of 5.937 seconds at 239.14 mph, while Janis’ supercharged late model Chevy Camaro had issues and slowed to a 9.438 at 112.11 finish. It was his second win of the season and sixth of his career and he moved to third overall in the points standings with the effort.

“Winning this trophy for the Charlotte race is pretty special.” Coughlin said. “I’m pretty fired up, pretty excited.”

Coughlin claimed the St. Louis No. 1 qualifying position, the first of the season and second of his career, with a performance of 5.845 at 250.41. He then outran Dave Pierce in the opening round with an effort of 5.851 at 250.18.
“We’re not the fastest car out here,” Coughlin said. “We’re just trying to make good, competitive runs. (Crew chief) Steve (Petty), Mike, Kyle and those guys are doing a fantastic job on this thing. They’re giving us a race car that’s been repeatable. We’re not the fastest hot rod through all these laps, but it’s the most consistent, and I know when I pull up to stage that they’ve given me a good hot rod. This Corvette is pretty mean.”

With his win Coughlin gained ground on series leader Rickie Smith, who lost in the first round of the Charlotte race.  Janis, who finished runner-up in the Charlotte eliminations, trails Smith by 35 points in second.

“We’re getting closer, we’re inching up on Rickie’s heels,” said Coughlin, “We’re chewing on Rickie’s heels, as they say. He has done an awesome job this year, but we want to chase him down and make him earn it. Mike Janis, Steve Matusek, there are a handful of guys who have the opportunity to jump up and win this thing. I’m happy as heck to be one of them.”

Troy Coughlin made up ground in NHRA Pro Mod points by winning the rain-delayed Concord event final.

Troy Coughlin made up ground in NHRA Pro Mod points by winning the rain-delayed Concord event final.

Event Essentials:  NHRA Pep Boys Carolina Nationals:

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The NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series will have a very dramatic season-finale which will happen during the NHRA Toyota Nationals, Oct. 30-Nov. 2, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Photos and posting by: NHRA Communications.