A Dominican-born racer has notched a historical first for NHRA drag racing….

One week after earning the first No. 1 qualifier of his career in Houston, Jose Gonzalez collected his first career victory in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service portion of the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway. The weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Al-Anabi Performance, was the third of 12 events this season.

Caribbean-native Jose Gonzalez is making big waves early in his NHRA Pro Mod class career.

Gonzalez ran a 5.743-second pass at 254.09 mph in his Chevrolet Q80 Camaro to take down Steve Jackson, Rickie Smith and Brandon Snider in the final round “quad”. Gonzalez became the first Dominican-born driver to earn a victory at an NHRA national event with his triumph in Charlotte.

“My team gave me a tremendous car all week long and we figured out how to respond as the weather got warmer and our car continued to improve,” Gonzalez said. “This car has been running amazingly so far, so I’m happy for my car and my crew to get this victory.”

After a first round exit in Gainesville (his first ever NHRA level race), Gonzalez notched his first No. 1 qualifier in Houston before being eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Entering the 2018 season, Jose Gonzalez was simply glad to be part of the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service for the first time. The early-season success and quick rise in the talent-rich class has simply been the icing on the cake.

Gonzalez, had been a standout for years in various racing organizations (in particular the PDRA 1/8th mile circuit).

“I’ll be honest, we weren’t expecting these kind of results in such a quick fashion at the beginning of the year,” said Gonzalez, who drives the turbocharger-powered Q80 Chevrolet Camaro. “Knowing the team we have behind me, with (crew chief) Steve Petty and Pro Line, and the way we ran in other series, we knew we could do decently, but I didn’t think we would have so much triumph. When you have 35 cars and the caliber of drivers in this class, just qualifying is a win.”

Jose’s victory came over a very formidable field of cars (31 entries) and during the one and only time Pro Mod cars run 4-wide during the season.

His win was complimented by performance too — his 5.726 secs qualifier was low ET and he also set top speed at 256.45 mph.

Steve “Fast” Jackson was credited with a runner-up finish at the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod event at zMax.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications and Bruce Biegler
Photos by Bruce Biegler