A skilled and versatile driver makes a very impressive return to Pro Mod class racing…..

New Mexico’s Jonathan Gray raced to the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series title during last weekend’s Dodge NHRA Nationals (presented by Pennzoil).

For Gray the victory was his first since 2017 in the class as he slipped past Bo Butner in the final round pairing of the #8 and #9 qualifiers.

The Pro Mod race (which was presented by Jerry Bickel Race Cars) was the second of the 2020 season in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service.

Jonathan Gray was the winner at NHRA’s second Pro Mod event of 2020.

Gray went 5.8550-seconds at 249.49 mph in his nitrous-powered Camaro to knock off Butner, who went 5.899 at 248.48 in the finals. It gave Gray his second career win in the class in a matchup that featured two standouts driving for the injured Rickie Smith, a multi-time champ in the class.

Prior to last month’s NHRA Pro Mod season-opener, Gray had not raced in the class for nearly three years. But he impressed on Sunday in Indy, reaching the final round with victories against Jeffrey Barker, No. 1 qualifier Khalid Albalooshi and former world champ Mike Janis.

“I’ve got the best in the business out here and I couldn’t be happier driving for Rickie Smith,” Gray said. “He’s been a mentor to me and we won in Indy, so it’s a big step in the right direction. I’m just thrilled to death and really, really happy.”

Butner, who made his NHRA Pro Mod debut last month in Indy, also reached his first career final round in a nitrous Camaro usually driven by Smith. He knocked off Brandon Pesz, Clint Satterfield and Kris Thorne to set up the matchup with Gray.

Pro Mod class racing drew 20 entries and the 16 car bump spot after two qualifying rounds was set at 5.914 secs.

Kahlid alBalooshi qualified #1 and set low ET of the event in Pro Mod.

Driving his turbocharged “Bahrain 1 Racing” Camaro Khalid alBalooshi paced the program with a swift 5.729 secs run for the pole (and low ET of the meet). Class newcomer but skilled small tire cross over racer Kris Thorne set top speed of the meet a 256.60 in his turbocharged Camaro.

Racing late model Camaro’s — both newcomer Kris Thorne (above) and veteran Mike Janis had strong semi-final round finishes.

Thorne (from Florida) did have a “final four” round placing on Sunday as did New York’s Mike Janis.

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