race reports

NHRA Pro Mods at Norwalk, Ohio

Smith is Tops Again


Words by Kay Burk

Photos by Ron Lewis

Rickie Smith secured the Wally during the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals Sunday afternoon, June 24. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by J&A Service, was the seventh of 12 events this season.


Unlike the nitro pro categories, which occasionally have short fields, there were 29 Pro Mods trying for the 16-car field. Rain on Friday and Saturday shortened the number of qualifying sessions to only two.

“Stevie Fast” Jackson qualified at number 17, missing the field by just 0.001 to Troy Coughlin.


Smith ran a 5.804-second pass at 208.01 mph in his ’18 Chevrolet Camaro to defeat Jeremy Ray in the finals. Ray’s Corvette was off the line first, but didn’t shift into second gear, handing “Tricky Rickie” the win. This is Smith’s third victory this season and 14th of his NHRA career.


“This win just goes to show you the depth on our team,” Smith stated. “We’ve got a really good team if I can just keep on going and not screw up.”


Smith began his day with a red-light gift from Dan Stevenson.

Mike Janis was out first in the second round against Smith, but started moving toward the centerline before the engine went up in smoke around half track. Smith took the win 5.833/249.07 to 6.814/149.81.

Jeremy Ray


Ray defeated Eric Dillard (5.776/247.70 to 5.774/256.21), Mike Castellana (5.774/248.20 to 5.792/251.72) and Pete Farber. In the semifinal, Ray and Farber both went into tire shake, but Ray recovered first to reach the first final round of his career.

Chad Green was back in action after suffering a crash at Bristol when his parachutes did not deploy and his Camaro flipped and skidded into the sand trap. He got the Norwalk first-round win over Harry Hruska, whose Camaro went into tire shake early in the run.

Harry Hruska qualified No. 9 but lost in the first round to Green after his Camaro went into tire shake.

Khalid alBalooshi could not repeat his Father’s Day win at Bristol when his 5.837/252.52 could not overcome Janis’s 5.784/246.71 in the opening round. AlBalooshi had a great .005 Reaction Time, but his Camaro also suffered tire shake.

For the first time Todd Tutterow is competing in the NHRA series full time. After a runner-up finish at Bristol, “King Tutt” got the Norwalk first-round win when Steven Whiteley red-lighted, but in the second round his Camaro went up in the air at the launch and then headed for the centerline. Tutterow wisely clicked it off.

Troy Coughlin Sr., driving the only Mustang in the class, lost in the opening round of Pro Mod. The three-time and reigning class champion got a great jump on Rick Hord but his parachutes prematurely deployed just after the start, causing him to slow and lose the race.

Hord, who qualified No. 1 at 5.754, next dispatched Green 5.768/253.42 to 6.0004/197.83, only to meet Smith in the semi.


The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series continues at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals Aug. 29–Sept. 3 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.



1. Rickie Smith, 539; 2. Mike Janis, 521; 3. Chad Green, 389; 4. Mike Castellana, 385; 5. Khalid alBalooshi, 377; 6. Todd Tutterow, 342; 7. Jose Gonzalez, 338; 8. Steve Jackson, 336; 9. Jeremy Ray, 297; 10. Danny Rowe, 288.  



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