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The NHRA Pro Mod fans who were at Houston’s Royal Purple Raceway Apr. 29-May 1 witnessed one of the better races in recent NHRA Pro Mod history. The qualifying round alone was worth the price of admission. Five-second passes, speeds above 250 mph, and near record performances were common with 23 of the 29 teams making a 5-second pass and seven cars recording speeds of 250 mph or higher.
Rickie Smith’s jaw dropping and dramatic 5.798/250.00 effort and Jonathan Gray’s tire exploding 5.868/257.63 lap in his turbocharged car were just a hint of the action Pro Mod fans would see over the weekend. Jim Whiteley’s completely unreal run to the win saw him come from unqualified to getting in as the second alternate, to winning the race in a most bizarre and unlikely win over favorite and number-one qualifier Rickie Smith. In the final neither car crossed the finish line under power as Smith crossed the centerline and slammed into both walls and was disqualified and Whitely coasted to a stop at mid track. Under the first or worse rule Smith crossing the centerline disqualified him and gave Whitely the win.