No 'Pro' for
NHRA Pro Mods

By Jeff Burk

he Pro Modified class debuted at NHRA just four short years ago with a five-race invitational series. To support the NHRA series, some of the premier teams in Pro Modified took the drastic step of not attending certain IHRA races in order to race at an NHRA event. They did so despite a much smaller purse and knowing that the management at IHRA wouldn't be happy with their decision. Their reasoning was that if they supported the NHRA over the IHRA, the NHRA would eventually adopt Pro Modified as a professional class.

The next season those expectations were raised even more when NHRA expanded the schedule to 10 races. The series was expanded when, through the efforts of Kenny Nowling of Nowling Motorsports Management, Dave Wood's AMS Staff Leasing company stepped up as the title rights sponsor for the series. That sponsorship included funding the television program for the series that's produced by Masters Entertainment and broadcast on ESPN2. When AMS became the title rights sponsor it also took the NHRA off the financial hook for the purse and the TV costs.

After the 2002 season there was some doubt concerning AMS return as the title rights sponsor. NHRA officials told me at that time that if necessary they would pick up the tab but no matter what, the Pro Mod "exhibition" series was at NHRA to stay. Fortunately for them and the series, Dave Wood not only renewed for 2003 but also returned for the 2004 season. That's the good news.

The bad news is that all indications are Dave Wood and AMS Staff Leasing won't be returning as the series sponsor for another season and, if NHRA can't find a replacement for them, the NHRA Pro Mod experiment could be over.

I've been hearing these rumors concerning the series for about a year but, like everyone else who loves and supports Pro Modified, I just didn't want to believe what I was hearing. After the rumors just wouldn't go away I decided to go directly to the top and ask NHRA President Tom Compton, as directly as I could, what was the future for Pro Modified within the NHRA. Here are the questions and answers I received just over a week ago. What follows is the verbatim text.

DRO: Are there any plans for NHRA to make Pro Modified a professional class either as a stand-alone class or under the POWERade umbrella either near term or down the road? If so, when?

Tom Compton: NHRA has no plans in the foreseeable future to make Pro Modified exhibitions, currently showcased at NHRA national events, a professional class under the POWERade umbrella. The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series currently has four professional categories that all must vie for exposure for their respective teams, and their sponsors, in term of promotions, publicity and television exposure. As it stands today, NHRA simply can't add more elements into what is already a very full POWERade program.

DRO: If the answer is no, what would have to happen for NHRA to adopt Pro Modified as a professional class?

TOM COMPTON: As I said earlier, NHRA has no plans in the foreseeable future to make the Pro Modified exhibitions a professional class under the POWERade umbrella.

Cover | Table of Contents | DROstore | Classifieds | Archive | Contact
Copyright 1999-2004, Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source