BOWMAN SNARES $100,000 AND CHAMPIONSHIP BELT – Considered the biggest race in Pro Mod history, Mike Bowman didn’t flinch.

Bowman raced into the history book by capturing the title at the inaugural Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod winner takes all $100,000 race.

Bowman, in his 1969 Chevelle, beat Steven Whiteley in his 2014 Cadillac, in the final round.

Bowman clocked a 6.274-second elapsed time at 238.70 mph to defeat Whiteley who slowed to 7.787 seconds. Those were the only two ETs and mph shown all weekend.

“Words can’t say enough,” Bowman said. “This by far is the highlight of my racing career, and I’ve been doing it a long time. I’m so happy Wes (Buck) called me. If he hadn’t called me and I didn’t put the effort and hours into changing everything to come here this wouldn’t have happened.”

The victory in the finals had its shares of tense moments.

“I had to whack the throttle a couple of times and it was rattling,” Bowman said. “I whacked the throttle and it moved toward the guard rail a little bit. Then I got out of the throttle and back in it a little bit. I saw him kind of moving around over there and once I was out there far enough and got back in throttle, he’s not going to catch me. I should be able to take it from here and I did.”

Bowman’s victory parade was comprised of wins over Derek Menholt, Mike Biehle, Shane Molinari and Whiteley.

“To all my competitors, especially J&A Service Pro Mod, Jim and Annie Whiteley have done much for this,” Bowman said. “Not just for this race, but NHRA stuff and that’s what excites me and drives me to race these guys, we are the best at what we do. There’s nothing like it. The competitor, you just go from one round to the next, and this another round, and you try and not get nervous.”

While standing in the winner’s circle, Bowman had decisions to make like where he was going to put his championship belt and the boatload of cash he earned.

“The belt, I don’t know if my wife (Kristy) will let me put it in the living room, but that’s probably a good place for it,” Bowman said. “The $100,000, I’m sure I will probably spend that pretty quick. It doesn’t take long in what we are doing to spend that kind of money. I’m just very fortunate to be here.”

The win is even more amazing for Bowman considering he was pondering about making the trip to Bandimere Speedway, and then he decided to make the journey from Southern California to compete in his 1969 Chevelle.

“We were contemplating on coming and it was kind of a last-minute thing,” Bowman said. “Once we decided to go we had a little time to load up and change a bunch of stuff, we changed a bunch of parts and setup for here Being in that top group of guys is pretty special. I didn’t want to miss out on that. Now, I’m just trying to take all this in.”

On Saturday, Bowman came up big in the first round defeating Derek Menholt, who won the $10,000 wildcard race Friday night to get into the World Series of Pro Mod race.

“I run NHRA. I’ll be at Indy, St. Louis and Vegas for the rest of the year now that I’ve got enough grade points, it’s been acquiring the grade points as I go,” he said.

While some of the Pro Mod racers were making their Bandimere debuts this weekend, that wasn’t the case for Bowman.

“Actually 22 years ago, I won a super Chevy race (at Bandimere), a Pro Street Super Chevy race in my own 1968 Chevelle,” Bowman said. “That’s dating me a little bit there and now I have this huge win here. This is awesome.”

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY – At 4:15 p.m. (MT), Saturday Mother Nature became an uninvited guest at the inaugural Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod winner takes all $100,000 race.

The delay lasted until 6:01 p.m. when shakedown for the Pro Mod cars resumed ahead of their $100,000 race.

There was another rain delay, beginning at 8:42 p.m., shortly after the second round of the Pro Mod race was completed. Racing resumed one later with Top Sportsman racing.


MATUSEK GETS UPSET BY YOUNG WHITELEY – Steve Matusek had high hopes to win the $100,000 prize when he arrived at Bandimere Speedway.

Well, Matusek came up short in reaching his goal. The accomplished driver was upended by Steven Whitely in the semifinals.


KNOWLES MISSES RACE – Mike Knowles, who pilots the Blown Money Mob Edition 1967 Mustang had an eventful run Friday night at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., just outside of Denver.

Knowles, who is based out of Grand Junction, Colo., had trouble in his run.

Knowles completed the quarter-mile in the left lane and then pulled his parachutes. Moments later his car got out of shape and it hit the wall in the right lane.

Not long after the wreck, it was relayed to the tower, that Knowles was OK, but the same couldn’t be said for his car, and the damage kept out of Saturday’s Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod winner takes all $100,000 race.

“I made a great run and right at the top end a big gust of wind came out us in the wall,” Knowles said. “It lifted the back of the car up and actually went left and I saved it twice and the third time I couldn’t save it. It the front end and damaged the quarter-panel.”

JANIS ENJOYS TRIP TO COLORADO – Championship driver Mike Janis has done many things in his career, but this weekend he accomplished a first.

Janis made his first trip to Colorado from Buffalo, N.Y. – with a purpose – to compete in the World Series of Pro Mod at Bandimere Speedway in his Camaro.

“The big pay day for sure,” said Janis why he made the trek to Bandimere. “It’s like a once in a lifetime chance to race for this much money. And it’s all in fairness the way they structured it with the turbo and the blower cars, it’s a pretty even playing field. I’ve never been in Colorado. It’s beautiful out here. I don’t think Pro Stock or anyone has ever had a pay day like this. This is huge. I think one time we raced back in the IHRA days, we raced for $25,000 but this is just huge. We’ve never raced for this much money before. This would be the kingpin if I won.”

On Saturday, Janis started things off with huge upset over Stevie “Fast” Jackson in the first round.

“That was titanic,” Janis said. “That was the race for me for the entire year, and it was pretty emotional that I beat him. I’m glad it happened, and whatever happens from here doesn’t matter.”

Janis run for $100,000 was stopped by Steve Matusek in round two.

SATTERFIELD WELCOMES HIS PART IN HISTORY – A year ago, Clint Satterfield and his Turbo Pig, which he calls his 1968 Firebird, was part of an exhibition Pro Mod event at Bandimere Speedway.

Thus, it comes as no surprise Satterfield, who lives in Albuquerque, N.M., loved the fact the class returned to Thunder Mountain for this historic race.

“This is awesome, and I’m so happy they decided to bring it back this year,” said Satterfield, who is the midst of his sixth season competing in NHRA’s Pro Mod class. “The money is cool and I really like the winner-take-all aspect.”

Satterfield was ready to roll Saturday.

“We’ve been here and we know a little bit more than some of the other turbo guys,” Satterfield said. “If I won the $100,000 I was going to get a new car. We’re just here to buy parts and race cars. You have to take chances to win races and I’m scared of anybody here.”

Mike Biehle did get the best Satterfield ending his day.

“We had a great time,” Satterfield said. “The Bandimere family is fantastic and the track is amazing. The track prep guys did an outstanding job. We burned a piston early in the run and the level of competition at an event like this, you’re not outrunning anybody on seven cylinders. It ran great all weekend, but when you’re pushing them as hard as we’re pushing them, you have a lot to do to them to make them run up here, and your line of don’t jump over this I’m going to hurt myself gets really thin. You just have to be really careful with them and obviously we pushed it a little bit too far.”

TOUGH LUCK FOR JOHANNS – Tommy Johanns raced his way into the World Series of Pro Mod race Friday night, but his dream of winning vanished in the first round on Saturday.

The nearby Franktown, Colo., driver Corvette was unable to leave the starting line and thus lost to Steven Whiteley.

“The reverser broke in the transmission, unfortunately,” Johanns said. “It is what it is. We not bringing everything home in a bucket of bolts so I guess I’m happy about that. This was a great experience, we had a good time. It was great to have this type event in your hometown. It was very exciting. It stinks what happened, but we still had a good time.”  


ROWE SPORTING NEW SPONSOR  LIVERY – When Danny Rowe arrived at Bandimere Speedway for event, his 2015 C7 Blown Pro Mod Corvette had a fresh look.


Rowe was debuting his new sponsor Vektor Wodka on the side of his car.

“The car looks beautiful and all the people from Vektor have been really helpful and we’re really excited to have them onboard,” Rowe said.

Unfortunately for Rowe, his night ended early Saturday when he lost in the first round in a close battle with Eric Latino.

“It was a really tight race,” Rowe said. “We were pretty good at the half track and I thought we left off him. We did good everywhere. The car quivered a little bit on the bottom and that took a slight edge off it and he got me by a door, but it was really good race.”

Despite the early loss, Rowe was upbeat.

“There are a lot of great people and we have great sponsors with Vektor Vodka and Go Fast and Applejack Liquor stores, we have a ton of people supporting us. It’s a great show and we’re excited that this is going to continue to grow, the whole World Series of Pro Mod, it should be a bad a** event and maybe we will have two or three of them next year.”

MOLINARI THRILLED TO BE A PART OF HISTORY – Even though Shane Molinari came up short in winning $100,000 Saturday night.

Molinari put a new engine in his 1968 Firebird for a shakedown run shortly before the eliminations began. Molinari’s car got loose right when he stepped on the gas.

That wasn’t a sign of things to come. In first round, Molinari roared past Harry Hruska.

“It was good to get down the track after thrashing all night (Friday),” Molinari said. “We blew a motor (Friday night) in the second shakedown run. That was a brand-new motor in the car (Saturday). That’s why we need that test run (Saturday morning). Then we found a screw in the tire, so brand-new set of tires were junk, so we really needed that run (Saturday morning) to break in tires. It’s all good, you have to win rounds, and our thrashing Friday paid off.”

Molinari made it two wins in a row as he beat Jim Whiteley in the second round.

The driver from Battle Ground, Wash., had no regrets about making the trip to put his hat in the ring for the $100,000 payday.

“I wanted to come to this race because honestly I thought we were going to have to race on Friday to get in for Saturday but then we got the invite so that was cool,” Molinari said. “Anybody can win $100,000 and be happier than hell you know. This sport is expensive so anything helps.”

Molinari, who owns and pilots his Firebird, likes what the future holds for Pro Mod.

“I just think Pro Mod is popular because it’s because it’s a bunch of different cars,” Molinari said. “It’s a good variety of turbos, nitrous blower cars. I think that the crowd likes it. You never know, number 16 can win. It’s very unpredictable, you never know what’s going to happen.”

HRUSKA GLAD TO BE IN THE GAME – This season, Harry Hruska made his debut driving in the Pro Mod class and he’s been turning some heads competing in his 2014 Camaro in the 2017 NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.

Earlier this year in Topeka, Kan., Hruska set the quickest turbocharged NHRA Pro Mod record with a 5.722-second elapsed time at 254.15 mph.

“We’ve done really well this year,” Hruska said.

Hruska, Precision Turbo and Engine founder, was at Bandimere Speedway taking his chances at the $100,000 prize.

“I’m honored but still humbled to be here,” Hruska said. “I think everyone who is here should be honored,” Hruska said. “Pro Mod is a great class and it’s an up-and-coming class in the world. This really has been a chance to just come out here and duke it out on a mountain. We don’t race out here very often so I think it’s awesome.”

During the race Saturday night, Hruska didn’t last long as he was upended by Shane Molinari in the first round.

“It was exciting to be here and Pro Mod is exciting,” Hruska said. “That’s what it’s all about. Duking it out with nitrous blowers and turbos and whoever wins, wins. So that’s cool. Being here on the mountain with all my peers out here, it’s just awesome.”

Hruska praised the people for putting on this high-dollar World Series of Pro Mod event.

“The people who put this together, Wes Buck and Drag Illustrated and all those guys who made it happen, who would have known last year we did some exhibitions and now it’s grown to this,” Hruska said. “Pro mod is a growing class. It’s meeting our expectations and the strength of this class may exceed a lot of other people’s expectations and that’s something to think about for the future.”

Never giving up on the class is what Hruska believes has brought the Pro Mod class to this point.

“I think it’s the hard work of the RPM (Real Pro Mod Association), the board of directors, which I’ve been a part of for many years and all the people,” Hruska said. “We’re all genuine. Most people who race in Pro Mod own their own businesses so we’re a lot of businessmen. So, we’ve worked hard to put a good recipe together over the years and it’s just coming together. What’s cool about it is the power header, you have blower nitrous and turbos. That parity issue also creates a lot of animosity. We bring in a lot of different fans. We have blower fans, turbo fans, nitrous fans and they all have a part of this. It’s not a cookie cutter class where all the cars look the same. There’s diversity.”

MENHOLD HOLDS HEAD HIGH – Derek Menhold won the $10,000 wildcard race Friday to get in Friday, so the loss to Mike Bowman was a little easier to handle.

“This was a great event,” said Menhold, whose team is based out of Billings, Mont. “We won $10,000 and got the chance to race against Mike (Saturday), and our car shook. It was everything we were hoping to get out of it. Anytime they have another event like this, we will be back. We eventually want to do more Pro Mod races because we are coming out of the Top Sportsman ranks.”

Menhold said he likely want race again until NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Oct. 26-29.

“We will run the Comp Eliminator category to get grade points,” Menhold said. “We’re going to start getting grade points so eventually we can run in NHRA Pro Mod races.”

MAKING PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR – Lisanne Hewel was at Bandimere Speedway Friday and Saturday competing in the Quick 16 class in the Drag Queen, which is 1990 Dodge Daytona.

That car recently was awarded best appearing car at the 2017 Mile-High Nationals last month.

Hewel, however, said the plan is for her and Bryan McRoberts to do some Pro Mod next year.

McRoberts, 1970 ‘Cuda and Hewel’s 1970 Challenger were on display for the fans to see.

McRoberts car is called Freak-N-Stein and Hewel’s car is The Bride. The team is based out of Elizabeth, Colo.

“Bryan’s car will definitely be out next year and we will have some test passes in my car this year.”


WIN AND YOU'RE IN - Montana’s Derek Menholt earned the Aeromotive Wild Card Shootout win at the inaugural Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod presented by One Cure and J&A Service at Bandimere Speedway Friday night. Menholt was awarded a $10,000 check and one of the final spots in the invitation-only World Series of Pro Mod Main Event, which has a $100,000 winner-take-all payout and will be contested on Saturday.
Menholt’s day began with two shakedown runs as he and the other Wild Card Shootout participants prepared for eliminations. He received a bye run in the first round of eliminations, then pedaled his Steve Petty-tuned ’68 Camaro to drive around Tommy Johanns’ supercharged ’53 Corvette in the semifinals. In the final round, Menholt charged toward the finish line and reached the stripe ahead of Daniel McKune in his supercharged ’68 Firebird.
“I had to pedal it on both runs down the left lane, then we went right down the middle in the right lane,” Menholt said. “We’ve had to switch gears twice to make it here this weekend. It’s just been a great race for us so far.”
Menholt’s victory allowed him to secure a spot in the World Series of Pro Mod Main Event, made up of some of the best legal Pro Modified drivers in the world. He will be one of just a few drivers in the field who don’t run the full NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod schedule.
“I feel good that we have a chance to compete with the drivers in the Main Event,” Menholt added. “I don’t think we’re at their caliber even though we’ve tested all week, but I do have a feeling we can run with them – especially up on the mountain. We race at higher elevation most of the time.”
Menholt, who was joined in the winner’s circle by his crew members, family and friends, was grateful for everyone who played a part in his success.
“Pro Line Racing helped me out and Steve Petty is tuning the car this week. Tim McAmis Race Cars helped me get some things together to get here this week. Shane Molinari and his crew loaned us a part to make it up for the final round. I also want to thank Wes (Buck) and everyone from Drag Illustrated for putting this race on and all of the sponsors who helped make it possible. It’s a fun event and I’d love to do it again next year,” said Menholt, who will face Mike Bowman in his turbocharged ’67 Chevelle in the opening round of the WSOPM Main Event.
Aeromotive Wild Card Shootout runner-up Daniel McKune received the 16th spot in the World Series of Pro Mod Main Event. He will face Aeromotive founder Steve Matusek in the opening round of eliminations.
The competitors entered in the WSOPM Main Event made three shakedown runs Friday evening as they get their tuneups sorted out for the $100,000 race. The second shakedown session included a burnout contest with a $500 prize offered up by Jim Whiteley to anyone who could do a longer burnout than he performed in his J&A Service ’69 Camaro. Clint Satterfield and “Stevie Fast” Jackson both performed eighth-mile burnouts before making clean runs down the Bandimere quarter mile.

The scoreboards were off throughout shakedowns and eliminations and will remain off for all Pro Mod runs until the final round.
ALSO ON HAND - In addition to the Pro Modified action, Friday’s activities included qualifying for the MagnaFuel Pro Star 16 Shootout, MagnaFuel Quick Star 16 Shootout, JR Race Car 7.90 Shootout and the Reverse Race benefiting One Cure. Billy Verkler is the Pro Star 16 Shootout low qualifier with a 6.056-second pass at 232.39 mph in his supercharged Bos dragster. JJ Heber and his ’06 Mustang sit atop the Quick Star 16 Shootout field with a 6.783 at 202.58. Athena Geurrero topped the 7.90 Shootout qualifying order with a 7.901, just one thousandth of a second away from the index. The Reverse Race, which features street cars racing to the 330-foot mark in reverse, is led by Zach Sackman, who cut the quickest reaction time of the 12 competitors. These four classes will go into eliminations Saturday afternoon.

KNOWLES CRASHES FRIDAY – Mike Knowles, who pilots the Blown Money Mob Edition 1967 Mustang had an eventful run Friday night.

Knowles, who is based out of Grand Junction, Colo., did an amazing burnout and then had trouble in his run.

Knowles completed the quarter-mile in the left lane and then pulled his parachutes. Moments later his car got out of shape and it hit the wall in the right lane.

Not long after the wreck it was relayed to the tower that Knowles was OK.

ROWE EXCITED TO BE COMPETING FOR BIG MONEY – Veteran Pro Mod racer Danny Rowe couldn’t contain his enthusiasm when asked Friday about his thoughts of competing in the World Series of Pro Mod with $100,000 going to the winner.

“Bad a**,” Rowe said. “I’m very excited. This is a big deal for all of us. We’re happy to be invited. This is the biggest event for Pro Mod. It’s a big deal, and I would like to be the first one to win (this race) for sure. $100,000 is a lot of money, that pays for a lot of parts. It’s going to be a fun race with a lot of good racing and I’m excited about doing it.”

Still, Rowe knows Bandimere Speedway, which is 5,800 feet above sea level, will not make things easy for crew chiefs or drivers.
“We tested and made a couple of laps and they were decent,” Rowe said. “I think there are going to be people with some hurt parts (Saturday night). For $100,000, you’re going to throw a lot of stuff at it and I think it’s going to be very competitive.”

During the runs Friday, there were no elapsed times or mphs shown on the top-end scoreboards. Actually, no ETs or mphs will be shown until the final round Saturday.

The element of mystery doesn’t bother Rowe.

“It’s almost easing because there’s no pressure to do anything except go up and do your own thing,” Rowe said. “You can’t think about what everybody else is doing because it really doesn’t matter. At this point, you get the win light or you don’t. How you get it is irrelevant, you just have to get it. All the stuff like shallow staging, all this stuff and all this other stuff that you were worried about, that’s kind of all out of the box. All you’re worried about is getting the win light, so that makes it a little bit easier.”

One thing Rowe believes will be present with drivers Saturday in the first round is nerves.

“I think everybody is going to have a lot of pressure period because you don’t what everybody else is running or where they are at,” he said. “You’re going to have to throw everything you can at it to go down that track that time. If you don’t, you’re going home, that’s just the way it’s going to be. The guy beside you has to take his shot to. I think it’s going see who has the biggest balls and make it work. It should be fun.”

WHITELEY HOPEFUL WORLD SERIES OF PRO MOD IS SPRINGBOARD– Jim Whiteley, an NHRA world championship driver, is excited about this weekend, and he’s hoping it isn’t a one-time deal.

“They could really do some cool things in the years to come with the start of this,” Whiteley said. “I believe it will open some eyes in some the other race circuits out here. If we can pull this off and everybody has a good weekend, maybe they’ll have two or three more of them somewhere else next year. I’m in support of that.”

Whiteley lives in Grand Junction, Colo., which is around 3½ hours from Bandimere, and he has plenty of laps at this Speedway.

“We tested the (Pro Mod) car here, but like the blown-alcohol dragsters and the Funny Car stuff, we have a fair amount of history here, which helps us,” Whiteley said. “We kind of know what gears we need and what timing we can get by with up here.”

In the NHRA Pro classes of Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock, numbers are down, especially in Pro Stock. Meanwhile, Pro Mod seems to be one of those popular classes going right now with plenty of cars.

“It’s loud, it’s blowers, turbos, 250 mph stuff, and it’s a door car,” said Whiteley about why Pro Mod is thriving. “These cars are squirrelly and people like to see cars get a little bit out of a control. I think it’s a breath of fresh air that they able to go watch a 250-mph door car and it’s competitive.”

Whiteley, who won NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster world championships in 2011-12, is happy to be in Pro Mod.

“I’ve had some success,” Whiteley said. “But, I’ve always enjoyed running door cars and this class (Pro Mod) is intriguing because of the blower going fast and from everything we’ve race the last six to eight years has been supercharged and this one area where we can take some of what we know and continue to race.”

Whiteley drives a 1969 Camaro and his son Steven Whiteley also is competing this weekend in the Pro Mod class in a 2014 Cadillac. The elder Whiteley owns and operates J&A Service.

“It certainly helps having a teammate,” Jim said. “There’s some advantages there. You can share some numbers.”

Annie Whiteley, Jim’s wife, drives a Top Alcohol Funny Car and son Cory Reed pilots a Pro Stock Motorcycle. Both drive in the NHRA ranks.

“This is a family affair and we are with our kids,” Jim said. “You really can’t beat it.”

BEING A PART OF HISTORY SUITS LATINO – Canadian Eric Latino, who drives the Team Green Racing 1968 Pro Mod Camaro, is thrilled to be competing in this history $100,000 winner’s takes all race.

“I think it’s cool,” Latino said. “This is great. This reminds me of street racing. I was a street racer in my younger days and every time we would go to the track and test our car the scoreboards were off. They would turn them off for us, so nobody knew what was going on. Even today, the generations behind me have all taken that over. There’s a lot street outlaw racing going on in Oklahoma and Toronto. It’s done the same way, nobody sees the clocks, they turn them all off and I think it is really cool.”

Latino offered his opinion to why the Pro Mod class is as healthy as ever.

“Pro Mod cars are unpredictable,” he said. “Pro Stock is predictable. You know they are going down, they are side by side, and it’s going to be a little clip. These cars are wild to drive and you never know what’s going to happen next.”

Latino then took a moment to talk about what $100,000 would mean to him.

“Winning $100,000 would be huge,” Latino said. “We have sponsors who help us, but it’s not a lot of money. We run with a $100,000 budget. Most of the guys have million-plus dollar budgets. So, the $100,000 would definitely help us out for sure.”

This weekend is the first time Latino, whose team is based in Toronto, has competed at Bandimere Speedway.

“It is going to be tough because the air is real thin,” Latino said. “Everybody I’m racing against has the same conditions I have and we run with them every other weekend. The ones who worry me are the local racers. I don’t know who they are and they are going to sneak into the race and those are the guys you have to watch out for because we’ve never seen their cars. I know everybody else’s numbers. I have book filled with all their ETs. I have zero on these unknown local guys.”

COSTA DISQUALIFIED FROM PRO MOD RACE – Robert Costa of Albuquerque, N.M., made the seven-hour drive to Bandimere Speedway to compete in the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod Aug. 4-5.

Costa, however, was told the morning of Aug. 4 by race organizer Wes Buck he couldn’t compete in the event, which is paying $100,000 to the winner of the 16-car field event Aug. 5.

“I have a lockup (torque) converter and Wes has known about it for five months,” Costa said. “He begged me to come to the race anyway and (today, Aug. 4) I was told I wasn’t allowed to race even if I disconnected it, because it has a lockup in it. I’m not very happy at all. I felt like I got screwed.”

Buck addressed Costa’s plight with CompetitionPlus on Aug. 4.

“Robert is a great guy, a local guy and we were really excited to have him come out,” Buck said. “But, unfortunately with the NHRA rulebook torque converters are prohibited. His car is equipped with a lockup-style torque converter and while we wanted him to be a part of this in a big, big, big bad way, it wouldn’t be fair for the people who didn’t come, and for the people who made massive investments to get their cars legal. We have at least a half dozen guys change their setup, and who spent tens of thousands of dollars to change their setup to run this race. So, it just felt like the right thing to do was disappoint Robert versus potentially do wrong by a lot of guys who are here to support us.”

Buck acknowledged the decision was hard on him.

“I hate it,” he said. “Robert’s a wonderful guy, he owns the dragstrip in Albuquerque (Albuquerque Dragway). I will say we made special provisions to make sure he’s going to get to run with the show (Friday night). He’s going to get to make two passes along with all the other cars. Then, I’m proud of this, we rounded up a couple of sponsors and we’re going to have a separate race (Saturday) that he will be involved in, that will pay $2,500 to win.

I feel really good about. He’s going to have a chance to be a part of the show and what we are going to do is we’re going to take all the cars that don’t win (Friday night’s race), which there will be three or four, and we’re going to have a second-chance race basically for them (Saturday). I just had some friends and family said let’s throw some money at this deal, let’s give these guys a chance to race in front of a big crowd. (Saturday) we will do probably a Chicago-style Shootout, we will let everybody run and then we will bring back the two quickest ones for a final and we will give them some money. I think we will try and spread it around where everybody goes home with $500 and the winner gets $1,500 and runner-up gets a $1,000 or something.”

Costa did make two runs Friday and he was planning on competing in the second-chance race Saturday. Costa is driving a 1970 Duster with a 903 Pat Musi motor.

“Last week, he (Buck) called me up and I said we were not going to come because we were going to other races and he begged me to come up, and he knew I had a lockup in it. Then, Monday night (Aug. 1), less than 12 hours before we were leaving, he’s like there might be a problem. We’ve been here (at Bandimere Speedway) since Tuesday (Aug. 2) and we were told (Friday) we couldn’t run. He (Buck) has been trying to politic the other drivers for the last four days to get me to race and it’s Wes’ decision, but Wes is afraid of pissing off 19 other racers. He’s willing to piss off one, not to piss off 19. He’s in a bad spot and I can’t blame him too much, but it’s one of those things. The nitrous car has a disadvantage, blown cars have a disadvantage here. The turbo cars have the least disadvantage, so they took away something from the turbo cars. Blown cars got more overdrive, nitrous cars (got) nothing. No weight, nothing. If the nitrous cars thought they could win, they would’ve been here because this is a nice payday. I understand the position he (Buck) is in. He was a no-win situation, but really the blame I have is on the RPM (Real Pro Mod Association) members and the other drivers who think this is a problem, and we’re not even as close to being as fast as they are and here they are scared of a little nitrous car.”