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2023 Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association Champion Derek Ward Ready to Take On 2024 World Series Of Pro Mod

A six-year veteran of the Pro Modified ranks, Derek Ward had his most successful season to date in 2023, having claimed the Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association (NEOPMA) championship. Now, he is ready to throw down at the biggest and baddest Pro Mod event of the year, the 2024 Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod presented by Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage and J&A Service, March 1-3 at Bradenton Motorsports Park.

“I am excited for sure and it’s definitely the biggest race I’ve ever raced at,” Ward said. “I think if we keep the car consistent like we have, we have as a good a chance as any to win it.”

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There’s no doubt that 2023 was challenging for Ward, who was mixing it up with some of the best Outlaw Pro Mod racers around in the NEOPMA series, but the Maryland resident also suffered a major crash towards the end of the season.

“I wrecked at Budds Creek at the end of last year. A week later, I bought this one,” he said of the burgundy-hued, 2005 G-Force Race Cars-built ‘68 Firebird he is currently piloting.

“We took everything down to the wiring and transferred it into this one,” Ward said. “It took two weeks to put it together and we went down to Orlando and it’s running just as good as the other one. We went 3.60 with the new car and 3.59 with the blue one. The difference is in the air and time of year.”

Powering the Pontiac is a Noonan Race Engineering 4.9-inch bore space Hemi engine built by Mike Stawicki at MSR Performance Racing Engines. Ward’s weapon of choice when it comes to power adders is a PSI screw blower.

“I feel like my combination is one of the best out there,” Ward said. “It definitely runs very well for a screw blower [combination]. It all depends on the air, I think. It’s really close with the ProChargers. I think it’s faster than a roots car with the rules and the weight.”

Resolution Racing Services provided the fuel system for the mechanically injected machine and Ward employs a FuelTech FT600 ECU to control ignition timing, fuel leanouts, and datalogging. Backing the supercharged Hemi powerplant is a 5-speed Liberty’s Gears transmission with a Quick Drive and a Neal Chance torque converter. 

“Jon and Jim Salemi help me out a lot with this stuff,” said the small business owner. “I have to say thanks to my crew, Mike, Dale, Henry, and my family. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to do it.”

As he approaches his first World Series of Pro Mod appearance, Ward is going through his normal pre-race routine, which involves getting the motor freshened up and going over the whole car.

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When asked about the $100,000 purse that’s on the line, Ward noted that he’s competed in some big-money bracket races.

“They’re both very competitive,” Ward said of the two different drag racing disciplines. “I just love the sport of drag racing. I race however I can. I’ve always liked heads-up racing better, though.”

Ward will have his work cut out for him at the World Series of Pro Mod in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park, as some of the best Pro Mod racers in the world will all be vying for the $100,000 prize money.

“I feel pretty good,” Ward said of his chances at a win. “It’s definitely not going to be easy. There are a lot of fast cars that are going to be there. I always say you need a little luck to win the race and it’s got to be your day.”

Tickets for the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod presented by JHG and J&A Service are on sale now and can be purchased at https://bit.ly/wsopm2024. Fans watching from home can tune in to the official event livestream on FloRacing at https://flosports.link/3uYLot3

This story was originally published on February 22, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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