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Blake Housley Taking His Shot at $100,000 With Nitrous-Fed Willys at World Series of Pro Mod

Pro Modified racing runs in Blake Housley’s family, and after watching last year’s Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod (WSOPM), he knew he wanted to be a part of the festivities March 1-3 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in 2024. But as drivers were announced, Housley had to wait and see if his name would be called for a chance to compete for $100,000.  

“When I got the text from Wes, it was pretty awesome,” said Housley. “You work towards it, but then you become realistic. You look at the list of so many people that could get invited and you think, ‘Well, we got a shot because we ran so well at the end of the year.’ But there’s so many more that could too.” 

Housley has been racing since age six, when he ran a Jr. Dragster. He moved to a full-size dragster at 14, and has been driving doorslammers since he turned 18. 

“My dad ran Top Sportsman in the late ‘80s and started running Pro Mod in ‘96,” Housley said. “I went everywhere with him since I was old enough to walk until I was 18, and he taught me the ropes.”

Housley will be competing in a 1941 Willys that he built himself while working at Terry Murphy Race Cars in Kansas City. The car features a 959ci Fulton Racing Engine with six stages of nitrous and a 3-speed M&M Transmission. 

“I built the chassis during the day at work, and then took the bare chassis home and did everything there,” said Housley. “It took me three years just doing it nights and weekends. I built it, wired it…we did everything ourselves.”

In 2021, Housley opened his own fabricating shop, Mayberry Motorsports, with Tom Donovan. He also partnered with Scott Higgs (owner of Flying H Drag Strip) around the same time, allowing him to upgrade the engine and other various parts on his Willys to be more competitive. After getting a feel for the car in 2022, Housley and his team made steady improvements last year, culminating in a personal-best 3.66 run at the Snowbird Outlaw Nationals in Bradenton. That performance built Housley’s confidence heading into this season.

“I feel like we made a big jump last year and can actually be competitive now,” said Housley. “You don’t want to be an also-ran, and I think we’re at a point now where we can be competitive anywhere we go.”

Housley also has the honor of saying he built the world’s quickest and fastest quarter-mile Pro Mod – Mark Micke’s twin-turbo Camaro, which ran a 5.359 elapsed time at 272.94 mph last December in Bradenton with Jose Gonzalez behind the wheel.   

“That was the goal when we started,” Housley said. “Mark said, ‘We’re gonna go 5.30’s at 270-280 mph.’ You start thinking that’s pretty high, but they did it. It’s unbelievable to be a part of it, and we’re pretty proud to say that car came out of our shop.”

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Housley also admits that his particular body style and combo may not be the ideal choice for such a high-stakes race – “It’s not a new body Camaro with a screw blower or ProCharger,” he joked – but he has always been a Willys guy, and although running nitrous may be a tough on parts, he’s up for the challenge.  

“You’re going to have to work on the motor a lot, because you’ll have to run it as hard as it’ll run,” Housley said. “And that’s the point of this race. Nitrous guys will be competitive, but it just depends on how the air is. If it’s hot, we’ve got a better shot at it than if it’s cool out.”

Housley currently has the car completely torn apart, doing every bit of maintenance he can to give himself a shot against more than 60 of the best Pro Mod drivers in the country. So what does he expect when he rolls into the water box at the WSOPM for the first time? While winning is obviously the ultimate goal, Housley cautioned about looking too far ahead. 

“I think it’s small goals first,” said Housley. “The first thing you gotta do is get in the field. I’ve never run with a chip draw before, but I like the aspect of it. You go up there and you don’t know who you’re going to run until you draw a chip. If you just get in the field, I think you got a good shot at winning it.”

Tickets for the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod are on sale now and can be purchased at Fans watching from home can tune in to the official event livestream on FloRacing at

This story was originally published on January 23, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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