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Chris Powers’ MMPS Gameplan For NHRA SpringNationals: Run Fast, Put On Show, Win Wally

Chris Powers (near lane) over Elijah Morton

When Chris Powers first heard about Mountain Motor Pro Stock cars running an exhibition at the U.S. Nationals last year, he wasn’t sold on the idea.

Judging by his entry in this weekend’s NHRA SpringNationals in Houston, where the Mountain Motor Pro Stock class will have a 12-car field, it’s safe to say his opinion has changed

“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Powers said. “It’s a great chance to get some eyes on the Mountain Motor Pro Stock class and shine some light on what we’re doing now.”

Make no mistake, though, Powers wants to be the last man standing in the spotlight come Sunday.

“It would be nice to get a Wally,” Powers said. “I’ve been racing 20 years, been to the finals in Top Dragster, but we’re trying to win. We have a great car and I know we have the opportunity to go and dominate.”

It would be a memorable first impression for Powers and his team, led by tuner Chuck Samuel. He plans to compete at all four MMPS races in the NHRA this year – a schedule that includes stops at Charlotte, Bristol and Epping – but winning the first-ever official race would be meaningful.

“It would probably be one of the greatest feelings and definitely something you’d never forget,” Power said.

With that in mind, Powers is pushing to impress in Sonny’s Racing Engines-powered Jerry Haas Race Cars Camaro.

He ended the PDRA season strong a year ago, winning the final race of the year at Virginia Motorsports Park.

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Powers, who also had a final-round showing at GALOT Motorsports Park to open 2018, believed his team was building up to that season-ending performance, making significant strides since he brought Samuel on board.

The difference has been noticeable, which means Powers could be primed to put on a show in front of a huge crowd at Houston Raceway Park powered by Pennzoil.

“We definitely have what it takes to win and put on a show,” Powers said. “With Chuck tuning the car, we’ve managed to take our car from a Top 10 contender all the way to a car that qualifies up front and races well.

“We had everything there, but Chuck was the missing part. He reformed me a little, made me a better driver and this whole deal has just taken off when he came on board.”

That bodes well for Powers this weekend and the rest of 2019, whether he’s racing in the NHRA or PDRA. He’s proven to be a consistent car and a fast car, combinations that can be tough to beat in MMPS.

The team tested in quarter-mile trim in Orlando before the season, making it down the track in eight of their nine runs. With the hood scoops and massive 825-cubic inch engines, Powers believes the fans will enjoy every moment of the four qualifying sessions and eliminations for the class as well.

“The fans are pretty much what keeps me coming back,” Powers said. “If there’s no fans, what’s the point? It means a lot to have them there and we’re going to show them what we’ve got under the hood. Our class gives them a different feel than what they’re used to, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Performance-wise, Powers believes it’s going to take runs in the low-to-mid 6.20s to have success, while runs in the 6.30s won’t have a shot to win.

But that aligns perfectly with what Powers envisions for this weekend in Houston. He hopes to check off all the boxes, including the most important one – earning his first career Wally.

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“We’re not going to hold anything back,” Powers said. “We’re trying to get out in front of everybody, try to put on a good show and run with it.”

This story was originally published on April 12, 2019. Drag Illustrated

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