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Dave Pierce Hoping New Format Attracts More Racers to MWDRS Pro 4.20 Class

While the Pro Street or 4.20 Index class has existed at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park and within the Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service in some form for a few years now, class proponent Dave Pierce is hoping a new rules set will attract a larger racer base. Pro 4.20 is competing at four MWDRS races this season, and Pierce is encouraging anyone with a fast doorslammer riding on rear tires 35 inches or narrower to give it a shot.

“The only real rule is you can’t have bigger than a 35-inch tire,” Pierce says. “Any door car, any motor, any weight, any wheel base – we really don’t have many rules other than the tire. We’re trying to get more cars and we’re trying to get the word out there to people that have those cars because there are a lot of those cars around the country.”

Pierce says the class is ideal for racers who’ve raced in Pro Mod or similar heads-up categories but grew tired of the continual upgrades to the next latest and greatest engine combination, power adder, and so on. Pierce, for example, still fields a competitive Pro Mod in MWDRS with Ron Muenks driving, but he was looking to get back into driving himself. He stuffed a 632-cubic-inch engine with one kit of nitrous into a 2003 Jerry Bickel-built ex-Pro Stock car and now races it in Pro 4.20. 

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“This car 60-foots like .960s, so it launches kind of like a Pro Stock car, but it’s a lot safer than Pro Mod,” Pierce says. “We run about 165-170 MPH. And it’s much, much less work. This car, I put it in the shop between races and clean it up because I like to keep it real nice. Then when I go to the track, I check the valve train, put some clean plugs in it, and go racing for the weekend.”

The Pro 4.20 class is an eighth-mile, heads-up class racing off a Pro tree. Racers qualify, then draw chips to determine pairings in eliminations. Any run faster than 4.20 is disqualified. The chip draw is a new addition to the format, and it was introduced to add some excitement.

“I’ve been a heads-up racer for 30 years and I never was a very good bracket racer,” Pierce admits. “So what I’m trying to do is combine outlaw or heads-up racing but put a limit on it. Basically, we’re going after guys that like to run on a Pro tree. We run it on a chip draw elimination because a lot of the input I got after talking to people was they’re liking these no-prep races and outlaw races where they do chip draw eliminations and they think it’s fun, so we went to that.”

The Pro 4.20 class has three races left on its four-race schedule on the eight-race MWDRS tour. The first race at the Spring Throwdown in T-Town at Tulsa was rained out in May. The class will be back in action June 30-July 1 at World-Wide Technology Raceway’s Night of Fire & Thunder, with additional stops at the fall Throwdown in T-Town, Oct. 6-7, and the MWDRS World Finals, Oct. 20-21, at Xtreme Raceway Park. Pierce was able to round up class sponsors for each event, including Champion Auto Lifts, FuelTech, Stroud Safety, and M&M Transmission.

“We got some people that were very, very helpful about putting up some sponsorship money for the races,” Pierce says. “We’ve got a good purse. It pays $3,000 to win and $1,000 to runner-up and then $500 behind that. If we have eight cars, it’s $100 first-round loser. If we have 16 cars, it actually pays $250 for the second round. So, we’ve got a good purse and the entry fee is only 250 bucks.”

Damon Steinke photo

Pierce believes Pro 4.20 could serve as the new home for a lot of cars that are otherwise sitting on jack stands or have limited opportunities to compete. He noted numerous racers in the MWDRS footprint that have already started racing in the class or are building cars specifically to compete in the class, suggesting it has a promising future.

“There’s a lot of cars around this part of the country – actually, all over the country – that can run low 4 seconds,” Pierce says. “Now, can they go to a Pro Mod race and be competitive today? No, not really. So what they’re doing is they’re going to no-prep stuff, they’re going to local shootouts, and things like that. But this class gives them a class with a good payout, with a low entry fee, and it’s on a stage at the Mid-West races where you get a lot of exposure. There’s a live feed. It’s professionally run. And it’s going to grow, I feel like, into a good thing.”

Racers interested in competing in Pro 4.20 can learn more about the rules here.

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This story was originally published on June 21, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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