Longtime doorslammer racer Doug Winters last raced at Bandimere Speedway over 20 years ago in Super Chevy Show nitro coupe competition. He’s back on Thunder Mountain this weekend with his Bandit Big Rig Series ’69 Chevelle for his shot at $100,000 in the World Series of Pro Mod.
Winters and his Pleasant Garden, North Carolina-based Winters Racing team made the 1,600-mile trip to make their debut at the third annual Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod presented by J&A Service, Elite Motorsports, Big O Tires and benefiting One Cure this weekend.
His reasoning for making the trip is simple.
“We just wanted to be a part of it,” Winters said. “The chance to win $100,000, you can’t pass it up. We always love coming here. We wanted to show up and see what we can do.”
While Winters has experience in the challenging high-altitude conditions, none of that experience is with his supercharged ’69 Chevelle. He made a string of strong test laps on Thursday, then continued to develop his tuneup during Friday’s three shakedown sessions.
“The challenge is obvious, right?” Winters said. “We usually race at tracks where 3,000-4,000 feet of air is bad air for us. The air here is 8,000-9,000. The air is the challenge. It’s not only the allure of the money, but it’s the challenge of the tuneup and trying to get the thing to run on the mountain.”
The clocks were off for the shakedowns and Winters didn’t offer up the numbers he recorded, but he felt confident after going down the track all three passes.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Winters said. “Compared to what I know some guys ran last year, we’re right there. I feel pretty good about it.”
As for the pressure of racing for a $100,000 winner-take-all prize, Winters feels he has the right mindset to take on the challenge.
“We try to think of it as any other race,” Winters said. “Make sure we have all our stuff together and ready to go, make sure I cut a good reaction time and go A to B and let whatever happens happen. You just have to make sure you don’t beat yourself.”
Winters will draw his first-round opponent during pre-race ceremonies at 5:30 p.m., followed by first round of eliminations at 6 p.m.