The Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod continues to grow and evolve, as race officials announced the creation of the inaugural Pro 10.5 Challenge, which will run in conjunction with the 2024 Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod, March 1-3, at Bradenton Motorsports Park. Utilizing the established PDRA Pro Street rules format, the $25,000-to-win Pro 10.5 Challenge will be an invitation-only, 16-car shootout with more than 20 drivers attempting to qualify.
“Whether you call it Outlaw 10.5, Pro Street, or Pro 10.5, this is one of the most exciting classes in drag racing,” said Wes Buck, promoter, WSOPM. “This style of racing has seen a major resurgence in recent years as Tyler Crossnoe, John Sears, and the PDRA team gave these racers a place to compete on a major stage. As the 2023 season progressed, we realized this group of competitors would fit right in at the World Series of Pro Mod. Along with adding an unpredictable element to our show, the Pro 10.5 Challenge is our way of recognizing the racers who’ve helped bring 10.5-style racing back as well as inspiring more teams to make the move to Pro 10.5.”
PDRA Pro Street was created as an updated version of the original Outlaw 10.5 class, with drivers limited to 33×10.5 bias-ply slick tires and body styles that retain factory appearance, profiles, and dimensions. The eighth-mile class has developed a growing racer and fan base in PDRA competition since its debut championship season in 2021. This year, four drivers were in championship contention going into the final race of the season.
Outlaw 10.5 veteran Tom Kasper is helping the Drag Illustrated team round up competitors and sponsors for the Pro 10.5 Challenge. Kasper racked up race wins and championships as a driver before handing over the keys to the operation to his sons, TJ and Ty. While TJ drove the family’s twin-turbocharged Mustang for multiple seasons, he now serves as the crew chief for Ty, a perennial contender in PDRA Pro Street.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Kasper said. “I was on the ground floor when it was Quick 8 and it evolved into Outlaw 10.5. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to race with my son and race with a lot of good people. Won a few championships along the way. Then I was there when 10.5 diminished when the radial tires took over. When the PDRA picked it back up, it was like, ‘Great, we have a place to race again.’ It was around that same time I pretty much handed everything over to my two sons because I wanted them to do it and I wanted them to work together. I enjoy watching that.”
Kasper plans to use his passion for the class and his connections in the industry to help make the inaugural Pro 10.5 Challenge a success right out of the gate. Racers can express interest in competing in the event by reaching out to Kasper directly.
“When Wes and the DI guys asked me to get involved, I felt like I was back behind the wheel again,” Kasper said. “Now instead of watching my car go down the track, I can watch every car go down the track knowing I helped each person accomplish their goal of competing in this race.”
As a longtime advocate of 10.5-style racing, Kasper is looking forward to seeing the class showcased in a major standalone race in front of fans from around the world.
“Calling it Pro 10.5 is going to perk up a lot of ears,” Kasper said. “The ‘10.5’ name has always been known for riding wheelies, smoking tires, pitching ’em sideways, spinning ’em around, banging ’em off the walls, and you can relate to the cars that are parked in your driveway. That’s what people want. Some fans aren’t as tuned in to what’s a good E.T. or speed, so they like the wheelies and the excitement. That’s what 10.5 is all about.”