Janis Hopes His Pro Mod Momentum Continues at Charlotte
After winning the NHRA’s most prestigious drag race at Indianapolis, Pro Mod racer Mike Janis is ready to roll into the Queen City for the sixth annual Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by NAPA Auto Parts, Sept. 13-15, at zMAX Dragway. And with only three races remaining in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season, Janis needs to be at the top of his game to succeed at the stellar track known as Bruton Smith’s “Bellagio of Drag Strips.”
Janis joined an elite group of winners at the tradition-rich Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, when he drove his Valvoline Chevy Camaro past points leader Rickie Smith in the final round, denying Smith his third straight victory in the series.
Now, with confidence peaking, Janis is eager to scratch another first-time career win off his list this weekend at zMAX Dragway. The race is the eighth of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series and the series’ second visit to zMAX Dragway this season.
“It was amazing,” said Janis of his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory. “You race your whole life to win Indy. It still hasn’t sunk in yet and to run as well as we have this year is just awesome.”
Janis is well aware that competitive fires will be burning high as the top 10 Pro Mod teams pull up to zMAX Dragway’s gates. Points leader and North Carolina native Smith, who also has two season wins under his belt in his IDG Chevy Camaro, leads second place driver and defending Pro Mod world champion Troy Coughlin by 98 points. Smith holds a 112-point lead over Janis, who sits in third place in the standings. Kenny Lang holds the fourth spot while another past world champ, Von Smith, sits in fifth place.
“There are three races left and we are loaded for bear,” said the New York native. “The game plan is just to run consistent, qualify and keep going rounds. We are about four and a half rounds out of first and will be as ready as we can be.”
With two wins this season, Janis has yet to add a career win at Charlotte to his racing resume and admits that the fans and track at the sprawling zMAX Dragway facility is top notch.
“Charlotte is awesome,” Janis said. “So many people from back home here in Buffalo live down there and the support is great. Winning at Charlotte would be just as awesome. We love it down there. This is the best and safest place in the world to drag race. The NHRA Safety Safari is incredible and deserves more credit than they get. (NHRA Chief Starter) Mark Lyle does an amazing job running the show up there.”
Other top drivers expected to compete in the event include Smith, past Charlotte winner Mike Castellana, Danny Rowe, Clint Satterfield, Chip King and Pete Farber.
(Photos courtesy MHRA/National Dragster; Click to enlarge)