Standing in the staging lanes at Orlando Speed World Dragway caused Jason Scruggs to reminisce a little about competing in big-money races throughout his standout career.
It allowed the man known as the “Mississippi Missile” to think back over the years, but also to recognize what was right in front of him before he made the second of several test passes on Thursday.
Scruggs is one of the 30-plus Pro Mods on the property for this weekend’s Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals presented by CTech Manufacturing, knowing full well what this weekend means.
“I think Wes Buck and Drag Illustrated, and Elite (Motorsports) have done an awesome job. I just appreciate what they’ve done to put this deal together and get all these sponsors. It’s a lot of work to do this and I hope all the racers appreciate it,” Scruggs said. “It’s an awesome deal and I think the atmosphere is going to be electric this weekend.”
Whether Scruggs is part of those memorable moments during the inaugural race remains to be seen.
He’s had solid results in his relatively short NHRA Pro Mod career, but Scruggs is after much more, including the $50,000 on the line for the Pro Mod winner this weekend in Orlando.
Scruggs wouldn’t be on the property if he didn’t think he could win, but he knows there’s still work to be done on his blown Camaro from Jerry Bickel Race Cars.
“We always come to win, but at the same we’re realistic,” Scruggs said. “Right now, we know we’re a middle-of-the-pack team in NHRA, but we feel like we’re a few passes away from doing better. But that’s what everybody thinks – we hope we’re right, eventually. We can run in the game, but I still feel like we’re 3-4-5 hundredths away from the top one or two cars.”
Scruggs built an impressive legacy as arguably the greatest driver in Pro Extreme history, but he’s working hard on trying to leave a mark on the NHRA Pro Mod scene.
He’ll likely race 5-6 times this season, much like he has the last couple years, but the team could be onto something early this year.
After a number of changes to the suspension earlier this year, Scruggs went 5.70 at Orlando in recent weeks. Thursday’s hot and sticky conditions didn’t allow that for anyone, though Scruggs did have a 5.963 at 186 mph that he clicked off well before the finish line.
It’s something to build on and with excellent conditions in the forecast for the next three days, Scruggs is ready to buckle down. He’ll have more chances to test Friday before the first round of qualifying for the World Doorslammer Nationals at 6 p.m., but reaching the 5.60s for the first time in his career is a definite goal.
Will that be enough to win $50,000 and add to his incredible mark in the sport? Scruggs would surely love to find out.
“I think we can (get in the 5.60s),” Scruggs said. “There will be a bunch of .60s run, for sure, and with what we’re doing, I feel like we can run a .69 and hopefully we can get better than that. We’re working on the car, trying to get better. But there will be a lot of cars in the .60s.”
Qualifying kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, and continues with three rounds at 12, 3 and 6 p.m. on Saturday. Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, while all the action will be broadcast live at https://www.speedvideo.com/live-event/world-doorslammer-nationals-2020/.