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Jim Halsey, Cecil County Dragway Gearing Up For $50,000 Pro Mod Invitational 

Tara Bowker photos

Fans at Maryland’s Cecil County Dragway will get the opportunity to see some of the best Pro Modified drivers, tuners, and teams battle it out for $50,000 next month when the track hosts its inaugural Pro Mod Invitational on May 10-12. Held in conjunction with the track’s NHRA Lucas Oil Series divisional race, the Pro Mod Invitational will pay $50,000 to win and $10,000 to runner-up. The winner of the second-chance race will also take home $10,000. 

Track owner/operator Jim Halsey, who also happens to be one of the most accomplished nitrous Pro Mod drivers of all time, wanted to create an event that would attract the toughest drivers in Pro Mod. He’s accomplished that so far, with more than 30 drivers planning to come fight for a spot in the 16-car main field. The No. 17-32 drivers will compete in the second-chance race. 

“Before we advertised or posted anything, I talked to some drivers about it and everybody was excited about it,” Halsey said. “In two days, I think I had 30-something drivers who said they were coming, so we decided to do it.”

Announced drivers include Maryland’s own Derek Ward, who defeated Halsey in the $100,000 final round at the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod in March, as well as Ken Quartuccio, “Nova Joe” Albrecht, Kurt Steding, Tommy Gray, Todd Tutterow, Spencer Hyde, Melanie Salemi, Mike Decker III, Mike Decker Jr., Mike Achenbach, Johnny Camp, James Beadling, Jeff Rudolf, Craig Sullivan, Randy Weatherford, Dustin Nesloney, Steve King, Dane Wood, William Brown III, Scott Wildgust, Marcus Birt, Jay Santos, David Demarco, Chuck Ulsch, and Fredy Scriba. Additional invitees are still left to be announced. 

Mike Decker Jr.

“Invites started at the bad dudes,” Halsey said. “We started with the guys that raced the World Series, the PDRA, the guys that are local. I tried to stay away from [Keith] Haney’s guys [in the MWDRS] a little bit because he has a race the same weekend, so I really don’t want to step on his toes there. I talked to people that I know wouldn’t go there and would possibly come here.”

Halsey has been gradually announcing the invitees on Facebook, with interest in the race building day by day. 

“All the Pro Mod guys are talking about it,” said Halsey, who broke his own PDRA Pro Nitrous E.T. class record last weekend at the season-opening PDRA East Coast Nationals. “When we were at GALOT last weekend, I bet I talked to 20 people about it. It seems like it’s gaining some steam.”

The weekend’s NHRA Lucas Oil Series race will feature a full lineup of sportsman classes, including Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car, which are making a comeback of sorts at Cecil County Dragway. 

“We’ll have the fastest three vehicles in drag racing here: dragsters, Funny Cars, and Pro Mods,” Halsey said. “It should be a pretty good show. With the alcohol cars coming back – they haven’t been here for quite a while – I think that will draw some fans as well.”

Noted tech director John Sears will be on site to enforce the event’s Pro Mod rules, which are based off of the WSOPM rules packages. Pro Mod will compete over the eighth mile. 

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“We’re using the World Series rules with a couple minor tweaks just to tighten the field up a little bit,” Halsey said. “Almost identical to what they put together for the World Series. Everybody’s familiar with those packages. It’s not like they need a whole bunch of testing or anything because they ran them before.”

Halsey and the Cecil County team, which includes wife Cathy and track manager Chad Porter, have gone all-out to make sure the event is a memorable one for fans and racers. That includes bringing in announcer Brian Lohnes to call the action. 

“I’ll be honest with you, I’m more excited as a track operator than I am as racer about the race,” Halsey said. “I’d like to showcase what we can do here to these world-class Pro Mod guys. The surface here is I believe one of the best in the world. I just want to burn the scoreboards up.”

Find more info about the Cecil County Dragway Pro Mod Invitational at

This story was originally published on April 11, 2024. Drag Illustrated


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