With the NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock class set to make its first appearance of the 2023 season this weekend, Johnny Pluchino is prepared to come out swinging in his Feather-Lite Batteries-powered $hameless Racing ’13 Mustang. The two-time and reigning PDRA Extreme Pro Stock world champion is one of nearly a dozen drivers who will compete on the quarter-mile stage at the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by PEAK Performance, May 19-21, at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago.
“It’s always very exciting to head out to the quarter-mile stripe to go over 220 mph side-by-side with some of the greatest competitors,” Pluchino said. “Quarter-mile just brings a different experience. Nothing’s better than watching a Mountain Motor car go run quarter-mile.”
During last year’s NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock season, Pluchino raced to victory at the prestigious Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals near Indianapolis. Later in the year, he clinched his second PDRA Extreme Pro Stock world championship and fourth overall in the series.
This year, Pluchino qualified No. 1 at the most recent stop on the PDRA Extreme Pro Stock tour, boosting the New Yorker’s confidence going into his first NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock race of the season.
“So far this year we’ve been working heavily on our program to really get it to the next level,” Pluchino said. “That came with some bumps and bruises in the beginning, but we’re hitting our stride right now, so I feel really good heading into this race. With NHRA being an event where there’s no testing prior, you just go out there, drop the back door, and run Q1, I really feel good about where we’re going to stack up against everybody. I have a good understanding that the competition’s going to be extremely high, so that’s very exciting, but I wouldn’t want anything else than to run against the best of the best.”
This weekend will be Pluchino’s first time racing at Route 66 Raceway, which hasn’t hosted an NHRA national event since 2019.
“That place looks beautiful,” Pluchino said. “It’s definitely on my bucket list of events to go to. I’m really excited about it. I hope the stands are going to be full because there’s nothing better than side-by-side Mountain Motor racing quarter-mile in front of packed stands, and I think Chicago’s just the place to do it.”
Supporting Pluchino in his quest for a Wally are primary sponsors Feather-Lite Batteries, $hameless Racing, and Kelling Equipment Repair.
“We’re a small, tight-knit team and we do this because we love Mountain Motor Pro Stock racing,” Pluchino said. “We wouldn’t be able to do this without support from partners like Feather-Lite, $hameless, and Kelling. We’re just hoping we can make them proud and turn on a few win lights for them this weekend.”
Pluchino and the rest of the Mountain Motor Pro Stock class will begin qualifying at the Route 66 Nationals on Friday with one session at 3:30 p.m. Two more sessions will follow at 11:30 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. on Saturday. Eliminations will take place on Sunday afternoon.