“It was just pure happiness,” Mark Micke said as he thought back to the moment when he and his “group” reset the E.T. world record for a turbocharged Pro Mod in the quarter mile.
“My mindset is once I get a game plan together, we’re going to do it no matter what. So there was a lot of satisfaction.”
Micke, owner of M&M Transmission, made up his mind at the beginning of 2023 that he was going after a world record. His twin-turbo 1969 Camaro Pro Mod – that was the car to get the job done.
“When we originally built this new car, that was our ultimate goal, to go after the quarter mile record,” explained Micke. “Mine, Eric Dillard, Jose [Gonzalez], FuelTech, the whole group, we wanted to build something that would potentially set the record, so that’s why we did what we did with the race car and the turbo motor – everything was built for that.”
The former multi-time NMCA and PDRA champion took advantage of the testing sessions ahead of the 52nd Annual Snowbird Outlaw Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park to fulfill his goal.
During Tuesday’s testing, former NHRA Pro Mod champion Jose Gonzalez wheeled Micke’s Camaro to a 5.359 at 272.94 mph in the quarter-mile, resetting the record for the quickest turbocharged Pro Mod and besting the long-standing record of Khalid Mohammed’s 5.379-second mark set in 2018.
“Jose has been a friend of mine and a good customer for years,” Micke said. “For the quarter-mile deal, that’s pretty fast. I hadn’t had a lot of experience driving quarter mile.
“Jose is the best Pro Mod driver out there – he can handle a race car, so it was just natural that we wanted Jose in there. Jose was all about trying to set the record, too, and it was all about putting the best person in the car to do so.”
Once Micke and his team realized what happened on the starting line, he was overcome with joy.
“I was happy for my group – M&M Transmission, FuelTech, ProLine, Garrett Turbo Chargers, Garrett Advancing Motion, Turbosmart, just for everybody,” said Micke. “We call it our group – it was a huge, huge accomplishment for our group, and it was fun. We had a good time with it. We were all just joking and having a good time all day because there was really no pressure.”
Furthermore, Micke explained that his car had been good all season long and even won a few races. However, he had to switch to quarter mile trim in order to go after the world record he had set his mind on.
“I’m lucky I have Steve Petty and Brandon Stroud at our disposal, so with those two, we all got together and figured out what it was going to take to run the quarter mile,” Micke said.
He continued to explain that Gonzalez had just arrived at the track, and he got straight into the car to get fitted. Micke and his team didn’t miss a beat at all during Tuesday’s test session
“We sent him down the track and said to run it to the eighth mile, and it made a good run,” said Micke. “It went 3.67, which wasn’t a record, but it was a good run for the first run to say, ‘Hey, this shit’s going to work.’ So we came back, and Steve and Brandon, I all got together and put a plan together and told Jose to run it to the thousand foot just to get a feel for it.
“The first run to a thousand feet, it went a 5.39. We’re like, we got something here pretty serious now to play with,” he continued. “So there again, we all got together, came back, made an adjustment on the tune-up, and bam went out and went to 5.35. At that point, we’re like, well, we did what we set out to do, so we decided to stop. We’re like, we know we got a lot left in it, but we’ll save that for later.”
Micke also addressed that specially made parachutes were sent from Stroud Safety just for this attempt at a record-breaking run.
“They worked flawlessly,” stated Micke. “That put us at ease knowing that they went through the time and the research and gave us something we knew that would stop the car because that was a huge concern for everybody involved. We know it’s going to accelerate, we know we can run it down there, but what’s it going to do to stop?”
According to Micke, Gonzalez handled the whole thing like he was “out for a Sunday drive. Jose doesn’t even move a hand on that thing the whole run.”
However, Gonzalez was full of emotion once he found out what he and the group just accomplished.
“On the radio, Tim Davis, Jose’s longtime guy, was yelling at him, you got the record. Jose was wound up,” Micke explained. “Jose’s friend Izzy was here – he was going nuts, and the whole group was going crazy.
“It was fun to see the emotions of those guys, too. It was just a good time, and it felt like a big party at the end of it all.”