Mike Castellana clinched his first career world championship in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series on Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and then finished off his magical weekend with the victory as part of the weekend’s 23rd annual NHRA Nevada Nationals.
It was the last of 10 events during the 2023 season and the fourth race in the category’s Road to the Championship. This weekend’s race was powered by JBS Equipment and Saturday belonged to Castellana, a longtime Pro Mod veteran.
Castellana clinched the championship in the second round on Sunday, knocking off Dmitry Samorukov with a run of 5.693-seconds at 251.30 mph in his Western Beef Camaro, making the quickest pass of the weekend in the process. Moments later, Justin Bond fell to Kevin Rivenbark, handing the world title in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series to Castellana for the first time.
“It’s totally awesome. I had no clue. I knew I was third in the points. I didn’t want to think about what we had to do,” Castellana said. “I knew we had to win the race, that was our goal. I had no clue we could win the championship. I have to thank my whole team, those guys are just amazing. This is awesome. It means a lot. Over the years, we’ve won championships in other circuits, but we’ve been chasing this one for a long time. We came so close a few years back, but we got it this year.”
Castellana, who was also the No. 1 qualifier in a dominant final weekend of the year, then finished off his day in style, taking down St. Louis winner Jordan Lazic in the semifinals to move to the finals.
In the championship round, Castellana went 5.703 at 250.74 to easily hold off Kevin Rivenbark, capping his championship year off with his first victory of the season. It was the ideal ending to Castellana’s season, as his late-season run helped clinch the world title in the talent-filled FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
“It’s an amazing story. I just can’t believe it,” Castellana said. “We came into this weekend and we wanted to win the race. I didn’t have any thoughts about the championship but everything came together. Everybody did an awesome job on this car, and we won the race and the championship.”
Kevin Rivenbark reached the final round for the first time by knocking off Ken Quartuccio, Bond and Sidnei Frigo. The 2024 schedule in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Type A Motorsports will be announced later this week.