There is no shortage of championships and trophies when it comes to John Montecalvo’s impressive Mountain Motor Pro Stock career.
But even the veteran admits there is one thing missing.
“Let me put it this way. I have a lot of trophies, but I don’t have an NHRA trophy. A Wally would look pretty good on my shelf,” Montecalvo said.
That could change as soon as this weekend, as Montecalvo will be part of a 12-car Mountain Motor Pro Stock field for this weekend’s 32nd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park powered by Pennzoil.
A four-car exhibition at last year’s U.S. Nationals was received so well by everyone involved – from the participants to the NHRA to the fans – that it expanded to four races for the class during the 2019 season.
Houston marks the first race, while the rest of the schedule includes the four-wide race in Charlotte, Bristol and Epping.
It’s a chance to put the MMPS class on the biggest stage at a handful of races, a prospect that has Montecalvo thrilled as he heads to Houston.
“We’re definitely all looking forward to it,” Montecalvo said. “It’s great exposure for the class and we’re all extremely excited. It’s really going to be a great thing for the class and we’re definitely going out there looking to win this thing.”
It’s a facility Montecalvo knows well from his ADRL days in Extreme Pro Stock.
With Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle both not racing at the event, the Mountain Motor class will grab a major share of the spotlight. It’s something Montecalvo believes the full class will take advantage of in Houston, where the class will race in front of big expected crowds.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity to get some more exposure for the class,” Montecalvo said. “Hopefully we get a little TV time and show these fans what Mountain Motor Pro Stock racing is all about.”
It will feature 12 cars going for eight spots for eliminations, so the competition level will be impressive. That’s brought out the best in Montecalvo over his standout career, and he predicts there will be very little separation between No. 1 and No. 12.
Montecalvo knows he will have to be on his game, which is why he worked on his quarter-mile set-up at the PDRA race last weekend at GALOT Motorsports Park. He’s spent time with Adam and Andy Lambert from Precision Racing Suspension, focusing on shocks, and clutch and gear ratios. But if it leads to success at Houston, it will be more than worth it.
“You’re going to have to battle to qualifying, but that’s what I like,” Montecalvo said. “I’m thinking you’re going to have to run mid-6.20s at 225-plus mph to take this home, and any one of us could do it.”
Montecalvo would love for it to be him, a brilliant exclamation point on a marvelous career. But he’s also proud of the reception the class has received to get to this point.
The fan reaction in Indy was top-notch, while Montecalvo has been impressed with the way NHRA officials have welcomed the class with open arms.
It adds to Montecalvo’s excitement, which would only be enhanced should he find the winner’s circle on Sunday.
“It’s really a thing that’s going to be great for the class,” Montecalvo said. “Probably the most prestigious thing you could win is an NHRA event, so it would be great to win this thing.”