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After an admittedly expedited, but relatively thorough combing-through of race results and social media posts, I’ve counted at least 150 Pro Mods (I actually counted 151 currently) that have made qualifying passes in the continental United States of America as of this writing in early May 2022.
Did you catch that? One-hundred-fifty-one Pro Mod-style race cars – each outfitted with some sort of roots- or screw-type supercharged, single- and twin-turbocharged, centrifugal supercharged or nitrous oxide-injected power plant, two swinging doors, big tires and wheelie bars – have been raced in 2022. Seems like a big deal.
Truth be told, that number could be significantly higher if you were to take into account all the cars that could be deemed Pro Mods, but sit on radials or are seeing action in lesser known, off-the-radar events or single-track series. How high is it actually? Probably wouldn’t be impossible to get an accurate estimate, but it’s not necessary to demonstrate the point of this posting: Pro Mod is as strong as the day is long.
Is there another form of heads up drag racing that has that kind of live inventory? Just imagine if you lumped in every bonkers-fast Top Sportsman and Quick-8 car in the country into that figure? Or how about the dozen-plus doorslammers set to compete in Santa Pod’s Doorslammers 2022 event in a couple weeks? The slew of high-quality doorslammers that exist in Australia’s Top Doorslammer eliminator? There’s several hundred of these collections of chrome moly, titanium, steel and carbon fiber littered across the planet right now. Hell, there’s about 40 for sale on RacingJunk.com.
So, the moral of the story is that the overall health and wellness of Pro Mod-style drag racing is of paramount importance to the drag racing community. Not only is this particular brand of racing a marquee attraction at many drag strips, the primary offering of several sanctions and series, but it’s also the driving force for an entire world of racing manufacturers and service providers.
Admittedly, I don’t believe our sport’s premiere Pro Mod division – the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon – is as bright-and-shiny as it was a few years ago, but with the way things are going (see recently announced title-rights and presenting sponsorships, as well as multiple individual event sponsorships) the future looks as bright as it has since Danny Rowe’s Real Pro Mod Association disbanded.
For what it’s worth, I’ve always subscribed to the notion that a high tide lifts all boats. The more successful and prominent the NHRA Pro Mod Series is, the more teams are participating in the PDRA and Mid-West series, hitting nearby NMCA events or flexing at the next NEOPMA race. Take into consideration that the NHRA now has a rule set for damn near every prominent Pro Mod engine and driveline configuration, and it really starts to feel like we’re seeing this category of drag racing reach that oh-so-elusive-but-much-talked-about “next level”. If the NHRA could become or develop into an ongoing “king of the hill” for Pro Mod racers from all walks of life and all points of the globe, especially with the price of admission being less than that of a nitro ride/program (potentially debatable in certain circumstances), I believe we could see this class of racing becoming as synonymous with “drag racing” as Top Fuel dragsters are currently.
For 16 years now, I’ve said that Pro Mod is the universal language of drag racing and since March of 1990 I genuinely believe it’s provided if not the most entertaining and exciting drag racing in the world…damn close. There’s also a freaking ecosystem built around it. Pro Mod is strong around the globe and has a cult-like following.
Oh, yeah… Diesel is $5/gallon, there’s a parts shortage and in many instances it takes a three-point-six-second eighth-mile or five-point-seven-second quarter-mile door car to get noticed.
With a NHRA Pro Mod Shootout on the horizon, outlaw events drawing 50-plus cars and Pro Mod’s points-earning series looking as good as ever, it’s time to go all-in. Maybe we’ll even bring back the World Series of Pro Mod.