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Shelton, Rivenbark Bringing One-Two Punch to World Series of Pro Mod

Pro Modified veterans-turned-teammates Stan Shelton and Kevin Rivenbark will both be looking for redemption at this year’s Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod (WSOPM) presented by Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage and J&A Service, taking place March 1-3 at Bradenton Motorsports Park.  

Both drivers narrowly missed the field in 2023 – Shelton qualified 34th, with Rivenbark one spot back in 35th – after getting bumped out in the final qualifying session by Spencer Hyde. Hyde then went on to win the $100,000 prize. That setback is only motivating the pair even more this year.  

“We’re really excited, because we didn’t make the show last year,” said Shelton. “We came in, we tested, but we just wasn’t good enough. But that’s what is so impressive about the show – everybody’s got a chance to win it. We’re excited about running two cars. It’s a little tougher for us, but we like what we’re learning from it. We’ve got a great combination.”

That combination is a pair of Culp Lumber Company screw-blown Mustangs – Shelton in a classic 1967 body style and Rivenbark in a newer 2019 model. The ability to share data between the two cars should help in the battle just to qualify against more than 60 of the top drivers in the country. Last year saw the ultra-tight field separated by just .056 seconds.   

“With the WSOPM, the cars just get faster and there’s a tighter field,” Rivenbark said. “I mean, there’s not much separation from a .62 to a .68. We were all right there together. That just tells you how close the competition is. You feel like you’re running Pro Stock.”

But just running a big number in qualifying won’t be enough to leave with the big check Sunday night. Both drivers know that the real test will be their ability to make good runs in the heat of the day during eliminations.  

“Going through rounds, you have to be consistent, because out of all these guys, there ain’t no bad drivers,” said Shelton. “Everybody’s great and everybody’s got great equipment. It’s just gonna be who brings that total combination. I like to look at it as you’ve got 10 variables – somebody’s gonna get them all right. But you’re going to have to get seven of them right just to make the show.”

And if they do make the show, there’s the obvious $100,000 carrot dangling at the end of the proverbial stick. While prestige and bragging rights are the ultimate goal, Rivenbark admits that running for huge money has an effect on how teams prepare.  

“It definitely makes you more aggressive,” Rivenbark said. “You try to block it out that that’s what you’re running for. I mean, you already got enough pressure on you. The money afterwards is great. But the actual winning of it hypes me up more than anything. But you also can’t be disappointed if you’re runner-up, or even in the semis, because there’s such good competition. You’re lucky just to be there at the end.”

Tickets for the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod presented by JHG and J&A Service are on sale now and can be purchased at https://bit.ly/wsopm2024. Fans watching from home can tune in to the official event livestream on FloRacing at https://flosports.link/3uYLot3

This story was originally published on February 20, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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