Tony Wilson, a veteran Pro Modified driver, will run the full 2024 FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Type A Motorsports season through a new partnership with car owner Tim Wallace Sr. Wilson will drive the Wallace Motorsports ProCharged ’55 Chevy Bel-Air, which will now be tuned by Jason Lee and Patrick Barnhill of PTP Tuning.
“Running the full NHRA series is a dream come true for me,” Wilson said. “That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. Getting to do this is huge for me and my family. It’s the top. It’s where we want to be. Tim’s going to provide us with all the best parts and car we can ask for. Jason will provide the tuning. I think the team will be really good.”
Wilson and Lee worked together in 2023 when Wilson served as a substitute driver for Lee and Eric Gustafson’s Coast Packing Pro Mod team at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. There, Wilson reached the final round of the rain-delayed NHRA New England Nationals, as well as the semifinals of the Bristol race. This led Lee to recommend Wilson when Wallace hired Lee to tune for the 2024 season.
“I was super excited to get involved,” Lee said. “Tim seems like a really good guy with a really cool car. We started throwing options on the table and he did all of his homework. I highly recommended Tony because he had subbed for us last year and did really well on very short notice. We pretty much gave him about a week’s notice and he stepped in and performed very well. Really liked his work ethic and his family. The team really works well with them, so he’ll make a great teammate.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Tim and Tony,” added Lee, who will also continue to drive and tune Gustafson’s Coast Packing Camaro in NHRA Pro Mod competition. “I think it’s a great opportunity for everybody and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do.”
Wilson has competed in a total of three NHRA Pro Mod events, though he’s also driven multiple NHRA cars in quarter-mile testing. The Kannapolis, N.C.-based driver has also competed in PDRA Pro Nitrous, while he currently drives the family’s screw-blown Premier Concrete Solutions ’63 Corvette in PDRA Pro Boost and Piedmont Dragway’s Big Dog Shootout series.
Wilson is looking forward to driving Wallace’s show-quality ’55 Chevy, which won The Best Engineered Car Award at the 2023 NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. He’s a big fan of bringing in older, unique body styles to the NHRA Pro Mod world, and while he realizes the “shoebox” Chevy design presents its challenges, he’s confident in the team’s ability to make it competitive.
“I think we go out there with the expectations of qualifying in the top half of the field and just being capable of being there at the end,” Wilson said. “We want to make sure when we roll in the gate, we are capable of winning the race. With that being said, we have a lot of work ahead of us to get this car, this body, to run what it needs to run in the quarter mile. Our expectations are to be a top-half qualifier and to be contenders to win a race at some point.”
Wallace, who’s been involved in motorsports for more than 40 years, is a vocal proponent of the move to introduce more vintage body styles to NHRA Pro Mod. His ’55 Chevy, which will continue to utilize Pro Line Racing/AJPE engines, quickly became a fan favorite after making its debut last year. Wallace is on a mission to make it a contender in the ultra-competitive series.
“I’ve been trying to decide how I was going to go forward with this program, and I figured that between Jason Lee and Patrick Barnhill and Tony Wilson and all the different cars he’s driven that this would be a perfect situation,” said Wallace, owner-operator of the Boise, Idaho-based Westside Machine Racing Engines. “Plus, Tony is based in Mooresville, which makes it a little easier to get the car to certain races and to test. We have a lot of testing to do since we’re trying to take advantage of the 75 pounds that NHRA has given us [for vintage body styles]. We feel that when it’s all over with, we’re going to need more and something else to make it more competitive. But I’m determined to make this car competitive in the NHRA Pro Mod series. I think it’s time for the old body styles to make a re-appearance.”
Wilson will drive his Premier Concrete Solutions ’63 Corvette at the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod, March 1-3, at Bradenton Motorsports Park before beginning the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Type A Motorsports season with Wallace Motorsports at the NHRA Gatornationals, March 7-10, at Gainesville Raceway.