Doug Winters’ 2020 NHRA Pro Mod season will finally start this weekend, but he’s already been hard at work — on and off the track.
Winters will head to the Pro Mod debut at this weekend’s NHRA Summernationals at Indy with plenty of seat time, as well as a new look on his ’69 Chevelle. The veteran will have Stinar Corporation on the side of the car as their primary sponsor, sporting another unique look, this time with a company that provides industry-leading aviation ground support equipment to the airline industry.
On the track, Winters and his team have already made 30 runs in testing, putting him on a strong path to build on his solid 2019 season.
“We’re all ready,” Winters said. “It’s been a long winter and just continued on and on and on. We’re all chomping at the bit to get out there.”
As for the new look, Winters was blown away with the car, which features Air Force One and a Stinar chassis mounted staircase. Stinar is known for providing the Secret Service with staircases and other ground equipment to support the President and Vice President of the United States as they travel around the nation and globe.
“This new design is another work of art,” Winters said. “There are so many things to look at. The detail is phenomenal. I am sure it will be a big hit with our fans.”
Winters hopes to match it with a stellar performance in Indy. The track is hosting the second of back-to-back races as the 2020 NHRA season restarts following nearly five months away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Pro Mod season never actually got started.
Gainesville was postponed just hours before Winters and the rest of the class prepared to run, sending them back home for months.
Now back at Indy for the first of two races there — the second being the U.S. Nationals – the schedule will pick up considerably if things go as planned.
The series is scheduled for 12 races from this weekend through the end of October – barring any cancellations throughout the ongoing public health crisis — and Winters knows that his team must stay focused on the task at hand and avoid any major pitfalls in the process.
“We want to be in the points chase and that’s our goal,” Winters said. “It’s going to be tough with a lot of back-to-back races hopefully, but I think the compact schedule and the reduced qualifying attempts could play to our advantage.
“It will be a war of attrition. I think we have at least two stretches in the schedule where we will not return to the shop for over three weeks. Therefore, we have to be ready for whatever happens on the track and have the parts in the trailer just to make it to the next race. It will be a challenge, but with the help of Stinar, I know we can do it and accomplish big things.”
One of those hectic stretches includes a stop in Brainerd, marking the first time the class has raced there. Stinar will be sponsoring that race should it happen, which has Winters extra excited, but doing well this weekend in Indy comes first.
While his team has tested a lot this year, it’s been some intense trial-and-error to say the least.
“We’ve changed a lot of stuff. What I’ve been telling people is you have to go backwards before you go forwards, and evidently we’re going to go way forward because I’ve been way backwards,” Winters joked. “But we’ve found big increases in incrementals, and it’s just a matter of finding the right balance.”
Winters is coming off his best season in NHRA Pro Mod in 2019, advancing to the semifinals in Atlanta. He also was the runner-up at the World Series of Pro Mod, taking plenty of momentum into the off-season. It’s taken a few more months than anticipated, but Winters is eager to continue that this weekend in Indy.
“We can’t wait to get back to NHRA racing,” said Winters, who also praised the support of Truck Supply of South Carolina, NGK Spark Plugs, Richmond Gear, Optima Batteries, Gunk, Liquid Wrench and Andy McCoy Race Cars. “We have been at a few (non-NHRA) races already this year, and done a lot of testing, but we are looking forward to getting the NHRA series started.”