NORWALK, Ohio — Bob Rahaim knows the opportunity that is awaiting his team during this weekend’s NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series race during the running of the 10th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing is presented by The Real Pro Mod Association.
It is the sixth of 10 races in the wildly-popular class, kicking off the second half of the 2016 season and also finishes off a string of three straight race weekends. But it’s also the last Pro Mod race for two months until the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and Rahaim wants to take advantage of some recent momentum.
He was the runner-up last weekend in Bristol and wants to keep that strong run going in hopes of eventually tracking down two-time world champion and current points leader Rickie Smith, who earned two early-season victories.
“Each and every race that goes by gives us an opportunity to make up ground,” said Rahaim, who is currently fourth in points. “Rickie had such a hot start, unlike last year when everyone shared in the race wins. We just have to keep going rounds and see where it goes. Hopefully we can chip at it a little bit at a time.”
Mike Janis is the defending winner of the event in Norwalk and the race, along with all 10 events in 2016, will air on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and FOX Sports 2 (FS2).
Rahaim had his best weekend of the year at Bristol in his TLC Waste Disposal nitrous-powered Chevrolet Corvette. He qualified first with a 5.796 at 246.48 mph and put together a great weekend before falling to veteran Pro Mod racer Mike Castellana in the final round. It was exactly the type of performance Rahaim wanted to see to close out the first half of the year.
“Everybody did a real fine job on the car and I can’t thank them enough for all of their hard work,” Rahaim said. “We made some engine changes, some changes on the chassis and they’re coming together really well. There’s all these little things we’re trying right now. The car is set up real well, I really feel comfortable in it and I’ve got really good people around me. I’m very fortunate to be in this position.”
The team, led by crew chief Chris Bell, will have to deal with a field littered with talent. Rahaim will try to recreate the magic that led to his victory last year in Gainesville, but will have to deal with the likes of Rickie Smith, Castellana, Bill Glidden, Danny Rowe, Steve Matusek, Khalid alBalooshi, Von Smith and two-time world champion Troy Coughlin.
But competing in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series is the culmination of a lifelong dream for Rahaim, who will enjoy competing at a track just a couple hours away from his home in Grosse Point, Mich.
He has performed well at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in the past and would like nothing more than to collect his second NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series win this weekend.
“We just have to go out there and do our normal deal because of a lot times eliminations are different than qualifying,” said Rahaim, who finished third in points a year ago. “It often comes down to the car that manages the track and the power better. You just try to do your job on the starting line and not beat yourself. We’ll do our best, make sure we have our stuff right and give it our best shot this weekend. This is like a home track and a home race for me and we’re going to have a lot of family and friends come out for this one.”
Featuring the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer race cars, the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series offers something for every kind of hot-rodding enthusiast. The class is highlighted by historic muscle cars, like ’67 Mustangs, ’68 Firebirds and ’69 Camaros, as well as a variety of late model American muscle cars. With more than 3,000 horsepower, the suspended door pro mod cars travel the quarter-mile in less than six seconds at speeds exceeding 250 mph.
NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, June 24 with qualifying sessions at 4:15 p.m. and 7 p.m., continuing with the final qualifying session on Saturday, June 25 at 2:15 p.m. Round one of eliminations is later on Saturday at 5 p.m. Eliminations continue on Sunday, starting at approximately 12:30 p.m.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park at (419) 668-5555. Tickets also are available online at www.summitmotorsportspark.com. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
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NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES FACT SHEET:
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA NATIONALS
WHAT: 10th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, the sixth of 10 events in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Series. The race will also showcase the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
WHERE: Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, Norwalk, Ohio. The track is located at 1300 State Route 18, half way between Cleveland and Toledo; just an hour and a half north of Columbus. The Ohio Turnpike is less than 10 minutes away.
COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 853 feet above sea level; Track direction is north to south.
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, June 23-26
FRIDAY, June 24
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 4:15 and 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, June 25
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 2:15 p.m. Round 1 of eliminations at 5 p.m.
SUNDAY, June 26 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES eliminations at 12:45 p.m.
TELEVISION: Thursday, July 14, FS2 will televise 30 minutes of coverage at 10 p.m. (ET).
PAST WINNERS: Mike Janis, 2015; Troy Coughlin, 2014; Rickie Smith, 2013; Don Walsh, 2012; Mike Castellana, 2011; Pat Musi, 2010
TRACK RECORDS: 5.824 sec. by Bob Rahaim, July ’15; 253.85 mph by Don Walsh, July ’12.
NATIONAL RECORDS: 5.751 sec. by Jonathan Gray, March ’16, Gainesville, Fla.; 258.71 mph by Melanie Troxel, June. ’11, Englishtown, N.J.
TICKETS: For tickets, call (419) 668-5555 or purchase online at www.summitmotorsportspark.com.