ARTICLE REPOSTED FROM NHRA.COM
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COMMERCE, Ga. — When Bob Rahaim won his first career NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series race earlier this season in Gainesville, Fla., the magnitude of the moment wasn’t lost on him.
In fact, the victory served as one of the pinnacles of his long racing career.
“This has been beyond my wildest dreams,” Rahaim said. “This is one of those bucket list things. It was really just an enjoyable moment. With the caliber of cars and drivers in this class, to get that win was really one of the special moments of my life.”
Rahaim, who has competed in just eight NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series events, is ready to start collecting more memorable moments this weekend at the 35th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
The Atlanta stop for the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series, which is presented by The Real Pro Mod (RPM) Association and Pro Line Racing, is the third of 10 events during the 2015 season.
Rahaim got his feet wet in the class in 2013 when he entered the final event of the season in Las Vegas. He competed in five more a year ago, qualifying for two of them. But the team, led by crew chief Chris Bell, made considerable strides in the off-season and Rahaim has made rapid improvements at the controls of his stunning silver and black nitrous-injected TLC Waste Disposal C7 Corvette.
“Our new car is a big part of it,” Rahaim said. “But we’ve also got a good group of people around us. A lot of the battle is getting the right mix of people and personalities. We got some traction in the class last year, and now we’re going some rounds. Of course we would like to repeat what happened in Gainesville, but we know we’re not going to win every race. There are too many good racers and determined people in this class.”
Gaining experience in the class has also proven to be beneficial, especially considering the top talent in the class. Rahaim dropped to fourth in the points standings following a first-round loss in Houston, but he remains in the thick of things in a class that features two-time defending champion Rickie Smith, who won in Atlanta last year, Pete Farber, Danny Rowe, Don Walsh, Mike Castellana, Bill Glidden and Mike Janis.
“We’re optimistic about what we can do in Atlanta and I’m really looking forward to the weekend,” Rahaim said. “Our goal all year is to qualify for every race and then try to get some rounds. We’re really excited to be here and I’ve got confidence in our team. I think we can compete in this class.”
Simply qualifying in a class that regularly features more than 25 entries is a feat in itself, especially for a relative class newcomer like Rahaim. More than anything Rahaim has enjoyed competing in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series, even through the natural ups and downs of success and disappointments.
“This sport can be really humbling so I just try to keep a smile on my face and enjoy it,” Rahaim said. “There’s a lot of competitive drivers and that’s what I like about this class. There are so many amazing drivers. It’s just a tremendous class with great racing.”
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 growing 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, May 15 with qualifying sessions at 3:15 and 5:45 p.m., continuing with the final qualifying session on Saturday, May 16 at 12:00 p.m. Round one of eliminations is later on Saturday at 2:45 p.m.
The Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals also will showcase the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, log on to www.NHRA.com/tickets or call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Children 12 and younger are free. 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 SOUTHERN NATIONALS
WHAT: 35th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, the third of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. The race will also showcase the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
WHERE: Atlanta Dragway, Commerce, Ga. I-85 to Exit 149 (Hwy 441). After exiting the freeway, go north on Highway 441 to Steven Tanger Blvd. Take left on Tanger and then go right on Ridgeway Road.
COURSE: Championship dragstrip; Track elevation is 1,100 feet above sea level; Track direction is southeast to northwest.
WHEN: Friday through Sunday, May 15-17
TELEVISION: A 30-minute show from this event will be televised on the Velocity Channel in the fourth quarter of 2015.
FRIDAY, May 15: NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 3:15 and 5:45 p.m.
SATURDAY, May 16: NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at noon. Round 1 of eliminations at 2:45 p.m.
SUNDAY, May 17: NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES eliminations at 12:45 p.m.
PAST WINNERS: Rickie Smith, 2014; Ed Hoover, 2011; Michael Gullqvist, 2010
TRACK RECORDS: 5.778 seconds by Rickie Smith, May ’14; 253.14 mph by Roger Burgess, May ’11.
NATIONAL RECORDS: 5.772 sec. and 258.71 mph by Melanie Troxel, June ’11, Englishtown.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets.