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ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. — For Mike Janis to win his first race of the 2015 NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season he knows he will have to produce several incredible runs against a talented field.
But the Pro Mod veteran would not have it any other way.
Janis has thrived in the ultra-competitive NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series ranks, racking up three victories over the past two seasons. The winning all started at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park and Janis returns to the site of his first victory this weekend as part of the 46th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals.
“We know that every race we have go to fast and that’s pretty exciting,” said Janis, who has posted 13 or more round wins in each of the last two seasons. “But everyone is in the same boat. These things are just a handful on race day. Everyone is leaning on their stuff on race day. It’s awesome and it’s becoming a real slugfest out there. The 28 cars that are out there are competitive. Everybody out there has a good car and it makes for close racing.”
The Englishtown stop marks the fourth of 10 events during the 2015 season and Janis is off to another solid start in his Jan-Cen Chevrolet Camaro. He has advanced to the second round at each of the first three races to sit sixth in points, posting a No. 1 qualifier at the most recent event in Atlanta.
As Janis mentioned, turning on four win lights during eliminations can be difficult considering the competition that starts with two-time defending world champion Rickie Smith. Other top contenders include Pete Farber, Danny Rowe, points leader Don Walsh, who has knocked off Janis in eliminations at each of the past two races and won in Houston, veteran Mike Castellana, second-generation racer Bill Glidden, Troy Coughlin, Troy Coughlin Jr., Atlanta winner Kenny Lang, and Gainesville winner Bob Rahaim.
“We’ve had a fast race car the whole season,” said Janis, who has finished fourth in points the last two years. “We’ve been able to qualify really good. We’re knocking on the door and we just need a little luck. We’ve definitely making more horsepower than we have been. Englishtown is really fast and the air is going to be good, so there’s going to be some records set this weekend.”
It’s a bold statement but Janis could be in the mix to break the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series marks of 5.772 and 258.71 mph, set by Melanie Troxel at Englishtown in 2011.
Having any success at tradition-rich Raceway Park is meaningful for Janis, who hails from Lancaster, N.Y. He has a long history of racing at the track, but nothing stands out more than what happened two years ago. For Janis, repeating that process this weekend would be just as special.
“Two years ago there was when we won our first NHRA race and that’s pretty cool,” Janis said. “We have good memories at that track and that’s something that will always stay with us. Just knowing the track and the air is going to be awesome when you go there makes it special. You know you can go fast there.”
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, June 5 with qualifying sessions at 3:15 and 5:45 p.m., continuing with the final qualifying session on Saturday, June 6 at 3:15 p.m. Round one of eliminations is later on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at (732) 446-7800 or visit www.racewaypark.com. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES FACT SHEET: TOYOTA NHRA SUMMERNATIONALS
WHAT: 46th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals, the fourth of 10 events in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. The race will also showcase competition in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
WHERE: Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Englishtown, N.J. From the North, take N.J. Turnpike South to Exit 9, follow the signs to Rt. 18 South. Go six miles to the Englishtown exit. Take Rt. 527 South five miles. Make a left onto Pension Rd. Go ¼ mile, track entrance on left.
COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 60 feet above sea level; Track direction is northeast to southwest.
TELEVISION: A 30-minute show from this event will be televised on the Velocity Channel in the fourth quarter of 2015.
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, June 4-7
FRIDAY, June 5: NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 3:30 and 5:45 p.m.
SATURDAY, June 6: NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 2:30 p.m. Round 1 of eliminations at 5 p.m.
SUNDAY, June 7: NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES eliminations continue at 12:45 p.m.
PAST WINNERS: Von Smith, 2014; Mike Janis, 2013; Danny Rowe, 2012; Danny Rowe, 2011; Von Smith, 2010
TRACK RECORDS: 5.772 seconds by Melanie Troxel, June ’11; 258.71 mph by Troxel, June ’11.
NATIONAL RECORDS: 5.772 sec. and 258.71 mph by Melanie Troxel, June ’11, Englishtown.
TICKETS: For tickets call Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at (732) 446-7800. Tickets also are available online at www.racewaypark.com.