MADISON, Ill. – A frustrating 2017 NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season for Mike Janis finally found a bright spot and now the veteran hopes it leads to a big finish. Janis posted his best finish of the year at the most recent race in Charlotte, advancing to the semifinals, erasing a slump that dated back to most of the 2016 season as well.
Confident that those disappointments are now over, Janis has big goals for the Pro Mod race this weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park as part of this weekend’s AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals. But even in the struggles, he has been impressed with the resolve of his team.
“We kind of turned it around in Charlotte and definitely we saw the potential was back,” said Janis, who has four career NHRA Pro Mod wins. “We found our issue and we’re looking forward to this weekend. It’s been frustrating, but in the next breath we know we’ve gone fast and had success before. We’ve just had to keep plugging away. Don’t get me wrong, it can be difficult, but we knew there were better days ahead. We’ve got a great bunch of guys and that makes the difference.”
The race in St. Louis, which is presented by the Real Pro Mod Association, is the 11th of 12 events during the 2017 NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season and will be shown on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and Fox Sports 2 (FS2). Troy Coughlin is the defending race winner. In the race for the world championship, points leader Mike Castellana has a 48-point advantage on Coughlin.
For Janis, his championship would be a top 10 finish, especially after dropping to 15th in points a year ago after a career-best second-place showing in 2015. He’s currently 88 points back of 10th with two races left, but his first victory since 2015 would go a long way in accomplishing that goal. With everyone on the same page, Janis knows what a win would mean to end the season.
“It’s real important to end the season on a good note,” Janis said. “If you win one of these next two races, it makes you work that much harder through the winter. We’ll try not to make any mistakes, make good laps and move forward a little bit. A win would be huge after the year we’ve had. I think it would be like our first win all over again. We’re running as good as anybody out there right now.”
That’s important in the loaded NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series, where 31 other drivers will be waiting to challenge Janis in St. Louis. The diverse and talented field features nine different winners in 10 events thus far this season, including Castellana, Coughlin, Steven Whiteley, Steve Matusek, Stevie Jackson, Shane Molinari, reigning champ Rickie Smith, Sidnei Frigo and Jonathan Gray, and Janis will look to become the 10th at the penultimate race of the year. He upset Coughlin in Charlotte, and a continued chance to salvage the season and erase the early-season slump happens in St. Louis.
“St. Louis always has a great Pro Mod crowd and a lot of Pro Mod fans,” Janis said. “The track is great, the air should be great and it will be fast for everybody. We just want to continue to get better, and hopefully we can get a win and finish the year in the top 10. That’s our goal.”
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, Sept. 29 with two qualifying session at 3:30 and 6:00 p.m., continuing with the final qualifying session on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 12:00 p.m. Round one of eliminations takes place on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and continues on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 12:20 p.m.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 855-RACE-TIK (722-3845). Tickets also are available online at www.gatewaymsp.com. Kids 12-under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For info about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
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About Real Pro Mod
The Real Pro Mod (RPM) association was created by Pro Mod team owners and drivers to preserve and promote the future of these amazing spectacles of drag racing. With more than 3,000 horsepower, the suspended door Pro Mod cars travel the quarter mile in under six seconds and at speeds exceeding 250 MPH.