After duking it out on the track for several months, the dedicated and determined drivers of VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod are preparing for the final event in this year’s series, the 16th Annual SDPC Raceshop NMCA World Street Finals, Sept. 21-24 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana.
That’s where a champion will be crowned in the captivating category which has seen a full field of 16 cars at all but one event so far this year, and leading the charge are points leader Adam Flamholc, followed by Jason Hamstra, Steve Summers and Billy Banaka.
Flamholc, who travels from Sweden to race in the United States, has been a formidable force all season, as he led qualifying at the events in Georgia and Illinois, won at the event in Georgia and currently holds the category’s elapsed-time record of 3.729.
He showed resiliency and resolution when his 1963 Corvette went into the wall at the event in Illinois, and he, his crew and Chris Duncan Race Cars took its replacement, a 2012 Mustang, from roller to race car and gave it the 526ci Hemi built by Hameetman Racing Engines and MMR Racing and Roots-style supercharger massaged by Mike Janis from the Corvette in less than a week.
“I’m extremely motivated, and I don’t like to give up,” said Flamholc. “As long as there is a chance, I will do whatever I can to get done what needs to get done. My team is very important, and we worked 24/7 for almost a week to get the Mustang race-ready. It’s not the best situation to get a new car in the middle of the season, but it is what it is. I really enjoy running in the class, and the car-count and quality of the cars that show up have been getting better and better during the season.”
But not long after driving all the way to the semifinal at the event in Ohio, where he made five runs between 3.81 and 3.85 despite the fact that the car is 250 pounds heavy for the category, Flamholc was hospitalized with a health concern that is believed to be related to the crash, and to the dismay of fans, is not able to fly from his homeland to the event to defend his lead in points.
Behind Flamholc by just 95 points is Jason Hamstra, who climbed into his Alan Pittman Race Cars-built 1969 Camaro-bodied Pro Mod late last year and debuted it in NMCA competition at the event in Florida. There, he dove right into dialing in his 521ci engine topped with a Mike Janis-built roots-style supercharger, set the pace in qualifying with a 3.77 and won the event. He went on to runner-up at the race in Illinois and win the race in Ohio.
“The fields have been really good this year, and the competition has gotten tougher and tougher with each race,” said Hamstra. “You pretty much have to run low 3.80s to be competitive now, and that makes everyone push everyone else. I’d like to win the points battle, but I’m just going to take it one round at a time and try not to let it get to me.”
Holding down the third spot in points is Steve Summers, who was runner-up at the event in Georgia, led qualifying with a 3.81 at the event in Kentucky and currently holds the top-speed record in the category with a 216.06.
He accomplished all of that despite the fact that this is his first full season in the car he debuted late last year, a Jerry Bickel Race Cars-built 2016 Camaro-bodied Pro Mod powered by a 522ci CFE-headed Wedge engine, Garrett turbos and a Haltech engine management system.
“The fields have been really tight, and the competition has been great,” said Summers. “In fact, the number one qualifier and the number sixteen qualifier are not spread out that far.”
While Summers was poised to make a move toward the top of points at the race in Ohio, he ran into trouble and lost in the first round of eliminations.
“We were having all kinds of issues, including a contaminated C02 bottle that plugged up a bunch of stuff and prevented the transbrake from working and the trans from shifting, which absolutely killed me,” said Summers. “In order for me to win the championship in Indy, some big stuff would have to happen, and that’s disheartening.”
Rounding out the top four in points is Billy Banaka, who pilots Mike Bankston’s Jerry Bickel-built 1969 Camaro-bodied Pro Mod powered by a nitrous-enhanced 959ci engine built by Pat Musi, and in it, he won the race in Illinois, led qualifying with a 3.78 at the race in Ohio and was runner-up at the race in Ohio.
“The start of the season was a little shaky, but I feel like I have a good shot of moving up at this last race of the season, so I’m certainly going to try,” said Banaka. “It’s not going to be easy, though, and things will need to fall into place. The level of competition has been really good this year.”
While there will only be one champion in the category, all VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod drivers will be recognized for their remarkable, riveting and record-setting racing at the NMCA awards ceremony held during PRI in December in Indianapolis, Indiana.