NHRA Pro Modified racing action is finally back and #TeamProLine was firing on all cylinders at the 52nd annual NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. E.T. records were set and reset at this event and PLR-powered cars were in the forefront.
Bahrain1 drivers, Justin Bond and Khalid AlBalooshi, led the pack during qualifying and were the only drivers to dip into the 5.6 second range. Bond sat in the #1 spot after he went 5.638 to take the NHRA Pro Mod E.T. record! Balooshi wasn’t far behind with a 5.645. Both cars are tuned by Brad Personette and they sure were making clean, fast runs throughout the whole weekend.
The El General Racing team qualified #3 with a 5.708. Their driver, Jose Gonzalez, was piloting the brand-new PLR Hemi-powered ProCharged JBRC Camaro and was making progress with each pass down the race track. Tuner, Steve Petty, was getting the new car dialed in quickly.
Kris Thorne just made the switch to a PLR Hemi / Procharger combo for 2021 and it already looks like their car is ready to compete at the highest level. Thorne and team went 5.720 to hold the #6 spot in their Jamie Miller “Red Hat Mafia” tuned Camaro.
One thing is certain in NHRA Pro Mod is that there is no such thing as an easy round once eliminations start. The PLR-powered teams have had great success in the past but they work hard to achieve that success and the Gatornationals proved no different.
In E1, Gonzalez and his El General Racing team made history by running a new NHRA Pro Mod E.T. record 5.621 in the new Camaro. Petty had the right conditions on the early morning pass and went for it. This was the second PLR team to break that record in the season opener!
Bond advanced with a 5.72 when he faced Jim Whiteley, who left before the tree activated. Balooshi ran a 5.68 to defeat a red-lighting Jeff Jones. Unfortunately, Thorne was eliminated by Clint Satterfield after his car had difficulty staging, upsetting the chassis. Thorne and team will be back soon, his new combo is making big progress and with Kris behind the wheel, other drivers better be on their A- game on the tree.
All 3 remaining PLR drivers advanced to E2 as Bond won a super close race against Jeffrey Barker, Balooshi defeated Alex Laughlin, and Gonzalez got a bye run when Satterfield couldn’t make the call.
The semifinals set up one of the best races of the event!
Balooshi vs Gonzalez was a slugfest. Gonzalez had a slight starting line advantage .031 to Balooshi’s .044, with Gonzalez pulling off the win 5.722 to a 5.725. Gonzalez's MOV: 0.0167 seconds (approximately 6 feet). Bond sent JR Gray home with a 5.71 to a 5.78 to set up and all PLR-powered final round between Gonzalez and Bond.
In the final, Gonzalez went on to win his third Wally with a 5.72 as Bond’s car started to shake the tires, forcing him to lift.
Congrats to El General Racing Team on the win and new NHRA Pro Mod record, and congrats to Bahrain1 Racing, Bond and Balooshi for dominant performances throughout the event.
Now we focus on the next NHRA Pro Mod event in Atlanta and we can’t wait to get back to the track to see what the next challenge brings!