Walsh building on success to boost NHRA Pro Mod title hopes
Thursday, September 27, 2012

When the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx resumes at Gateway Motorsports Park during the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, Sept. 28-30, only eight rounds of racing will remain to crown the 2012 season champion. The title hopes are strong for a handful of drivers, including Don Walsh, who at the past four races has had one of the strongest cars in the competitive category.

At the Bristol Dragway event, behind the wheel of his Walsh Motorsports/Precision Turbo Ford Mustang, he set top speed of the meet and was runner-up to Rickie Smith. When the series next took to the track, in Norwalk, he defeated Ohio native Troy Coughlin in the final and secured his first victory in the series.

“That win was really an emotional day for me, for us, and it was a huge accomplishment to win an NHRA Wally,” Walsh said. “A lot of people that drag race dream of winning that trophy, and it was a huge day for all of us.”

Since the victory, Walsh has posted two No. 1 qualifying positions and raced to a semifinal appearance at the most recent event in Charlotte. The team has worked nonstop this season to boost performance, which has put it in a position to battle for victories.

“Harry Hruska with Precision Turbo has just worked tirelessly this year, and the whole team has worked tirelessly to figure out the combination and to get it to where it is today,” Walsh continued. “All of us have worked hard to get it that way, and the car is working. In Bristol, we were turning the corner, and we were turning so many bad days into new good days.”

Even with the midseason success, Walsh did suffer a disappointing loss in Indianapolis, where he qualified No. 1 but lost in the first round to eventual race winner Brad Brand.

“If anybody tells you something like that doesn’t sting, I don’t think they are telling the truth,” he said. “But how I look at it is we have worked hard to be where we are at, and I think we have made progress throughout the entire year.

“In drag racing, you are going to lose. You are going to lose from time to time, but you are going to need to be good with that; otherwise, you aren’t going to enjoy the sport a whole lot. Our goal is to go out there and try to win, but it’s not always going to happen.”

Walsh is third in the points standings, 72 markers behind series leader Mike Castellana. With only two events left, the title is still up for grabs, and Smith, Danny Rowe, Leah Pruett, and Coughlin all have a shot at it.

“I think it is going to come down to the last round in Vegas before we know,” he said. “What I’ve talked with the team about is we need to win rounds. The only way you win a championship is winning rounds. It doesn’t matter what anybody else does at this point. Whatever they are going to do, they are going to do. We need to go win rounds, and that is what we do.”

When the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx visits St. Louis, it will be for the first time since 2010. This will put all the teams on equal footing and will make the racing that much more intense.

“Everybody’s combinations at this point favor differing conditions, and until we are there and know what we have on race day, we won’t know whose combinations will be favored over another,” Walsh explained. “At a lot of these races, the weather for qualifying and for first round have been entirely different from what we have Sunday morning when we wake up. That has proved to be a huge challenge for us.”

Featuring the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer cars with an extremely diverse collection of vehicles, including ’63 Corvettes, ’68 Camaros, ’67 Mustangs, and ’68 Firebirds as well as late-model cars, the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx offers something for every kind of hot rodding enthusiast.

• SCHEDULE: NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx qualifying sessions are scheduled for Sept. 28 at 2:30 and 5 p.m. and Sept. 29 at 1:30 p.m. The first round of eliminations is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. on Sept. 29. Eliminations will continue on Sept. 30.

• TICKETS: To purchase tickets for the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, call 855-RACETIK (722-3845) or log on to www.gatewaymsp.com.