Pro Mod veteran Mike Castellana scored his first career victory at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, slipping past Rickie Smith on a holeshot in the final round of E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service action on Monday at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
The series was presented by Hot Wheels in Indy and marked the ninth of 12 races in 2019. For Castellana, it was his first Indy triumph after finishing as the runner-up two previous times. He went 5.758-seconds at 248.43 mph in the finals in his blown Al-Anabi Performance Camaro, beating Smith’s 5.747 at 250.83 by a mere 17 inches thanks to a better reaction time. It is Castellana’s second win in 2019 and 10th in his E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Series career.
“I just go up there and do my own thing and to try to win,” Castellana said. “It was pretty close at the finish line. I knew it was tight. It feels great to win this, especially for my team. They work their butts off all weekend, so it’s great.”
Castellana, who qualified second with a 5.751 at 248.93, picked up round wins against Sidnei Frigo, Doug Winters and AAP teammate Brandon Snider to reach the final round. Smith, a three-time world champ and the No. 1 qualifier this weekend, advanced to his 23rd career final round thanks to round wins against Eric Latino, Khalid AlBalooshi and defending world champ Mike Janis.
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service continues at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Sept. 27-29 in St. Louis. It is the 10th of 12 races during the 2019 season.