Bob Rahaim took down defending E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Series presented by J&A Services champion Mike Janis in the first round at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. That was one of a pair of big upsets, and Rahaim did it the hard way. He edged Janis both down the track by .007-second and on the starting line by fewer than two-hundredths of a second.
Related: Pro Mod Ladder
Jose Gonzalez also scored an upset by taking down No. 1 qualifier Todd Tutterow. Tutterow turned on the red light by leaving .005-second early. Gonzalez may have applied some pressure by being one of the best leavers in the Pro Mod category, but Tutterow ended his race day with a mistake and will not have a chance to chase down Pro Mod leader Stevie “Fast” Jackson against until the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk.
Jackson, who was not bullish on his chances with a nitrous car in Thunder Valley, advanced to the second round with a victory over Steve Matusek. Jackson cut a .028-second light and then ran a 5.861. That was far from a record-breaking lap, but it at least helped the category leader keep pace with everyone else for another round.
Defending event winner Khalid AlBalooshi continued his great stretch with a 5.828-second pass against Michael Biehle II. That will get him lane choice against Rahaim. AlBalooshi qualified No. 6 but is looking very racy after cutting a .053-second light and running low e.t. of the round and running 254.62-mph.
Sidnei Frigo was not far behind with a 5.834-second hit to take down Eric Latino, who was a day late at the starting line. That will get Frigo lane choice over Jackson; it was also the second-quickest pass in the session.
The second round is set for 2:30 p.m. Eastern. You can catch all the action live on NHRA.tv.