In the final race at Atlanta Dragway for the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, veteran Mike Castellana has the opportunity to leave quite a mark at the facility.
Heading into this weekend’s race as part of the 40th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals, Castellana is the most recent winner in the Pro Mod class at Atlanta, winning in 2019. But the standout also won the race in 2017 in dramatic fashion, bouncing back from going into the sand trap in the first qualifying session to qualifying No. 1 and winning the race. Nobody but Castellana has won at the track in five years and now he has the chance to be the final winner this weekend in his blown Al-Anabi Performance ’69 Camaro.
“It would be great to win this weekend and get to be remembered as the last winner in Atlanta,” said Castellana, who has 10 career Pro Mod wins. “It would be a great achievement for our team. Everything has seemed to click here at this track the last couple races. In 2017, we went into the sand trap, but we were able to come back and better our qualifying time and win the race. That was a pretty exciting moment for our team.”
The race, which is presented by Alsum Farms/Wisconsin Potato, is the second race of the 2021 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season and will be shown on Fox Sports 2 (FS2). Jose Gonzalez, who fell in the final round to Castellana in Atlanta in 2019, won the opening race of the 2021 Pro Mod season in Gainesville, while Castellana will be making his season debut this weekend.
He raced just three times a year ago, competing at the three Pro Mod races in Indy, but the talented driver is eager to get back into action. Crew chief Frank Manzo is once again calling the shots and, with a strong track record in Atlanta, Castellana is confident the team can start the season in impressive fashion.
“We’re really excited to get back out there and we’re looking forward to racing this weekend,” Castellana said. “It’s been a while since we’ve raced, so this should be great. Our team tested a couple of weeks ago, and everything went well, so we’re excited to get back at it in Atlanta.”
To win three straight races to close out Atlanta Dragway, Castellana will have to be in top form against a loaded lineup in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. Gonzalez made the quickest run in class history en route to the victory in Gainesville, while Castellana will also have to deal with the likes of defending world champ Stevie “Fast” Jackson, Gainesville runner-up Justin Bond, class newcomer J.R. Gray, Khalid AlBalooshi and Alex Laughlin. The good news is Castellana will be in a familiar setting where he’s done well and he hopes he can rise to the occasion at the final race at Atlanta Dragway.
“Being able to be consistent will be key,” Castellana said. “There are no slouches in this class and we’re going to have to be on our game, and be able to make pull passes on every run if we want to be successful.”
Alsum Farms/Wisconsin Potato is the presenting sponsor for the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series race in Atlanta. Alsum Farms & Produce, Inc., is a grower, packer and shipper of potatoes, re-packer of onions, and a wholesale distributor of a full line of fresh fruits and vegetables. Headquartered in Friesland, Wisconsin, Alsum Farms is also a member of the eco-friendly Wisconsin Healthy Grown® Potato Program. The Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) is a non-profit organization that represents and promotes the state’s potato and vegetable growers.
“It’s more important now than ever to focus on health and wellness in being the best version of yourself,” says Christine Lindner, Marketing Manager of Alsum Farms & Produce, “and that requires fueling your body with the nutrients it craves. At Alsum Farms & Produce, we are proud to partner with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) and Menards to provide healthy grown Wisconsin potatoes in Menards stores for the month of May and encourage motorsports fans to get grilling with America’s favorite vegetable,” Lindner says. “This Powered by Wisconsin potatoes promotion showcases a versatile vegetable that is packed full of nutrition and flavor and goes great on the grill! Wisconsin potatoes provide the energy you need to get through each day. They also provide 30% of your daily value of vitamin C which is good news for maintaining a strong immune system. The benefits are endless, so don’t wait! Fire up your grill and power your performance with Wisconsin potatoes from Menards! You’ll be glad you did.”
“There isn’t much that pairs better than summer, sports, and grilling Wisconsin potatoes! The Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) is thrilled to embark on a new partnership with the NHRA, Menards and Alsum Farms & Produce, where grilling Wisconsin potatoes is top of mind,” says WPVGA Director of Promotions Dana Rady. “Wisconsin potatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals, and they’re free of fat, gluten and cholesterol. They’re also high in potassium and sodium-free which makes them a heart-healthy choice for any meal or snack,” Rady continues. “Wisconsin potatoes provide the healthy punch and versatility your body needs to function at its best. So get powered by Wisconsin potatoes by purchasing your bag from your local Menards. Your tastebuds will thank you.”
To learn more about Alsum Farms & Produce or for potato recipe inspiration, visit www.Alsum.com.