Although coming a year later than they had initially planned, Jim Widener and engine builder and crew chief Tony Bischoff turned the tires for the first time on their sleek new Pro Modified C7 Corvette during last weekend’s Ohio Valley Prize Fight in Louisville, Kentucky.
Widener and Bischoff went on a racing hiatus following the NHRA U.S. Nationals in 2015, parking the well-traveled Mercury Cougar that Bischoff had driven in various categories previously. Realizing the need for a lighter weight, modern chassis — and driven by the notion that the Cougar simply “wasn’t right” following three different crashes during its life — Widener purchased the Corvette body from Tim McAmis Race Cars and tabbed Chris Duncan Race Cars to build the new piece. The Corvette is powered by the same 950 cubic-inch, 5.3-inch bore space wedge engine that powered the Cougar, but is now backed with a Lenco/Bruno converter drive step with a lock-up converter.
Calling the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Series a “professional class for professional racers,” Bischoff confirmed he and Widener have no plans to return to the series or to quarter-mile racing, and will instead focus on the NMCA’s Xtreme Pro Mod class, Ohio Valley’s monthly Pro Mod shows, and other regional eighth-mile venues.
Widener took three shots at the radial-prepped Ohio Valley strip during the event, making a solid short pull to 200 feet on the final attempt before loading up to head back to Indiana.
According to Bischoff, the supercharger-style injector hat was chosen not for any particular horsepower purposes, but simply because it’s easier for Widener to see around than a traditional scoop.