A few weeks ago during our Flashback Friday feature, we shared a nostalgic little clip from back in 1989 of the Top Sportsman Shootout from the Gateway International Raceway just outside of St. Louis. It was this popular side competition to the Top Sportsman eliminator that a few months later, would become the rousing success that we now know as Pro Modified.
To honor the Gateway International Raceway’s final race this weekend, we thought it would be a nice addition to feature the next seasons event in 1990, of the all-new category competing on the St. Louis quarter mile strip. The cars and machines that you see here are literally the originators of the Pro Modified movement, with names like Robbie Vandergriff, Bill Kuhlmann, Mike Ashley, Scotty Cannon, and Ed Hoover.
This clip was originally part of a full broadcast, but only the second round has been whittled into the video you see here. The quarterfinal round action opens with Ken Karsten downing Vandergriff with a 7.63 at 189.31 MPH. Meanwhile, Ashley drops a 7.10 on the Summit-backed Chevy of Kuhlmann, while the legendary Ronnie Sox disposes of Cannon’s famed ONSAT Willy’s with a booming 7.00 lap. and Ed Hoover, who is still very much a part of the Pro Mod category today, downed chassis builder Tim McAmis with a 7.10 effort of his own. For fans of heads-up doorslammer racing, this is almost as cool as it gets.