The Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association (NEOPMA) contested the latest event in its 2021 season in conjunction with the YellowBullet Nationals held at Cecil County Dragway in Rising Sun, Maryland, over the weekend of May 14-16, and Jason Lee took top honors in the Pro Mod category.
With perfect weather, clear skies, great air, and quality track prep setting the stage for an incredible weekend, the stars of the eighth-mile format Pro Modified category were eager to get going as the event began.
The class hosted a total of 21 entries, with 19 of them NEOPMA members. Pre-race testing and the four subsequent qualifying sessions wound up being the quickest in the organization’s history, and the field was incredibly tight once the order had been finalized for the 16-car ladder.
Taking the lead in the number one spot was Steve King and the Pilot/Miller team with a 3.593 at 209.20 mph hit from their screw-blown entry. Jason Lee was hot on his heels in second, having run 3.594 at 209.52 mph behind the wheel of his ProCharged ’69 Chevy Camaro. In third was Jim Halsey, whose nitrous-injected ’68 Camaro clocked a run of 3.596 at 208.36 mph. The bump spot was set at 3.699 at 202.36 mph by Derek Ward, while the number fourteen qualifier, Anthony DiSomma, trapped the fastest speed of all the sessions when he ran 216.76 mph out the back door.
Unfortunately, during qualifying on Saturday, Gary Courtier’s ’69 Camaro took a hard turn straight into the wall. The crash was scary, but Courtier’s Jerry Bickel-built chassis did its job and protected him from major injury; Courtier was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was treated before being cleared for release the following day.
Eliminations began on Sunday and round one concluded with wins for Ken Quartuccio Jr., Mike Achenbach, Fred Scriba, Mike Decker Jr., Isaias Rojas, Halsey, Lee, and King. Round two was a door-to-door battle of the best as six of the eight passes made in the session were in the 3.60s. Ultimately, it was Quartuccio, Decker, Scriba, and Lee who moved on.
The semi-finals hosted the cutthroat competition and the runs got even quicker; Lee defeated Scriba, going 3.614 at 208.97 mph for the win, while Decker did the same to Quartuccio with his 3.609 at 210.87 mph blast.
It was Lee versus Decker in the finals, and the men staged their classic and late model Camaros, respectively, before anxiously awaiting the start. When the amber bulbs lit, Lee let loose with a near-perfect .003-second reaction time and held the lead all the way to the stripe, where his 3.595 at 210.50 mph pass turned on the win light in his lane to Decker’s strong 3.596 at 211.16 mph effort. It was an incredible matchup as both drivers were in the 3.5-second zone, but Lee was the one to earn a well-deserved trip to the winner’s circle.
Thank you to the NEOPMA sponsors who help make not only the races possible but who keep the entire series alive as well. Supporters include ATI Performance Products, Jerry Bickel Race Cars, Star Transporters, VP Racing Fuels, Canvas Plus, as well as Brian Hard, Fred Scriba, Gene Pilot, David Hance, and Kurt Steding.
The next event on the NEOPMA calendar will be the Empire NEOPMA Challenge, held at Empire Dragway in Leicester, New York, over the weekend of July 30-31, 2021.
For more information on the NEOPMA organization as well as upcoming events, visit NEOutlawProMods.com.