Breaks Through with First MWPMS Win at Memphis
MEMPHIS, TN (Sep. 19,
2019) -- By defeating points leader Aaron Wells in the
semi-finals, then going on to score his first Summit Racing
Equipment Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) event win Sep. 14,
Justin Jones did everything possible at Memphis International
Raceway to keep his 2019 championship hopes alive.
In a battle of screw-blown Corvettes in the Pro Mod final, Jones
steered his Weatherford, TX-based C7 entry to a 3.86-seconds pass
at 200.14 mph over a traction-challenged 4.11 at 194.07 by fellow
Texan Frankie Taylor.
"Before we got out there my crew chief, Brandon Pesz, he told me
to get ready to pedal about half track. He reminded me that
Frankie's good and has luck on his side at all times, so we didn't
want some freak thing to happen and he goes around us, so Brandon
stepped it up a bit," Jones recalled.
"And sure enough about half track it started shaking, but I
slapped it one time and was able to get on down. But Frankie
must've had to pedal at least once, too."
Also scoring wins on the Memphis eighth mile were Dan Phelps in
Race Star Wheels Top Dragster, Mark Pickens in Race Star Top
Sportsman, Randy Matlock in X275 drag radial, and Todd Martin over
MWPMS owner and promoter Keith Haney in the unique Pro Mod
Slammers class for non-qualifiers and first-round runners up.
Martin in a screw-blown '68 Mustang Cobra, and Haney, who debuted
his brand-new, nitrous-fed "Black Mamba" 2019 Camaro at the
Memphis event, both fell in the opening round of racing and were
relegated to the consolation rounds.
"I have to say E.J. Hickl did a good job taking me out. I mean, he
had struggles and worked until four or five o'clock in the morning
just to get his car put back together. And then, not only did he
cut a light on me, he outran me by five thousandths, 3.78 with a
three to my .78 with an eight," Martin said after beating Michael
Bradley in the first round of Slammers action.
"Then I had a single in round two before taking on Keith and
that's when my Cobra killed the Black Mamba," he pointed out,
laughing. "But what's really important is that I'm trying to catch
Jim Sackuvich for fourth in points and the Slammers pays points,
too, so getting that win really helped."
Several MWPMS racers commented on track conditions with traction
at a premium throughout the weekend. Still, after 19 entries made
qualifying attempts, Oklahoma's Wells put his supercharged '67
Shelby Mustang atop the 16-car field with a 3.73-seconds pass at
205.60 mph. Just eight-thousandths behind with another 3.73 was
Taylor, with Martin third at 3.75, Jones fourth at 3.76 and Judd
Coffman out of Ashmore, IL, with a 3.78 in his clutch-equipped,
twin-turboed '68 Shelby rounding out the top five.
Unfortunately, qualifying also was marred in the fourth and final
session by a serious accident involving Kevin Maddux of Nixa, MO,
and Alabama's Jason Collins. About a hundred feet out, Maddux's
blown '63 Corvette lost traction in the left lane and made a
sudden right turn that tossed it sideways on its two left wheels
while crossing the centerline and clipping the left front corner
of Collins' supercharged '68 Camaro.
Collins minimized the danger with a remarkable job of keeping his
car under control as Maddux's car righted itself just before
striking the right guardwall near the eighth-mile line. It then
crossed the track and sideswiped the left wall before crossing
over one last time and slamming the right wall again well into the
shutdown area. Remarkably, both drivers avoided serious injury,
with Collins still able to make round one of eliminations, though
Maddux was sidelined by major damage for the remainder of the
Meanwhile, Jones opened with a strong 3.79 to beat Ron Muenks in
the opening round, followed by a close two-hundredths of a second
win over Coffman in round two after Coffman improved his
career-best numbers to 3.76 at 209.39, which also represented top
speed of the meet.
"That's pretty special for us," he said. "We're just a small team
running on a pretty tight budget, but I've been doing my homework
trying to get some things straightened out and I think the car's
got a good, solid five or six numbers left in it under the right
In the semis, Jones improved to his best run of the weekend with a
3.74 pass against Wells, who lost traction early and slowed to a
"I'm a pretty cool, calm and collected guy when it comes to
racing. I don't get flustered a lot, but coming into that round I
had the pressure on me and I could feel it. It was either win that
round and keep the points chase alive, or lose and the
championship goes to him right there," Jones said. "So I was going
to make sure that, you know, my part was taken care of.
"So FuelTech has a practice tree in their software so you can
practice your consistency with your lights off the starting line
and while I was sitting in the staging lanes I was sitting back
there and probably let go of that button 30 times, just trying to
keep myself quick and consistent."
That left only the final, where the practice continued to pay off
as Jones left with a sizable .080 starting-line advantage over
Taylor. His win reversed the result from the first MWPMS race of
the year when Taylor beat Jones in the final at the Texas
"We were able to keep lane choice going through elimination
rounds, so I was able to put Frankie over there in the left lane
and I think that helped," Jones said. "Especially with the blower
car it's hard to see around the hat so you've got to line up
pretty far to the left of the track just to see the tree. So you
push him out there off the groove a little bit left and it's hard
to get off the starting line. That's what our whole plan was going
into it and it worked out for us this time."
Heading toward Oct. 11-12, at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park for
the last of eight scheduled events on the MWPMS 2019 schedule,
Wells holds a 69-point advantage over Jones. With 20 points
available per round win, plus points earned in qualifying, Jones
knows a considerable challenge remains, but insists his Imperial
Construction team will arrive prepared.
"I want this championship as much as anybody, if not more than
anybody," he stressed. "But I do know it's not going to be easy."
Following the official-season-ending Tulsa event, the Summit
Racing Equipment Mid-West Pro Mod Series will continue on to the
Texas Motorplex, south of Dallas, for a special, 16-car,
invitation-only MWPMS race Oct. 18-20, in conjunction with the
NHRA AAA FallNationals.
ABOUT THE SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT MID-WEST PRO MOD SERIES:
The Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Pro Mod Series is an
all-eighth-mile, no-profit organization funded entirely through
marketing partnerships and passed along to benefit MWPMS host
tracks (typically about $10,000). The Mid-West Pro Mod Series also
provides trackside sponsor banners to be displayed at each event,
on-site PA sponsor announcements, and links to each company on the
MWPMS website (www.MidWestProModSeries.com), plus an extensive
social-media presence, texts and e-mail blasts, and commercials
during all events. Complete class rules are posted on the MWPMS