Wells Wins, Makes
MWPMS History with NHRA at Dallas
TULSA, OK (Oct. 30,
2019) -- Fresh off wrapping up his first Summit Racing Equipment
Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) championship, Aaron Wells followed
up one week later by winning the inaugural Atomizer Racing
Injectors MWPMS Invitational, held within the AAA Texas NHRA
FallNationals Oct. 17-20, at the famed Texas Motorplex, near
Newly crowned Mid-West
Pro Mod Series champion Aaron Wells (center) and his family-run
team celebrate in victory lane at the Texas Motorplex after
winning the unique Atomizer Racing Injectors MWPMS Invitational
that earlier this month ran within the AAA Texas NHRA
"Honestly, that was as exciting for myself and my team as winning
the season championship," Wells said. "And I don't really know
that I can explain why I'd feel that way except for it's just such
a unique opportunity and, you know, possibly a once-in-a-lifetime
Mid-West Pro Mod Series
owner, promoter and competitor Keith Haney and his "better half,"
Misty Hayes, proudly display an MWPMS banner in the Texas
Motorplex Winner's Circle after Aaron Wells won the inaugural
Atomizer Racing Injectors MWPMS Invitational during the NHRA
national event at the famous drag strip near Dallas
MWPMS owner and promoter Keith Haney brokered the unique
eighth-mile Mid-West Series race after several months of
negotiations with NHRA and Motorplex officials. Held within the
NHRA's all-quarter-mile national event, it featured 22 invited
MWPMS teams vying for a 16-car qualified field, with the
semi-finals and finals staged on Sunday in front of a huge NHRA
raceday crowd and an NHRA "Wally" (trophy) going to the winner.
"You couldn't have scripted it any better," Haney stated. "We had
Aaron Wells against Justin Jones, number one versus number two in
Mid-West Series points, going for the win in the final round. It
was just a thrilling end to a fantastic weekend for everyone
Veteran crew chief Brandon Pesz (right) ponders his tune-up on
Justin Jones' screw-blown C7 Corvette on their way to a runner-up
finish to Aaron Wells in the inaugural Atomizer Racing Injectors
MWPMS Invitational that earlier this month ran within the AAA
Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex.
With his new number-one status for winning the 2019 Mid-West Pro
Mod Series championship reflected on his car's door, Aaron Wells
rolled into victory lane at the Texas Motorplex after winning the
Atomizer Racing Injectors MWPMS Invitational that earlier this
month ran within the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals.
"But I have to say it couldn't have happened without everyone at
NHRA and the Texas Motorplex, who treated us awesome, or without
the backing and support of Atomizer Racing Injectors, Summit
Racing Equipment, Jerry Bickel Race Cars, Stroud Safety and
Imperial Construction. I can't thank all of them enough for
helping us make this dream come true."
After one round of qualifying on Thursday and Friday night (a
third scheduled for late Friday was rained out), Jeffrey Cummins
Jr., of Brookshire, TX, started from atop the MWPMS order with a
3.78-seconds, 200.18-mph blast in his supercharged 2019 Mustang
GT. Close behind in second was E.J. Hickl with his blown "Crime
Boss" '41 Willys, with Tommy Cunningham third in another
supercharged '67 Mustang. Haney with his nitrous-fed "Black Mamba"
2019 Camaro broke up the blower brigade at the head of the field
as he started fourth, just ahead of Todd Moyer in his
twin-turbocharged '18 Camaro.
Like many MWPMS racers, Wells initially had trouble hooking up his
blown '67 Mustang GT 500 to the all-concrete Motorplex surface,
but managed to put a 4.06 lap together in Q2 to start an
uncharacteristic 14th. Meanwhile, Jones in a supercharged 2018
Corvette based just an hour away from the track in Weatherford,
TX, started from the ninth position after running an early shutoff
3.86 at 181.86 mph on Friday night.
Oklahoma City's Aaron Wells performs a burnout with his
supercharged '67 Mustang GT 500 on the way to winning the
inaugural Atomizer Racing Injectors MWPMS Invitational that
earlier this month ran within the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at
the Texas Motorplex.
"It's amazing how different the track was from what we're used
to," said Wells, who also was interviewed during qualifying for
the official FS1 broadcast of the NHRA event. "With NHRA the
majority of it was all rubber and we're used to quite a lot of
glue. So learning where we could apply the power, and honestly,
learning how to make the car slow down was our biggest challenge.
We really struggled not to just spin the tires."
In Saturday's first round of MWPMS eliminations, with legendary
announcer Al Tucci calling the MWPMS action, Wells had to overcome
a holeshot by Cunningham with a 3.77 that gave him a slim
four-thousandths of a second advantage at the finish line. He then
improved to 3.75 in round two for another come-from-behind win
over Clint Satterfield to close out his day.
On the opposite side of the ladder, Jones made a solo 3.76 pass in
round one after Todd Martin's blown '67 Mustang had to be shut
down on the line. In round two, he went 3.68 in what turned out to
be low E.T. of the meet for the MWPMS to beat Cummins and advance
to the semis on Sunday.
"When I first started announcing I dreamed of doing the NHRA
someday, but then I got into doing all the fast doorcar stuff, so
this was like the dream come true for me," said Tucci, who covered
all MWPMS events this year. "It was great seeing all these
Mid-West Series racers that I got to announce all year performing
on the big stage. And it was an honor for me to be there, too."
Also unprecedented for an NHRA national event, MWPMS event
coordinator Ellen Eschenbacher was able to video and transmit her
popular Facebook Live coverage to MWPMS fans at home and for the
first time MWPMS videographer Nathan Williamson recorded the
starting-line action alongside FS1 film crews. Meanwhile, MWPMS
sponsor partners benefited from seeing their commercials play on
the trackside Jumbotron, as well as online with NHRA.tv.
"It took a real collective effort to make it all happen," Haney
said. "I'm very proud of what everyone on the Mid-West Series crew
contributed, and especially of how our race director, Jimmy Boles,
and our all-over helper Randy Hancock worked so closely with the
NHRA people and kept everything running smooth and on schedule."
The semi-finals saw Wells once more improve to 3.74 seconds at
204.98 mph to send Adam Flamholc packing, while Jones ran 3.75 at
203.52 to end Moyer's quest. That left only the final round to
determine the first Wally to be awarded to an eighth-mile winner
at an NHRA national event.
Unfortunately, as soon as the starting tree turned green, the
rearend gears in Jones' Vette let go while Wells once more
improved to 3.73 seconds at 205.69 mph to secure the race win and
take the much-coveted trophy home to Oklahoma City.
"After we qualified we just kept chipping away at it a little bit
each round and it got quicker as we went. And then we met Justin
in the finals where they had their own struggles, so it turned out
to be not such an exciting finish, but it sure was exciting
getting there," Wells said.
"You know, it was a great, great weekend until the final round,
and I wanted that win just as bad as anybody," said Jones, just 20
years old and in his second year of Pro Mod racing. "So it was a
good time. We had a bunch of family and friends out for what's a
hometown race for us, so we had a blast."
Both finalists heaped praise on Haney, his staff, and the NHRA for
making the race happen.
"I know that Keith and all the guys involved with the Mid-West
Series really put a lot of time and effort into this. And it's not
just for Keith. He does this for all the racers that support him
and he wants everybody to have just as much fun as he has doing
this," Jones said. "He wants to give everybody a place to race, a
nice track, a bunch of fans, and just a good atmosphere. Him and (MWPMS
race director) Jimmy Boles, they really go all out and stick their
neck out for all of us and we really appreciate it."
Wells likewise shared admiration and appreciation of MWPMS staff,
but also singled out NHRA officials, competitors and fans for
making his team's visit memorable.
"We very much felt welcomed by everyone from NHRA," he said. "All
the Safety Safari guys, they were great, very nice to us, very
welcoming. And the NHRA pro teams, we even had a few come over and
visit with us and obviously the crowd was very responsive. I think
they very much appreciated the show we put on. We had several
people come up asking where else we would be racing, so it was
really just encouraging to be a part of it all."
For Haney, the MWPMS Invitational marked an historical moment, but
not for personal reasons, or for NHRA or even MWPMS, but for drag
racing in general. The motivation for putting the event together
was to expand the sport's reach across two distinct fan bases and
ultimately benefit local tracks, he said.
"NHRA fans got to experience eighth-mile racing and the Mid-West
Pro Mod Series and our group of guys. And I think we brought
several thousand new fans to an NHRA national event," Haney said.
"So what does that ultimately do? It helps every race track
because that's what the Mid-West Series is still all about. We get
nothing; we're nonprofit; ultimately it is all done for the race
tracks. We want the race tracks to make money. So I believe NHRA
did their part, I believe the Mid-West Pro Mod Series did its
part, and I believe that the tracks and those people that work for
the tracks are ultimately going to reap the benefits."
And though nothing is yet agreed to, Haney confirmed he's already
started working on a similar combined event for next year.
courtesy MWPMS/Jennifer Chandler
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. 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 live-streaming commercials during all events. Complete class
rules are posted on the MWPMS website.