Drag Illustrated Issue 176, May / June 2022 - Page 30

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TRIBUTE

Scott Oksas 1973 – 2022 By Nate Van Wagnen

The Pro Mod community and drag racing world in general was dealt a crushing blow when news spread that beloved Pro Mod driver and owner Scott Oksas had unexpectedly passed away on Sunday , March 28 . Oksas was a longtime West Coast racer who made headlines in 2019 when he won the $ 100,000-to-win Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod at Bandimere Speedway in his twin-turbocharged ’ 67 Mustang . He later handed over the driving duties to his son , Joey , who went on to win the 2021 Mid-West Drag Racing Series Pro Mod championship .

Oksas was a well-known figure on the West Coast for many years before his WSOPM victory , but it was his massive win and larger-than-life celebration on “ Thunder Mountain ” that exposed him to many more people on a national and international level . He also went on to run some NHRA Pro Mod races , as well as the seasonending Street Car Super Nationals in Las Vegas .
In 2020 , Oksas and team , including sons Joey and Anthony , set their focus on the Mid-West Drag Racing Series Pro Mod program . At the St . Louis race in August , Oksas decided it was time for Joey to get his shot in the Pro Mod after several years racing the family ’ s Fox-body Mustang in outlaw classes . Joey ended up reaching the final round , solidifying his role as the team ’ s new driver .
“ It was awesome , to say the least ,” Joey remembers . “ I couldn ’ t imagine it in a million years , the opportunity to drive something like that , but I was blessed enough to get the opportunity and definitely tried to take advantage of it for the time being .”
It may have seemed like a last-minute decision from the outside , but the team had been planning for Joey to take over for several months . At the urging of tuner Jeff Pierce , Oksas had ordered all of the appropriate safety equipment for Joey , and had a custom poured seat made for him , as there was a considerable size difference between the father and son . When the elder Oksas got to St . Louis and decided he wasn ’ t in the right mindset to drive , Joey was called up to the big leagues .
“ After that , he never looked back ,” Pierce says . “ He was super proud of his kid . I think he almost got more excitement out of seeing Joey win than he did when he won . He had complete faith .
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOE MCHUGH AND COLE ROKOSKY
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