Drag Illustrated Issue 180, January / February 2023 | Page 30


Cheers to 31 Years

Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association celebrating 31st anniversary in 2023 By Nate Van Wagnen

Asoggy forecast due to Hurricane Ian put a stop to the Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association ( NEOPMA )’ s plans to close out its 30th anniversary season with a special $ 30,000-to-win race at Maryland International Raceway ( MIR ) last fall . Rather than cancel it outright , series founder John Mazzorana decided to roll the celebration forward . The 31-31-31 race – 30-plus Pro Mods racing for $ 31,000 to celebrate the 31st anniversary – will kick off the eight-race 2023 NEOPMA season April 27-30 at MIR .

“ We ’ re really looking forward to starting the season with a big race at MIR ,” Mazzorana says . “ Right now , we have over 35 cars pre-registered . We understand various issues , be it parts shortages or delays , might come up between now and then , but we hope to have well over 30 cars .”
The extra time before this race allowed Mazzorana and the NEOPMA team to fine-tune the event format . In a return to the club ’ s past format , the 31-31-31 race will feature a split field , both paying $ 15,500 to win for a $ 31,000 total between the winners and $ 45,000 in total payouts . One field will include nitrous oxide and turbocharged entries , while the other field will allow screw blowers , roots blowers , and centrifugal superchargers .
“ Splitting the fields is turning out to be pretty good ,” Mazzorana says . “ We have around 20 blower cars and 15-16 nitrous and turbo cars . We originally had split classes until around five years ago when we combined them because of poor attendance on the nitrous side . We ’ re hoping we ’ ve overcome that problem by giving the nitrous guys the opportunity to compete against each other at a reasonable cost .”
Mazzorana notes that the split-field format is an experiment that will start at the season opener and will continue as the season progresses .
“ We ’ re testing it for the first four or five races ,” he says . “ If we have enough attendance on both sides , we ’ ll keep it split . If we do not , we ’ ll go back to combining the classes . We ’ ve always been willing to test different things . If it doesn ’ t work , we ’ re willing to stand up and say it didn ’ t work , but we tried it , and we ’ ll go back to what we were doing before .”
After the season opener at MIR , the series will return to Pennsylvania ’ s Maple Grove Raceway on May 12-13 . Cecil County Dragway in Maryland will then host its first of three races on June 2-3 ; the others are July 28-29 and the Yellowbullet Nationals Sept . 1-3 . New York ’ s Empire Dragway is back for its third consecutive year on the NEOPMA schedule with the Empire Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Challenge IV June 30-July 1 and the Empire Northeast Outlaw
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