Drag Illustrated Issue 182, May / June 2023 | Page 156


something that I didn ’ t even know happened : behind each of the cars in the final round , Kurt Steding and Spencer Hyde , the PDRA is waving huge PDRA flags . I was just so proud of that . It ’ s another example of people that get it , understand what we ’ re trying to do , and recognize that , as has been said many times , a high tide lifts all boats .
It ’ s truly my belief that whatever success and visibility and fanfare we ’ re able to achieve with the WSOPM will directly benefit every other brand of Pro Modified drag racing on the planet Earth . Even if they ’ re not involved , even if they don ’ t race there , even if they haven ’ t been invited , the pomp and circumstance and the visibility that we ’ ve been able to garner with this event will help them all , especially the sanctions and series that have WSOPM veterans in their lineup .
What sort of support did you get from the invited drivers ?
There were a ton of people who cheered me on throughout the process , and it was pretty much that entire entry list . The people who made it possible are the 61 teams invited to the WSOPM . I knew our goal and contractual obligation to our streaming and television partners was to have 50 Pro Mods on the property . Our thought internally was to invite at least 60 so that we ’ ll be sure to have 50 . You typically have an entry list that starts to circulate the internet , and then come race day , the qualifying order looks different . We thought we could probably count on losing eight to 10 cars . Of the 61 teams that accepted invitations to the WSOPM , all 61 of them showed up , and I still , to this day , can ’ t wrap my head around that .
They didn ’ t just show up ; they spent money . It ’ s no secret that we charge a stout entry fee , and we do that because I need these teams to be invested . Drag racing is tough . This stuff ’ s expensive , and things go south in a hurry . You have a couple of tough races . You tear up some stuff . You lose a guy at work . Your business has an off month . There are a lot of ways to tell yourself , you know what ? I should probably leave my half-million-dollar race operation at home this weekend and focus on business or focus on family .
We require a significant investment from all of our teams . Again , there ’ s a method to the madness . We know how easy golf is , where you can just check your clubs on the plane and head to the events . This is a much different endeavor , so we require that [ investment ] on purpose , and to have those 61 teams who committed , who cast their vote with their wallet , time , and energy , to have that level of support , it really makes it all worth it .
I think about people like Scott Palmer , who is the “ People ’ s Champ ,” and we believe that he ’ s one of the most beloved characters in all of drag racing . He races Top Fuel , races nitro Pro Mods , and anything he can race , and people love him and follow him around the country . He qualified way down at the bottom , but he was still smiling on Sunday . He was still fired up and so thankful to be invited to participate , and he cheered us on for weeks , if not months , before the race helping us sell tickets . We really had that from almost all of our competitors . These guys and gals were trying to help and be a part of the solution , a part of this movement . I ’ ve never personally seen anything like it in drag racing .
It might rain all weekend next year – you never know ; that ’ s the events business . I believe we planted our flag on the moon , so to speak . In Bradenton this past March , I told them in our driver ’ s meeting that we can do whatever you guys want to do because these are the most resourceful , problem-solving-minded , innovative , passionate people on the planet . I told them if you guys want to build a spaceship , we could probably build one this weekend . That ’ s the type of people that are here , and I think as long as we can keep everybody on the same page , everybody committed to the same goal , and everybody swimming in the same direction , pulling the rope , this is going to be – if it isn ’ t already – the biggest independent drag race on the planet Earth . I truly feel like we ’ re just getting started with it .
You were asked in March , at the end of the race , what ’ s next , and you replied , “ For now , the World Series of Pro Mod is the biggest , richest Pro Mod race in the history of the known universe . What comes next ? We ’ ll see soon .” Can you share any details about what ’ s next ?
The world ’ s biggest and richest Pro Mod drag race in the history of the known universe will return to Bradenton Motorsports Park the first weekend of March 1st , 2nd , and 3rd , 2024 . I ’ m a date equity guy . I want people to be able to set their clocks and set their watches by the WSOPM . Just like the NHRA U . S . Nationals , the Kentucky Derby , the Daytona 500 , and the Indianapolis 500 , the WSOPM needs to happen the same weekend every year , and it will for as long as humanly possible . We ’ ve got big dreams here , and we ’ ve got a big vision for the sport of drag racing . There ’ s no telling what happens between now and the 2024 running of the WSOPM , but you can count on one thing : next year , we ’ re burning the place to the ground . DI
156 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 182