Drag Illustrated Issue 182, May / June 2023 - Page 125

Steven Whiteley Adds to WSOPM History with Second-Chance Race Runner-Up

After a runner-up finish at the inaugural World Series of Pro Mod in 2017 , Steven Whiteley found himself in a similar position at Bradenton , this time facing Melanie Salemi in the final round of the $ 10,000 Chicago-Style Second-Chance Shootout . But once again , he came up just short .
Whiteley posted the second-quickest E . T . in round one at 3.690 seconds in his supercharged J & A Service ’ 69 Camaro , but slowed to a 4.817 in the final round . Meanwhile , Salemi laid down a 3.643-second pass , one of the quickest runs of the entire weekend .
Despite not taking home the money , Whiteley enjoyed the laidback atmosphere surrounding the entire event .
“ Obviously , everyone ’ s focused on the money , and there ’ s a lot of pressure there ,” Whiteley said . “ But there ’ s also a certain level of camaraderie and sportsmanship between the racers . In a lot of ways , it ’ s a little more relaxed . It ’ s cool to see racers from various associations come together and compete .” – CRAIG COOK DI

Added Pressure Suits Jay Cox Just Fine

Jay Cox thrives under pressure . “ I love pressure . I love to watch other people deal with it ,” said
Cox , a former professional baseball player turned drag racer . “ I ’ ve been up to bat in the ninth inning in the World Series in college baseball with the game on the line .”
As one of the favorites coming into the WSOPM , Cox was ready to go rounds in his orange , nitrous-fed ‘ 69 Camaro nicknamed “ the Pumpkin .”
“ It ’ s always nice to get round one out of the way . It takes a little pressure off . It gets the guys settled in for the day , and it just gets tougher from here . These are the baddest 32 cars in the world , and it ’ s only going to be tougher .”
Cox bested Pro Mod veteran Chip King in round one but fell in round two against two-time PDRA Pro Nitrous world champion Jason Harris . He showed what he and engine builder Pat Musi have been working on over the winter , as Cox regularly ran in the 207-208 MPH range . – KAYLA ZADEL DI
May / June 2023 DragIllustrated . com | Drag Illustrated | 125