Drag Illustrated Issue 182, May / June 2023 - Page 149



’ M HAPPY FOR DRAG RACING ,” said Wes Buck as he stands on the starting line , just moments after watching Spencer Hyde claim the 2023 World Series of Pro Mod title , putting the cap on the world ’ s richest Pro Mod race .
“ It can be like this all the time . It ’ s just been eating at my soul for eons that we ’ re not doing better for our racers . Treat them like human beings . Let them know you care – pay them what they deserve . I want to be in a partnership with racers where we ’ re going to give them every bit as much as they give us ,” Buck continued , his voice engulfed with passion .
Hyde winning put the perfect punctuation point on the weekend that really started on Monday when Pro Mod racers began showing up to Bradenton Motorsports Park in Bradenton , Florida . Teams started officially testing on Wednesday with an “ no scoreboards on ” approach – something that Buck conceived before the event .
Then , the WSOPM Racer Welcome Party presented by Strange Engineering kicked off the festivities on Thursday night . Pro Mod teams enjoyed a pizza and beer party where they received custom WSOPM jackets and welcome

Wes Buck reflects on the 2023 World Series of Pro Mod



packets . It was a fun way for the drivers and teams to let their guards down and enjoy each other ’ s company before the gloves went on .
“ I believe so much in this group of people . We can do whatever we want ,” said Buck repeatedly during the weekend .
The fourth WSOPM is one to remember – and after champagne was popped , money flew through the air , photographs were taken so the memories could live on , and Pro Mod teams began to embark on their race season , Wes Buck , promoter of the WSOPM and founder and editorial director of Drag IllustrateD , sat down with the DI team for an in-depth conversation about the unforgettable weekend .
We chatted on the starting line after the final two Pro Mods had gone down the track , and Spencer Hyde claimed the title and the $ 100,000 . Now that a few months have passed , and you had some time to ( maybe ) process the event , what are you feeling now ?
It still seems surreal what happened in Bradenton the first weekend of March – even two months after the fact . From the fanfare to the support we had from the drag racing community and the drag racing fan base to the participation from the racers to the sponsorship support we had – all of these things are still really hard to wrap my head around , especially considering being a guy from northeast Missouri who dreamed of this for years and years and years and always hoped that someday the stars and the moon would align and we ’ d be able to put on an event like that .
I feel validated is the best way to describe it because I ’ ve never wavered in my belief that Pro Modified drag racing is a marquee attraction . I ’ ve watched this style of drag racing on every imaginable platform . During the height of the ADRL , fans would turn out in droves at these national event facilities to watch Pro Modified . To see the cult-like following this class had within the NHRA and IHRA before that and all the various little sanctions around the country and around the world , for that matter , I knew it was possible , but I also strongly felt that we don ’ t have to give away tickets to this event . It doesn ’ t have to be some gimmick . This is the best drag racing has to offer . These are the real-deal race car drivers . These are concrete cowboys and cowgirls behind the wheel of terrifyingly fast , uncontrollable race cars . It ’ s a recipe for disaster , but it ’ s also a recipe for success . These race cars look like cars and have genuine characters behind the wheel .
May / June 2023 DragIllustrated . com | Drag Illustrated | 149