Drag Illustrated Issue 182, May / June 2023 - Page 8

Wes Buck Chief Executive Officer Founder & Editorial Director 660.988.2313 wes @ dragillustrated . com
Mike Carpenter Chief Operating Officer Design & Production Director 704.737.2299 mike @ dragillustrated . com
Nancy Koeppen Chief Financial Officer 573.552.5551 nancy @ dragillustrated . com
Nate Van Wagnen Editor-in-Chief 440.986.1480 nate @ dragillustrated . com

As I write this column , it ’ s been two months exactly since race day at the World Series of Pro Mod . It ’ s been a pretty overwhelming couple of months but in the best way possible . A couple weeks after the race , my beautiful wife , Allyson , and I had an incredible wedding near Charleston , South Carolina , officiated by DI ’ s own Van Abernethy . My eighth season covering the PDRA series kicked off at the East Coast Nationals at GALOT Motorsports Park , then Allyson and I spent 10 days in London and Paris for our honeymoon . Then , it was full steam ahead on the editorial production of the WSOPM Issue .

The best part about putting together this issue is looking back on the moments that made this such a special race . It was grudge races between drivers who may never otherwise get to line up against each other . It was racers enjoying a cold beverage and a hot slice of pizza at the same table just a couple days before fiercely battling it out on the dragstrip for $ 100,000 . It was thousands of fans pouring through the gates not to see nitro cars or racers they watch on TV but to see dozens of the best Pro Modified drivers in the world .
The driver who came out on top of that heap of 3.60-second Pro Mods , Spencer Hyde , also earned himself a spot on the cover of this issue . Ever since the first World Series of Pro Mod in 2017 , it ’ s been a tradition that DI event winners go on the cover . That also includes the cover story , where Spencer walks readers through his whole WSOPM journey , from the weeks of preparation to the celebrations that continued weeks after his $ 100,000 win from the No . 32 spot . Like the past three WSOPM
Nate Van Wagnen Editor-in-Chief
winners , Spencer ’ s story is unique , and his victory proved that he and his team are the real deal .
This issue also includes features on over a dozen more Pro Mod drivers like runner-up Kurt Steding , semifinalists Jason Harris and Kenny Lang , and second-chance winner Melanie Salemi . From Pro Mod newcomers to drivers who ’ ve built the class into what it is today , the WSOPM field was a unique mix .
But like the WSOPM itself , this issue is about more than just Pro Mod , so we also talked to the winners and standouts in Mountain Motor Pro Stock , XFWD , and Factory Stock . These classes were the perfect complement to Pro Mod , and it was cool to see all these worlds come together at one event .
It can be hard to capture the look and feel of a live event through print , but the talented and hardworking photographers who covered WSOPM nailed it . We know what it ’ s like to cover a race , so we genuinely appreciate the photographers , videographers , and other media members who helped us spread the word about the WSOPM . A special thanks to everyone who submitted photos for publication in this issue . I could fill the rest of this year ’ s issues with just these photos .
The DI and BMP teams are already working on next year ’ s WSOPM . We ’ ve identified the must-have factors , and we ’ ve made a note of the areas where we can improve . Between Wes Buck and the DI team and Victor Alvarez and his team at Bradenton , everyone is committed to making WSOPM a destination race for racers and fans alike . If you haven ’ t already , make plans to join us at Bradenton Motorsports Park on the first weekend in March 2024 . DI
Feel free to email me at nate @ dragillustrated . com and follow me at facebook . com / nitronate1320 and nitronate1320 on Instagram and Twitter .
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS : Bobby Bennett , Greg Burrow , Tommy D ’ Aprile , Allyson Johnson , Bret Kepner , Brandon W . Mudd , Ian Tocher , Kelly Wade , Kayla Zadel
PHOTO DEPARTMENT : John Fore III , Van Abernethy , Rick Belden , David Beitler , Tara Bowker , Bob Campagna , Jason Dunn , Joe McHugh , Gary Nastase , Mark J . Rebilas , Roger Richards , Cole Rokosky , Chris Sears , James Sisk , Ian Tocher
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