Pro Mod...Future or Fad

Rickie Smith

There has been an absolute explosion in popularity when it comes to Pro Mod over the last ten years or so. The question arises every now and then about whether Pro Mod is just another passing fad or if it really is a class of the future. It may not be as easy to answer as you'd think though.

You may wonder why I would ever question the viability of Pro Mod in the future. There is actually a simple answer to that. Since the beginning of sanctioned drag racing, only two forms have seemed to survived. Nitro racing and bracket racing are the two forms of drag racing that have been around forever with no end in sight. Now, you may say that Pro Mod has been around for a long time too, but not nearly as long as those two. If you think about it, it's not even close to as old as Pro Stock or Pro Stock Bike either, so it's longevity is not there yet.

The problem with Pro Mod is the same that we see with every class in drag racing. It's the next big thing, grows too fast and fades away terribly overnight. The difference this time is that you have a ridiculous amount of places that you can race Pro Mod, and it's not in one geographic region.  Geographic regions are exactly what can kill a class. It happened to 10.5 and others. In drag racing we are used to seeing fads, we just don't seem to remember how the story goes or how the story ends.

Cost of entry, we hear the phrase tossed around a lot in the business world and in reality it's no different than building a competitive race team. What's the cost to get in, stay in, and be competitive? I have never built a Pro Mod, though I have plenty of friends that have. The cost of entry is not cheap, that's for damn sure, though the cost isn't that of a Nitro or Pro Stock car either. Even though it might not cost that of a Nitro or Pro Stock car, it will cost as much as a competitive Radial vs. The World car at this point.

So with the cost of entry being higher, do we automatically assume that it won't stick around? The answer is a resounding no. Pro Mod is much more realistic for most people than those other high end classes. The schedules are more conducive to racers that already own their own businesses as well. And chances are there are very few places in the United States that you can't find a race that includes Pro Mods. For that matter, there are very few places in the world at this point that you can't find a Pro Mod outlet.

That brings up a whole other point to address, Pro Mod racing is everywhere. The cars and the drivers are from all points around the earth. We see Pro Mod that is big in Europe, North America, Eastern Europe, Australia, Puerto Rico, Bahrain, Qatar, and so many more. Pro Mod has the more diverse field of drivers in drag racing. This also goes to show the viability of the class for the long haul.  Men and Women of every background are found in the Pro Mod ranks.

What kills a class can really be counted on one hand most of the time. A lack of good on track racing product, a lack of fan interaction, a lack of driver interest, a lack of money, a lack of sponsors, and lastly a lack of places to races. None of those are issues with Pro Mod. If you look at the numbers we are seeing for car entry in NHRA, PDRA, and numerous other races, you will see there is no lack of places to races and certainly not a lack of drivers trying to enter. Add into the mix that ADRL is coming back in 2017 and NMCA continues to improve their product and now you have another twelve races or so for Pro Mods to pick from.

I know that some are going to tell me that there is a lack of interest based on the crowds that you see at the PDRA events or the NMCA events. I would dispute that all day long. I don't think their is a lack of interest and there certainly isn't a lack of quality product, in fact these two have some of the best drag racing product on the market today. The lack of fan participation is for other reasons and other articles. Though I strongly suggest that you get to these events to watch the Pro Mods and everything else they have to offer.

Sponsor dollars go a long way to making or breaking a team on the Pro Mod level though. There certainly doesn't seem to be an issue getting relevant sponsors to come into the arena, and getting them to stay. The issue if any lies with the team on how to approach sponsors. The generation of driver in Pro Mod is one that is social media savvy (at least most of them) and interact with the fans at a level I have never seen before.  In racing, we heed to make sure that we are growing at all times. This means getting new fans and sponsors interested. Fact of the matter is that while Pro Mod isn't highlighted on the regular NHRA show much, they actually have their own show, and the media exposure for Pro Mod sponsors in this environment as a whole is better than any other class of racing.

Is Pro Mod the future or just another drag racing fad? I think if you read the entire article up to this point, there is a pretty good argument that Pro Mod is the future and certainly not just a passing fad. Now I could be blinded just like I was with 10.5 a decade ago, but I truly believe this is different. I believe that the popularity will continue to grow with the younger generation and that we are only just seeing the beginning of Pro Mod taking over the drag racing world. Pro Mod stars like Kevin Fiscus, Lizzy Musi, Michael Biehle, Adam Flamholc, Dina Parise, Troy Coughlin, Mike Janis, Bob Rahaim, Steve Jackson, and countless others are the drivers that will bring in the masses and keep Pro Mod alive and well for decades to come. So sit back and enjoy the show!! Pro Mod's not going anywhere.