This weekend, a season of struggles, ups and downs, and long-shots came to a head. It was Jonas Aleshire in his blown Vette, along with the Chris Duncan Race Cars team, who were sitting in third place on Thursday, but just 36 hours later were World Champions.
It certainly isn’t your average story about a team with funds that aren’t an issue, or unlimited resources. More about that later though. Coming into this weekend at the Texas Motorplex, there were almost too many things on tap to keep track of. It was going to be a race within a race, when the Mid-West Pro Mod Series had to contest their final race of the year within the highlight event being held, that being the Elite 16.
On Thursday night, we were going to shoot for two rounds of qualifying, with the rest being contested on Friday, along with eliminations. There were four drivers that were mathematically alive in the championship hunt though. Sitting in first was Ron Muenks, and Jim Sackuvich barely behind him in second. After you did the mandatory race drop, the positions swap between the two. Behind Jim was Jonas Aleshire in three and Aaron Wells in four. So, as you can see, there were going to be two nitrous cars and two blower cars fighting to put that number 1 on for the 2019 season.
We were cut short on qualifying Thursday night due to some track cleanup from an oil down. It all came down to Friday at this point. If you thought that this race couldn’t get anymore interesting, you would be so wrong. Once qualifying was completed it was going to be Ron facing off against drag racing Icon Rickie Smith and Jim was taking on Brandon Lewis. Jonas was going to square off against Eddie Rogers, and Aaron Wells was matched up with Mid-West Pro Mod founder Keith Haney.
By the end of the first round, Ron was out and so was Jim. Jonas took a win as well as Aaron. This means that #1 and #2 in points had been eliminated, with #3 and #4 still in. The wrench is that MWPMS has a Slammers class that allow for accrual of points as well though. When you are in the Slammers class, it’s for those that lost first round and still gives them an opportunity to keep racing and get points. When round two was called to the lanes, the next step in the championship chase was going to be decided. Jonas was going to be pulling to the line with none other than Aaron Wells in the lane next to him. Jonas took the win and Aaron had issues and the car got squirrely. Jim, who was in the Slammers class had a bye in his round.
The semi-final round was the round that everyone’s eyes were glued to though. It was because there were three scenarios that could happen, so follow along with me here. If Jonas wins his semi-final match against Randy Merick, then Jonas would be the World Champion. Second scenario was that if Jonas lost to Randy, and Jim lost in the Slammer class, Jonas would be the World Champion. Lastly, if Jonas were to lose to Randy, and Jim won his match-up, Jim would take the championship by less points than you have fingers on your hand holding the phone while reading this.
I was standing on the starting line behind Jonas’ car while he lined up to take the tree against Randy. It was a hell of a race, but the scoreboard lit up with another new personal best for Jonas, and so did the win light. This means that the 2018 Mid-West Pro Mod Series World Champion was going to be Jonas Aleshire and there was nothing anyone could do to catch up. Emotions were flowing on the starting line, but there was still work to be done, as Jonas, Chris, and the rest of the team would have to get the car ready to face off against the 2018 NMCA Pro Mod World Champion Jason Hamstra.
In the finals, Jonas was in the left lane, with Jason in the right. We were about to see the 2018 NMCA World Champion face off against the newly minted 2018 Mid-West Pro Mod Series World Champion. These two were also two of the three quickest cars on the property during the Elite 16 qualifying. The bulbs lite up the dark night sky in Ennis, and it was Jonas off the line first. Jason was dead late on the tree, and Jonas was pulling away. About 400’ out there was a huge explosion in Jason’s lane, and right after that the winner light came on in Jonas’ lane. Jason was ok, but not able to continue the rest of the weekend. The ground shook as the entire CDRC team scream in excitement as they realized that Jonas, who became the World Champion the round before, had now won the MWPMS Finals race, and became the series World Champion.
The CDRC team is not one that has all the funds or assets that a lot of other teams have. What they did have was a determination to prove that they were the team to beat. They were going to take on any competitor and make it happen. Another small tidbit for you is that Chris actually sent two guys from home base in Illinois, all the way to Florida last week to borrow a blower from Pro Mod Star Adam Flamholc for the race. It was a compete team effort all season for the CDRC Vette. Whether it was Jonas behind the wheel and wrenches, or Chris behind the keyboard, or Jonas’ much better half Amber Sanders dealing with all the boys and being amazingly supportive and helpful. Mikel Clifton, Ryan Hutchinson, Todd Story, and so many more were all part of the team this season on Jonas’ journey to a Championship. Not too bad for a team that started the season in Dallas blowing shit up and not sure what would happen next.
The team at E3xtreme, whom are close with Jonas and the team, would like to personally congratulate Jonas, Amber, Chris, Todd, and everyone else that had a hand in making this Championship amazing. It was a yearlong battle that culminated in being something that very few ever accomplish, and that is being a World Champion.