When you think of NHRA Pro Mod, what’s the name that comes to mind? Is it Rickie Smith or maybe Stevie Jackson? Well after this weekend, it should be Jeremy Ray.
Jeremy Ray is a name that most in the east coast Pro Mod world know from his experience with the PDRA. This year though, Jeremy decided that he would try and take on the NHRA Pro Mod world. Ennis was the location that everything came together for the Ray family though. The Carolina Kingpin took the win over Bond, Justin Bond that is. It was Justin’s first NHRA Pro Mod final as a driver as well. In fact, it was Justin first NHRA pro mod event as a driver.
What you may not realize though, is that this was an entire season coming. Jeremy is one of the only drivers in the class to qualify for every single NHRA pro mod event this season. That in itself is a huge accomplishment. Look at the names that Jeremy is competing against, and you will find a list of names that haven’t managed to qualify for every event this season.
While Jeremy isn’t at the top of the list when it comes to the points standings, he has found himself in the top ten all season long. With a win today, he solidified his continued top ten standing and that’s what it takes to be a championship type team. Over the weekend, Jeremy had to fight with the Texas heat, along with the Pro Mod class losing their fourth round of qualifying.
The path that Jeremy took this week was certainly not a cake walk. In the first round Sunday morning, Jeremy was facing off against another east coast hot rod. He took the tree against the #3 in points, Stevie Fast. Stevie got off the line first, but had a misstep and Jeremy drove it all the way through with a 5.767. Onto round two of eliminations, where Jeremy was lined up with another young gun, Steven Whiteley and his new Camaro. Steven, just like Jackson had a stumble that Jeremy was able to take advantage of. A less than stellar .152 light, but a 5.796 was enough to carry Jeremy to the semi-finals. In the semis, Jeremy was facing off against the turbo powered beast of Sidnei Frigo. Sidnei had already gotten past Danny Rowe and Mike Castellana on his way to the semis. A redlight for Sidnei handed Jeremy a pass to the finals before his foot slammed the gas to the floor. Jeremy did in fact tighten up his light during the semis though, as he cut an .048 green.
NHRA was certainly trying it’s best to get the finals done as quickly as possible to avoid the incoming rain. What seemed like a quick turn around saw Jeremy having to line up against Justin Bond as we talked about earlier. It’s a clean green for both drivers, with Jeremy cutting an .038 light to Justin’s .054 light. That was all the difference that Jeremy needed as he pushed the gas pedal as hard as possible and laying down a 5.785 to Justin’s 5.774. It’s a holeshot win. Both drivers were in the 5.70’s all day during eliminations, and this win came down to a stellar light by Jeremy.
Coming from an outlet that was front and center seeing and covering him in Orlando at the beginning of the season, it is great to see Jeremy, his Wife Jessica, Mom Cathy, Dad Ricky, his Son Jaydon, and his Daughter Jenna making such a lasting impression in their first season. Look for Jeremy to continue to be a force the final two NHRA races of the season, and maybe throw a wrench in the championship chase.