A frustrating start to the 2018 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service season hasn’t dampened veteran Danny Rowe’s spirits.
In fact, the longtime Pro Mod standout remains encouraged about his team’s early-season progress with a new RJ Race Cars Camaro and he is especially excited to return to a track where he’s had plenty of success for this weekend’s NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway.
After not qualifying at the NHRA Pro Mod season opener in Gainesville, where a massive 35-car field put on an impressive show, Rowe believes the team can take a major step forward at Royal Purple Raceway – especially after a successful two-day private test session early this week at the historic Texas Motorplex outside Dallas.
“Of course, we were disappointed to start the season like we did in Gainesville, but rolling out a brand new car, we knew there would be a learning curve,” Rowe said. “But with Jimmy [Rector, crew chief] and Rick and Rickie Jones from RJ Race Cars, who built our new car, I’ve got all the confidence in the world heading into Houston.”
History is on Rowe’s side heading to Royal Purple Raceway. He has two NHRA Pro Mod victories at the track, while teammate Steve Matusek grabbed the victory in Houston last year.
With crew chief Rector’s strong track record at the facility, Rowe believes he has the chance for a major bounce-back weekend at the race.
“Jimmy and the team have had a ton of success at Royal Purple Raceway,” Rowe said. “We’re already excited and raring to go this weekend, and we’re hoping to be on the right side of things in Houston. Again, we knew it’d take a little bit of time to get our program where we want it – especially with this brand-new Chevy Camaro and the horsepower we found during the offseason.”
A strong showing at the second race of the season will be imperative for Rowe to stay in the championship hunt, especially with the NHRA Pro Mod class racing next weekend as well at the Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte.
While Rowe wasn’t shy about his frustrations following the season-opener in Florida, he was sure to identify the positive growth of the NHRA Pro Mod program over the course of the last few years, and where the eliminator has arrived in 2018.
“I’ve said it many times – it’s a double-edged sword,” concluded Rowe. “We’ve worked hard to grow and build NHRA Pro Mod, and the class has reached incredible heights. There are basically 30-plus teams at these events that are capable of winning and it’s a great thing, but there’s no denying that having this level of competition in the class has made even qualifying for the show a real challenge, and a real accomplishment.
“Honestly, though, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m just proud to be competing with drivers, tuners and cars of this caliber.”