DANNY ROWE GOES WINS SECOND STRAIGHT IN E-TOWN; HOLDS PRO MOD POINTS LEAD
(6-5-2012) ENGLISHTOWN, NJ - Danny Rowe knew it wouldn’t be easy, but that didn’t sway him and his Sterling Bridge NHRA Pro Modified team from setting their sights on a second straight win on the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series tour stop in Englishtown, New Jersey.
Fresh off a victory at the O’Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston last month, Rowe was riding a wave of momentum headed into the weekend, and the fact that he had won the 2011 running of the NHRA SuperNationals only bolstered his confidence.
Rowe dispatched veteran racer Jay Payne in the opening stanza, then outran Steve Matusek in the quarterfinals en route to a match up with series frontrunner Mike Castellana (No. 2 in points) in the semis. Rowe’s supercharged first-generation Camaro and Castellana’s nitrous oxide-injected late model Camaro left the starting line within three-thousandths-of-a-second of one another with Castellana taking the early lead. By the 330-foot mark, though, the two cars were door-to-door. Before the eighth-mile Rowe’s Jimmy Rector-tuned hot rod began to pull away, taking the win with a 5.872-second, 248.25mph pass over Castellana’s 5.901/245.58 combination. The win setup a final round pairing with Troy Coughlin and his turbocharged Camaro.
In the final, Coughlin left early, lighting the red light and handing the win to Rowe, but that didn’t stop Rowe from making yet another stunning low five-ninety pass down the legendary quarter-mile at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Rowe’s final pass of the weekend resulted in a 5.910-second, 239.57mph pass – a fourth straight pass within four-thousandths of each other.
“I talked about this team doing exactly what it needed to do back in Houston,” says Rowe, “and I feel the exact same way after this weekend. Of course, you go into all these races wanting and expecting to win – you have to. But the reality of racing is that it’s a lot easier said than done.
“Our deal is always to take it one round at a time and just race the race track – ignore who is in the other lane. You have to be on it; you can’t take anyone lightly – especially in these conditions. Once you get past the first round, honestly, you’re just happy that you’re still going to be racing on Sunday.”
The semifinal round against Mike Castellana – a matchup between the No. 1 and 2 drivers in the world championship points – may have been the Pro Mod race of the weekend, and was certainly a turning point for Rowe and company.
“That race Castellana in the semis was big, very big,” says Rowe. “We were on the same side of the ladder, so we knew it was going to happen if either of us made it any rounds and being one-and-two in the points made the outcome pretty important. We left right together and were welded together all the way down through there. It was a great race and we’ve had a few of those at E-town, but this time we were on the right side of it. After that is when it really started to feel like, ‘Hey, we’ve got a serious shot at this, we could win back-to-back; we could win this one two years in a row.’
Though a bit anticlimactic, the win over Coughlin in the final round of the NHRA SuperNationals had serious points implications. With the victory, Rowe retained the points lead over Mike Castellana by 30 points and 71 over third-place Rickie Smith.
“Again, I have to credit my team,” says Rowe. “My crew chief, Jimmy Rector, and this whole Sterling Bridge team give it 100-percent at all times and winning two straight races in this NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series is proof. I couldn’t do it without them.
“We’ve got a lot of momentum right now and we can’t let up. We’ve got to stay focused and keep going rounds if we’re going to have this points lead when it matters in Las Vegas in October.”
The NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx continues June 15-17 at the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee.
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