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“SPORTY” BANDIMERE DISHES ON DRAG ILLUSTRATED WORLD SERIES OF PRO MOD

John “Sporty” Bandimere sees a changing sport and he also sees a changing fanbase that comes to Bandimere Speedway.

John “Sporty” Bandimere Jr. and his son in Bakersfield, California.

But witnessing those changes, he felt his fan-favorite facility was the perfect location for the biggest and richest Pro Mod race in drag racing history.

With a penchant for creativity and innovation when it comes to drag racing events and promotion, the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod was right up Bandimere’s alley, and the popular Denver-area track will play host to the highly-anticipated race, which takes place Aug. 4-5 and includes a $100,000 winner-take-all prize.

“People today love that extreme sport, in your face action, that unpredictable kind of thing,” Bandimere said. “What’s more unpredictable and extreme than Pro Mod? You look at the drivers, look at the performances, these guys letting it rip, that’s exciting and people love that kind of feel. That’s what they thrive on and that’s what makes this unique. We’re always looking for something new and different, and this just happened to be perfect timing.”

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Breakout Star Shane Molinari Enters Aeromotive Wild Card Shootout

A breakout season working with a noteworthy tuner has Shane Molinari thinking big. Like, $10,000 to win and a chance for a $100,000 prize big. Molinari has thrown his name into the hat for the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod and its Aeromotive Wild Card Shootout, which takes place Friday, Aug. 4 and awards the winner $10,000.

Of course, it also gives that driver an automatic berth into the next day’s main event, where $100,000 will be on the line at Bandimere Speedway. It’s more than enough to catch Molinari’s attention and he’s not going just to have a good time.

“We’re not going there to practice and play around, you know,” Molinari said. “We’re looking forward to it and we’re going there to win on Friday. It’s going to be a cool race so we’ll see how it goes.”

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Aeromotive Named Title Sponsor of $10,000-to-Win Wild Card Shootout

Steve Matusek will have his own chance to win $100,000 after receiving an invitation for the main event of the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod, which takes place Aug. 4-5 at Bandimere Speedway. But the longtime Pro Mod standout took his enthusiasm for the race a step further.

Matusek’s Aeromotive, Inc., the company he founded more than 20 years ago, will sponsor Friday’s special race – now titled the “Aeromotive Wild Card Shootout” – that awards the winner $10,000 and a berth in Saturday’s main event that pays out six figures to the winner. With that much on the line and Friday’s race open to anyone in the Pro Mod ranks, Matusek knows it should make for a wild evening.

“It’s a really cool concept and an interesting format,” Matusek said. “We’re hopeful there’s 30-plus cars for the Friday night race. We want to do whatever we can to keep the momentum going and continue to grow the class. It’s going to be an interesting race and anyone has an opportunity to win, and we wanted to be a part of it.”

That’s the ultimate draw for Friday’s race – it’s open to any legal Pro Mod car out there. That means the possibilities are nearly endless, and the payout and berth into Saturday’s main event adds the ultimate draw. Seeing drivers from all levels and locations leave it all on the line for one evening was certainly a major factor for Matusek and Aeromotive wanting to be involved.

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WSOPM: Pro Boost Star Melanie Salemi Enters Aeromotive Wild Card Shootout

Melanie Salemi would love to have been invited to the main event of the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod, which takes place on Saturday, Aug. 5 at Bandimere Speedway and offers a $100,000 prize to the winner.

But the good news for the Pro Mod rising star is she can show just how deserving she is a day earlier. The Aeromotive Wild Card Shootout kicks off the highly-anticipated Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod on Friday, Aug. 4, with the winner earning a $10,000 payday and an automatic berth into Saturday’s main event. That was all Salemi needed to hear to throw her name into the mix.

“The purse, at the end of the day, is going to draw a lot of people for the Friday night deal,” Salemi said. “I just hope we can come out on top. To be able to be part of the big race and even have that opportunity, it would be awesome. There’s a lot of excitement around Pro Mod and I think it’s really cool that an event like this is going to happen.”

It’s an opportunity Melanie and her husband, noted tuner Jon Salemi, couldn’t pass up as they continue to make impressive strides in the Pro Mod world. Melanie finished third in the PDRA Pro Boost standings a year ago in her Purple Reign G-Force Race Cars ’68 Firebird, and has shown no trepidation for taking on new challenges.

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WSOPM: ‘Blown Money’ Driver Mike Knowles Talks Racing for $100,000

Mike Knowles didn’t make any bold proclamations about how he expects to fare in his Blown Money Mustang at the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod on Aug. 4-5 at Bandimere Speedway. But he did issue a warning of sorts to the loaded field that will race at an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet.

“You better bring your oxygen mask and be prepared,” Knowles said.

There was a touch of humor in Knowles’ message, but it will be one of the major challenges facing the top Pro Mod stars when they descend on the inaugural event paying out $100,000 to the winner.

Knowles is one of the 14 drivers invited to compete in the WSOPM main event taking place on Saturday. A 15th driver will be voted in via fan vote online, and the final participant for the highly-anticipated main event will be determined by the winner of an open 16-car, $10,000-to win Pro Mod shootout on Friday.

The multitude of variables makes it a truly one-of-a-kind event and something Knowles has been clamoring for the past several years.

“I talked with Wes (Buck, Drag Illustrated Editor-in-Chief) probably 4-5 years ago and thought it was a great idea,” Knowles said. “To see a race of this magnitude, it proves how big this class is and how much appeal there is to the class. It’s exciting and I want it to be successful, and I know it’s going to be a great race.”

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Coughlin on Racing at WSOPM: ‘Anything Can Happen’

Of all his vast accomplishments, one that distinctly stands out to Troy Coughlin more than a decade later was the North vs. South Big Dog Shootout victory in 2005 that netted the longtime Pro Mod standout a cool $50,000 prize. With that in mind, you can imagine Coughlin’s excitement for a winner-take-all prize double that, which is precisely the case for the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod, Aug. 4-5 at Bandimere Speedway.

A $100,000 prize is on the line for the inaugural event – making it the biggest single-race payout in Pro Mod history – and as one of the invited participants for Saturday’s main event, Coughlin is thrilled to make his Pro Mod debut in Denver.

“That’s a lot of money that has been put into the ring,” Coughlin said. “We’re excited. I haven’t raced at Denver since 2003 in the Pro Stock days. I’m looking forward to going back and it’s such a cool place to race up on the mountain.

“We’ve got some work to get (Coughlin’s turbocharged Corvette) ready, but we’ve got a five-star team that’s definitely capable of making it happen. I’ve got faith for sure and it should be a badass race.”

Coughlin’s inclusion in the event helps give it that status, as his track record in the Pro Mod world speaks for itself. It includes two NHRA Pro Mod world championships, as well as a bevy of other Pro Mod accomplishments.

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Rowe on WSOPM $100,000 Prize: ‘I’m Bringing it Home with Me’

When $100,000 is on the line, as is the case for the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod, Aug. 4-5 at Bandimere Speedway, there are extra preparations to be made.

For a tongue-in-cheek Danny Rowe, one of the 14 drivers invited to compete in the main event, that even means some added plans off the track after he envisions his winner-take-all victory.

“First of all, I’m bringing security guards with me to take it all home,” Rowe said. In reality, Rowe is well aware of the magnitude of the highly-anticipated Pro Mod event. Such is the case when the first six-figure payday is on the line for Pro Mod drivers.

Rowe, a veteran in the sport, is no stranger to high-level Pro Mod racing. The Laguna Hills, Calif. native has finished second on two different occasions in the NHRA Pro Mod series, posting five career wins. But even with the big-time racing experience, a résumé that also includes a West Coast Pro Mod Association championship, racing for $100,000 will be a massive deal when he arrives at Bandimere Speedway for a showdown featuring the top Pro Mod racers in the world.

“It’s a special event and the guy who walks away with the win will be the first one to win $100,000 in a Pro Mod race and that has got some major prestige as well,” Rowe said.

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LOCKED IN: ‘Stevie Fast’ Jackson to Compete at DI World Series of Pro Mod

Stevie “Fast” Jackson is headed to Bandimere Speedway to hurt some feelings at the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod, Aug. 4-5. If a six-figure paycheck comes home with him, then that’s simply icing on the cake.

“I’m fired up. It’s $100,000 and there’s a lot of people coming that I want to smash into the ground, and that’s more alluring than the money,” Jackson said. “We’re coming out there and I’m coming to get that money. I’m going to buy something with it, a boat or something, but I’m coming to get it.”

Jackson enthusiastically accepted the invite to the inaugural high-stakes Pro Mod event, which promises the biggest and richest payout in Pro Mod history.

The chance for bragging rights at the unique event is equally appealing for the ultra-popular Jackson, who has never been shy about being vocal to up the ante.

The grudge racer turned Pro Mod standout isn’t going to back down before this highly-anticipated event, either, in part because he’s looking for every advantage possible in a weekend where tensions will be high. He is well aware of what the winner-takes-all stakes mean and Jackson is quite certain it will have a noticeable effect on how each of the standout drivers prepare for the event. But in a “win or go home” scenario, Jackson likes his chances.

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9 Burning Questions Following the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod Announcement

The February 8th announcement that Drag Illustrated Media will hold its inaugural World Series of Pro Mod (WSOPM) shook up the drag racing world when Editor-in-Chief Wes Buck revealed the unique, $100,000-to-win event on his weekly Facebook Live show. Scheduled for August 4-5 at Bandimere Speedway near Denver, Colorado, the race will feature an invite-only field made up of 16 of the most talented and entertaining legal Pro Modified drivers. Many aspects of the one-of-a-kind event led to a barrage of questions directed at the Drag Illustrated office.

As excitement around the race continues to build, Buck recently took the opportunity to answer several of the most common questions he’s been asked since the official race announcement was released.

Putting on a race of this nature is a tremendous undertaking. Why is Drag Illustrated jumping into race promotion? Why now?

We’ve been publishing DI for 11 years. We’ve sent 117 issues to print. We’ve done our absolute best to tell the stories of racers and teams, and the battles they fight at the dragstrip every weekend. Honestly, it’s always been a part of my personal vision for us to move into the event space at some point. I’ve been waiting for the right time. It’s an audacious move, and I think that, personally, we needed to build up the audacity to think that we could hold a race and it would matter and it would be significant. I believe we have the platform now; I believe it’s time. It’s time for us to be a part of the stories we’re telling. I want to see our event written about on the pages of Drag Illustrated, on DragIllustrated.com, across our social media platforms, but also on those of others. I feel like it’s time for us to inject ourselves into the storyline.

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