PRO MOD – ATLANTA
The 2019 Southern Nationals is one race that won’t make the jam-packed highlight reel of the YNot team’s many successes in drag racing. Two-time Top Alcohol Dragster world champion and multiple Pro Mod event winner Jim Whiteley wasn’t around for the first round of Pro Mod eliminations and son Steven was but didn’t last long.
Jim ran a 5.99 off the trailer Friday but had to shut off in the second of four qualifying sessions that evening, and son Steven was off the gas early both times on the unforgiving Atlanta Dragway surface, where in Friday night qualifying three years ago he had the only crash of his career but actually qualified on that run.
Come Saturday morning, Jim picked up half a tenth to a 5.95 but still found himself on the bubble and Steven went from unqualified to the top half of the field with a 5.87, but when Jim ran even quicker (5.94) in last-shot qualifying Saturday afternoon, he still ended up on the outside looking in. Steven did make the cut with the 5.87, but the wheels came off when eliminations commenced and he lost losing to reigning world champion Mike Janis’ backpedaling 6.27 after cutting one of the best lights of his or anyone’s career, .010. Steven’s YNot Camaro went into violent tire-shake early in the run and he had to lift, helpless as Janis drifted toward the center line, eventually lifted, and still advanced with a 6.27 at just 200 mph.
“The fuel management wasn’t right,” Jim said. “The car’s too fat right now, too safe, too slow. It charges to half-track. We can run with the best cars out there early in the run, but then it falls off. I don’t what the answer is, but I know what the problem is: no power.”