Volume III, Issue 9, Page 34

Pro Modified and Chevy both mean FAST! Doorslammers

Words and photos by Jeff Burk - 9/16/2008

Drag racing historians agree that Pro Modified as a class was born at the 1989 IHRA season opener at Darlington, SC, when a bunch of “outlaw” doorslammer racers competing in what the IHRA then called Top Sportsman gathered to try and break the last of the truly historic milestones left in drag racing. Who would be the first driver of a doorslammer car to exceed 200 mph in the quarter-mile and what brand of car and engine would accomplish that milestone? The answer was a racer from Wentzville, MO, a town about 40 miles west of St. Louis. Bill Kuhlmann wheeled his nitrous oxide-injected, big block Chevy-powered Camaro doorslammer to the first-ever 200-mph quarter-mile pass.

In a meeting in the tower of the Texas Motorplex in 1988, when that track was sanctioned by the IHRA, a group of racers and manufacturers, including Kuhlmann, Robbie Vandergriff, Jim Oddy, Scott Shafiroff, and NOS-founder Mike Thermos, got together to determine what the rules would be for the following year when the IHRA would adopt a new class called Pro Modified. Each driver and manufacturer was asked in turn what they thought the rules should be and that is when Bill “Mr. 200” Kuhlmann uttered the words, “I thought this class was supposed to be run what ya brung and hope ya brung enough.”