Castellana Reigns At The Big Go

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Mike Castellana raced to victory in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the U.S. Nationals. (Shawn Crose Photo)
Mike Castellana raced to victory in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the U.S. Nationals. (Shawn Crose Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS – Mike Castellana scored his first victory at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, slipping past Rickie Smith on a holeshot in the final round of E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series action Monday at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

For Castellana, it was his first Indy triumph after finishing as the runner-up two previous times. He went 5.758 seconds at 248.43 mph in the finals in his blown Al-Anabi Performance Camaro, beating Smith’s 5.747-second run at 250.83 mph by a mere 17 inches thanks to his better reaction time.

It is Castellana’s second win this season and 10th in his E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Series career.

“I just go up there and do my own thing and to try to win,” Castellana said. “It was pretty close at the finish line. I knew it was tight. It feels great to win this, especially for my team. They work their butts off all weekend, so it’s great.”

Castellana, who qualified second with a 5.751-second pass at 248.93 mph, picked up round wins against Sidnei Frigo, Doug Winters and AAP teammate Brandon Snider to reach the final round.

Smith, a three-time world champ and the No. 1 qualifier this weekend, advanced to his 23rd final round thanks to round wins against Eric Latino, Khalid AlBalooshi and defending world champ Mike Janis.