Through two races, Rickie Jones (Pro Nitrous), Alan Pittman (Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5) and Mike Castellana (Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified) are undefeated and their journey for a third straight win represent the top ADRL storylines heading into this weekendâ€™s Northeast Drags II presented by Penske at Maple Grove Raceway.
For Jones and Pittman, the wins represent their first victories in the ADRL, and while Castellana is no stranger to success in the ADRL, his two wins are his first two in Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified.
Castellana picked up back-to-back wins in Pro Nitrous last year en route to four overall wins and a world championship, and heâ€™s certainly on track for a run at another title in a new class.
With legendary crew chief Shannon Jenkins calling the shots, Castellana has been outstanding in his new 2012 RJ Race Cars Camaro, consistently running in the 3.80s.
“This season has been great for us. I just have to thank KH Al-Thani for helping us out here and supporting us by providing people like (crew chief) Shannon Jenkins to help us. They have given me a great race car,” Castellana said.
In the first full year for the Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified class, Castellana has knocked off Jeff Naiser and Rickie Smith in the finals at Houston and Bristol, respectively.
Now, in Maple Grove, Castellana will look to make it three in a row in the ADRL and maintain his healthy points lead.
â€œThe more I drive this car, the more confident I get in it and the more I learn,â€ Castellana said. â€œShannonâ€™s testing a lot of stuff in the (Pro Nitrous) car, too, so thatâ€™s going to help.â€
Itâ€™s already been a banner season for Jones in Pro Nitrous, as the young standout has picked up his first two career professional runs.
Like Castellana, Jones has been impressively consistent, though heâ€™s continually been able to reach the low 3.80s to beat Bob Rahaim in the finals of both ADRL events in 2012.
“We knew what we could run and we were just consistent with that,” Jones said. “With the way we were operating, anything in the low 3.80s was a pretty good run. We would rather just go down the track and be consistent. The team is just doing a great job.â€
The wins have come at a perfect time for Jones as well after getting a major sponsorship deal from Summit Racing Equipment before the 2012 season.
Itâ€™s also proved the capabilities of the new RJ Race Cars 2012 Camaro.
â€œFrom a business standpoint, the cars are running great as well,â€ Jones said. â€œI just have to thank everyone for helping make all this possible.â€
Pittman has quickly taken to the Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5 class, winning back-to-back races for the first time in his successful racing career.
He hasnâ€™t even been racing in the class for a full year, but Pittman, who teams with Pro Extreme driver Terry Leggett, has already had several seasons worth of success.
â€œItâ€™s all the car owner and the crew. Thereâ€™s no way I could do this without them,â€ Pittman said.
At Bristol, Pittman ran as quick as 3.841, topped 199 miles per hour and even posted a remarkable .970 60-foot time.
All were career bests and were partially contributed to the new motor in Pittmanâ€™s XTF Mustang. It was running in Leggettâ€™s PX Mustang and has already yielded incredible results.
â€œI thought it would be a little faster, but itâ€™s performing even better than we thought,â€ Pittman said. â€œIt definitely makes more power, thereâ€™s no doubt about that. We couldnâ€™t be happier right now.â€
Those are the sentiments for Jones and Castellana as well. Leaving Maple Grove with a third consecutive win would leave all three overjoyed.
(Photos by ADRL/Richards)