Sweden’s Adam Flamholc won the first all-international final round in American drag racing history Sunday, beating Puerto Rico’s Raymond Matos to win the Pro Modified championship at Rockingham Dragway’s Dragpalooza IX, the first race in the 2013 American Drag Racing League series.
Driving a replica 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, Flamholc covered the eighth-mile distance in 3.962 seconds at 189.10 miles per hour to best Matos who, in the semifinals, drove his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda replica to an upset victory over pre-race favorite Rickie Smith, the six-time former IHRA Pro Stock Champion from King, N.C.
The veteran Flamholc easily was the top performer of the NHRA rules Pro Modified field, qualifying No. 1 and running the quick time of all four competitive rounds including a race day best of 3.871 seconds.
It was Flamholc’s sixth ADRL final since he shipped his car from Malmo, Sweden in 2011, but his first win. It likely won’t be his last but it will be his most emotional. “My biggest fan was my grandmother,” Flamholc said. “She passed away two weeks ago and I wand to dedicate this win to her.”
In addition to Flamholc-Matos, the Pro Nitrous final also had an international flavor insomuch as it involved a pair of cars funded by Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar, whose drag racing support extends from the Pro Modified classes to Top Alcohol Funny Car and Top Fuel dragster.
No. 1 qualifier Steve Jackson was the winner of the Al-Anabi Racing final, his early model Chevrolet Camaro getting the best of veteran Mike Castellana’s late model.
“We’ve dreamed of running against guys Mike (Castellana) and Shannon (Jenkins). It was an honor just to be in the final,” Jackson said. “Me and my guys thrive off of pressure and it was just our day. We had two Al-Anabi cars in the final so even if we had lost, we would have still won. It was great.”
Other winners were Joey Martin of Milton, Fla., whose 1955 Chevy Nomad replica prevailed in Pro Extreme, John DeFlorian of Arnold, Mo., who benefitted from a final round red light in Extreme Pro Stock; and reigning champion Eric McKinney of Homerville, Ohio, who denied Canadian Terry Schweigert in Pro Extreme Motorcycle.