Mike Janis has already experienced a memorable season in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series, holding the points lead over the past three events.
Janis now hopes to finish the job in his Jan-Cen Racing Chevrolet Camaro to cap off what would be the greatest year in the veteran’s standout Pro Mod career.
Janis takes a 28-point lead over Troy Coughlin Sr. (above) into this weekend’s NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series event as part of the 15th annual at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with hopes of winning his first world championship in the NHRA.
“To just be in this position is definitely a dream come true and I’m just going to try to not make any mistakes,” Janis said. “I’m going to try to think about the race only. By no means do I have anything wrapped up. I’m just going to treat it like another race and not get too worked up.”
The NHRA Toyota Nationals marks the final race of the 2015 NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season and Janis will not only try to hold off Coughlin, but also the likes of Bob Rahaim, who is 59 points behind, two-time defending world champion Rickie Smith, who is 74 points back in fourth, and Bill Glidden, who trails Janis by 91 points.
Other standouts in the loaded class include Troy Coughlin Jr., Danny Rowe, Don Walsh, Khalid Albalooshi and Pete Farber.
Coughlin Sr., who is looking for his first win in 2015, claimed the championship in 2012 after winning in Las Vegas to close out the season, a scenario he wouldn’t mind repeating, especially after finishing second over the past two years.
“It’s pretty exciting to be in this position once again,” Coughlin said. “It seems like it’s becoming a habit to be chasing someone down at the end of the year, but maybe the third time will be the charm. We’ve certainly got a chance at it and we’ll do everything we can to steal this one away from Mike, who has been awfully good all year.”
Janis has been solid all season, advancing to two final rounds and winning in Norwalk. But he struggled a year ago in Las Vegas, something he plans to avoid with a championship on the line in 2015. A solid test session at the facility last week put any potential worries to rest and Janis feels confident heading into the final race of a banner year.
“Last year we totally missed the set-up there but the car ran well in testing,” Janis said. “But there’s going to be 30 other good cars out here, so we’re just going to try to not make any mistakes. We’ve ran good all year and we’re going to run it hard this weekend, but that’s going to be the mindset for everyone because it’s the last race of the year. I have a bull’s-eye on my back I know it, but that just means I have to be on my game 100 percent. There are no easy runs in this class.”
Janis is also well aware of what winning an NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series would mean to finish off a year that has already exceeded all expectations.
“This year has been like something you dream about and another big factor is just having our community and hometown behind you,” said Janis, a Lancaster, N.Y. native. “It’s amazing to see and the local support has just been incredible. It gives you that push to keep working.”
Coughlin knocked off Janis in the first round two races ago in Charlotte, but has been unable to put together a winning string down the stretch in his JEGS Mail Order Chevrolet Corvette. He hopes to change that in Vegas, but Coughlin is also well aware that the likes of Rahaim, Smith and Glidden are also lurking and hope to have a big weekend.
“The fact is anyone that qualifies can win, and we’ve seen that all year long,” Coughlin said. “We tested in Vegas last week and both cars are ready to rock and roll. We know we have no room for mistakes. We just need to go out there and do our thing and see where we all end up.”
J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday at 11:45 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. with one final qualifying session on Saturday at 11:45 a.m. The first round will begin on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. and continue on Sunday at 12:45 p.m.
Point standings (top 10) following the Fourth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, the ninth of 10 events in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series –
1. Mike Janis, 577
2. Troy Coughlin, 549
3. Bob Rahaim, 518
4. Rickie Smith, 503
5. Bill Glidden, 486
6. Troy Coughlin Jr., 457
7. Danny Rowe, 445
8. Don Walsh, 442
9. Khalid alBalooshi, 351
10. Pete Farber, 338