As a second-generation PDRA Extreme Pro Stock world champion, Johnny Pluchino knows what it takes to excel in the Mountain Motor Pro Stock ranks. He’s proven that twice now after winning the 2022 world championship to go along with his 2020 title. With the No. 1 back on his window, Pluchino is set to take part in the inaugural $hameless Racing Mountain Motor Pro Stock Invitational (MMPSI) presented by Seminole Paving during the 2023 Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod, March 3-5, at Bradenton Motorsports Park.
Pluchino secured the second invitation to the eighth-mile MMPSI, which will pay $25,000 to the winner of the 16-car field. He joins record holder John DeFlorian as the first two invitees.
“I want to be there with the best of the best on a good stage and in great air,” said Pluchino, also a two-time PDRA Pro 632 world champion. “I want to put up some numbers and take home the big check. I’m excited to see the list of drivers. I’m sure it’ll be really stiff competition, but we’re up for the challenge.”
Since making his Mountain Motor Pro Stock debut in 2019, Pluchino has developed a reputation as one of the best leavers in the class. He’s gone head-to-head with drivers he grew up watching race against his father, 2016 PDRA Extreme Pro Stock champion John Pluchino. The New York native has picked up wins in eighth-mile PDRA competition and quarter-mile NHRA MMPS racing. All of that has prepared him for this big-money brawl with 16 of the best racers in the class.
“It’s such a tight deal right now that everyone who’s going to show up is going to be a player,” Pluchino said. “There’s definitely some guys that I smile wider when I beat, don’t get me wrong. They probably know who they are, so I’ll leave it at that.”
Between the high stakes, the bright spotlight, and the prime conditions offered by Bradenton Motorsports Park in early March, Pluchino believes it’s going to take some career-best performances to qualify well and turn on win lights at the MMPSI. He even thinks the class’s elusive first 3-second pass will be on the table.
“The air at Bradenton can be just astonishing, honestly,” Pluchino said. “You get some barometer conditions that you don’t really see anywhere else. I know we’ve talked about the 3-second zone before, but it’s definitely a favorite for us to go 3 seconds down there. Especially with 16 good cars, which I anticipate us having. I think you’re really going to see some numbers and guys really not afraid to go out there and lay it all on the line.”
Pluchino, who drives his father’s Kaase-powered $hameless Racing/Strutmasters ’13 Ford Mustang, has dreamt of racing Mountain Motor Pro Stock since he was a young boy. He’s a staunch proponent of the class, and he sees the MMPSI as a good sign that the class is heading in the right direction.
“I just want to thank everybody involved, the sponsors for getting the race together, Drag Illustrated, and everybody who supports our class,” Pluchino said. “Mountain Motor Pro Stock is on its way up and we’re really excited to be a part of it.”
Tickets for the World Series of Pro Mod are on sale now. Visit www.WorldSeriesofProMod.com to purchase tickets.
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