Chad Green will be the only Funny Car driver to roll into Bradenton Motorsports Park for the inaugural Scag Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout presented by Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage, Feb. 8-10, with momentum, a win streak, and on-track experience. Green will be gunning for the $250,000 top prize on the heels of his first professional Funny Car win in November to close out a career season for the driver and team owner from Midland, Texas. The 2023 drag racing season for Green was a steady drum beat of success as his Bond Coat Ford Mustang kept getting better and better all year.
“Last season was so much fun. It was such an exciting season for us,” said Green, who wrapped up his fourth season in Funny Car. “It is a whole lot more fun when you are having success than when you are losing, that’s for sure. The way the whole season evolved when we started with a semifinal at Gainesville and then we went to two or three semis in a row. We were on a good roll until Pomona, and we forgot to take the throttle stop off. That was right after we won the Mission Challenge the day before. The whole season seemed to snowball after that. We got better and better and it culminated with winning the last race. You can’t ask for any better.”
Green’s rise to Funny Car championship contention was built on consistency and the steady tuning skills of Daniel Wilkerson, son of Funny Car superstar driver and tuner Tim Wilkerson. Wilkerson has been at the helm of Green’s Funny Car operation full-time for the past two seasons and prior to that made the calls part-time for two years. Recognized as one of the brightest young tuners in the sport, Wilkerson has brought another level of success to Green’s operation.
“Daniel is definitely one of the hottest young crew chiefs right now. I am so grateful to have him on my team and our relationship really has grown,” said Green. “This was our fourth season together. The first two seasons he was with me part time just working on the weekends. Last year he came on full-time and it has been great. To see his success and how we are going, I couldn’t be happier. His success makes me successful.”
With the PRO Superstar Shootout looming on the horizon, Green is eager to get back behind the wheel at a track where he has raced numerous times. The experience behind the wheel of his Pro Mod race car should provide Green with a certain level of comfort, but the veteran driver doesn’t know if it will give him a measurable advantage.
“I raced Pro Mod there quite a bit,” said Green. “I don’t know if that gives me an advantage or not in this category. These guys are all pros and they can all show up and run good just about anywhere. You have to have a killer instinct in this class no matter what race it is, no matter what round it is. We try and go out there and win every round.”
For Green it took four seasons before the national event winning started. Throughout the 2023 NHRA season, the general consensus was when would Green win not if he was going to win. His success in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge events, where he competed seven times going 1-1 in his final-round appearances, made the season-capping win at the In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals the perfect bookend to his season.
“That’s pretty cool to win the last race of the season and you are a winner for two or three months,” said Green. “That is a cool feeling. That has to be one of the best races to win. It has sunk in more over the past couple of weeks and I think it will help us going into the PRO Superstar Shootout since we have a little bit of momentum. The guys on the team have been feeling good going into the offseason. We are going to come out hot.”
The vibe of the PRO Superstar Shootout also has Green fired up to see how his program stacks up against his fellow Funny Car competitors. He understands the big money and unique atmosphere is something that could benefit the entire sport of drag racing.
“The PRO Superstar Shootout is very exciting. I think it will be something that will be awesome for the sport and groundbreaking,” said Green. “For me to be invited and be a part of it is cool. When you have a chip draw situation what is going to matter is get qualified. You need to just get into the eight. That is the important thing. Where you land in that eight-car field, I don’t think is going to be so important. Our focus is going to be on being one of the eight. That will be tough enough.”
If Green can turn on three win lights to take home the $250,000 top prize, there was no hesitation on how the winnings would be used.
“I know exactly how I would spend that big check. Nitro and parts,” laughed Green. “There is no question where that money would go. It would go right back into our team and try and make us even better. That would be a big boost to start the season.”
The Scag Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout presented by JHG, also featuring $250,000-to-win Top Fuel and $125,000-to-win Pro Stock, will take place Feb. 8-10 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Bradenton, Fla. Tickets are now on sale at https://bit.ly/scagpro. Fans can also watch the entire race live through FloRacing at https://flosports.link/3t04gHk