It ’ s been almost one month since Spencer Hyde turned on the final win light at the $ 100,000-to-win Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod presented by J & A Service at Bradenton Motorsports Park . The champagne has been buffed
off Hyde ’ s screw-blown “ Jack & The Green Stock ” ‘ 69 Camaro , and his phone notifications have started to return to an average pace .
Hyde is on the grounds at GALOT Motorsports Park to run Pro Boost at the PDRA season opener , the Summit Racing Equipment PDRA East Coast Nationals presented by FuelTech . The brand-new sticker on the back of his trailer announces that he ’ s the 2023 World Series of Pro Mod champion , but everyone here already knows . A steady stream of people has come over to congratulate Hyde and his team . Manufacturers have been offering free or heavily discounted parts . He ’ s seen in a different light than he was when he rolled through the gates at GALOT last year .
“ I think it just showed everybody that we ’ re here for real ,” Hyde says . “ I wouldn ’ t say people took us lightly before , but we were definitely not one of the big teams , so it just helped showcase what we ’ re capable of . And I think they look at us a little different now , coming here .”
Hyde ’ s WSOPM journey started later than just about anyone else ’ s , as he was one of the final invitees , giving his team just three weeks to prepare the Mark Savage-tuned ’ 69 Camaro for the race .
“ I didn ’ t have everything ready , as us racers like to leave everything to the last minute ,” Hyde laughs . “ My guys were all excited and we jumped into high gear . Noonan helped us out with speeding up some parts and stuff like that . I met Mark down in Georgia at Justin Bond and Khalid alBalooshi ’ s shop there and put the engines together on the way to Bradenton just to help logistically rather than shipping parts up home . It was a long trip , it was a lot of work before , but looking back now , obviously , it was all worth it .”
Hyde started testing on Tuesday morning , and even after making several runs over three days of testing , the car wasn ’ t running where Hyde and Savage wanted it . In qualifying , the consistency was there , but Hyde was making runs in the high 3.60s , not the mid-3.60s , which is what Hyde predicted back in February would be required to win .
“ We ran three high . 60s , and I honestly didn ’ t think [ the field ] was going to be that fast ,” Hyde admits . “ Looking at the weather , it was hot , it was humid , the water grains were through the roof , and it just wasn ’ t go-fast air . But everybody ran so well , and after Friday night , looking at the sheet , I knew it was going to get fast Saturday night . So I was nervous , especially going into Q4 there .”
Hyde had good reason to be nervous . He hurt his engine on the third qualifying pass , requiring an engine swap between sessions . The new engine wasn ’ t even in the car when the first pair of cars in the fourth session fired up .
“ Thankfully , we were 23rd pair or something like that , so we had an hour , which was just enough time to get everything back together and start the car up and get up there ,” Hyde says . “ Justin Bond came over and helped us thrash . He could tell the boys were pretty fired up .”
Hyde went into the session qualified No . 22 with his 3.687 from Friday ’ s second session . As the final session progressed , it became apparent that Hyde ’ s spot was not safe . But he threw down a 3.682 at 204.51 MPH to improve ever so slightly , but it was enough to bump back into the field by one single thousandth of a second , locking in the No . 32 spot .
“ It was a huge relief ,” Hyde says . “ It ’ s not even a
98 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 182