Awesome Motorsports Team returns to the US!

Cayuga, Ont - Leaving their 3rd and final race out of the country, the Awesome Motorsports team is pleased with this weekends results. Both cars qualified for this weekends IHRA ACDelco Canadian Nationals.
"The important thing is to be consistent and qualify." said team owner Mike Castellana. "We came here and qualified both cars which is our immediate goal when we come to any race. Of course we want to take first and second place but qualifying is just as important." continued Castellana.

Of 23 cars vying for 16 spots in Sunday's race Castellana qualified in the #4 position while teammate Shannon Jenkins qualified in the #8 position.

First round paired castellana up against Glen Kerunsky. With a slight disadvantage at the line, Castellana drove around Kerunsky to take the win with a 6.294 to a losing 6.345.  Jenkins was paired up against Mitch Stott and ran an extremely tight drag race to the stripe with Jenkins running a 6.275 to Stott's winning 6.274.

Second round found Castellana against Quain Stott. Sever tire shake ended Mike's quest for this weeks Iron Man. " She rattled them pretty hard at the hit and was a handful, I lifted, saved the motor and will be back again." said Castellana.

This weekends race was #7 out of the 12 race IHRA Hooters 2004 Series. The teams next outing will be at the 23rd Annual IHRA Northern Nationals in Grand Rapids, MI. August 12-14 2004.

Castellana wins Chicago's NHRA AMS Pro Mod Challenge


With a quick reaction time, Mike Castellana defeated No. 1 qualifier Fred Hahn to take the title of the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge at Route 66 Raceway.

"Shannon Jenkins (teammate and crew chief) made the right calls all weekend," Castellana said. "We did what we had to do to put this Western Beef/Speedtech Camaro in the winner's circle. Winning's always good and this one was no exception."

Castellana, from Westbury, N.Y., drove his Western Beef nitrous Camaro past Al Billes and a red-lighting Mike Ashley to reach the final.

"I saw that big red bulb as I went pass the (Christmas) Ttree," Castellana said about his match-up with Ashley, "so I let off to save parts and not do anything stupid with the car."

This was Castellana's second career win on the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge. His only other win came in 2003 at St. Louis.

This one was over early as Castellana gained a substantial advantage at the light and went on to record a 6.227 second elapsed time to Hahn's 6.287-second effort.

En route to the final round, Hahn, in a supercharged Corvette, defeated Von Smith with a 6.185, which was low elapsed time of the event. He also beat Zach Barklage on a holeshot. This was the second consecutive final round appearance for the West Seneca, N.Y., native.

Barklage recorded the top speed of the weekend, a 230.72 mph run, in a first round win over Thomas Patterson.

The next event for the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge will be contested June 17-20 at the NHRA K&N Filters Supernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.

 

Awesome Motorsports team hoping to take huge strides into Bristol

Tuscaloosa , AL – The Awesome Motorsports duo of Shannon “the Iceman” Jenkins and Mike Castellana head into The Thunder Valley Nationals (the third stop on the AMS Staff Leasing NHRA Pro Modified Tour) with new expectations.

The team has been working on new combinations and trying to squeeze a little more power out of their twin '68 Camaro's.

“The fields have gotten tough this year and we have to do something to remain competitive” said Jenkins

“The key for us to win is going to be consistency and we think we are heading in the right direction” added Castellana

The Awesome Motorsports Team has yet to qualify at an NHRA / AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge event this year and are planning to change that this weekend.

Stay tuned to www.awesomemotorsports.com throughout the weekend four updates from the race and photos after the race.

 

 

Speedtech debuts at the 31st annual Darlington Winternationals

Darlington, SC. – With temperatures expected to reach 70, the Awesome Motorsports team plans on doing some serious testing with the teams new, innovative Speedtech Nitrous Systems.

Speedtech Nitrous Systems uses the same foundation that Pro Mod Nitrous Guru Shannon Jenkins has used for years with new technological advances and innovative designs. "With the weather going from cold to hot to cold this weekend it gives us plenty of opportunities to test in different conditions" said Jenkins. "We hope to have good results on getting everything worked out this weekend and make some stout laps" added Mike Castellana.

Stay tuned all weekend for photos and results from the track as we head into 3 days of rigorous testing at the famed Darlington International Dragway.

Winternationals Update: On the final day Shannon made lap after lap to head to the final round against Tommy Mauney. With both cars wounded the race was decided with a coin toss and Shannon emerging as the victor. In true champion form Shannon split the money with Mauney saying, " we both went as far as we could and we both won this thing" As for the covented "Wally" Trophy, Shannon handed it off to Mr. Prockish stating. "Alaska is a long way to drive for a race, take this home, put it up somewhere and make this trip worth while." This display of true sportsmanship just goes to remind us that True Champions are champions on the track and off.

 

MIKE CASTELLANA'S AWESOME MOTORSPORTS SIGNS FOOD GIANT PARMALAT TO ASSOCIATE SPONSORSHIP FOR 2004

Written by: Bobby Bennett, Jr.
WESTBURY, N.Y. (November 18, 2003) - Mike Castellana's Awesome Motorsports enjoyed one of its finest seasons in 2003, and before 2004 has begun, the Westbury, N.Y.-based team has already hit a marketing homerun. The two-car team consisting of Castellana and three-time IHRA World Champion Shannon Jenkins will compete next season with associate sponsorship from Parmalat, a leading producer of food products both domestic and abroad.

Castellana, a supermarket chain owner from Westbury, N.Y., feels that the addition of Parmalat provides a unique marketing opportunity for all parties involved.

"We are pleased to have them aboard as an associate," explained Castellana. "They make a great product and we hope that this marketing partnership will bring even more exposure to their fine product. We carry their products in our Western Beef supermarkets and they have a variety of products with something for everyone."

Parmalat has served the world for nearly four decades using milk as the cornerstone of their success. Company founder Calisto Tanzi's project grew from being a family business into one of the largest food industries in the world.

Today, Parmalat carries not only dairy brands, but also various beverages, bakery products and a full line of sauces and canned vegetables. Their distribution is worldwide and extends into Europe.

The association with Castellana's Western Beef-sponsored Pro Modified team marks Parmalat's first involvement within drag racing. They previously sponsored the Brabham Formula One race team with driver Nelson Piquet. The team won World Championships in 1983 & 1985. Their Web Site can be accessed at www.parmalat.com .

Castellana won his first Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series event this season when he defeated Fred Hahnat the ACDelco Canadian Nationals in Toronto. He finished 6th in the point standings while teammate Jenkins, with two event wins this season, finished 4th.

 


Awesome Motorsports puts the wraps on 2003 season

LAS VEGAS - Shannon Jenkins and Mike Castellana concluded one of their more impressive seasons as a full team effort. Five national event wins, three for Jenkins and two for Castellana, enabled the Awesome Motorsports team to finish in the top ten of both the NHRA and IHRA points championships. Both drivers lost in the first round of the NHRA ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Though Jenkins failed to successfully defend his two championships last season, he was pleased with the development of Castellana as a championship driver and the way the team came together throughout the course of the season in the face of adversity.

"When you look at the big picture, we did good for ourselves," explained Jenkins. "We got Mike into the winner's circle twice and that was an important thing to do. Everything came together at the end of the season and it gives us a lot of momentum headed into next season."

Castellana, winner of events in St. Louis and Toronto, tasted victory for the first time in his career.

"This has been a season that I will never forget," explained Castellana. "I owe a lot to Shannon Jenkins and my crew. They worked hard to make it all come together. I am very excited about next season and the opportunities that are ahead of us."

Jenkins won two events on the IHRA side and one on the NHRA tour. On this weekend, Jenkins entered eliminations as the fifth quickest and Castellana was eighth.

In the opening round, Jenkins appeared to be en route to the second round until parts attrition cost him a first round match against Dennis Radford. Castellana rolled the beams early with a foul opposite of low qualifier Von Smith.


Shannon Jenkins and Mike Castellana looking for first all-Awesome Motorsports final round

LAS VEGAS - The only thing better than an Awesome Motorsports car in the finals for Shannon Jenkins and Mike Castellana would be two of them running for the championship. The two car team consisting of Jenkins, the four-time Pro Modified World Champion from Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Castellana, the two-time national event winner from Westbury, NY, have captured two NHRA AMS Pro Modified Challenge events since late-June. With one race left on the ten-race 2003 tour, the two wouldn't mind capping off the NHRA side with a national event. This weekend's NHRA ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals could provide the perfect backdrop for the attainable feat.

Just last weekend, Jenkins concluded the IHRA tour with a convincing victory at Rockingham Dragway. Jenkins outreacted every opponent on raceday and also won with a slower elapsed time in three out of four rounds.

"It's disappointing that we didn't repeat as champion, but we did learn a lot that will help us for 2004," explained Jenkins. "We had a few stumbles early in the season but by the latter part, we were on our game. Everything is working very well and I feel good about our chances."

Both Jenkins and Castellana have a reason to feel confident headed into Las Vegas this weekend. Jenkins capped off his most successful season with a victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It marked his sixth of the 2003 season. This season he's had to break in not one, but two cars. The end result has been three national events in his favor. Two came on the IHRA side with the lone NHRA AMS victory taking place in Memphis last month.

Castellana's first career national event transpired at St. Louis in late-June. Just one month removed from posting the quickest-ever nitrous lap in Pro Modified history in Englishtown, NJ., with a 6.17, Castellana defeated Thomas Patterson in the final round. His momentum carried over onto the IHRA circuit where he claimed victory in Toronto, Ontario. Just last week, Castellana became the first nitrous driver to run more than one pass in the six-teen range.

The one thing that concerns Jenkins the most headed into Vegas will be the team's arsenal, which has taken a serious hit in the last two races. After wounding two motors at Dallas, Jenkins took a hit in the quarter-finals last Sunday.

"If they don't think we are leaning hard on these motors, they are crazy," Jenkins said, referring to the individuals who have commented that the nitrous fraternity is not trying hard enough to advance their performance. "We are flogging these motors harder and harder. Sometimes, there has to be a breaking point."

Headed into this weekend's event, Jenkins is ranked 7th while Castellana is 9th.

The latest news on Awesome Motorsports can be accessed at www.awesomemotorsports.com.


It's one of those weekends for Awesome Motorsports at Dallas

ENNIS, Texas - Two wounded motors, a loss in the finals of the winner-take-all AMS Pro Modified Shootout, a .001 foul in the first round by one car on Sunday and flat out getting outrun with other was enough to convince Awesome Motorsports drivers Shannon Jenkins and Mike Castellana that they didn't want to hang around much longer at the NHRA O'Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Dallas, Texas.

Friday was not a bad experience for Jenkins, the four-time World Champion from Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Castellana, the supermarket chain store owner from Westbury, NY. In fact they were 2nd and 5th respectively in the field after the first day of qualifying.

The second day is when the bottom fell out of things, for the most part. During the first session, Castellana nipped a piston in his nitrous-injected engine.

Jenkins, on the other hand, had a good opportunity working in his favor. Earlier in the weekend, he was inserted into the AMS Pro Modified Shootout field when Quain Stott failed to show. He scored a crucial first round victory by taking out the top-seeded entry of Tim McAmis. However, in the second round of the Shootout, Jenkins critically wounded his motor against Thomas Patterson and was forced to switch.

Jenkins came to the line with a fresh motor, but as fate would have it, lost to Mitch Stott, who failed to make the eight-car field for Sunday, yet recorded a quick pass on that run. Jenkins wound up as the second quickest in qualifying. Castellana was sixth headed into Sunday.

In the first round, Castellana fouled out of competition with a -.001 foul opposite of Patterson.

Jenkins suffered a frustrating loss to Von Smith, who got in as an alternate and went on to win the event. One race earlier, Jenkins defeated Smith in the final round at Memphis.

"Those guys have a good team over there," Jenkins commented on eventual champion Smith. "We had some misfortunes this weekend, but that's just the nature of the beast. We were dead-even at the 1,000-foot mark, but they just pulled away. That's just pure horsepower. If they think these nitrous cars have any kind of an advantage out here, they are full of crap…period."


Awesome Motorsports looking to avenge last year's Dallas disappointment

ENNIS, Texas - You might have a better chance of winning the lottery than finding Shannon Jenkins or Mike Castellana smiling after a first round exit from eliminations. Jenkins, a four-time Pro Modified World Champion from Tuscaloosa. Ala., still frowns when thinking about his first-round loss during last year's NHRA O'Reilly Fall Nationals. Castellana, the team owner and a team driver, failed to make the cut and that only added to the team's frustration. But, that was then.

This season, both drivers are hitting on all eight cylinders and headed into this weekend's event at the Texas Motorplex, there's a chance that both can be smiling when they leave. The Awesome Motorsports team is clearly making good on their rediscovered "mojo."

"Even championship teams hit a bump in the road, once in a while," explained Jenkins, who won six out of ten events last year. "We had a lot of variables this year that were different than last year. Some have worked in our favor and some took some time to develop. I am really proud of how our team stuck together when things got tough. It just shows the character of our crew."

Castellana admits that it all boils down to having good personnel in key positions.

"Shannon Jenkins is deserving of every championship that he has won," explained Castellana, who won earlier this season in St. Louis. "I am very proud of the way that he has directed our team to crucial victories. He has made our outlook very bright for the future."

One can't help but see that bright future when taking inventory of the plusses and minuses for Awesome Motorsports. The car that Jenkins drove to World Championships in both NHRA and IHRA competition now has Castellana behind the wheel. Jenkins took delivery of a brand new 1968 Camaro at the middle point of the season.

Castellana's incredible St. Louis victory also led to a triumph on the IHRA side a month later in Canada. Not only that, the Westbury, NY-based supermarket chain owner record the first-ever 6-teen by a nitrous car during the Englishtown, NJ-based nationals.

Jenkins scored his first NHRA victory last month in Memphis, Tenn. Just two weeks earlier, he won the IHRA event in Epping, NH.

Jenkins will also have the opportunity to bag a large amount of cash by participating in this weekend's AMS Pro Modified Shootout, a special eight-car race-within-a-race for $10,000.

The team's official website can be accessed at www.awesomemotorsports.com.


Jenkins puzzled after Budds Creek outing and first round loss

BUDDS CREEK, Md. - Shannon Jenkins likes to consider himself one of the leading crewchiefs in Pro Modified, but after this weekend's IHRA President's Cup Nationals in Budds Creek, the four-time World Champion from Tuscaloosa, Ala., was clearly confused. Nevermind the fact his teammate Mike Castellana reached the quarter-finals, the Awesome Motorsports team admits that they were guessing.

Making matters worse, Castellana lost an engine in beating Charles Carpenter in the first round.

"It has become an almost impossible task for a crewchief to figure out how to make a car go down the track on Sunday," explained Jenkins. "I just don't understand why the tracks are changing so much from one day to the next. It's terrible.

"I have even talked to (Mike) Kloeber and he's scratching his head, too. There shouldn't be this much guessing going on. I think there's a lot of guessing going on. By the time Sunday rolls in, you should have enough information to know where to go on Sunday to go down the racetrack. You might not be perfect, but you can still go down.

"When you have nitrous cars like we do and the nitrous comes in phases, it becomes a total nightmare. A lot of the blower guys that have run nitrous before can relate to this. I think this is something that needs to be addressed. It used to not be this bad. You can't race when you're guessing."

Castellana was the dominant of the team cars in qualifying with the second quickest lap of qualifications with a 6.258, 224.14. That was the only time he made it into the 6.20s during qualifying. Jenkins made his best shot during the final session with a 6.260/224.06.

In the first round of eliminations, Jenkins shook the tires and lost to Roy Wasko.

Castellana endured his costly victory with a 6.459, 187.99 to get by Carpenter. His day ended at the hands of tireshake and a pedal-fest with Carl Spiering.


Jenkins ready to end winless streak at Budds Creek; Momentum is on his side

BUDDS CREEK, Md. - Shannon Jenkins knew the day was coming this season when he and teammate/team owner Mike Castellana would find their "groove". Sometimes it's better late than never. Just three weeks ago in Epping, NH., Jenkins avenged a few DNQ outings to claim his first victory of the season. Castellana, who has qualified sparingly in the last few seasons, also claimed his first IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series national event victory in Cayuga, Ont.

Jenkins is glad that the team finally has good results to show for their tireless efforts. That makes headed into this weekend's IHRA President's Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway something that the Awesome Motorsports team can't wait to participate in.

"It feels good to be up here where we belong," explained Jenkins. "We are constantly working on these engines trying to find power. We are also trying to establish a good measure of consistency. I think we are finally tapping into the best of both worlds. Running good is always a plus."

"I think we have finally dismissed the new car blues."

Jenkins and Castellana are starting to fall into the routine from last year where their emphasis was on raceday as opposed to gaining the glory in qualifying high on the ladder.

"It's always good to qualify well," Jenkins added. "Sometimes it puts you on the good side of the ladder. Not qualifying well means you have to work a little harder to get to where you want to be at. The bottom line is that you have to have a good car on Sunday if you want to win. That's it…no ifs ands or buts."

During the struggles of a few races, Jenkins heard all of the rumors of sandbagging and lack of effort. That kind of talk just chaps the four-time World Champion's hide.

"People think we don't work and that's bull," Jenkins said. "They need to walk in my shoes one time and they would see. For a two-car nitrous team to run on the edge takes a lot of work and dedication. We have to stay on top of the game and if you look at my phone bill there is at least one call to Gene Fulton every week."

Headed into MIR, Jenkins feels the same way he did headed into New England Dragway earlier in the month. Budds Creek is one only four tracks left that Jenkins has never won at. "I'm looking forward to going there," he adds.

One of the greatest gifts this year for the team has been the emergence of Castellana as a front-running driver.

"Mike is having a good year and his record shows just how good of a driver he is. I am glad he won some races this year and I am sure he will win another one before the season is done. He's got a good fast racecar. Trust me. I know…I used to drive it."

Professional qualifying for the IHRA President's Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek, Md., will begin on Friday, September 26 with sessions at 2 and 7 PM and continue through Saturday with the final two sessions slated for the same times. Final eliminations are slated for Sunday at 11 AM.

The IHRA President's Cup Nationals is the eleventh stop on the twelve-race IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series.


Castellana and Jenkins have momentum headed into Memphis; qualifying a priority...

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Sometimes drag racing requires its combatants to make some pretty tough decisions. Defending NHRA O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals AMS Pro Modified Challenge champion Shannon Jenkins and team owner Mike Castellana found that out the hard way. After putting Jenkins' car in the top half of the show and Castellana at the top of the second half of the show, both were forced to withdraw from competition and head to Epping, NH. for an IHRA event. Two weeks later that decision looms over their heads, but their decision was supported by a national event victory for Jenkins and a quarter-final finish for Castellana.

Desperately needing high qualifying positions to earn a berth in the prestigious AMS Pro Modified Shootout, the nitrous running duo are pulling out all of the punches to score all the points they can to participate in the eight-car special shootout in Dallas, Texas. Jenkins ranks 11th and Castellana ranks 12th. To get in Jenkins will need to qualify third or better, while Castellana has to hope for second or the pole position. They also need for the drivers ahead of them to not qualify, which will be a tall order any way you slice it.

"It's going to be a challenge," Castellana explained. "We really wanted to stick with things in Indy because we felt we had a good chance. Sometimes you have to make decisions that make the most business sense and that's exactly what we did with Indy. I think we have good consistency working in our favor headed into Memphis. The car I'm driving qualified number one and won here last year."

The 2003 campaign has provided a rollercoaster season for the duo who race under the Awesome Motorsports banner. Jenkins provided an incredible 2002 season by capturing championships on both the NHRA AMS Pro Modified Challenge and IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series tours. Castellana entered 2003 without a national event victory and now has two to his credit after gaining wins in St. Louis (NHRA) and in Toronto (IHRA).

Earlier this season, Castellana established himself as the quickest nitrous doorslammer driver in the world with a 6.175 blast. To this date, only one other nitrous-injected driver has eclipsed the six-teen zone. The impressive part of it is that Castellana established the mark in his Western Beef-sponsored entry back in May. It took until September for another driver to accomplish it.

Jenkins enters Memphis with a load of momentum following the impressive IHRA North American Nationals victory. After a few DNQs earlier in the season, skeptics had written Jenkins' season off, but the four-time World Champion from Tuscaloosa, Ala., capitalized on a good showing in Indianapolis qualifying and turned that into a solid 6.2-second showing that ensured his first national event victory of the 2003 season.

"We have this car working well now," explained Jenkins. "We debuted the new car and we had to go through a period of adjustment to find what it liked and disliked. Now that we have that settled we are working on tuning the motor. I feel pretty confident about our chances this weekend."

Jenkins won last year's rain-plagued event by stopping Mike Ashley in the final round. He established himself as the driver to beat in qualifying by blasting out the quickest elapsed time in the history of nitrous Pro Modified competition at the time with a 6.221, 223.58.


Shannon Jenkins shows why he is a four-time World Champion at Epping

EPPING, NH. - Shannon Jenkins knew that history wasn't on his side headed into New England Dragway for the IHRA Amalie Oil North American Nationals. In the last five years there hasn't been a nitrous Pro Modified racer to leave the Epping, NH-based facility with an Iron Man. Leave it to the four-time World Champion from Tuscaloosa, Ala., and his team owner/teammate Mike Castellana to write a new chapter in the history books.

The duo that carries the moniker of Awesome Motorsports headed into the ninth stop on the twelve-race IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series tour entered the event confident, but not cocky. In the end, when Jenkins stopped Mike Janis in the finals and Castellana reached the quarters, the duo had to pat themselves on the back.

"Everything turned out ok," explained Jenkins. "We knew that Mike Janis was going to be tough, we had the car running so hard we burned up the motor on the last pass which hurt our elapsed time (6.316, 220.58).

"It feels really good to be back in the winners' circle, it has been a tough year. We could have very easily had both cars in the final round. We made a small mistake with the clutch on Mike's car that cost him the run against Janis. We have been trying out a lot of new stuff and working with a lot of talented people on the blue car. I have to thank Nitrous Pro-Flow, they build great intake manifolds and I thank Keith Wilson who has really helped us out a lot."

Just to think, they were disappointed about having to withdraw from the qualified field at the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Jenkins was qualified 3rd and Castellana was 5th.

This time Castellana was the quicker of the two in the field as he claimed the fifth spot with a 6.247, 221.45. Jenkins was seventh with a 6.262, 222.27.

Jenkins began his match to the final round by taking out electronic fuel injection wizard Harold Martin. The defending event finalist wasn't deterred when Martin snagged the slightly quicker reaction time and instead drove around him for a 6.284, 223.15 victory. Martin led for the first 60-feet of the match but at the 300-foot mark Jenkins took the lead and never looked back.

Castellana used a superior performance to overcome a slower reaction time against Steve Engel. With .009 working against him out of the gate, Castellana hit his shift points perfect en route to a 6.269, 223.26.

The Awesome Motorsports team met up with two potent supercharged entries. Castellana drew former World Champion Mike Janis and Jenkins renewed his rivalry with Mitch Stott.

Jenkins avenged last year's final round loss to Stott with a quicker reaction time and a 6.288, 224.32. Stott lost despite a quicker 6.268, 226.13.

Knowing that he had to gain any advantage that he could grab, Castellana left on Janis but the deficit diminished as the only nitrous national event winner of 2003 headed into Epping bowed out of eliminations with a early-lifting 7.191, 143.47.

Jenkins reached the final round with a less than spectacular semi-final win. The cagey veteran relied on his superior starting line skills to reel in the victory with a .13 starting line advantage and 6.477, 218.07 that took out Carl Spiering's 6.374, 219.56.

In the final round, Jenkins didn't let a starting line shortcoming deter him from beating Janis in convincing fashion. Jenkins prowess was shining bright as he caught Janis by the 60-foot mark and led the battle all the way to the stripe with a 6.316, 220.58.


Awesome Motorsports heads to Epping hoping to score second win of the season

EPPING, NH. - New England Dragway is a quick track and that's exactly why the Pro Modified division loves to race at the tremendous facility located in Epping, NH. As Mike Castellana and teammate Shannon Jenkins are aware, some racecars love it more than others, or at least their engine combinations do. Since 1992, only once has a nitrous car won at the IHRA Amalie Oil North American Nationals. In fact a nitrous car has won only once at any IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series event in Epping.

Awesome Motorsports team reps Mike Castellana and his teammate Shannon Jenkins, the defending event runner-up, are aiming to change history as the tenth stop of the twelve race tour kicks off this weekend.

"We'll do our best and hope we can pull through on raceday," explained Castellana. "We don't expect to dominate in qualifying, but I think we can more than hold our own during eliminations."

One of the reasons that Castellana cannot be optimistic about qualifying is the change of Pro Modified qualifying procedures. During the summer months the Pro Modified class qualified in the warmer temperatures providing a more equal competition between nitrous-injected and supercharged entries. The schedule has reverted to the original program from earlier in the season.

"I certainly don't understand why they did that," explained Castellana. "At least we had a chance to be in the top half of the show, but that is gone now. I never expected to be on top, but I do expect to be in the field.

"Hopefully the sun will come out and even things up."


Awesome Motorsports Team Hoping to Bring "Double Trouble" to Indy

CLERMONT, Ind. - One of the best things about running as a two-car team in drag racing is that if one car falters, the other can often be counted on to take up the slack and maintain the team's overall standing.

Ideally both drivers will do well, but if they don't, then having a teammate to lean on is a welcomed relief. Such is the case for the Awesome Motorsports Team of Mike Castellana and Shannon "Iceman" Jenkins.

Team owner Castellana, of Westbury, New York, and Jenkins, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, make up one of the best "North-South" combinations in Pro Modified competition today, and in spite of experiencing alternating up and down seasons, the sum total of the two racer's efforts since teaming up has been exceptional.

Jenkins, a leading builder of nitrous-injected Pro Mod engines, is a four-time World Champion, and the defending IHRA and NHRA title holder. Last season he was nearly unbeatable, while Castellana struggled to field a competitive car.
This season, with Castellana driving the '68 Camaro that Jenkins drove to glory in 2002, things have totally turned around. While Jenkins works to extract a higher level of consistency and performance from his own new '68 Camaro, Castellana is having a career season behind the wheel of his Western Beef-sponsored entry.

So far in 2003, he's won national event titles in both IHRA and NHRA competition, as well as becoming the first driver of a nitrous car to break into the "teens" when he posted a tremendous 6.175/226.66 during an AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge event at the NHRA Matco Tools Supernationals in Englishtown, New Jersey in May.

With the seventh AMS event of the season on tap during this weekend's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the talented pair would love nothing better than to get both cars running up to their full potential during what are sure to be nitrous-favoring hot and humid racing conditions. With recent rules adjustments bringing the supercharged and nitrous combinations onto more of an even footing, the timing couldn't be better.

If everything goes right, the vaunted "Double Trouble" that the team has threatened to unleash on the competition all season long may finally rear its head, and the Awesome Motorsports Team couldn't ask for a better place than the historic surroundings of IRP and the U.S. Nationals to make it happen.


Mike Castellana drops tough first round encounter

NORWALK, Ohio - Sometimes making a first round clutch call can be as complex of a decision as a wager in Las Vegas. Unfortunately for Mike Castellana, the quickest nitrous-injected doorslammer pilot on the planet, this weekend's event was in Norwalk, Ohio and not in Sin City. The end result was a disappointing first round loss at the IHRA Sunoco World Nationals presented by PPG.

After losing the tough match to Von Smith, Castellana admitted that hindsight is always 20/20 and that was certainly the case after falling short against the former Funny Car World Champion.

"We just need to pick up the pace for Epping," explained Castellana. "We kind of underestimated the track and we were shy on the clutch. We knew the first round call was going to be a tough one, but you have to make those kinds of calls. We'll have it together next time out."

In qualifying, Castellana established himself early as the provisional leader among the nitrous runners. His 6.300, 221.42 proved to be his best run of the weekend on Friday and placed him in the ninth spot entering eliminations.

Castellana failed to improve his first day run and teammate Shannon Jenkins couldn't find the right combination for his entry and missed the cut.

Headed into the first round of final eliminations, Castellana fell behind Smith off of the line and despite running a respectable 6.318, 223.02, just ran out of real estate opposite of Smith.

The team's next outing will be at the NHRA U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend.


Castellana and Jenkins headed to Norwalk with winning on their minds

NORWALK, Ohio - When Mike Castellana and Shannon Jenkins loaded up their potent pair of nitrous-injected 1968 Camaros at the conclusion of the IHRA Bethesda Softworks Northern Nationals, the duo from New York and Alabama had a sickening feeling in their stomachs. The ill-feeling wasn't entirely due to Jenkins' elimination in the quarter-finals, or Castellana's first round departure. It was mostly because they had both lost to a supercharged entry and that by the semis, not only single member of the nitrous faction remained in competition.

While the combination that calls themselves Awesome Motorsports, and carries backing from Western Beef, wasn't bellyaching over their shortcomings, they tend to take it personal when the nitrous cars fall short. This weekend's IHRA Sunoco World Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, will provide the perfect setting for either Castellana or Jenkins to return to the winner's circle.

"It would be nice," admitted Castellana. "We just had a tough weekend in Martin. Sometimes you have great weekends where it seems like you can do no wrong like we did in Toronto, but then sometimes you miss the mark. Pro Modified is a class where you just have to accept those kinds of things and move on."

Castellana enjoyed his no-mistake weekend late last month when he stormed past a stellar Pro Modified field to claim his first career IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series national event crown. He defeated Fred Hahn in the final round to claim his second major victory of this season. Earlier in the season, Castellana topped Tim McAmis in the final round of an NHRA AMS Pro Modified Challenge event in St. Louis, Mo., and both wins came at the expense of a supercharged entry.

Jenkins knows a thing or two about picking on the blower cars. Last season, he drove his Camaro to the IHRA World Nationals crown and assumed the points lead en route to his third career World Championship. Jenkins also claimed the NHRA AMS Pro Modified World Championship as well.

At this point in the season, Jenkins is outside of the top ten of points and content to use his machine as a test vehicle for the 2004 campaign. Castellana appears to be carrying the banner proudly in the same ride that Jenkins enjoyed incredible success in 2002.

In May, Castellana became the first nitrous driver to dip into the six-teens with a historic 6.17 lap at his home track in Englishtown, NJ.


Shannon Jenkins carries the banner for Awesome Motorsports at Martin

MARTIN, Mich. - If there's one thing that the Pro Modified division has the ability to do; it can humble a man in a heartbeat. For any other driver that might be the case, but when it comes to four-time World Champion Shannon Jenkins and Mike Castellana they prefer to keep things on the downside. The two have won championships and plenty of national events, as recent as two weeks ago, yet they survive on their abilities to keep egos from being nonexistent.

At the ACDelco Canadian Nationals in Cayuga, Ont., Castellana stormed to his first national event victory in Hooters Drag Racing Series competition. On the other hand, Jenkins failed to qualify. This weekend, Castellana only made one run to the finish line under full power and Jenkins reached the quarter-finals.

"Drag racing can be an up and down sport," explained Jenkins. "When you can do good right off of the trailer, it usually means you can do well on Sunday. I think we were finally starting to catch up with it but we didn't have any daytime runs."

"When you don't have any runs during the day, you have to guess. Anyone that has been in the sport knows that you can't guess. I think if we could have gotten down the track, we would have won this thing."

Jenkins traced his demise against Tim McAmis in the second round to an overabundance of clutch and the inability to recover from that. One round earlier, Castellana had lost to McAmis.

Castellana was the quicker of the two team drivers in qualifying at 10th with a 6.362, 218.72, while Jenkins slipped into the 15th spot with a last-ditch 6.387, 219.58.

In the first round Jenkins scored the victory over the #2 qualifier Quain Stott, who shook the tires and aborted the run.

The Bethesda Softworks Northern Nationals was the eighth stop on the twelve-race IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series.


Castellana wants to tap into momentum for Awesome Motorsports Martin title defense!

MARTIN, Mich. - Even though the spotlight is sometimes overwhelming for Pro Modified racer Mike Castellana, don't think for a moment that he's grown tired of the attention that it brings. After winning the IHRA ACDelco Canadian Nationals at Toronto Motorsports Park in Cayuga, Ont., the Westbury, NY-based supermarket chain owner, who owns the Awesome Motorsports team comprised of himself and four-time World Champion Shannon Jenkins, heads into this weekend's Bethesda Softworks Northern Nationals with plenty of momentum and the full support of many nitrous aficionados.

Castellana is hoping to successfully defend the team's honor this weekend. While Jenkins won the title last year in convincing fashion, Castellana will be behind of the same 1968 Camaro that propelled Jenkins into the points lead after that event.

"I'm very pleased with the way the car has been running," explained Castellana, who is now ranked in the top ten of the IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series points standings. "Shannon Jenkins has done an excellent job of tuning this car and the crew has worked tirelessly to keep us in the hunt.

"Sometimes I still have to pinch myself and make sure that I'm not dreaming," Castellana added. "We always felt that if we could get on somewhat of an even level with the supercharged cars that we'd have a chance. Headed into this weekend, I'm not counting on anything…I just want to do the best that I can."

While Castellana has been the frontrunner as of late, Jenkins has struggled to regain the same form that brought forth the World Championship last year. But, he's not complaining. He's taking the time to test some new parts and most important of all, ensure that Castellana reaps the good fortunes that he deserves.

"Mike Castellana is an excellent driver," explained Jenkins. "What he's getting is not a matter of just good luck. He's earned it. I enjoyed standing behind the car at the last race and helping him. That didn't hurt my feelings one bit. I think he might just get a few more wins along the way.

"He might just be the man to beat this weekend."

Qualifying for the Bethesda Softworks Northern Nationals at US 131 Dragway in Martin, Mich., will kick off on Friday, August 8, with professional sessions scheduled for 12 and 7 PM. Qualifications will continue on Saturday at 12 and 7:30 PM. Final eliminations are slated for 11 AM on Sunday.

The Bethesda Softworks Northern Nationals is the eighth stop on the twelve-race IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series.

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Castellana scores first IHRA Hooters National Event victory at IHRA ACDelco Canadian Nationals

CAYUGA, Ont. - Mike Castellana's victory at the IHRA ACDelco Canadian Nationals greatly resembled another driver's Pro Modified conquest dating back to 1995. During that season, Tommy Mauney had come out of nowhere and challenged the seemingly unbeatable Scotty Cannon and scored an emotional victory at the 1995 IHRA Spring Nationals in Bristol, Tenn. On a day plagued with rain much like it was in 1995, Castellana scored a victory that was eerily similar.

The one common denominator for those victories was Shannon Jenkins' undivided attention as tuner and crewchief.

"It was for days like this that I joined forces with Shannon Jenkins several years ago," explained Castellana. "This was just an incredible experience and this has been nothing short of outstanding. The team came together as one and on this day, we did what we needed to do.

"All we wanted to do was to have a chance to win and today we showed what we could when given that opportunity."

Castellana entered eliminations as the tenth quickest entry with a 6.304 best, which was backed up with formidable runs of a 6.323 and a 6.316. Only once in four attempts did he fail to make it to the finish line under power.

That momentum continued on Sunday as he defeated a quicker qualified Carl Spiering in the first round of eliminations. Castellana was quicker off of the line and that proved to be added insurance as he sped to a 6.346, 220.51. Spiering fell short with a 6.409, 220.73.

Castellana fired a tremendous shot in the quarter-finals that greatly resembled the David versus Goliath tale. Outqualified and outmuscled next to Mitch Stott's supercharged entry, Castellana saved his best run of the weekend and not only outreacted, but also outran him. His .045 starting line advantage was more than enough when coupled with a 6.288, 222.29. Stott shook the tires early and skated all over to his lane, losing with a 6.486, 204.05.

Castellana's starting line domination continued as he strapped a light on Pat Moore and led him all the way to the strip with a 6.296, 222.40 victory. Moore lost with a 6.355, 221.09.

Castellana entered the final round with the lane choice solidly in the final round match against Fred Hahn. For the fourth time on the day, Castellana was the quicker driver off of the starting line and that only proved to be added insurance as he was the quicker of the two with a 6.315, 221.02.

Jenkins added, "We could have won at Milan. I have no problem standing behind the car on Sunday, in fact, I enjoy it. I think Mike Castellana is just getting started at winning these races."

The next event on the schedule for the Awesome Motorsports team will be the IHRA Northern Nationals at U.S. 131 Dragway in Martin, Michigan, in two weeks.

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Jenkins and Castellana looking forward to Milan challenge

MILAN, Mi. - The last time Shannon Jenkins visited Michigan he emerged as a national event winner. Ironically, the last time that teammate/team owner Mike Castellana raced, he scored his first-ever national event victory. When one combines that level of success headed into this weekend's IHRA Motor City Nationals in Milan, Michigan, the odds are highly stacked in the favor of the Awesome Motorsports team. Coupling the past and present victories with a new rule change towards the supercharged entries aimed at leveling the playing field, last year's defending Pro Modified World Champions are more than anxious to get down to business.

Jenkins, a four-time World Champion from Tuscaloosa, Ala., is looking forward to racing this weekend on a more leveled playing field.

"I don't think you'll ever fully get a level playing field, but this gives us a better chance to be competitive," explained Jenkins. "It's going to be warm up there, but by no means does it mean that we will run faster. The hot temperatures affect the nitrous cars too, but it only means that we don't hurt as many parts. We certainly don't gain in performance.

"I've burned up a lot of pistons this year and I have a pretty good pile of them in my shop to prove that we've hurt a lot of stuff just trying to keep up. So, if someone shows me where we can make gains, I'd be more than happy to listen."

Castellana, a supermarket chain owner from Westbury, NY, is hoping to add to his one round win total in IHRA Hooters Drag Racing competition. Ironically, the longtime Pro Modified racer ranks as the winningest driver on the NHRA AMS Pro Modified Challenge this season and won the recently completed NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals in St. Louis, Mo.

"Winning that event was a confidence builder," explained Castellana. "I am looking forward to this weekend and I feel we have a lot of momentum in our favor right now. I really want to gain some wins in IHRA because this is where I got my start at. It would just mean that we've come full circle finally."

Castellana is driving the same car that Jenkins drove to both the IHRA and NHRA World Championships last year. Earlier this year, Castellana drove the 1968 to the quickest-ever nitrous pass in the history of Pro Modified. His 6.17 elapsed time was the first time that a nitrous entry had ever cracked into the six-teens.

The inaugural IHRA Motor City Nationals in Milan, Michigan, kicks off on Friday, July 11th with professional qualifying sessions scheduled for 12:30 and 7 PM. Qualifying continues on Saturday with the final two attempts set for 1 and 7:30 PM. Final eliminations begin at 11 AM on Sunday.

The IHRA Motor City Nationals is the sixth stop on the twelve-race IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series.

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Jenkins and Castellana enjoy finest effort of 2003 season

RICHMOND, Va. - After three frustrating outings on the 2003 IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series, nitrous Pro Modified's dynamic duo of defending World Champion Shannon Jenkins and the World's quickest nitrous runner Mike Castellana changed their fortunes at the IHRA ACDelco Nationals in Richmond, Va.

Upon entering the fourth stop on the tour, neither driver had recorded a single elimination round win in competition. That changed at Virginia Motorsports Park as Jenkins reached the semis and Castellana fell one round short by bowing out in the quarter-finals.

"This was a real good weekend. We just misread the track. I would have loved to have run Mitch in the finals. We would have certainly stepped it up for him. This was a step in a positive direction for us."

Jenkins entered eliminations as the quickest nitrous entry at fourth with a 6.322, 221.52. Castellana, who is credited as being the quickest nitrous driver in the World, ran a 6.420, 216.69 to end up 12th.

In the first round of eliminations, Jenkins thundered to an impressive 6.280, 222.33 to take out Charles Carpenter. Castellana opened up with a convincing victory over Billy Harper.

In an untimely twist of fate, the ladder paired the teammates against each other in the quarter-finals. That battle went to Jenkins as Castellana fouled early.

The semi-finals turned out to be the end of the line for Jenkins as he blew the tires off early in the run and allowed Quain Stott to advance to the finals.

The next event on the twelve-race Hooters Drag Racing Series will be in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for the Inaugural Rocky Mountain Nationals at Budweiser Motorsports Park. The event begins on Friday, June 27 with professional sessions scheduled for 1 and 7 PM. Qualifications continue on Saturday with the final two attempts being made at 2 and 8 PM. Final eliminations are slated for Sunday at 11 AM.

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Shannon Jenkins and Mike Castellana ready to change VMP course to the nitrous persuasion.

RICHMOND, Va. - Shannon Jenkins and Mike Castellana, defending World Champion and quickest nitrous racer in Pro Modified, have heard more than enough of the supercharger hype that permeates the media headed into this weekend's IHRA ACDelco Nationals presented by Chevrolet in Richmond, Va. Armed with two of the most potent nitrous entries in the class, the duo who runs under the Awesome Motorsports banners hope to field the first nitrous winner at Virginia Motorsports Park.

In 2001 it was Mike Janis. Last year it was Fred Hahn. This season, Castellana hopes to capture his first career national event or teammate Shannon Jenkins finds his winning groove. Regardless of which driver scores the win will be fine with Jenkins or Castellana and considering Mother Nature should be lifting the temperature into the eighty-degree range, they have good reason to feel more confident headed into the third stop on the twelve race IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series tour.

"Last week was tough," explained Castellana on his failure to qualify and Jenkins' first round loss. "We are traditionally strong on the second half of the season and because of that, we are not losing sight of the ending goal. There's no doubt that our goal is to win."

"Name one drag racer that comes out here expecting to lose and I will show you a loser," explained Jenkins. "I know we have been opinionated on the parity of the nitrous and blower cars. But, regardless of how we feel, we still come in here looking to win. If we came in expecting to lose, we might as well just stay at home."

Both drivers are looking for their first round win in competition. This season's record pales in comparison to Jenkins' 2002 effort where he won three IHRA national events and finished runner-up in just as many.

As for Castellana, last season was a nightmare. This season has been much better courtesy of strong runs such as a 6.17 in Englishtown that now stands as the quickest nitrous lap in history.

To date, only once has a nitrous car reached the winner's circle at any major IHRA Pro Modified race

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Jenkins experiences tough day in the office; Castellana fails to make the cut

GRAND BEND, ONT. - Sometimes things just don't work out the way they should and that tends to frustrate even the best of drag racers. Defending IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series Pro Modified champion Shannon Jenkins will testify to that and his talented team owner and teammate Mike Castellana will second the motion.

Just one season after grabbing every break that fate could muster, Jenkins is experiencing a very tough season that is diametrically opposite of the clean sweep he made of Pro Modified championships in 2002. Castellana is also two weeks removed from recording the quickest-ever nitrous pass in history with a 6.17.

The bottom line is that Mother Nature was not a fan of the nitrous cars this weekend.

"The track was just too cold for these nitrous cars, and we just never found the right combination for the conditions," Jenkins explained. "We could never get over tire shake problems. When it's this cold, the cars make plenty of horsepower, but you're trying to harness a bunch of torque. We just don't have a combination for the combination of cold weather and a good racing surface like we had here. I hope we don't see any more cold tracks for the rest of the year."

Bad luck is also no respecter of man, as evidenced by the dual efforts of Awesome Motorsports, the name of the Jenkins and Castellana team. Despite cutting a perfect .400 light in the first round at the IHRA Mopar Canadian Nationals in Grand Bend, Ont., Jenkins suffered tireshake and lost opposite of Rick Stivers. As for Castellana, after experiencing a history making lap at the previous event, he failed to make the qualifying cut.

Jenkins made the show in the 11th position with a 6.345, 220.21, while Castellana could never seem to get in the groove of his starting line launches.

The next event on the twelve-race IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series will be the IHRA ACDelco Nationals in Richmond, Va. Professional qualifying is scheduled for Friday June 6 with sessions slated for 12:30 and 7 PM. Qualifying continues on Saturday with qualifications at 1 and 7 PM. Final eliminations begin on Sunday at Noon.

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