Finish First in 2019 MWPMS Championships
(Dec. 9, 2019) - All
four 2019 season championships for the Summit Racing Equipment
Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) belong to family-based teams as
Aaron Wells prevailed in Pro Mod, Randy Matlock won the X275 Drag
Radial title, Earl Folse took Top Sportsman honors and Dan Phelps
secured the Top Dragster title.
"Each one of our championship-winning teams represents the
family-friendly atmosphere we like to promote and enjoy," MWPMS
owner and competitor Keith Haney says. "And I know it can sound
like a cliché to say we're all one big family at the race track,
but sometimes that's really the best way to describe things. I'm
proud of what the Mid-West Series represents and very proud that
each one of our 2019 champions exemplifies those values."
Based on the strength of four number-one starts and two wins with
MWPMS this season, Wells wrapped up his first national
championship early in October, then punctuated the accomplishment
one week later with another big victory in the inaugural Atomizer
Racing Injectors MWPMS Invitational, a non-points race held within
the NHRA national event at the Texas Motorplex, near Dallas.
"The car's consistency was great all year long," Wells said of his
Jerry Bickel-built, screw-blown '67 Mustang GT 500. "We had
basically a semi-final or better at every race, so I really
couldn't have dreamed of a better season. It's been kind of like a
fairy tale where nothing really went wrong."
With his mother and father, Becky and Steve Wells, by his side at
the track and wife Charity at home with their kids, Tyler and
Kenzie, Wells freely admitted he couldn't succeed in racing
without their help and support.
"I have to especially thank my wife, who is basically a single
parent most of the week because I'm always busy working on the
car, the number of hours that it takes," he said. "She is an
exceptional person. I don't know that I could do what she does."
He also credited engine builder Darren Mayer, along with tuner
Travis Cannon for his success, as well as crewman Tanner Allison
and Marty Chance, who built the car's torque converter.
"This is a real family team and I couldn't be out here without
them," Wells stated. "I also want to thank our employees back home
at Midstate Traffic Control in Oklahoma City. We've got really
good people there that take care of business while we're off
In X275, Matlock didn't start out the year running for the
championship, but after his son and crew chief, Cory, pointed out
mid-season they were sitting second in points, he was convinced to
make a play for the season title.
"We kind of laid out what we needed to do for that to happen,"
Matlock said. "Then we were fortunate enough to win in Memphis and
when we got to Tulsa for the final race there were probably 10 or
12 different scenarios that could have happened, but realistically
it was really between just us and a couple of cars."
When second-place holder Kenny Hubbard opted out of attending due
to business and other racing obligations, the door swung wide open
for Matlock to seal the championship deal.
"When we ended as number-one qualifier I think that pretty much
wrapped it up," he said.
Matlock's '92 Mustang was put together by Beilman Fabrication,
with owner Mark Beilman attending most races to help with chassis
tuning. The car carries a Design Performance-built 436 c.i. LS
engine boosted by a single 88-mm turbocharger with ComSync EFI by
Ryan Micke at Mick's Performance.
"I want to thank everyone who helped make this happen, but my son
most of all for getting us out there," Matlock added. "I also need
to thank my wife, we just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary,
and I have a daughter and two little grand babies, a nine-month
old granddaughter and a four-year-old girl who just loves this."
Top Sportsman veteran Folse races with wife Nicole and son Josh by
his side, along with longtime friend Robert Colwart, who offers
general trackside support and frequently drives parts
back-and-forth to Pilcher Automotive in Alabama for machine work.
Wins at the season opener in March at Dallas and a month later in
St. Louis, were major factors in his MWPMS championship-winning
Like Matlock, Folse relies on his son to make the tuning calls on
his Tommy Mauney-built '68 Camaro outfitted with three stages of
nitrous injected through a 776 c.i. Sonny's Hemi.
"Josh is my main man," Folse declared. "He makes it happen as far
as keeping me straight, keeping the car straight."
Heading into the final two MWPMS events, at Memphis and Tulsa,
Folse was locked into a tight points battle with Bob Gulitti for
championship honors, but semi-final finishes in both events turned
out to be just enough for him to take the title home to Raceland,
LA, by less than one round's worth of points. It was the third
major series title for Folse, who previously scored divisional
championships with both IHRA and NHRA.
In MWPMS Race Star Wheels Top Dragster, Phelps and wife Melodie
were already heading home to Labadie, MO, when they learned he'd
clinched the season title.
"We had lost in the first round and it was cold and there was
nothing more that I could do anyway, so we just decided to pack up
and go home," Phelps explained. "After qualifying I was 47 points
ahead of Danny (Nelson), so at 20 points per round he had to at
least win a semifinal to beat me.
"I was actually listening to the race on the Internet while we
were getting fuel at a truck stop in Joplin, Missouri, and when
Danny lost in the second round I knew no one else could catch me,
so I hugged Melodie and congratulated her because she puts just as
much into this as I do."
After missing the season opener in Texas, Phelps made it to the
semis in his series debut at St. Louis, where in 2013 he suffered
a serious blowover accident that led to the purchase of his
current car, a 2014 Race Tech from Russ Farmer in North Carolina.
He followed up with a pair of first-round exits at Tulsa and
Ferris, TX, before returning to Gateway in August and scoring the
first major race win of his career. Remarkably, it didn't take
long to repeat with Phelps scoring once more at the next race in
Memphis. The win also boosted him into the series points lead,
which he never relinquished.
The Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Pro Mod Series will open its
2020 season Mar. 27-28, at the Texas Motorplex, near Dallas.