Family-Based Teams 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 racing."

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 season.
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.