Pro 4 Mod­i­fied rac­ers out to en­joy their time on the track

The Hamilton Spectator - - RACING 2017 - TIM MILLER Tim Miller is the au­thor of sev­eral books on auto rac­ing, and can be reached at tim­millerthe­car­guy@gmail.com.

There’s a group of rac­ers that get out on the track ev­ery week to en­joy them­selves in an easy­go­ing, backto-ba­sics en­vi­ron­ment.

Of course, they love to race against each other, but they are out there en­joy­ing them­selves in af­ford­able and re­li­able race cars.

With roots dat­ing back decades, the Pro 4 Mod­i­fieds com­pete ev­ery Satur­day night at Flam­boro Speed­way, the se­ries’ only venue. There are 12 to 15 teams on the Pro 4 Mod­i­fied ros­ter, and usu­ally most of them show up at the Mill­grove oval to do bat­tle.

“Sure, we’d like to have more cars,” noted se­ries vice-pres­i­dent Brian Nan­ti­coke as he pre­pared his pair of team cars be­fore rac­ing. “We have up­graded the rules a bit by al­low­ing quick-change rear ends and fuel in­jec­tion on the engines.”

The cars are pur­pose-built and open-wheeled, pow­ered by four­cylin­der Ford or Honda engines. With a weight of 1,725 pounds and about 200 horse­power on tap, they are quick and nim­ble out on the paved sur­face.

“These are full race cars,” said se­ries racer Gil­lian Hils, a me­chanic from Dun­das who not only races a Pro 4 but other classes such as Pure Stock and Bombers, some­times on the clay at Oh­sweken Speed­way.

Hils, who said she will “race any­thing,” be­lieves the Pro 4 pro­vides more thrills, and de­mands more skill when driv­ing.

“The Pro 4 has so much more speed,” she noted. “It’s more point and shoot, where with the Bomber you slip and slide.

“I like the pave­ment more,” she said. “There is more strat­egy in­volved.”

Hils’ car, which is unique to the se­ries with its open cock­pit, is pow­ered by a Honda en­gine, and she es­ti­mates is worth $7,500.

Nan­ti­coke, who has won the se­ries’ cham­pi­onship sev­eral times and is one of the group’s front-run­ners, started in the year 2000. The Oh­sweken res­i­dent raced for car owner Tom Whitby for five years be­fore get­ting his own ride, and he now has amassed a four-car team. He said there is a ca­ma­raderie within the group, and he wanted to thank se­ries vet­eran Stan Poku­pec for his gen­eros­ity and help.

“Ev­ery­one helps ev­ery­one else,” Nan­ti­coke said. “It’s in­ex­pen­sive rac­ing, and the aim is to have fun. I love it, it’s my pas­sion.”

Week­end win­ners: World of Outlaws su­per­star Donny Schatz dom­i­nated the run­ning of the 34th Kings Royal at El­dora Speed­way in Ohio Satur­day, and took home $50,000 US. Schatz and other WoO teams will make their only Cana­dian tour stop at Oh­sweken Speed­way for the two-day Sprint Car ex­trav­a­ganza next week, the Burger Barn Sum­mer Na­tion­als for 360 Sprints July 24, and the ninth an­nual Ar­row Ex­press Six Na­tions Show­down for the 410 Sprints July 25. This year the track has brought in Sprint Car stand­out Rico Abreu and NAS­CAR Cup’s Kyle Lar­son to do bat­tle on the clay oval ... Lyn­den’s Jor­dan Szoke had a rough ride on his Mopar Ex­press Lane/Mo­to­van BMW S1000RR to win his fifth fea­ture race of the Mopar CSBK Cana­dian Su­per­bike Cham­pi­onship this sea­son. Held last Sun­day and pre­sented by Honda Canada at At­lantic Mo­tor­sport Park in Shube­nacadie, N.S., Szoke was on the pole for the 22-lap race, and was never chal­lenged for the re­main­der of the fea­ture, held on a very rough and de­mand­ing course ... Last year’s ISMA 50 win­ner at Jen­ner­stown Pa., Mike Lichty of In­nerkip, could only take a fourth this year. The other Cana­dian on the Su­per Mod­i­fied tour, Mark Sam­mut of Lon­don, placed 10th ... Hamil­ton’s Mark Shad­well won the Vin­tage Race Car fea­ture at Mer­rittville Speed­way Satur­day as part of the track’s Jerry Winger Memo­rial and 66th an­niver­sary re­union night … Cory Whit­tam of Brant­ford won his first Can-Am Mid­get fea­ture of this sea­son, tak­ing the 25-lap main on the Grand Bend oval Satur­day ... Jukasa Speed­way (for­merly Cayuga) and the APC Se­ries have an­nounced former NAS­CAR Cup vet­eran Ken Schrader will com­pete in the re­ju­ve­nated track’s open­ing event, the Late Model Sum­mer Shootout, Aug. 26-27.

TIM MILLER PHOTO

Nan­ti­coke Pro 4 Mod­i­fied driver Brian Nan­ti­coke with his grand­chil­dren, Hae­dyn Nan­ti­coke, left, and Randon Greene. Nan­ti­coke said he enjoys not only the rac­ing but the friendly at­mos­phere when at the track.

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