WNY Auto Racing: Janis team celebrates NHRA Nationals win - The Buffalo News
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WNY Auto Racing: Janis team celebrates NHRA Nationals win

If anyone needs confirmation that dreams can really come true, just ask the members of the Mike Janis Racing Pro Modified drag racing team. Members are still basking in the glow of a win in the National Hot Rod Association’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, held Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis.

The U.S. Nationals is considered the most prestigious event in drag racing. Veteran racer Mike Janis Sr., of Lancaster, defeated Rickie Smith, the current NHRA Pro Modified points leader, in the final round to score an important and impressive victory.

“To win the U.S. Nationals is just incredible,” Janis said. “I have been involved in drag racing since I was about 8 years old and it is the dream of every racer out there to win Indy.”

Janis recalled the long road that made last weekend’s accomplishment so special.

“I was a young boy being raised by my mom and dad growing up on Second Avenue in Lancaster with six brothers and one sister realizing that if you follow your dreams they can and will come true someday. It has not really sunk in yet and I am not really sure when it will. Indy, wow, that is all I can say.”

As Janis’ son, Mike Jr., can attest, achieving dream goals is also all about hard work and preparation. Mike Janis Jr. is both the general manager and co-crew chief for MJR.

“In drag racing, Indy is like the Super Bowl is to football,” he said. “We have been working extremely hard as a team over the last two months prepping the car for the U.S. Nationals. The conditions were very tricky all weekend with temperatures soaring in the upper 90-degree range and track conditions which saw the track temperature hit 130 degrees.

“As a tuner, conditions like that can make your head spin, but myself and co-crew chief Kevin Peters were able to make the necessary changes ahead of time and managed to stay ahead of the curve all weekend. I could not be more proud of our team.”

The Janis team nd their Mike Janis Superchargers/Jan-Cen Racing Engines Camaro will race next weekend in the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, N.C. Janis Sr. is third in NHRA Pro Modified Series points, just four round wins out of the points lead.

Elsewhere, Jesse Cotriss capped his DIRTcar Sportsman championship season at Ransomville Speedway with a win there this past Friday in the Super DIRTcar Series event.

Cotriss, a three time Ransomville DIRTcar Sportsman victor in 2013, survived a 50-lap event Friday that included heavy lapped traffic and a two-lap dash to the checkered flag following a late race caution.

“That’s just my luck,” said Cotriss of the late race caution. “I thought, this is going to be interesting.”

Pat Dell clinched his first career Ransomville Street Stock point championship.

Williamsville’s Phil Henderson was honored during the 20th anniversary Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival, held Friday in the village of Watkins Glen. The festival is a day-long series of events commemorating Watkins Glen’s racing heritage and the running of the first-ever sports car race through the streets and surrounding hillside of Watkins Glen in 1948.

Henderson was inducted into the Watkins Glen Drivers Walk of Fame, in a ceremony held on the lawn of the village’s courthouse.

Henderson was the 1978 and 1979 NYSRRC Showroom Stock B champion and has been a national area director for the Sports Car Club of America.

Pit stops

• Kyle Hutchinson has claimed the 2013 New York/Pennsylvania Midget Association season point championship. Prior to this season the group was known as the Casey’s TQ Midget Racing Series.

• Driver registration forms for the US Open Weekend, Sept. 20-22 at Elegant Builders Raceway Park in Lancaster, are now available on the track’s website at www.elegantbuildersracewaypark.com. The US Open is typically the area’s largest annual three-day stock car event. Elegant Builders Park is scheduled to have a regular stock car event this Saturday.

• Lake Erie Speedway’s season points finale was rained out Saturday and has been rescheduled for Sept. 21.

email: lawrence_o_14075@yahoo.com

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