After taking the top qualifying position at the Emerald Coast Outlaw Winter Nationals, 2008 NHRA Pro Mod Rookie of the Year Joe Baker bested his competition and took home a resounding event victory, the first in the three-round Emerald Coast Heads Up Outlaw Series.
Baker qualified No.1 after making a stellar 4.05-second, 180-mph pass and backed it up with a 4.02 at 182 mph in defeating Mike Neal during the second round of eliminations. In the finals, Baker recorded a 4.07 at 177 mph to win the event.
"I have a really good feeling about this season and we are off to a good start," he said. "We were fortunate to win the Heads Up Nationals finale held here last year and to come out and win the first Pro Mod race of the season is just incredible. Now that we have gotten the first win for 2009, I’m sure it’s just going to make us hungrier for more."
In 2009, Baker will compete in the Get Screened America Pro Mod Challenge for Mike Ashley Racing on the NHRA tour as well as select IHRA events. After a successful test session in Valdosta, Ga., with crew chief Chuck Ford, the team is ready for the season. They posted a best of 5.936 at 243.90 mph with their new Tim McAmis-built '68 Camaro.
"The new season is already here and I feel we are ready," Baker said. "Chuck Ford and our crew have been working hard to get this new car going and it shows. I think it’s going to be a great year for MAR."
Next up for Baker is the 40th annual NHRA ACDelco Gatornationals, March 12-15, in Gainesville, Fla.