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RACER CHICK: Mike, first I’d like to congratulate you on a great 2011 season with two wins in NHRA and four wins in ADRL. Your Awesome/Al Anabi team has done really well this year. You’re well on your way to the 2011 ADRL Championship. Tell us about the magnitude of this year after surviving cancer and returning with a vengeance.
MIKE CASTELLANA: It has just been an unbelievable season for me. All I really wanted was to come out and have a fun season racing after a long winter, but my team had a plan all of their own. I owe this unbelievable season to my crew chief Shannon Jenkins and the crew. It’s all on them; they make the car go down the track, while I drive. I have always been a firm believer in the fact that you can only drive as well as the equipment you’re given and Shannon Jenkins, Jim Kane, Steve Helkin, Donnie Price, Heath Jenkins, Jerry Elliot, and Will Smith, make up our team, and they give me the best they have to give.
RC: So Mike, the next stop on your schedule will be the 9th annual Shakedown at E'town. Tell me a little bit about your past Shakedown races. What would you say makes the Shakedown such a great event to attend as a racer and a spectator?
MC: Shakedown @ E’town is a one of a kind race. There are two Pro Mod classes - a Blown class and a Nitrous class, splitting the classes like they do in the ADRL, the difference is that Shakedown runs 1/4 mile. I have never really run as good as I have wanted to do at what I consider my hometown track during the Shakedown. I hope this year will be better, but I'm just happy to be racing this year. I would love to be the one in the winner’s circle accepting the trophy on Sunday night. The competition is tough at this event.
RC: E'town was a great track for you this year. You ran 5.781 back in June. What do you expect for next week’s race?
MC: I think you might see some of the Pro Mod records break. The way that Eddie Krawiec prepares the track and the weather conditions this time of the year are great combinations for records to fall. Even in the 10.5 and other classes the ET's are faster.
RC: Your business, Western Beef, has returned to sponsor the grass roots 8.50 Index class, which has a bunch of rising stars in drag racing. Tell us about your involvement and your thoughts on the 8.50 class.
MC: The 8:50 class has so many great racers, who might not have the budgets to run the Pro classes. They are mostly local racers to the area of E’town. We, at Western Beef, always like to support our local racers, they are our customers, and we have found that racers are very loyal to the companies that support Drag Racing.
RC: Mike, thanks so much for your time. We wish you the best of luck this weekend at the 9th annual Shakedown at E’town.
MC: Thank you, Racer Chick, for the interview. See you at E’town!

A Moment with Shannon Jenkins
By Racer Chick

RACER CHICK: Shannon, congratulations to you on a great 2011 season. Your two wins in NHRA and four wins in ADRL are very impressive. Your Awesome/Al Anabi team has done really well this year. You’re well on your way to the 2011 ADRL Championship. Tell us about the magnitude of this year after your good friend & driver, Mike Castellana, survived cancer and returned with a vengeance.
SHANNON JENKINS: This year has been an unbelievable year for Mike, myself, and our team. When Mike was able to get back in the driver’s seat back at the beginning of this year, you never would have known he had been away. He never missed a beat. I couldn’t be more pleased with the way Mike has driven and the performance of our team this season.
RC: Shannon, you boys will be in New Jersey for the 9th annual Shakedown at E'town this weekend. You and your have raced at past Shakedown races. What would you say makes the Shakedown such a great event to attend as a racer and a spectator?
SJ: E’town is a great place to race. When the weather is right, you will see records fall. Our team loves to race at this fast track each year. It’s always great to see all the fans that come out and support us at this event. They love Pro Mods.
RC: E'town was a great track for you this year. Your team ran 5.781 back in June. What do you expect for this week’s race?
SJ: It was a great weekend. There were mine shaft conditions, and we knew we could throw a lot of power at the track, so we did, and we were fortunate enough to run that 5.781, to become the first Nitrous car in the .70’s.
RC: Shannon, thanks so much for your time. We wish you the best of luck this weekend at the 9th annual Shakedown at E’town.
SJ: Thank you so much, and I’ll see you at Shakedown.
 
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