Day Motor Sports Driver Profile: Michael Easley off to strong start in Pro Mods

KEITHVILLE, Louisiana — Within any given division, there are a few select drivers who simply rank above the rest. Week after week, month after month and year after year, they win numerous features and always do well in the final points tally. They are the standard by which all others are measured. 

For 33-year-old Michael Easley, the racy and ultra-competitive Pro Mod division in Louisiana is his domain. Last year, he won six races in nine starts, and this year is picking up right where he left off. Easley notched his first feature win of 2024 last weekend at Sabine, and sits poised for more to come. 

“We were hoping to continue the success from last year into this Spring,” Easley said. “So far, it’s been working out for us. I guess hard work pays off after all. I’m always in the shop; the car is actually stripped down to the bare frame right now and is getting ready for a new body. 

“I do a lot of bodies for other racers around this area. I think I’ve done around 15 cars so far this year since January. I’m kind of a one-man show, I do all the work by myself. But it’s been going well so far.”

Now in his 19th year of racing, Easley has paid his dues and then some on the dirt ovals. 

“I started out when I was just 15 years old,” he explained. “I started out in a Modified, and stayed in one up until this Pro Mod division came along. The Mods kind of fell out of favor; they were getting too expensive for me. 

“I had a guy come to me for a body to get mounted, and he ended up asking me if I wanted to drive his Pro Mod. I enjoyed the ride, and ever since have stuck to this division. The cars are racy, and fun.” 

As mentioned earlier, the level of competition Easley faces in this Pro Mod division is pretty intense. 

“Everybody always talks about how it’s me and Chase Hatton, but there are others who are fast, as well,” he continued. “Chase is always fast; you can’t ever count him out and we’ve had some great battles. But guys like Corey Nolen, Dustin Turnage, William Brooks and Clay McWilliams are all fast.

“Once I really got into this class and started to get a handle on it, I grew very fond of it. These cars are racy; in fact, I was turning faster lap times recently than the Mods or Limiteds at Boothill. They are a handful to drive; it takes finesse and car control to win in them. It’s a fast and competitive division.” 

The background and refined driving skills Easley has are nice, but it’s what’s in his heart that matters most. You see, he lost his best friend last year, the man who was also his father. The pain still lingers. 

“Everything changed last year when my Dad passed away,” he admitted with candor. “He was always right by my side, we worked together in the shop and at the tracks. Dad was my only crew member; so I’m doing this all alone now. It’s been tough, doing it this way – but I’ve continued racing in his honor. 

“It’s been very difficult, I’ll admit. I still miss him every day, but we go forward each day as he would have wanted us to do. He played a huge role in my race team, so going it alone is a challenge. Some nights in the shop, when it’s quiet – I swear I can hear him telling me something to check on the car.” 

When Easley puts on his safety suit and gets ready to race, he climbs into a very well-built machine. 

“I have a 2022 IRP chassis, and it’s a fantastic race car,” he explained. “It was built by Jason Ingalls, and drives pretty nice when I get the setup right. As for horsepower, it’s powered by a 396 cubic inch small block from Gary Dent at 3D Motorsports. 

“It was a USMTS motor to start its life, but it was all detuned to fit this application. I didn’t want to burn the right rear tire off the thing with big power. So it’s an awesome engine, and I’m thrilled with it.” 

Along with his nearly two decades of experience and top-notch car, Easley has a supportive family.

“I really don’t have any sponsors, but I’m lucky to have such a great family supporting my racing,” he said. “I want to thank my kids, Kenzie, Beaux and Charlie; Anna Philyaw, Glenn Stuart, Robert Delude, Michael Hudson, Zac Taylor, and my Mom. 

“I also need to thank Dustin Randol with Comp Industrial, and Shawn Graham with Hitman Designs.  But most of all, even though he’s gone, I’ll thank my biggest supporter and my hero, my Dad. Every race I’ve run since his passing I drive with the shirt they cut off him in my seat.” 

With that feature win last Friday in the books, Easley can continue his mission of winning for Dad. 

“My goals are actually written on my Dash,” he added. “It says to have fun and kick ass; that’s what me and my Dad discussed last year before he passed away. He said win or lose, we’re going to the track and have some fun. So I’m out there having fun, and if I get to kick some ass, I’ll gladly do that. 

“As long as my kids can come watch me race and have a good time; as long as I can load the car back into the trailer without too much damage, then it will have been a great outing. There is a void that will never be filled, but I know in my heart that Dad would want me to go on. So that’s what I’m doing.” 

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer
Photo by Chaz Brzeski