Triumph and Tragedy at Indy 3

Note: Coverage of competition at the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Lucas Oil Raceway is overshadowed by the street accident on Sunday night involving Dom Lagana, Richie Crampton and Jake Sanders in Crampton’s iconic ’57 Chevy wagon. Sanders has been released, Crampton was broken up pretty good, and Lagana was badly burned in the accident. I’m sure you all join me in directing your thoughts and prayers toward recovery by all.

Angelle Sampey picked up her first win since joining the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson team, and it came this past weekend at the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Lucas Oil Raceway. The 3X NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champ picked up her 43rd Wally and her first since 2016 at Englishtown—the last PSM win for George Bryce and Star Racing. She is NHRA’s winningest female competitor.

Chris Bostick and Angelle Sampey suiting up in staging

The win came after a lengthy delay in the water box before the final, as her crew struggled to fix a problem with her clutch cable, then to get the bike in gear. Finalist Chris Bostick and his Greg Underdahl/Gary Stoffer team waited patiently in the other lane.

“I just tried to stay calm,” said Sampey, known for being emotional. “I didn’t know if we were going to get the bike fixed and I just said ‘I’m going to stay calm.’ They got it fixed and thank you to Vance & Hines and Harley-Davidson. I told you I was going to do this.”

A true veteran winner, Sampey then nailed a .001 reaction time and posted a 6.880 at 196.07 for the win as Bostick had a somewhat shaky 6.950 at 191.78 in the right lane.

The final:

Sampey, who celebrated her 50th birthday on Friday, won for the third time at Indy. She knocked off Steve Johnson, Andrew Hines and Scotty Pollacheck to reach the final.

Sampey waving her yellow hat, Jay Krawiec doing the pushing

Bostick—looking to be PSM’s third straight first-time winner—had some luck but played it well from the 11th qualifying position. Only recently coming out of a long stretch away from racing, Bostick chose to rent from Underdahl/Stoffer this weekend rather ride his own Suzuki that he raced here a few weeks ago, and it paid off with his first 6 second passes and first career final round.

Chris Bostick at speed on the Underdahl/Stoffer Suzuki normally ridden by Jimmy Underdahl

On the way he beat Angie Smith in E1 when her bike bogged and died. Then came a .110 reaction time advantage against #3 qualifier Ryan Oehler. “I fucked up,” said Ryan, who then joked: “No, this is a team sport. We fucked up!”

Ryan Oehler loved qualifying third and maintained a sense of humor when posting a blunderbulb in E2. He also maintains the points lead.

Bostick beat Eddie Krawiec in the semi when Eddie’s Harley also bogged to a 1.274 60 foot time.

This is what .019 at the tree and .040 to the 60 foot looks like at about 200 feet out—Sampey in front of Andrew Hines.
Matt Smith squandered his #1 qualifier (by a full hun at 6.807 at 199.23) when he lost to teammate Scotty Pollacheck with a .143 light. “It was my fault,” Matt told me. “I surged and then released the clutch.”

Hector Arana Jr redlit against Eddie Krawiec in E2
“Johnny Balls” Hall qualified well on his White Alligator Racing Suzuki, but lost in E1 to Hector Arana Jr. Hall reported that the motor felt soft on the back half.

WAR boss Jerry Savoie also lost in E1 despite Jerry’s .002 light against Scotty Pollacheck
Angie Smith hangs her head in disgust after her EBR bogged so badly at launch that she pulled in the clutch.

According to Chris Clontz, he struggled to adapt wife Kelly’s bike to Indy’s NHRA prep after testing on Maryland’s radial prep. The Suzuki came back on a flatbed with a broken tranny after Q2.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE

ROUND ONE — Hector Arana Jr, 6.897, 196.39 def. John Hall, Suzuki, 6.911, 194.80; Scotty Pollacheck, 6.861, 198.29 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.920, 194.46; Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 7.040, 191.40 def. Angie Smith, Broke; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.902, 196.85 def. Marc Ingwersen, Foul – Red Light; Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.934, 194.69 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, Broke – No Show; Ryan Oehler, 6.943, 196.59 def. David Barron, 7.103, 188.07; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.828, 198.03 def. Tiffany Butler, 7.439, 180.52; Matt Smith, 7.006, 195.73 def. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.309, 188.46;

QUARTERFINALS — Bostick, 7.009, 190.22 def. Oehler, 6.930, 195.96; Sampey, 6.908, 195.00 def. Hines, 6.995, 194.69; Pollacheck, 6.965, 194.63 def. M. Smith, 6.968, 195.79; Krawiec, 6.878, 198.12 def. Arana Jr, Foul – Red Light;

SEMIFINALS — Sampey, 6.879, 196.07 def. Pollacheck, 6.932, 196.16; Bostick, 6.977, 190.14 def. Krawiec, 7.181, 197.16;

FINAL — Sampey, 6.880, 196.07 def. Bostick, 6.950, 191.78.

Pro Stock Motorcycle points

  1. Ryan Oehler, 172; 2.  Angelle Sampey, 168; 3.  Matt Smith, 165; 4.  Eddie Krawiec, 144; 5. Andrew Hines, 132; 6.  Scotty Pollacheck, 128; 7.  Hector Arana Jr, 125; 8.  Chris Bostick, 123; 9. Angie Smith, 88; 10.  John Hall, 65.

TOP FUEL HARLEY

“Fastcoonass” Randal Andras

“Fastcoonass” Randal Andras has taken Indy to heart since winning Top Fuel Harley at last years’ US Nationals. The humorous Louisiana racer is in the rain-delayed (until this year’s US Nationals) Indy 2 final against teammate Jay Turner, and beat champion Tii Tharpe this past weekend in a rematch of his US Nats win. This time around, though, Tharpe lit the redeye.

Tharpe with the final round redlight launch

The very man himself, Randal Andras
Jay Turner

Turner was unable to even qualify at this event after destroying a motor in the morning warm-up. According to tuner Rex Harris, a nitro-inappropriate setting on the bike’s ECU did the damage. To paraphrase, the ECU will shut itself off when it gets lost on tracking it’s sensors, then restart when it figures out where it’s at. That’s good for gas but very, very bad for nitro. “I’ve never seen a rod destroyed so bad,” said Harris. “It was just splintered. There was a chunk this size (using his hand to show a size about a tangerine) of piston in the crankcase.”

Samson Exhaust’s Mike and Kim Baverstock were hoping to pre-game Mike’s 50th birthday with a Tii Tharpe win.
Ryan Peery on another strong A-B pass while Mitch Brown blows Red Rhea’s tire off in the other lane

Peery waiting to make a lap
Tyler Wilson

Rickey “Sharky” House with the gangsta lean
Tracy Kile and the Bad Apple team (including Jack Romine and Mary Dangrow) took over Jim Fagan’s candy apple red bike (formerly a Chicago Joe/Beau Layne piece) for the weekend.

Had a good time talking cameras and art with Red Rhea.
Andras has his eyes set on two more Indy wins Labor Day Weekend

PRO MODIFIED

Jonathan Gray

Jonathan Gray raced to his first career E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series victory since 2017, slipping past Bo Butner in an all-Rickie Smith nitrous Camaro final. Gray went 5.5850-seconds at 249.49 mph to knock off Butner, who went 5.899 at 248.48.

It gave Gray his second career win in the class in a matchup that featured two standouts driving for the injured Smith, a multi-time champ in the class.

Prior to last month’s NHRA Pro Mod season-opener, Gray had not raced in the class for nearly three years. But he impressed on Sunday in Indy, reaching the final round with victories against Jeffrey Barker, No. 1 qualifier Khalid Albalooshi and former world champ Mike Janis.

“I’ve got the best in the business out here and I couldn’t be happier driving for Rickie Smith,” Gray said. “He’s been a mentor to me and we won in Indy, so it’s a big step in the right direction. I’m just thrilled to death and really, really happy.”

Butner, who made his NHRA Pro Mod debut last month in Indy, also reached his first career final round in the nitrous Camaro usually driven by Smith. He knocked off Brandon Pesz, Clint Satterfield and Kris Thorne to set up the matchup with Gray.

The Pro Mod race, which was presented by Jerry Bickel Race Cars, was the second of the 2020 season in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service.

ROUND ONE — Khalid alBalooshi, Chevy Camaro, 5.785, 251.72 def. Chip King, Dodge Charger, 11.583, 82.33; Steve Jackson, Camaro, 5.841, 245.81 def. Mike Castellana, Camaro, 8.927, 101.91; Clint Satterfield, Camaro, 5.807, 244.65 def. Jason Scruggs, Camaro, 6.455, 174.89; Mike Janis, Camaro, 5.949, 221.60 def. Jeff Jones, Chevy Corvette, Broke; Jim Whiteley, 5.885, 241.45 def. Chad Green, Corvette, 7.147, 138.61; Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 5.819, 249.86 def. Jeffery Barker, Camaro, 5.811,

249.26; Kris Thorne, Camaro, 5.830, 255.19 def. Steve Matusek, Ford Mustang, 5.869, 252.24; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.760, 157.96 def. Brandon Pesz, Camaro, Broke

QUARTERFINALS — Gray, 5.834, 249.35 def. alBalooshi, 5.795, 250.60; Butner, 5.848, 248.43 def. Satterfield, 5.974, 202.39; Janis, 5.979, 240.29 def. Whiteley, 9.377, 95.00; Thorne, 5.806, 255.15 def. Jackson, 5.854, 243.77;

SEMIFINALS — Gray, 6.715, 159.48 def. Janis, 15.897, 52.23; Butner, 5.846, 249.07 def. Thorne, 6.888, 160.69;

FINAL — Gray, 5.850, 249.49 def. Butner, 5.899, 248.48.

Pro Modified points

  1. Kris Thorne, 145; 2.  Jonathan Gray, 144; 3.  Jason Scruggs, 130; 4.  Chad Green, 129; 5. Clint Satterfield, 127; 6.  Bo Butner, 124; 7.  Mike Janis, 103; 8.  Khalid alBalooshi, 96; 9. Steve Jackson, 88; 10.  Jeff Jones, 84.

FUNNY CAR

Ron Capps

Ron Capps picked up his first career win at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, racing to the Funny Car victory on Sunday at the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil and also giving the longtime standout a win at every track on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series circuit.

It may be hard to believe, but Capps, the second-winningest Funny Car driver of all time with 64 national event victories (65 overall, including one in Top Fuel), had never managed to conquer the famed Indianapolis dragstrip prior to Sunday’s triumph. He came close, racing to a runner-up finish versus JR Todd in 2017, but was unable to seal the deal until Sunday afternoon when he defeated Todd in a rematch of the 2017 final round in front of a live FOX TV audience.

Capps won for the first time in 2020 with a final-round run of 4.110-seconds at 294.63 mph in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to beat Todd in a battle of former world champs. It also gives Don Schumacher Racing its seventh straight Funny Car win and the organization its 349th overall.

Capps beat Tim Wilkerson, Blake Alexander and Bob Tasca III to reach his first final round of the year.

“We’ve been coming here 23 years and I’ve never won at this track,” Capps said. “For a driver to say he has won on every track on the (NHRA) circuit, that tells you the talent that is around Don Schumacher, Dodge, Pennzoil, (and) especially NAPA Auto Parts. That’s a huge accomplishment. I’m so proud to drive that racecar.

“This trophy is going to my wife, Shelley, who has been coming to this racetrack with me for 26 years and has ridden that emotional roller coaster with me, getting close and not winning,” said Capps of his long and hard-fought journey to finally win an Indy Wally trophy after more than two decades of trying. “On top of it, her birthday is always at the Indy (U.S. Nationals) race and all those years she’s rode along with me and seen the emotional wreck I’ve been not winning and knowing how much it means to me. I just called home and she was crying. It just means so much to us.”

The 2016 Funny Car world champion began his campaign for the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil trophy by qualifying his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat third, his best starting position to-date in 2020. He started his race day by defeating fellow Funny Car veteran Tim Wilkerson in round one to set up a quarterfinal match-up with Blake Alexander. Capps’ quick reflexes earned him the holeshot advantage over Alexander and his stout 3.990-second pass ensured he led from start-to-finish over Alexander’s 4.036-second effort. In the semifinals, Capps once again used his quick reaction time coupled with a solid E.T. of 4.065 to set off the win light and earn him a bid to the final round, his first of the season and first since racing to victory in Brainerd, Minn. in 2019.

In the final round, Todd, drove into immediate tire smoke in the opposite lane while Capps clocked a winning 4.110 E.T. to earn his 65th overall victory, and first of the season.

Capps will be the first to admit, his 2020 campaign got off to a rocky start. After a string of recent missteps including a pair of first-round losses, and a bottom-seeded qualifying effort at the first race back after a four-month break, Sunday’s win was just the shot in the arm Capps, a Top 10 points finisher for the past 15 years, needed.

“The last two weeks were hard with these two races here,” explained the Carlsbad, Calif. resident. “After the (four-month) break, we came back and knew that we were on limited time to make a run in the points. We came back from the hiatus, and I didn’t get a whole lot of laps in the car. We didn’t get to do a whole lot of testing like some other teams did. The one saving grace is that I’ve got a great team and (crew chief Rahn) Tobler gives me a great car so that helped. I just haven’t had a whole lot of confidence mainly because we haven’t had a whole lot of runs. We’ve been knocked out first round so this helped me a bunch. This was a feel-good weekend on many different fronts; my confidence is back and Tobler found his racecar.”

ROUND ONE — Cruz Pedregon, Dodge Charger, 3.992, 317.49 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 6.087, 111.02; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.993, 296.50 def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.293, 219.01; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.955, 322.81 def. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 4.363, 209.92; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.056, 274.61 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.413, 203.25; J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.962, 322.65 def. Mike McIntire, Camry, 4.608, 187.83; Blake Alexander, Mustang, 4.039, 317.19 def. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.194, 277.89; Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.969, 321.35 def. Bob Bode, Mustang, 4.299, 234.00; Paul Lee, Charger, 4.015, 319.98 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 4.224, 271.41;

QUARTERFINALS — Capps, 3.990, 320.51 def. Alexander, 4.036, 318.99; Lee, 4.140, 270.70 def. Johnson Jr., 4.689, 178.50; Todd, 3.991, 321.19 def. Pedregon, 4.079, 315.27; Tasca III, 4.034, 311.70 def. Hagan, 4.881, 195.17;

SEMIFINALS — Todd, 4.329, 216.06 def. Lee, 10.253, 76.49; Capps, 4.065, 316.30 def. Tasca III, 9.713, 77.18;

FINAL — Capps, 4.110, 294.63 def. Todd, 10.318, 80.06.

Funny Car points

  1. Tommy Johnson Jr., 416; 2.  Jack Beckman, 403; 3.  Matt Hagan, 388; 4.  Ron Capps, 314; 5.  Bob Tasca III, 298; 6.  J.R. Todd, 292; 7.  Tim Wilkerson, 270; 8.  Alexis DeJoria, 217; 9.  (tie) Paul Lee, 193; 10.  Cruz Pedregon, 202.

TOP FUEL

This is what a .180 starting line advantage looks like for Steve Torrence

Defending and back-to-back Top Fuel world champ Steve Torrence picked up his second win of the year and 38th overall in unconventional fashion on Sunday, outlasting Terry McMillen in the finals with a run of 4.273 at 224.17 in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster. Torrence smoked the tires and pedaled the car late in the run, but held off hard-charging McMillen, who was late on the starting line. It gave Torrence his first victory since the NHRA restart last month, advancing to the final round after victories against Luigi Novelli, Justin Ashley and Leah Pruett.

“I’m not the best at pedaling one of these things, but I try to do my job,” Torrence said. “We go out there and we knocked the tire off, and it kind of surprised me, but I did the best I could do. All the guys at Capco, thank you for supporting us and I got my head out of my butt. We’re headed home with another Wally and it’s a blessing to be able to come back out here and get to enjoy what we enjoy doing. We just love to race.”

McMillen started a race with a brand new perspective. For the first time in the veteran driver’s career, McMillen was the No. 1 qualifier in his Rob Wendland-tuned dragster.

“Honestly, I tried to block the fact I was the No. 1 qualifier out of my head. I didn’t want that on my mind and because you start thinking about that and you get yourself in trouble,” said McMillen. “I just ran it like a normal race day. I didn’t care who was in the other lane. We just looked at every situation and ran our race. Whether we won or lost we were going to run on our terms. The No. 1 spot other than the prestige and finally checking that off our bucket list there was no distraction on race day.”

McMillen’s first round opponent was Lex Joon, who continues to build a competitive Top Fuel team. McMillen stepped up and made another strong pass (3.799 seconds) to get the win.

The win moved McMillen into the second round against fellow championship contender Billy Torrence. In the quarterfinal match-up McMillen took a single for the win after Torrence’s car wouldn’t reverse after his burnout and was shut off by the NHRA starter.

In the semifinals, McMillen took out Mello Yello point leader Doug Kalitta in one of the closest races of the day. McMillen got the jump off the starting line and never trailed in the race. Both dragsters began hazing the tires but McMillen was able to hold on and get the win, advancing to his first final round since the Dallas FallNationals in 2018.

The final round, McMillen lost concentration for a millisecond and it was a costly mistake. “I just flat lost concentration on the starting line and it cost us,” said McMillen. “This race car is just stout. Ever since we brought it out it has been good. We have been taking it to the shop and reworking a couple things on it and make it better. Every time it goes down the track we learn something new. You can’t complain it is a great car. The driver just cost us.

“You have to take away that we have a great race car. We have a good team behind that car led by (crew chief) Rob Wendland. That final round I was the weak link. The round before that I was the one that saved it. It is a give and take team effort. Ultimately the biggest positive out of today is we have a wicked good car and the driver just screwed up in the final round in the place you should never screw up. There is no one to blame but me.”

“We are immensely motivated. We had a good car two weeks ago and lost in the semifinals because we put a different blower on it.  It was down on blower boost. You look at our team and we are just going rounds and it was the quickest car two weeks ago. It was the number one qualifier at Indy3. That is a statement. On race day it wasn’t necessarily the quickest car but it was probably the most consistent car,” added McMillen.

ROUND ONE — Pat Dakin, 3.837, 320.74 def. Doug Foley, 3.893, 270.27; Doug Kalitta, 3.767, 325.85 def. Cory McClenathan, 5.473, 108.18; Terry McMillen, 3.799, 307.44 def. Lex Joon, 4.586, 181.86; Clay Millican, 3.823, 323.43 def. Joe Morrison, 4.083, 284.56; Leah Pruett, 3.749, 325.53 def. Shawn Langdon, 3.839, 304.19; Steve Torrence, 4.222, 196.67 def. Luigi Novelli, Broke; Justin Ashley, 3.799, 318.24 def. Antron Brown, 3.800, 324.59; Billy Torrence, 3.801, 324.12 def. Terry Totten, Foul – Red Light;

QUARTERFINALS — McMillen, 3.886, 308.43 def. B. Torrence, Broke; S. Torrence, 3.814, 323.89 def. Ashley, 5.263, 121.44; Kalitta, 3.775, 312.28 def. Millican, 4.008, 253.85; Pruett, 3.829, 313.07 def. Dakin, 3.905, 312.71;

SEMIFINALS — S. Torrence, 3.819, 320.51 def. Pruett, 3.861, 316.60; McMillen, 4.043, 283.85 def. Kalitta, 4.059, 260.41;

FINAL — S. Torrence, 4.273, 224.17 def. McMillen, 4.153, 240.59.

Top Fuel points

  1. Doug Kalitta, 436; 2.  Steve Torrence, 353; 3.  Leah Pruett, 347; 4.  Billy Torrence, 290; 5. Justin Ashley, 278; 6.  Terry McMillen, 273; 7.  Antron Brown, 263; 8.  Clay Millican, 240; 9. Shawn Langdon, 214; 10.  Brittany Force, 153.

PRO STOCK CAR

The all-Coughlin Pro Stock Car final

In Pro Stock Car, it was an all-Coughlin final round, as five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. drove past nephew and first-time Pro Stock finalist Troy Coughlin Jr. in the championship round with a 6.680 at 206.92 in his JEGS Chevrolet Camaro. It gave the points leader his second win of the year and 65th in his career.

“This is huge, without question,” said Jeg Jr, who claims he is retiring from full-time action following the season. “I’ve loved having Troy Jr. coming with us week in, week out and I knew I would have my hands full with him in the finals. We’ve been pretty good and what a weekend. We’re going to celebrate and we’re looking forward to getting to the next race.”

Making just his second career NHRA Pro Stock start, Troy beat fellow class rookie Kyle Koretsky, teammate and defending world champ Erica Enders, and Anderson’s teammate Jason Line, who won the previous race.

Entering the race just eight points ahead of Line, Jeg Jr. now has a 44-point edge against his chief challenger. Jeg Jr. also stretched his advantage over teammate and reigning Pro Stock champion Enders from 15 to 77 points.

“Had a helluva day with a really special ending; I couldn’t be happier,” Jeg Jr. said. “We were third-best through qualifying with Rickie (Jones, crew chief) trying a few little things Saturday, but went back to our tried-and-true set-up today and got the job done, despite not having the best car on the property today. We just worked at it and kept our heads down and here we are now with another trophy.

“That final with T.J. was quite a treat. The two of us have spent countless hours bench-racing through the years and we’ve had some moments where we’ve actually raced at the sportsman level, but this one was the biggest so far. I looked out the window and thought, I’d better be ready because he had the better car in the semifinals and he had lane choice.

“There was a part of me pulling for him to win. It was an echo of the start of my Pro Stock career when I won in just my second start and I can tell you I get more excited watching him win rounds than I do for myself. But in the end, we had to stay focused and do what we needed to do to stay in the points lead. We just don’t know what the future holds.”

In the four NHRA Pro Stock races that have taken place this year, Jeg Jr. has two wins and a runner-up result. He also won $75k at the 75K Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals, a non-sanctioned event held in early March.

Jeg Jr.’s race day started with a pedestrian victory against Val Smeland, with his Camaro carrying him to a 6.618 at 206.39 mph ahead of Smeland’s 6.662 at 206.35 mph. He then survived a much closer contest against Elite Motorsports teammate Alex Laughlin, whom he beat with a 6.649 at 206.13 mph to Laughlin’s 6.665 at 206.16 mph.

On the other side of the ladder, Troy Jr. opened with a win against Kyle Koretsky by posting a 6.637 at 205.69 mph in his Ford Mustang to Koretsky’s 6.645 at 206.67 mph. The race wasn’t as close at the ETs suggest with Troy Jr. earning a huge .033-second advantage at the starting line. He then dismissed Enders, who fouled out with a -.004 red-light start.

“We had a better car than we showed is qualifying,” said Troy Jr., referring to his 13th-place starting slot. “We left some on the track in Q2 with a little tire shake but my crew chiefs Rick Jones and Mark Ingersoll went to work and got the car to respond. Plus, Robert Freeman came over and helped on clutch. He’s one of the best in the sport.

“Everyone on this team did their best all day and we just lost the tires in the final. It was hot and we knew we needed to give it everything to try and beat Uncle Jeg so we were pushing hard. We still gained a ton of data.”

The real turning point of the day came in the semifinals when Jeg Jr. and Troy Jr. beat Elite Motorsport’s biggest rivals, Greg Anderson and Line, respectively, when both of the KB Racing drivers failed to complete their runs under power.

“It was just an unfortunate ending to what was a very promising day,” said Line. “You don’t expect to have days like today, but sometimes, it happens. When it does, you just have to put it behind you as soon as you can. It wasn’t all bad—we got both of the Summit Racing Chevy Camaros to the semifinals. The good news is that it really makes you look forward to the next race and getting another chance to win the trophy for Ken Black and Summit Racing.”

“Well, I seemed to have broken the transmission on the burnout,” said Anderson. “Rookie mistake. Somehow I got it in the wrong gear at the wrong time and ripped the teeth right out of fourth gear. I knew my only chance was if Jeg red-lighted or didn’t make it down the racetrack. But obviously he made it down and got to fourth gear and there was nobody home.  I knew it coming in and it’s a heartbreaker. Unfortunately, that would have been a good race and looks like it would have been very close at the finish line. Rookie mistake, 59-year old rookie mistake.”

That setup the all-Coughlin, all-JEGS, all-Elite Motorsports finale, which Jeg Jr. won with a 6.680 at 206.92 mph. In the next lane, Troy Jr. rattled the tires at the start of the race and was forced to shut off his engine.

“Today hasn’t really settled in yet,” Troy Jr. said. “It continues to be an honor and a privilege to race in this class with the Elite team and for us to get to the final in just my second race speaks volumes about the talent (team owner) Richard Freeman has assembled here.

“It was pretty surreal racing Uncle Jeg in the final. He’s a six-time world champion who I consider the best to ever race Pro Stock and I just wanted to give him our best. “When we got to the staging lanes I wished him good luck and he told me we needed to go up there and put on the best show possible for the fans. We both love the sport so much and he’s always told me to make sure you have some fun. We did today, for sure.”

In the past, Jeg Jr. twice beat his brother Troy Coughlin Sr. in the two Pro Stock finals in which they faced one another. Troy Sr. is Troy Jr.’s father.

ROUND ONE — Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.657, 207.08 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.634, 206.45 def. Bruno Massel, Camaro, 6.641, 207.05; Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.640, 206.95 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.617, 208.39 def. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.643, 206.86; Troy Coughlin Jr., Ford Mustang, 6.637, 205.69 def. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.645, 206.67; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.618, 206.39 def. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.662, 206.35; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.607, 208.33 def. Robert River, Chevy Cobalt, 6.907, 200.20; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.627, 207.11 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.647, 207.30;

QUARTERFINALS — Anderson, 6.649, 207.66 def. Hartford, 6.691, 207.34; Coughlin, 6.649, 206.13 def. Laughlin, 6.665, 206.16; Coughlin Jr., 6.653, 205.82 def. Enders, Foul – Red Light; Line, 6.632, 208.01 def. C. McGaha, 6.654, 207.66;

SEMIFINALS — Coughlin, 6.739, 205.72 def. Anderson, 8.494, 113.86; Coughlin Jr., 6.670, 205.60 def. Line, 19.242, 40.83;

FINAL — Coughlin, 6.680, 206.92 def. Coughlin Jr., 18.623, 43.91.

Pro Stock Car points

  1. Jeg Coughlin, 414; 2.  Jason Line, 370; 3.  Erica Enders, 337; 4.  Greg Anderson, 225; 5.  Alex Laughlin, 211; 6.  Chris McGaha, 210; 7.  Kenny Delco, 196; 8.  Bo Butner, 195; 9.  Matt Hartford, 194; 10.  Aaron Stanfield, 157.
John Hall and I stopped off at a Kroger on the way to Lucas Oil Raceway today. As we’re checking out, a lady walks up to us and says “Are you guys going to IRP?”
We say “Yes” and she says “Do you know…”
And my mind starts running through all the names of drag racing’s biggest celebrities that she’s getting ready at ask about, and she continues “…Dwayne Lang?”
Oh Snap! She dropped the biggest celebrity of all!
“Tell him Pammie said ‘Hi'”

story by Tim Hailey with a lotta help from NHRA and team reports, photos by Hailey

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