INDIANAPOLIS – Five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. returns to action at this weekend’s 61st annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals with impeccable credentials at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. He has claimed drag racing’s crown jewel four times, thrice in Pro Stock (2000, ’02, and ’09) and once in Super Gas (1992).
But for all his past glory at the sport’s oldest and longest-running meet, Coughlin says nothing matters besides the task at hand: winning this year’s race.
“The history, the success we’ve had, it’s all good,” said Coughlin, who last raced a month ago in Seattle, where he was runner-up. “But as we say, there are no provisionals in drag racing. That’s one of the things we love; you have to prove yourself each and every weekend. Having won before or being a past series champion doesn’t help you at the next race.”
INDIANAPOLIS – Richie Crampton surprised more than a few people last year when the rookie driver piloted his Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster to the Winner’s Circle at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. That won’t be the case this time through as Crampton arrives in his adopted hometown with four victories on his 2015 résumé and a lofty third-place ranking in the Mello Yello championship points.
“Chock all that mate, I still feel like we have a lot to prove,” the affable Aussie from Adelaide said. “There are just too many great drivers and strong teams in this category to have any kind of swagger. You have to prove yourself every week, and we’re going into this race with the same mindset as we did a year ago.”
Results of Saturday’s Summit Bracket Series race determine lineup
MILLINGTON, TN – The Summit Bracket Racing Series presented by COMP Cams event on Saturday, Sept. 5 at Memphis International Raceway (MIR), is the last chance for drivers to earn their way on to MIR Team 1 at next month’s IHRA Team Finals.
The top 13 drivers in Rick’s Powder Coating Super Pro and B&B Towing Footbrake along with the top four drivers in RT Turbines Junior Dragster will earn berths onto Team 1 should they choose to accept the berth.
“The Team Finals is an event our racers look forward to all year,” said MIR Director of Drag Strip Operations Paul Cartwright. “There’s some chance that those final spots could change hands, which makes Saturday’s race even more intense.”
JOHN FORCE LOOKING FOR MORE RECORDS AT CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS
INDIANAPOLIS – With four wins at the biggest race on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series John Force has his eyes set on getting that fifth win and tying legendary Funny Car driver Ed “Ace” McCulloch with the most all-time Funny Car wins at the storied Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. The winningest driver in NHRA history last won the U.S. Nationals in 2002 but last year he came up a few thousandths of a second short against Alexis DeJoria in the final round.
In a final for the ages Force was closing in quickly on DeJoria but he ran out of track. Force’s Funny Car turned-in a 4.039 second pass at 319.67 mph to DeJoria’s 4.038 at 310.34 mph. John Force has runner-upped at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals three times (1991, 1995 and 2010) prior to last year in addition to his four wins.
“I remember that final round. It was a close race and both teams were at the top of their games. I like my chances this year with a new young team. Jon Schaffer has gotten better all year and he was pretty good when he started. This is the last regular season race and we are locked into the Countdown so we can be aggressive,” said Force, who has four final round appearances in 2015.
alBalooshi eager to drive Sandvik Coromant/Red Fuel Top Fuel dragster at this weekend’s U.S. Nationals event for DSR
BROWNSBURG, IN – Khalid alBalooshi knew he wanted to return to driving a Top Fuel dragster after his Alan Johnson Racing team lost financial support right before the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series but he was beginning to believe it wouldn’t happen this year.
But when an opening developed to be the driver of Don Schumacher Racing’s Sandvik Coromant/Red Fuel Top Fuel dragster at this weekend’s prestigious 61st annual NHRA U.S. Nationals, alBalooshi was ready to take advantage of the opportunity.
“I am so excited to drive again in Top Fuel,” alBalooshi said. “Especially for DSR, one of the top teams in the NHRA. I appreciate everyone, especially Don Schumacher, for picking me out of all the drivers. I’m going to try my best for the team and everyone that supports DSR.”
Shawn Langdon enters the Chevrolet Performance NHRA U.S. Nationals in sixth place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings. He trails fifth-place Doug Kalitta by five points and leads seventh-place Brittany Force by eight points.
The U.S. Nationals will award 150 percent of the standard points allocation. At a standard national event, the race winner earns 100 points, the runner-up earns 80, semifinalists earn 60, quarterfinalists earn 40, and teams losing in the first round earn 20 points. At the U.S. Nationals, those point allocations will be 150, 120, 90, 60 and 30, respectively.
The Knuckle Sandwich Toyota team has been strong at the last two races. After starting the season in top form and then struggling, Langdon has a final round and a semifinal appearance in the last two races and has climbed from a season-low 10th place in points back up to sixth with only the U.S. Nationals remaining in the regular season.
One of the originals of Pro Mod has still got it
PITTSBORO, NC – “The first car I ever had was one just like it- a ‘71 Mustang, red and black. It looked identical, other than it wasn’t fast,” he laughed. “I always thought they made really good race cars, and judging by how good this one has done, I’d say that was right.”
Terry Leggett’s gorgeous 1971 Pro Extreme Mustang has certainly proven to be just as impressive on the track as off. Leggett went all the way to the final round of the recent PDRA Memphis Drags where he lost an extremely close, side-by-side race against points leader Jason Scruggs.
“I just like to be different,” Leggett added in his recognizable southern drawl. “I like to have something different from the rest of the crowd, and it’s definitely that. Ain’t anybody got one.