Alex Laughlin returning to Pro Stock in Houston, remains in Top Alcohol Dragster
HOUSTON – Native Texan Alex Laughlin is using the first race of the year in his home state make a triumphant return to the Pro Stock ranks in his Gas Monkey Energy Drink Chevrolet Camaro. Laughlin also will be racing the Gas Monkey Energy Drink Top Alcohol Dragster this weekend at the 30th annual NHRA Spring Nationals, giving him two big chances to score in front of all of his friends and family.
“I had the chance to run both cars last fall in Dallas and Las Vegas and it’s a bunch of work but also a lot of fun,” Laughlin said. “I mean, you don’t even wear the same kind of firesuit so it seems like half the time I’m finding a place to get changed, but the days fly by so fast.
“I definitely think the extra seat time and all the additional hits you get at the (Christmas) tree in real race conditions helps. The cars are very different but getting a good reaction time is the same no matter what you’re driving.”
After a breakout year in 2016 where he scored his first victory in the premier factory hot rod class in St. Louis and finished just a few points out of the playoff race, Laughlin has kept his Pro Stocker in the Gas Monkey garage until now as he and his father Kenny search for the necessary funding to make a concerted run at the championship.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff working and our calendar is growing, for sure,” said Laughlin, who receives additional support from Advance Auto Parts and Havoline. “One of the big reasons we’re so excited is our new deal with Elite Performance. The horsepower they make and the championship drive of the entire Elite Motorsports group is just incredible.
“I’m excited to be teammates with Erica Enders, Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Vincent Nobile. Those are three drivers I really admire. Elite doesn’t play favorites. They give all of us the best engines they can make and turn us loose to drag race. That’s how it should be. We already tested with them and the car was a beast.”
Although he hasn’t raced yet in Pro Stock, Laughlin has been busy on the drag strip, entering national and regional events in Anthony Deciro’s championship-contending Top Alcohol Dragster.
“We’ve been working hard and racing when we can,” Laughlin said. “This is our passion and we have a lot in front of us. We may have missed a few races but I think with Elite behind us we can make up ground in a hurry.”
Houston area fans can support Laughlin by picking up a Gas Monkey Energy Drink T-shirt at participating Advance Auto Parts stores. Laughlin promises a tour of his pit to anyone wearing the T-shirt at the races.
Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., Friday, and 1:30 and 4 p.m., Saturday, with eliminations starting at noon, Sunday. Television coverage on FOX Sports 1 begins with a live qualifying show at 7:30 p.m., Friday, followed by elimination action at 4:30 p.m., Sunday.
Top Alcohol will hold three qualifying rounds at noon and 3 p.m., Friday, and 12:15 p.m., Saturday before beginning eliminations at 6 p.m., Saturday. If he advances, Laughlin will continue eliminations at 12:30 p.m., Sunday. (All times listed in CDT).