Former Pro Stock driver Greg Stanfield got beat by first-time winner Marty Rinehart Jr. in the Bristol Super Stock final, but the sting of losing was tempered by the Father’s Day gift he got from his son, Aaron, who saved the day with a convincing win in the Top Dragster presented by Racing RVs class. The younger Stanfield, who made a name for himself in Pro Stock as a teenager and has since become a solid contender in a variety of Sportsman classes, earned his third national event title when he stopped Angie Travis in the final round.
Stanfield and Rinehart shared the Bristol winner’s circle with Jimmy Hidalgo Jr. (Stock), David Morris (Super Comp), Steve Furr (Super Gas), and Clayton Roberts (Top Sportsman presented by Racing RVs).
Much like his father, who used his calm demeanor to win four national championships in a five-year span, Aaron Stanfield apparently doesn’t rattle easily. In the final round, he cut a nearly perfect .001 reaction time and ran a 6.370 on his 6.36 dial to freeze out Travis, who was more than competitive with a .033-second package. Stanfield’s brief time in a Pro Stock car was no doubt beneficial in helping him make the transition to a low-six-second Top Dragster. In addition to his final-round win against Travis, he also ran a perfect 6.360 on his 6.36 dial in round two against Joe Fisher and used a .006 light to help defeat former Super Comp national champion Kevin Brannon in the quarterfinals. [Watch video]
As for Greg Stanfield, his run toward a possible father-son double ended in the Super Stock final, where Rinehart scored his first win with a 9.980 on his 9.96 dial. Stanfield gave up a hundredth at the start and couldn’t make up the difference with an 8.731 on his 8.71 dial. Rinehart didn’t get to the final by accident. In the semifinals, he was nearly perfect when he drove his clean ’69 Camaro to a .010-second package to stop former national champ Ricky Decker. [Watch video]
Hidalgo, affectionately known to his friends as “Cooter,” has been a frequent visitor to the winner’s circle, and lately, he has carried a single-digit number on his car, which is symbolic of a top-10 finish the previous season. Hidalgo won the Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta, turned in a quarterfinal finish at the JEGS NHRA SPORTSnationals in Bowling Green, Ky., and then returned to the winner’s circle in Bristol. In the final, he defeated John Leach, who fouled in his vintage Plymouth Road Runner. Hidalgo also scored wins against Adam Davis and newlywed Michael Brand II. [Watch video]
In Bristol, John Labbous Jr. raced in a final round for the third straight week. After a win and a runner-up finish in Super Gas, Labbous made it to the Super Comp final, where he was turned back by Morris, who left nothing on the table with a .002 light and an 8.905. Earlier in the event, Morris used a perfect 8.900 to stop Trevor Larson, and he also took out former national champ Jacob Elrod en route to the final. While Morris celebrated his first national event victory, Labbous did not leave empty-handed. Following the Bristol event, he remained the points leader in both Super Comp and Super Gas, so the possibility of him joining Scotty Richardson and Jeff Strickland as a double national champ is not out of the question. [Watch video]
For the last half-decade or so, Furr has done his share of damage in Super Gas and Top Dragster. In Bristol, Furr scored again when he drove his venerable Camaro to the Super Gas title. Racing Elrod in the final, Furr was on top of his game with a .008 light and a 9.914. Elrod was .021 off the starting line and broke out with a 9.896 in the close final. For Furr, it was his sixth overall victory and second straight at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals after last year’s win in the Top Dragster presented by Racing RVs class. [Watch video]
Roberts won his first national event title in the Top Sportsman presented by Racing RVs category in Bristol, and he did it by beating perhaps the best racer in the history of the class, 2015 national champ Jeffrey Barker. Driving his ’02 Cavalier, Roberts closed the deal with a .010 light and a 7.542 on his 7.52 dial, finishing just a thousandth of a second ahead of Barker’s Cavalier. It was Roberts’ second win of the season following his victory at the Division 2 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at GALOT Motorsports Park. [Watch video]