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Aaron Stanfield: "I set my goals high, so you never know, we could win three championships"

Aaron Stanfield will drive in Pro Stock, Factory Stock and Top Dragster in 2020 as he prepares for breakout season
27 Nov 2019
Jacob Sundstrom, NHRA National Dragster Associate Editor
Feature
Aaron Stanfield

Aaron Stanfield will compete for three championships in 2020, including Pro Stock for the first time in an already impressive career. Stanfield owns five Wallys in two categories (Super Stock and Top Dragster) and licenses in six (including Factory Stock, Super Comp and Stock).

He will park his trusty Super Stock Camaro this season while chasing titles in Pro Stock, SAMTech.edu Factory Stock Showdown and RacingRVs.com Top Dragster. He restarted his journey in Pro Stock with Elite Motorsports at the beginning of the 2019 NHRA Countdown to the Championship and will continue down that path in 2020, the realization of a lifelong dream.

“This is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid and my dad (Greg Stanfield) was racing a Pro Stock car,” said Stanfield. “It’ something I would go to sleep as a kid and dream about. He’s very excited, too, and he’s always been there for me to help me accomplish whatever I choose I want to go after and that’s something great about my dad, you know? He never pushes anything upon me. He’ll let me make my own decisions.”

Deciding to race Pro Stock fulltime was an easy one for the Stanfields. Their engine-building business keeps them busy when they are not at the race track, and that will continue during the offseason. The half-dozen people who work at the shop primarily build engines for COPO Camaros and vehicles in the Factory Stock Showdown series; that’s something Stanfield raced in for the first time in 2016.

He’ll be back in the Janac Brother’s Camaro in 2019. Technically, he’ll be in two of them, since both his Elite Motorsports Pro Stock machine will be a Camaro as well. Janac Brother’s takes the main billing on both machines, while you can find JC3 Energy on the hood of his Pro Stock car. Stanfield becomes the latest Pro Stock driver to dive into multiple categories, though he already had plenty of experience in both; he’s joining racers like Drew Skillman and Bo Butner on the Factory Stock side of the aisle.

The Pro Stock Camaro will get the lion’s share of his attention in 2020, which brings us to the parking of his Super Stock machine. Stanfield struggled to adapt to the unique staging and leaving procedures of Pro Stock in the small sample size given to him late in 2019, averaging a .054-second reaction time while jumping back and forth between Camaros.

“When you’re bottom bulb racing in Super Stock, it takes a lot of patience and when you're Pro Stock racing, it's very intense and you've got to be very quick,” said Stanfield. “And the starting line is something that I've struggled with. You've got to be quick on the Pro Stock car and in the Super Stock car like I said, you've got to be more relaxed. It's shown a couple of times, I've made a few errors myself.

“I'm still finding my groove, and I haven't found it -- not even a little bit. I'm very competitive. So, if I'm going out and cutting 40s and 50s on the tree, etc. It's very frustrating and I work very hard to make sure that I'm going to get better. So, you know what, whether that's getting more comfortable in the car making laps or getting more focused as far as practicing goes… or in the Super Stock car, I've made a lot of runs and it took me a while to get where I am.”

Stanfield has made just 59 runs in a Pro Stock car and 26 of them came before the Electronic Fuel Injection-era. He’s made hundreds of runs in his Super Stock car, and that’s not including the many he made on the divisional circuit, and they certainly all count towards the experience required to make a driver competitive at the top levels of the sport.

"Every year the goal is to try to win a championship," said Stanfield. "I set my goals very high -- so you never know; we could win three championships."

He called the Pro Stock Camaro he will wheel towards a world title the hardest thing he’s ever driven. He also noted he has three of the best in the business to lean on for advice: His dad, Erica Enders, and Jeg Coughlin Jr. Perhaps more important than anything else is seat time; and Stanfield is set to get a whole lot of that, beginning with the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals.