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Arby's NHRA Southern Nationals Sportsman Highlights

16 May 2019
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
News
Atlanta

Four years after winning the Lucas Oil Comp national championship, Craig Bourgeois seems to be on track to win another one after taking down his fourth win of the young season. Bourgeois won the ninth national event of his career at the Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals and he shared the winner’s circle with first-time national event champions Chip Johnson, Trene Crossnoie, and Kyle Riley, who win in Stock, Super Comp, and Top Dragster, respectively. Up-and-coming third generation racer Aaron Stanfield also scored in Super Stock while 2009 national champ Jim Perry won his sixth national event in Super Gas.

So far this season, Bourgeois has national event wins in Gainesville and Atlanta. He also swept both ends of the South Central Division Lucas Oil Series double-header at the Texas Motorplex and was a runner-up at the Division 4 event in Houston. All told, he’s 23-1 in elimination rounds this season and the only blemish on an otherwise perfect record is a final round red-light against Keith Mawhee in Houston. 

Bourgeois lost .07-second to CIC penalties during his wins against Allen Wilson, Van Puckett, and Ed Federkeil Jr., while opponent Brian Browell entered the final with a clean index. Bourgeois helped make up the difference with a solid .018 light and won with a (-.492) 6.858 to Browell’s quicker (-.512) 7.358.  [Video]

At this point, it seems almost a certainty that Aaron Stanfield will one day join his father, Greg, as an NHRA national champion and that day may come sooner than later. Stanfield’s latest victory came in Super Stock where he drove his family’s prized Camaro to a final round win over fellow Division 4 racer Brandon Bakies. Stanfield won the final by just a thousandth of a second with a 9.858 on his 9.84 dial. He also survived a tough battle in the quarterfinals where his .002 reaction time matched-up against the .003 of Larry Cummings, who ultimately slowed. Stanfield now has five national event wins to his credit, three in Super Stock and two in Top Dragster. He’s currently ranked in the top five in both classes.  [Video]

Johnson has been a successful sportsman racer for decades and his achievements include an IHRA series championship and he finally broke through for his first NHRA victory after driving to the Atlanta Stock title. Johnson won the final after his North Carolina neighbor Jeff Warren red-lighted in the all-COPO Camaro final round. Johnson’s path to the final included battles against four-time national champion Jeff Taylor, past Division 2 champ Robbie Shaw, and a semifinal race against Jim Marshall. In that bout, Johnson ran a perfect 9.680 on his 9.68 dial for the win.  [Video]

The town of Raceland, La., celebrated its second NHRA national event title in less than a month after Trene Cressonie won the Super Comp title in Atlanta. Last month, fellow Raceland resident Ross Laris, who is also one of Cressonie’s sponsors, claimed the Top Dragster win in Houston. Cressonie cruised to the title after final round opponent Shannon Brinkley red-lighted but he would have been tough regardless with a .008 light. Cressonie also got a free pass in the third round when current points leader Ray Miller III red-lighted. Brinkley was in his second final in as many weeks after a runner-up finish at the Four-Wide event in Charlotte.  [Video]

Perry, the 2009 NHRA Super Gas national champion, earned his sixth national event title by stopping Rich Price in the final round. Perry, in his S-10 pickup truck, got the best of a double-breakout against Rich Price, 9.894 to 9.893. Perry was solid throughout eliminations including a .009 light and a 9.910 in his quarterfinal win over Jeff Webb. Price was also impressive with a pair of perfect 9.900 runs in back-to-back rounds late in eliminations.   [Video]

There was a first-time winner in Top Dragster presented by Racing RVs.com after Riley stopped veteran Steve Cohen in the final round. Once again, the final was decided by a red-light with Cohen leaving too soon by four-thousandths of a second. Running in the 7.3’s, Riley had one of the slowest cars in the class, but he was also one of the most consistent with wins against Houston champ Ross Laris and Mark Jones, who were both among the quickest drivers in the class in Atlanta.   [Video]