Aaron Stanfield is just 25 years old and likely has a long career ahead of him but not matter how long he races he might never enjoy another afternoon like the one he had at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals. Stanfield not only won the race and the championship in the SAM Tech.edu Factory Stock Showdown, but for an encore, he also bagged his first Pro Stock race when he topped seven time world champion Jeg Coughlin in the final round. Stanfield wheeled his Janac Bros. Camaro to a 6.535, the quickest run of eliminations, to seal the deal after Coughlin’s JEGS.com Camaro slowed.
Stanfield is now the 28th driver to double-up at an NHRA national event, and he’s just the second to pull off the rare pro-sportsman double, following Pat Austin, who first accomplished the feat at the infamous ’92 Phoenix race.
“I can’t put this into words,” said Stanfield. “I dreamed of the day I could hold up a Pro Stock Wally since I was a little kid watching my dad race. I tried to stay as calm as I could in the race car. I knew my guys had my best interest in mind. I stayed focused and we got it done. This whole day has been so crazy accomplishing huge dreams that I never thought I could accomplish. I haven’t even processed this and that was a good thing because I felt calm throughout the entire day.”
In both qualifying and eliminations, the entire Pro Stock field was close, but Stanfield’s Janac Bros. Camaro appeared to be a tick better than most. From the No. 4 qualifying spot, Stanfield downed Kenny Delco, Troy Coughlin Jr., and fellow rookie Kyle Koretsky to make it to the final for the second time in the last four events. Stanfield got progressively quicker on race day beating Koretsky, 6.543 to 6.549, in a great side-by-side race between two of the class’ brightest young stars.
Stanfield had little time to celebrate his Pro Stock win because he still had two rounds remaining in Factory Stock competition. After downing points rival Mark Pawuk in the semi’s, Stanfield finished off his afternoon with another close 7.87 to 7.90 win over David Barton in Factory Stock. Stanfield has won the last four events in the SAM Tech.edu Factory Stock Showdown.
The battle for the Pro Stock championship took a lot of twists and turns on Sunday. Jason Line entered the event in the No. 2 spot, but suffered a round one loss that could have had devastating consequences. The damage was limited after leader Erica Enders fouled in round two against Coughlin, who kept his hopes alive with wins against Dallas champ Matt Hartford, and Greg Anderson. In that semifinal battle, Coughlin prevailed over his rival by just .002-second at the finish line.