With only four races left in the Flexjet NHRA Factory Stock Showdown 2023 season, competition amongst Chevrolet COPO Camaros, Ford Cobra Jet Mustangs, and Dodge Challenger Drag Paks is at an all-time high heading into this weekend’s Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
Coming off a monumental win at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park over Labor Day weekend, Jesse Alexandra and his Barton Engines COPO Camaro are more motivated than ever to close the 172-point gap between himself and leader Aaron Stanfield.
“I am still walking on a cloud for sure after that U.S. Nationals win,” said Alexandra. “Surrounding myself with good people has really made this all happen. I am only the guy pushing on the go pedal, but I’m very lucky to have great people around me.
“We have been moving up the last few races, for sure. There is a massive amount of talent in this class that can make a move forward at any time. We just have to keep working hard and do our best. Hopefully, we get a little luck, too.”
Alexandra will also enter the weekend with a target on his back thanks to his most recent victory. With the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown Bounty Program, whoever defeats Alexandra in eliminations will earn a $1,000 bonus that can carry over from race to race and increases by $1,000 as it does. Alexandra is the most recent winner of the bounty after he defeated Stephen Bell in the finals. Bell was the Norwalk event winner.
Hoping for some hometown luck to repeat as event champion is reigning world champion David Barton and his Retail Fixture/Sawmill Auto COPO. Barton is currently sitting No. 10 in the points standings, 272 behind Stanfield, and looking for a late season surge to keep his chances of repeating his world title.
“This season we have been working on a number of things, and I feel like we are making progress,” said Barton, a Robesonia, Pa. native. “I have been coming to Maple Grove Raceway since I was a little kid. Last year, it was cool to have all our friends and family here as well as the employees from the shop when we won and basically clinched the championship. The competition is so fierce in this class. This year, everyone has stepped up, and we have four races to make a move.”
Points leader Aaron Stanfield is followed by Norwalk event winner Stephen Bell as the tour heads to Maple Grove Raceway. Stanfield has been holding off a handful of drivers for the points lead, including Alexandra and Barton, with two runner-up finishes to start the season and a win at the Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals. Bell will be looking for his second Wally this weekend.
Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown action at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway begins with qualifying Friday at 1:15 and 4:45 p.m. Eliminations will begin Saturday at 5:30 p.m. following a third round of qualifying at 11:45 a.m. Sunday will feature the final three rounds with the quarterfinals at 12:10 p.m., semifinals at 1:30 and finals at approximately 2:35 p.m.