Bourgeois takes points lead with Shreveport win SHREVEPORT, La. - Defending NHRA Division 4 Comp Eliminator Champion Craig Bourgeois took his second straight Division 4 win to jump to the top of the points standings during this past weekend's ...
Bourgeois takes points lead with Shreveport win
SHREVEPORT, La. - Defending NHRA Division 4 Comp Eliminator Champion Craig Bourgeois took his second straight Division 4 win to jump to the top of the points standings during this past weekend's Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Red River Raceway outside of Shreveport, La. The 22 Comp Eliminator racers that were on hand received $6,000 in additional payouts courtesy of the Division 4 Comp Shootout Bonus fund. Joey Tanksley, the points leader coming into the race drew the "lucky" No. 4 spot for the Roof-Tec "Luck of the Draw" bonus, but went out in round 2, pushing the bonus to $8,000 for the final race in Noble, Okla.
Former Division 4 Champ Rodger Brogdon continued to be one of the hottest cars in Comp, piloting Steve Kent's potent D/Super Mod Cavalier to the No. 1 spot with a .587 under the 9.01 second index 8.423. Bourgeois took the No. 2 spot with his always tough front-engine A/Nostalgia dragster with a 6.916 (.584 under). Division 3 invader Brian Browell occupied the third spot with a .567 under 7.253 in his V-6 powered D/Dragster.
Prior to the race, a random qualifier is drawn for the Roof-Tec Luck of the Draw bonus. If a competitor wins from that position, they win the bonus money, which was $7,000 coming into the event. $1,000 is posted each race, and if there is no winner, the money rolls over to the next event. Tanksley was the points leader coming into the event, and when he took the 'lucky' No. 4 spot with a 7.024 (.516 under) in his C/Dragster, all eyes were on him.
Heading into eliminations, five drivers had legitimate shots at the Division 4 title. Tanksley held the lead, with Bourgeois right behind. Charlie Watson, Jr., Chase Williams and Scott Benham all had shots as well.
The marquee matchup of the round was two of the Championship contenders, Watson, Jr., and Williams. This duel was over before the start, as Watson had problems firing, giving an easy win to Williams, keeping his Championship hopes alive and ending Watson's. Daniel Leibham pulled the upset of the round, taking out No. 5 qualifier and bonus fund supporter, Pete Carbery in a battle of B/Altereds. Carbery had problems early, giving Leibham the easy win. Tanksley kept his big money hopes alive with a clean win over Joe Swindoll.
Round two opened up with another monster matchup of Championship hopefuls, Benham and Tanksley with Championship hopes and bonus money on the line. The race was over at the start as Tanksley's mount had a strange 'surge' through the beams, turning on the red bulb and giving the automatic win to Benham. Williams stayed in the title fight, upsetting No. 3 qualifier Brian Browell, who redlighted. The upsets kept coming as No. 22 qualifier Dick Maris took out No. 6 qualifier Adam Hickey, who also went red. The surprises ended there as Adam White, Bourgeois and Brogdon all moved on to the quarterfinals.
The quarterfinals opened up with a battle of potent Super Mods, Benham and Brogdon. Brogdon, who started the year in Pro Stock, then returned to Comp around mid season, has been on a tear of late in the Kent Services machine. Both drivers went for the tree, with Brogdon coming off the button .002 too quick, turning on the redbulb and advancing Benham into the semifinals. Williams dispatched Maris to keep his hat in the title fight. White and Bourgeois squared off in the 'throwback' matchup of the race, with a pair of front-engine A/Nostalgia Dragsters on the line. It was an all Bourgeois affair, as he took the jump off the line and motored to the win and the points lead.
Rain added a lengthy delay after the quarterfinals, which pushed the last two rounds 'under the lights.' The round held huge championship implications as all three drivers in the semifinal round had legit shots at the Division 4 title. Benham and Williams opened the round in a battle of the Super Mods, with Benham taking the win over Williams. Bourgeois soloed to the final on a competition bye.
Just prior to 10:30 p.m., the two finalists rolled to the line. Both drivers had lights they would rather forget about, with Bourgeois taking the advantage with a .109 to Benham's .119. Benham just didn't have enough muscle to hold off Bourgeois' dragster at the stripe, giving Bourgeois the win.
Bourgeois' win caused quite a shake-up in points, as Bourgeois took a solid 42 point lead over second place Tanksley. Benham jumped from sixth to third with his third final in four races this season. Watson fell to fourth, while Williams stayed in fifth.
The Championship will certainly go down to the line for the final Division 4 event at Thunder Valley Raceway Park just outside of Oklahoma City, Okla. Tanksley must reach the final and keep Bourgeois out of the semifinals to overtake first. Benham, who has only attended four events this season can still gain full points at his next event and has a second round loss he can replace if he decides to chase the points out of division. He can overtake Bourgeois with a semifinal finish. Williams, can catch Bourgeois with wins at his final two races.
The Division 4 Comp Shootout Bonus Fund awards $6,000 per event to Competition Eliminator racers on top of the event payout.