Parity the theme in tough NHRA Pro Stock wars as teams prepare for event at Route 66 Raceway. JOLIET, Ill. - In the first nine races of the season, there have been nine different Pro Stock drivers who walked away with the event trophy. Now...
Parity the theme in tough NHRA Pro Stock wars as teams prepare for event at Route 66 Raceway.
JOLIET, Ill. - In the first nine races of the season, there have been nine different Pro Stock drivers who walked away with the event trophy.
Now that is a competitive category.
Troy Coughlin drives one of two entries from the Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier camp. He is the most recent Pro Stock driver to join the winner's circle party, scoring an emotional victory Sunday at Heartland Park Topeka.
"I think that it is great to have such parity in Pro Stock," Coughlin said. "The fans know that anyone who qualifies in the quick 16 can be a winner on race day. That is what makes Pro Stock so cutthroat. There is absolutely no room for error. If you make one mistake, you're done."
The category looks to remain just as tough and perhaps produce the 10th different Pro Stock winner at the fifth annual Chicagoland Dodge Dealers NHRA Nationals, May 30-June 2, at Route 66 Raceway. Kenny Bernstein, Del Worsham, Mike Edwards and Antron Brown are the defending winners of the $1.9 million race. It is the 10th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
This is the first time in NHRA history that there has not been a repeat winner in the door slammer category for such a long stretch. The previous record for different drivers winning each race was set in 1990 when five drivers (Jerry Eckman, Bob Glidden, Warren Johnson, Kenny Delco and Larry Morgan) started the season with one victory each. Since then, there has been a repeat winner within the first four events of the season.
To add confusion to the points race, Jim Yates leads the points chase, but has yet to win a race. He is, however, one of the more consistent drivers in the circuit. Yates is one of only three drivers to qualify in each of the first nine events of the season.
There has typically been at least 35-40 cars trying to grab one of the 16 spots for the money race on Sundays. Johnson, the 2001 Pro Stock champion, has also qualified for nine races. Defending the title this season may be a little tougher than years past.
"The only time you need the points lead is after the last race of the season," Johnson said. "We're just going to keep working on what we do best and hopefully it will turn out in our favor. I think we have turned the corner a little bit on consistency more than anything else. We are not necessarily the fastest car out there. But round-for-round, we're hanging right in there and that's what it takes."
Besides Yates and Johnson, Ron Krisher is the only other driver to compete in every national event this season. The 2000 Pro Stock champion, Jeg Coughlin, has yet to make an appearance in winner's circle. In the first race of the season, Coughlin did not even qualify. But by the third race of the season, he was in the finals. He lost to Darrell Alderman at Gainesville to earn a runner-up spot. He posted another runner-up effort recently at Englishtown, N.J., losing to Greg Anderson.
"Pro Stock is door handle to door handle racing each time down the track," Coughlin said. "The races are regularly won or lost by thousandths of a second. Having so many race winners in each of the events this season shows just how tight this ultra-competitive category is."