CHEVY RACING NHRA AT NORWALK: Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals Advance & Quotes

by Official Release On Wed, Jun. 20, 2018

CHEVROLET AT NORWALK

What: 12th Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
When: Friday, June 22-Sunday, June 24
Where: Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio
TV: FS1 taped qualifications, 1:30 p.m. ET June 23
FS1 taped eliminations and finals, 6:30 p.m. ET June 24

Chevrolet Seeks to Continue Hot Streak in Northern Ohio
Team Chevy drivers sit atop Funny Car, Pro Stock standings entering season’s midpoint

DETROIT (June 20, 2018) – Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s distinguished drag racing career is highlighted by 79 victories across seven classes, including 60 in National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Pro Stock, and six world championships.

The most recent win – June 17 at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway – over four-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson (Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS) was the second in the past three races for the driver of the JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro SS. He also scored a Super Comp victory June 10 at Richmond (Va.) in Sportsman competition.

Coughlin’s recent success follows a four-year drought encompassing 74 Pro Stock races. Coughlin acknowledged that “there were some trying times,” but he didn’t lose his resolve or competitive spirit.

“When you’ve gone as long as we had without winning, you reach a point where you take whatever you can get,” said Coughlin, who this weekend will seek to pick up his first Wally at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. “Although we had our chances here and there, we never capitalized on them.

“For five or six races now, we’ve had a great race car and we know it. When you feel that confidence in every corner of your race car you know you have an opportunity to make a real impact. It’s put everyone at Elite on a party wagon, so to speak, but I’m just going to stay focused. However, I’m certainly enjoying this feeling because you can never take it for granted.”

The Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals is the midpoint of the 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, and opportunities to accumulate points to qualify for the 10 positions in the Countdown to the Championship in each of the four professional categories are dwindling. Coughlin has vaulted from 11th in the Pro Stock standings at the outset of the current four-week stretch of racing to sixth with seven regular-season events left.

“Without question, since we’ve made some transitions within the (Elite Motorsports) team, we’ve been really fast — Erica (Enders) and I both. It feels great,” he said.

Anderson, who tied Warren Johnson for the most Pro Stock final rounds with 151, was runner-up for the second time this season. He’s the class points leader heading to the event in northern Ohio.

“The points lead is the silver lining in this deal. We’re all disappointed we haven’t won yet this year, but we’re a win waiting to happen, and I think everyone knows that,” said Anderson, who picked up his class-leading seventh No. 1 qualifier honor of the season and 100th of his career last week at Bristol. “It’s great to have a better average than everyone else and have the points lead, but we’re here to win.”

Courtney Force widened the gap as the Funny Car points leader to 201 points with a semifinal round appearance and her class-high seventh No. 1 qualifier honor in the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS. All four of Force’s victories this season have been registered following qualifying No. 1. John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight (Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS), who holds the track Funny Car speed record, is third in the standings.

Drivers of the Chevrolet COPO Camaro have won two rounds of the School of Automotive Machinists and Technology (SAM Tech) NHRA Factory Stock Showdown. The fourth event in the seven-race series is this weekend. Sixteen entries will qualify for eliminations.

In the powerful COPO Camaro will be reigning Showdown champion David Barton of Robesonia, Pennsylvania; Peter Gasko Jr. of Monroe Township, New Jersey; Stephen Bell of Shreveport, Louisiana; L. Scott Libersher of Wilmington, Illinois; Waldemar Rodriguez of Sidra, Puerto Rico; Doug Hamp of York, Pennsylvania; Daniel Stevenson of Bolingbrook, Illinois; Jesse Alexandra of West Bend, Wisconsin; Bruno Massel Jr. of Elmhurst, Illinois; David Janac of Caldwell, Texas; Aaron Stanfield of Bossier City, Louisiana; Robert Falcone of Pleasant Valley, New York; Clay Arnett of Hartsville, Indiana; Daniel Condon of Wilmington, Illinois; Arthur Kohn of Richmond, Texas; Randy Taylor of Artesia, New Mexico; and Leonard Libersher of Wilmington, Illinois.

Reigning Stock Eliminator champion Justin Lamb of Henderson, Nevada, returns to competition in his Chevrolet COPO Camaro. Also entered in their COPO Camaros in the 65-car field are 2016 class champion Jeff Strickland of Red Bay, Alabama, a semifinalist at Bristol Dragway last week; Jeff Taylor of Sellersburg, Indiana; Bob Letellier of Biddeford, Maine; Jim Boburka of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania; Philip Lankford of Langhorne, Pennsylvania; Dan Fletcher of Churchville, New York; James Reed of Lincoln, Illinois; Tim Lowe of Macy, Indiana; and Ronald Traupman Jr. of Baden, Pennsylvania.

Letellier also will drive a COPO Camaro in Super Stock this weekend. Jeffery Myers of Decatur, Indiana, is also entered in his COPO Camaro.

FS1 will telecast taped qualifications live at 1:30 p.m. ET June 23 and will telecast taped eliminations and finals at 6:30 p.m. ET June 24.

CHEVY RACING ENGINEERING OUTLOOK
ROGER ALLEN, CHEVY RACING NHRA PROGRAM MANAGER: “The Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals marks the fourth of four consecutive weekends of racing. Chevy Racing teams and drivers have displayed remarkable resolve through variable weather and track conditions in this stretch and have distinguished themselves with continued success. We’re looking forward to this event that is the halfway point of the season and the 12th of the 18 regular-season races before the Countdown to the Championship. In addition to Team Chevy entries in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock, the Chevy COPO Camaro will be well represented in the SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown, in Super Stock, and Stock Eliminator competition.”

CHEVROLET FROM THE COCKPIT

TOP FUEL
BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, ADVANCE AUTO PARTS MONSTER ENERGY CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (reigning class champion; No. 2 qualifier and winner at Houston; No. 1 qualifier at Charlotte): “I always try to stay positive and upbeat about everything. What I’ve learned, especially from last year, is to take this run and learn from it. It’ll make me a better driver. So, we’ll go on to Norwalk and hopefully improve from there.”

FUNNY CAR:
COURTNEY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (Seven-time No. 1 qualifier and winner at Phoenix, Atlanta, Topeka and Richmond; semifinalist at Bristol; class points leader): “Brian Corradi and Dan Hood tuned this car and got us some rounds (at Bristol) and helped us stay in that points lead. It was still a good day for us. We’ve learned a lot this weekend and we’re going to be ready to head to Norwalk, Ohio, and another hot track.”

ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (reigning class champion; won at Chicago and three-time runner-up; runner-up and set track Funny Car speed record in 2017; third in points): “It was a tough weekend (at Bristol). Between the heat and the bumps (in the track surface), it was a real challenge not just for the crew chiefs, but for the drivers and crew, the fans, everybody. At Norwalk, we’re going to go back to what worked for us in 2017.”

JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK COOLANT & MOTOR OIL CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (has 1,296 round wins and 148 class victories; ninth in points): “We’ve still got a lot to learn. We’re just going to go on and run in Norwalk and then test of Monday. Still trying to learn.”

PRO STOCK:
GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 1 qualifier seven times this season and scored 100th of career at Bristol; class points leader; three-time winner at track): “We’ve been building all year for this race because it’s the big one for us. We’re proud to have Summit Racing on the door, and there isn’t anything we’d love more than to put a Summit Racing Chevy Camaro in the winner’s circle this weekend. We have worked hard to have our best product so that we can do that. It would mean everything to us to hand a trophy to the folks from Summit Racing on Sunday at their home track in their 50th anniversary year. It doesn’t get much better, so that’s the goal, and we know we can achieve it. It’s just a matter of executing.”

TANNER GRAY, GRAY MOTORSPORTS, VALVOLINE GRAY MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (won at Gainesville and Richmond; runner-up at Atlanta; second in points): “We had a positive weekend at Bristol with qualifying fourth and getting to the semifinals. Of course, you always want to win but we’ll take the points and move on to Norwalk. I understand that they recently have repaved the racetrack, so we’ll take the data we got from Virginia – another smooth track – and see what we can do at Norwalk.”

VINCENT NOBILE, MOUNTAIN VIEW RACING, MOUNTAIN VIEW TIRE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (two-time winner and runner-up at Charlotte four-wide; two-time winner at track; third in points): “We just have to focus on qualifying better so you have lane choice. We changed a bunch on the car coming to Bristol because of the track so we’ll go back to what we raced and go from there. Supposedly, that track surface is going to be as smooth as Virginia because they redid it so we could basically go back to our Virginia notes and go from there.”

ERICA ENDERS, ELITE MOTORSPORTS, MELLING PERFORMANC/ELITE MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (holds track ET and speed records, set in 2014; winner at Charlotte four-wide and three-time runner-up; fourth in points): “): “I feel like we’re performing a lot better. Where we’re struggling is we’re missing the best qualifying session. We’re screwing up when it’s the best session and getting behind the eight ball, qualifying on the bottom half of the ladder. We don’t quit when the going gets tough. I’m optimistic and am looking forward to what’s to come.”

BO BUTNER, KB RACING, JIM BUTNER AUTO GROUP CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (reigning class champion; earned sixth Pro Stock win and second in a row at Auto Club Raceway in season opener; runner-up at Gainesville; won at track in 2017): “I felt very fortunate to win Norwalk last year, and it is really an honor to have Summit Racing as an associate sponsor on my car this year. They’re not just a good company – they’re a great company. They step up big for this team and for NHRA. They do a lot for the Sportsman racers and for the junior drag racers, and I think that’s great. As for my car, any weekend could be a turnaround race. I’m very much looking forward to this weekend because they just redid the racing surface at Summit Motorsports Park, and my Chevy Camaro has been very good on new tracks this year. I hear the surface there in Norwalk is great, and the Bader family, they’re first class. It should be a great weekend for us.”

JASON LINE, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (runner-up in first two races of season; seeking 50th national event win – 47 in Pro Stock, two in Stock Eliminator): “I’ve been excited to get to the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals all year. This is a race we always look forward to, but this year it’s even more special for me because I have an opportunity to reach a pretty significant milestone. To get the 50th win of my career at Summit Motorsports Park during the 50th anniversary of Summit Racing Equipment would be something I would never forget. I’m super motivated to make that happen at Summit’s home race. We really want to do something good for them to thank them for all they’ve done for us through the years. This is a tough game; it certainly isn’t easy to win, but that’s what makes it special when you do – that would be especially true this weekend.”

JEG COUGHLIN JR., ELITE MOTORSPORTS, JEGS.COM/ELITE PERFORMANCE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (two-time winner; No. 2 qualifier at Bristol; family business located in Delaware, Ohio): “We’re seeing temperatures in the 70s and 80s, which will be a refreshing change after some really hot weekends. It’ll be great to race in front of a home state crowd that will certainly be giving us some extra energy, and we have a full complement of family racing with us, which we love. On top of it all, my good luck charm from the last few races, Jeg Sr., will be with us so we’re excited.”

DREW SKILLMAN, RAY SKILLMAN MOTORSPORTS, RAY SKILLMAN AUTO GROUP CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 1 qualifier at Charlotte four-wide; five-time semifinalist; earned 100th round win at Richmond; fifth in points): “We saw some marked improvement in the car this past weekend at Bristol by qualifying third and advancing to the semifinals against Jeg (Coughlin Jr.). Unfortunately, I didn’t hit the tree right and red-lighted, so that was disappointing. We had the car to win. We’ll close out this stretch in the season in Norwalk with optimism.”

ALEX LAUGHLIN, GAS MONKEY RACING, FITZGERALD USA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (will be competing in 55th career race; No. 5 qualifier at Bristol): “I’m confident we’ll have a good car again. Mark Ingersoll, my crew chief, is great and does really well on hot tracks. I have the confidence there, so we’ll see how qualifying goes. I just need one good qualifying round to reset and rebuild from there.”

CHRIS MCGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS RACING, HARLOW SAMMONS OF ODESSA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (winner at Phoenix; three-time semifinalist; has 97 round wins; seventh in points): “I’m excited for Norwalk because I heard they’ve repaved it. We’ve been running good and will head to that track and see what we can do.”

JOHN GAYDOSH JR., GAYDOSH RACING, PYPES PERFORMANCE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “The Pypes Performance Camaro is running good. We’re working on the suspension, trying to get the chassis a little better so it travels a little easier. We’ll see if we can go a couple rounds at Norwalk.”

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