Lucas Oil Sportsman Champions Crowned at the Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway
ATLANTA – Sunday was race day at Atlanta Dragway as the Lucas Oil sportsman competed for the coveted NHRA Wally. By the end of the day, we saw several racers add to their collection while others won their first Wally.
Division 4 racers showed out this week after winning three of the six Lucas Oil classes at Atlanta. A week after D4 racers Joe Harper and Shannon Brinkley squared off in Charlotte, they continued the streak in two classes this week.
Trene Cressonie defeated Shannon Brinkley in Super Comp while Aaron Stanfield defeated Brandon Bakies in another all D4 final. Division 4 competitors have won four out of division nationals in 2019. To steal a line from Luke Bogacki, it’s looking like the year of Division 4!
Craig Bourgeois, Aaron Stanfield, and Jim Perry added to their already impressive trophy cases on Sunday. Bourgeois and Perry, both DragChamp pre-race picks to win, won Comp and Super Gas respectively. Aaron Stanfield took advantage of a weekend off from tuning Factory Stockers to win Super Stock.
Trene Cressonie, Chip Johnson, and Clint Riley earned their first national event Wally’s at Atlanta. Trene, part of the successful Laris Motorsports team, won Super Comp. Chip Johnson picked up his first national win after defeating Joel Warren in Stock Eliminator. And Clint Riley defeated a red-lighting Steve Cohen in Top Dragster.
Full event details by class are listed below.
Competition Eliminator – Bourgeois Wins Again
Craig Bourgeois has been on a roll in 2019. After winning the 50th Gatornationals, he won both Lucas Oil events at the Division 4 double divisional in Dallas. Craig followed that up with a win over Brian Browell at the Southern Nationals.
The former world champion is sitting pretty in the national points chase based on his strong start to the season.
In Gainesville, Bourgeois used a .000 reaction in the final to edge past Randy Daniels. At Atlanta, he used an .018 light in the final to take the .016 win over Browell. Clutch performances in both finals! This win was Craig’s 10th in national event competition.
Super Stock – Aaron Stanfield continues strong season
Although he spends most of his time tuning other cars at the track, Aaron Stanfield still finds a way to turn on win lights. Aaron, the son of sportsman great Greg Stanfield, helps build and tune engines at Stanfield Power.
With a free weekend, since the Factory Stockers were off, Stanfield drove his 3rd Gen Camaro to the fifth national win of his career. To reach the winners circle Aaron drove past fellow Division 4 racer Brandon Bakies by .0037-second.
Stanfield left first in the final .014 to .018 and pulled off the win after posting a .018 over 9.858 to Bakies .016 over 9.676. A great race by two tough competitors.
Outside of the final, Stanfield was rarely challenged during six rounds. His .041 light in round one was his worst as he was .020 or better in the final five rounds.
Brandon Bakies did everything right but win the event at the Southern Nationals. He was good at the tree and stayed right on his dial in through six rounds. Bakies nailed his dial-in during consecutive rounds and also used a .015 packed in the semifinals to reach the final round.
Stock Eliminator – Chip Johnson Wins First National
In a battle of late model Camaro’s, Chip Johnson powered to his first national event win after defeating Jeff Warren. The final was a double redlight race as Warren turned it red first by -.019 followed by Johnson’s -.018 light.
Johnson benefited from three red-lights during eliminations. Johnson also posted a dead-on zero 9.680 in the semifinals to turn back Jim Marshall.
Jeff Warren was also racing in his first NHRA national event final round. To reach the final, Jeff took out Wes Neely and Slate Cummings after cutting .00 lights against both. Warren’s quarterfinal win against Cummings gave him a bye to the final round.
Cummings, the DragChamp pre-race pick to win, came up one win light short of making the final round.
Super Comp – Trene Cressonie Continue Laris Motorsports Domination
As noted extensively on DragChamp, the Laris Motorsports team has won everywhere they’ve raced this year. Well not quite but almost. The trend continued at the Southern Nationals where teammate Trene Cressonie earned his first national event Wally. The win was the third national event win for Team Laris this season.
The all Division 4 final round was anti-climatic after Shannon Brinkley left early with a -.130 redlight. Trene was ready for a fight as he posted a .008 light and an 8.881 for the win.
Cressonie was never worst the .025 at the tree and his lights ranged from a .007 to a .025 through six rounds. Red-hot national points leader Ray Miller III fell to Cressonie in round three on a redlight.
Krystle Woeber put up a good fight in the quarterfinals but came up .004 short. Trene’s .015 light and 8.923 was just enough to edge our Woeber’s .022 light and 8.922 lap.
Brinkley, competing in his second national event final in a week, ended up with the same result. Although he should be proud of his accomplishment, I’m sure Shannon would’ve liked to have won at least one of them.
It seemed every round was super close for Brinkley. He took out 4-Wide champ Jonathan Anderson by .004 in the quarters. In round three, Brinkely defeated Rusty Cook by the same margin.
Super Gas – Jim Perry Wins Sixth Wally
As is the case in most of his previous wins, Jim Perry cut great lights and stayed close to the index to collect national event win number six. Excluding his third round race where he was .049 at the tree, Perry was .019 or better in the other five rounds.
The final round was an epic battle that was decided by less than a “thou” at the stripe. Perry took a slight .019 to .020 lead at the tree and proceeded to run a 9.894 to Rich Price’s 9.893 to claim the narrow victory.
Price had been outstanding throughout the race posting back-to-back 9.900’s in rounds four and five. He also nailed the index with a 9.901 against 2019 runner up Carl Watts in round two.
To reach the final round, Perry used a .019-package to defeat Jeff Webb in the quarterfinals and earn the bye to the final round.
Top Dragster – Clint Riley Claims First National Win
Steve Cohen came close to making it three wins for the Team DragChamp pre-race picks at the Southern Nationals. Although it was Clint Riley standing in victory lane after Cohen let go -.004 too soon. Riley saved his best for last leaving first with a .018 light, his best of eliminations.
To reach his first final round, Riley waded through a who’s who of Division 4’s finest Top Dragster competitors. Riley discarded of J.R. Baxter, Mario Boesch, Ross Laris, and 2018 #2 in the world Mark Jones.
Cohen was set on kill in the first four rounds. His packages were .032, .002, .011, and .034. His lights were .022, .001, .003, and .011 prior to his redlight in the final round. The final was Cohen’s 44th in national event competition.
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