NHRA Pro Stock is returning sooner than initially expected.
The class, celebrating its 50th year in 2020 – which has turned into a racing year unlike any other — will be part of the upcoming Indy NHRA Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway, which takes place Aug. 6-9.
With every other class making an appearance at the race, Pro Stock drivers wondered aloud why they couldn’t be included. Those wishes came to fruition in quick order, much to the delight of all the stars in the class.
“We were thrilled to hear that we were added to the third Indy race,” Pro Stock defending champ Erica Enders said. “With the uncertainty of everything that is going on, all four pro classes should be a part of any race that takes place the rest of 2020. I want to thank PRO (Professional Racers Organization) for fighting for us and the NHRA for getting us in. It’s game on from here on out.”
The Indy NHRA Nationals will be the third event to take place in Indy following the NHRA’s restart two weeks ago, with the upcoming race added in after the postponement of tour stops in Denver and Brainerd.
Pro Stock wasn’t scheduled to appear at either of those races, but when the Seattle date was cancelled earlier this summer, it left a large gap between Pro Stock races.
The class ran at the first Indy race two weeks ago, but weren’t initially scheduled to run again until Topeka in late August. That would mean nearly six weeks between races after not racing for nearly five months during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was far from ideal. Plus, with the current state of the public health crisis, those upcoming events in different locations seem far from a certainty.
When the third race at Lucas Oil Raceway was added in, it presented a perfect opportunity for the class to race. Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock Motorcycle, Pro Mod and even Mountain Motor Pro Stock were initially slated on the schedule — following the list of classes scheduled to be in Denver – but adding in another class, in this case Pro Stock, proved to be a move praised by all.
With fans allowed at Lucas Oil Raceway, they’ll now see racing in every NHRA professional class, plus Pro Mod and MMPS, making it a full-fledged bonanza of an event.
“We couldn’t be more pleased that NHRA has included Pro Stock in this third Indy event,” said Greg Anderson, a four-time champ in Pro Stock. “We worked hard to prepare our Summit Racing Chevy Camaros for NHRA’s return to racing, and we had a good event two weeks ago. The KB Racing Chevys showed promise, and we still have some work to do, so we’re excited to get back to the track.
“It’s very important to all of us that we get to race as much as possible this year — and it’s just good for everyone, including our great Pro Stock fans who have been so hungry for it. We’re eager to get back out there sooner rather than later, and we’re grateful that this came together.”
It will be the fourth race of the 2020 Pro Stock season, which was dominated early by Elite Motorsports. Jeg Coughlin Jr. won the opener in Pomona, and Enders followed suit in Phoenix. For good measure, Coughlin added a $75,000 victory at the Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals.
KB Racing made significant improvements in the downtime, with Jason Line winning at Indy two weeks ago, giving him a victory in 17 consecutive seasons and sending him into the points lead, just ahead of Coughlin and Enders. With 22 cars in attendance, the class impressed and furthered notions Pro Stock is alive and well, and on the upswing.
But the added in date did cause some reshuffling for defending U.S. Nationals winner Alex Laughlin. After making waves online and ruffling some no-prep racing feathers regarding his participation in the Outlaw Armageddon event, the new Pro Stock date meant Laughlin had to quickly reverse course. Still, he’s excited about the change as Pro Stock will again be featured on FOX during eliminations on Aug. 9.
“I was surprised to see Pro Stock added to the third Indy race. I’m definitely going but it threw a wrench in my plans since I planned on racing the Outlaw Armageddon No Prep Race,” Laughlin said. “I talked some [all in good fun) smack online about going and running against the Outlaws and now it’s awkward that I can’t go.
“(But), either way, I’m super pumped to be at a racetrack and going fast that weekend!”