It was an action-packed weekend for Elite Motorsports, the largest team in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals. Troy Coughlin Jr. dominated the Pro Stock competition as he won the event as well as the NHRA Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty specialty race. His teammate, five-time world champion Erica Enders, rocketed to the top of the Pro Stock qualifying sheet and Elite Motorsports team owner Richard Freeman also got the No. 1 qualifier spot in Mountain Motor Pro Stock. The importance of this event was lost on no one as Bandimere Speedway celebrated its 65th, and final, year of racing. The anticipation was palpable as these talented drivers put on an incredible show in front of sold-out crowds.
Coughlin’s reaction times were impressive all weekend long, surely contributing to the two wins he earned. On Saturday, in the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty specialty race, the semifinalists from the most recent event in Norwalk, Ohio, faced off against each other in a rematch during the Saturday qualifying sessions. Coughlin defeated Dallas Glenn while his teammate Aaron Stanfield would take down Matt Hartford. The two teammates faced each other in the final round of this exciting race-within-a-race. Ultimately, Coughlin was perfect off the starting line with a .000-second reaction time in his JEGS.com / White Castle Camaro while Stanfield went red. This marks the second time that the talented young driver has won the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge this season.
“When those clouds roll in and the sun kind of goes behind the mountain, things change quickly up here,” said Coughlin. “Especially with the tree. So it adds a cool variable. Being triple-zero, that’s definitely not something you set up to be. It’s fun. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a cool stat to have, afterward. But when it clouds up like that you can really crush the tree.”
Enders made a blistering pass of 6.919-seconds at 195.70 mph to secure her second No. 1 qualifier position of the season and the 31st of her career. Race day began with fanfare as drivers and fans alike thanked the Bandimere family for their years of service to the sport and the community.
In the first round of competiion for Elite Motorsports, Jerry Tucker faced Colorado native Deric Kramer in what was deemed the Marquee Matchup of race day. With an astounding reaction time of .009-seconds, Tucker powered his Outlaw Mile Hi Light Beer Camaro to turn on the win light.
Camrie Caruso defeated Bo Butner in the first round of competition. Cristian Cuadra had an .019 reaction time but it wasn’t enough to hold off Kyle Koretsky; while Fernando Cuadra Sr. came up short against defending event champion Matt Hartford.
In the first of two all-Elite first-round matchups, Coughlin lined up against Aaron Stanfield’s Janac Brothers / JC3 Energy Camaro. Coughlin got the starting line advantage and held on to it all the way to the stripe to defeat Stanfield for the second time this weekend. While Fernando Cuadra Jr. got the starting line advantage over his teammate Enders, he didn’t have enough to hold on against her JHG / Melling Performance Camaro as she clocked the low elapsed time of the round with a pass of 6.915 at 196.93.
Coughlin secured his spot in the next Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge when he advanced to the semifinals by defeating Greg Anderson in Round Two. He would be joined by his Elite Motorsports teammate Enders as she turned on the win light, thanks in part to an impressive .001 reaction time, in an all-Elite matchup against Tucker.
Coughlin defeated Enders in the semifinals with a pass of 6.944 at 197.05, advancing his yellow and black Elite-powered machine to the finals to face Glenn, the same driver Coughlin defeated the day before to win the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty challenge.
As the two cars lined up against each other once again, for the last Pro Stock race at Bandimere Speedway, the sellout crowd watched in excitement. Coughlin left the line just four thousandths ahead of Glenn and he continued to lead the way to the stripe, earning his second victory of the season.
“Man that was a heck of a race,” said Coughlin, moments after receiving his Wally trophy. “We’ve got a long way to go but this Elite Motorsports team is not giving up. That’s for certain. Mark Ingersoll and all of the boys in the lounge, everyone who works on this JEGS.com / White Castle machine had this thing flying.”
In Mountain Motor Pro Stock, Freeman and Enders were on opposite sides of the ladders. Both got first-round wins as Enders defeated Michael Baessler and Freeman turned on the win light against John DeFlorian Jr. Enders went on to defeat Brad Waddle in the second round whilst Freeman was shut off on the line against Chris Vang. Vang went on to defeat Enders in the final round.
In the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, David Cuadra qualified No. 1 in Top Sportsman with a pass of 6.352 at 227.54. He raced to a semifinal appearance on race day. Jay Storey earned a runner-up finish in Super Stock for the second year in a row. He started race day from the No. 1 qualifier position while his Patterson-Elite teammate Aydan Patterson earned the No. 2 spot.
The Western Swing will continue next week as the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series heads to Seattle for the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways.