Belle Rose, La. (March 15) – Located deep in the bayou country of Southern Louisiana, the small town of Belle Rose has become a Mecca for NHRA Sportsman racers during the annual JEGS NHRA Cajun Sports Nationals, which takes place this weekend (March 18-20) at No Problem Raceway Park. Since the inaugural event in 2004, track operator Pat Joffrion and his staff have made the JEGS SPORTSnationals a huge success by creating an atmosphere which combines the competitive elements of an NHRA national event with the down-home friendliness that defines the phrase “Southern Hospitality”. Intense competition in nine NHRA eliminators; Comp, Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Street, Top Dragster, Top Sportsman, and Sportsman Motorcycle presented by Harley-Davidson.
The JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals also marks the return of the popular Mopar Hemi Challenge for vintage Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda factory race cars with $5,000 going to the champion. Other special attractions include, class eliminations in Super Stock and Stock, the Top Sportsman and Top Dragster Shootout, and the “King of the Bayou” race for drivers in Super Comp, Super Gas and Super Street. After hours, the event will also include various barbecues, crawfish cookouts and numerous other social activities.
Last year’s event provided many thrilling moments as David Tatum III of Palmetto, Ga., began his run towards the eventual Lucas Oil World Championship with a final round victory in Super Gas and former world champion Larry Stewart of Clinton, Miss., prevailed in the Super Stock category. The Bayou State was also well represented as Steven Rosen of Harahan, Glenn Knapp of Baton Rouge, and Keith Raftery of Lake Charles, scored wins in Comp, Super Street, and Top Dragster, respectively. All of the above racers are expected to return this year to defend their titles.
The JEGS Mail Order team will also be well represented as Mike Coughlin will be in action with his Top Sportsman Chevy Cobalt and his brother Jeg Jr. plans to debut a new Undercover Chassis dragster in Super comp. Jeg’s fiancée, Samantha Kenny will also be driving her new Undercover dragster and third generation racers T.J. and Jack Coughlin will be competing in Super Comp and Jr. Dragster, respectively. Mike and Jeg Coughlin Jr. are both former winners of the JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals.
The racers who compete in the Comp Eliminator class will have an added incentive to do well this year as Pro Stock racers Steve Kent and Rodger Brogdon have generously kicked in an additional $25,000 to the prize pool including an additional $10,000 to the winner over and above the posted NHRA prize money and contingency awards. The bonus will be spread to all 32 qualifiers with the runner-up gaining an additional $5,000, $1,000 to each of the semifinalists, $500 to the quarterfinalists, $350 to round two finishers and $200 to those who do not advance past the opening round. With so much cash on the line, Brogdon and Kent are expecting a turnout of up to 50 cars for the 32-car qualified field.
The eighth annual JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals will also mark the first of three races in the ongoing battle for the coveted JEGS Crown. The highly prized but seldom seen hardware is a special trophy which was handcrafted by Dan Dreisbach. The JEGS Crown is awarded to any driver who can win the same class in two of the three JEGS SPORTSnationals events in a given season. The winners of the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals will have additional chances to claim the trophy later this season at the JEGS Pacific SPORTSnationals in Fontana, Calif., and the JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals in Hebron, Ohio.
NHRA reintroduced the SPORTSnationals eight years ago at No Problem Raceway Park. Previously, SPORTSnationals events were held at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Ky. (1974-’80; 1985-’86), Houston International Raceway (1981-’82), and Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis (1983-’84).
Information regarding JEGS Mail Order can be found at www.jegs.com < http://www.jegs.com/ > and for media/fan resources checkout www.teamjegs.com < http://www.teamjegs.com/ >.