BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (May 26) – Following a triumphant return in 2016, the JEGS SPORTSnationals presented by Quick Fuel Technologies will once again take center stage this weekend at scenic Beech Bend Raceway Park.
The highly-anticipated event, long been considered one of the crown jewels of Sportsman drag racing, is expected to attract more than 500 of the best drag racers from the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
"There are certain races that just have a magical quality about them and this is certainly one of those events," said JEGS Director of Media and Motorsports Scott "Woody" Woodruff. "Last year we brought the JEGS SPORTSnationals back to its ancestral home in Bowling Green and the response from the racers was overwhelming. We were able to rekindle the spirit of competition and camaraderie that helped make the early SPORTSnationals races so popular."
The JEGS SPORTSnationals will feature competition in eight NHRA eliminators; Comp, Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Street, Top Sportsman and Top Dragster. All racers will receive an NHRA national event grade point for attending the race.
The eight defending champions from the 2016 event; Craig Bourgeois (Comp), Brad Zaskowski (Super Stock), Houston Raikes (Stock), Tyler Bohannon (Super Comp), Craig Anderson (Super Gas), Michelle Furr (Super Street), Jerry Albert (Top Sportsman), and Danny Nelson (Top Dragster), will have an extra motivation to perform since they are each eligible to win the JEGS Crown award should they successfully defend their titles. The JEGS Crown is a special handcrafted trophy made by Dan Dreisbach of Naked Sculpture. It was introduced shortly after JEGS Mail Order assumed the title rights to the SPORTSnaitonals in 2004, and has been awarded just once, to Pro Mod racer Mike Ashley.
Racers competing this weekend can earn points towards national and divisional championships, and there also is lots of cash on the line. This years JEGS SPORTSnationals boasts a guaranteed purse of more than $108,000, an all-time SPORTSnationals record. With contingency awards in excess of $275,000 and special bonus races, the total award posting approaches $380,000 – a dramatic increase over the $50,700 posted at the inaugural SPORTSnationals in 1974.
For the first time, the JEGS SPORTSnationals will be carried live on the internet via the popular NHRA All Access streaming service (www.nhraallaccess.com). A weekend pass can be purchased for just $9.95 and current subscribers to NHRA All Access will receive the content at no additional charge. The weekend pass will include all of the action from Bowling Green, starting at 8 a.m., Friday through Sunday evening.
Some of the specialty events included in the weekend’s thrilling drag racing action include the Tim Hebert/Big Joe Teuton Hemi Shootout for the Stock and Super Stock classes and the Lucas Oil/K&N Filters Super Shootouts for the Super Comp, Super Gas and Super Street classes. Racing action will culminate on Saturday evening with the 200-mph Racing RV's Top Dragster/Top Sportsman Fast Four competition and the C-Tech Manufacturing Comp Fast Four Shootout.
To kick off the event’s return to Kentucky with proper Southern hospitality, JEGS, NHRA, along with track operator Dallas Jones and his family will be hosting a huge Southern cookout for all racers and crews in the "Shady Grove" pavilion adjacent to the pit area following Friday’s racing. In addition, Beech Bend Amusement Park and Splash Lagoon Water Park will be open Friday evening for a special JEGS Family and Friends Night.
Track operator Jones has been an integral part of the success of the SPORTSnationals event since the inaugural race in 1974, and this year, he is being honored as the event’s Grand Marshal.