BELLE ROSE, La. – Nearly 600 racers from all parts of the country have converged on No Problem Raceway Park in Belle Rose, La., for this weekend’s JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals. One of three special events across the country that highlight racers in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals traditionally features some of the toughest fields of the year. After a long day of qualifying and time trials on Friday, the fields are beginning to take shape.

In Competition Eliminator, Bruno Massel of Woodbridge, Ill., is the top qualifier with a 7.24-second run from his turbocharged Chevy Cobalt. Reigning Cajun SPORTSnationals champion Kevin Self of Caddo, Okla., is also in a good position to defend his title after driving his ’32 Bantam roadster to a 7.91-second run for the third spot in the 32-car field. In addition to Massel and Self, the top half of the very competitive field includes former national champion David Rampy, past SPORTSnationals winner Craig Bourgeois, and Scott Benham, who was runner-up to Self in 2008.

A big part of Friday’s on-track action was devoted to Super Stock and Stock Class Eliminations. James Caro, who lives just a few miles from No Problem Raceway Park in Houma, La., is the top qualifier in Super Stock with his 2008 Dodge Stratus. Caro comes into Belle Rose on a hot streak after reaching the final round of last weekend’s AC Delco Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. Right behind Caro is former U.S. Nationals champion Bobby Dennis of Shorter, Ala., and Jerry Silveus of Van Buren, Ohio.

The Stock Eliminator field includes more than 100 entries who are currently being led by Robert Shaw of Sedalia, Mo. Shaw, who races a unique ’77 Cadillac, is followed by Doug Patrick of Boca Raton, Fla., and Floyd Russo of Gonzalez, La.

With two rounds of qualifying in the books on Friday, the 32-car qualified fields for the Top Dragster and Top Sportsman classes are beginning to take shape. Mike Manners is the low qualifier in Top Dragster with a 6.09-second run at over 226-mph. Manners, of Willis, Texas is more than two-tenths of a second ahead of No. 2 qualifier Joey Marcotte of Denham Springs, La.

In Top Sportsman, Earl Folse of Raceland, La., who is the current pole sitter with a 6.67 in his 1968 Camaro. Folse leads the JEGS Mail Order entry of Mike Coughlin, who is second with a 6.75. The Top Sportsman class also features Mike’s older brother, Troy Coughlin, who is making his first competitive runs on his all-new Pontiac GXP.

“We had a pretty good day today,” said Mike. “My car ran exactly the way we expected it to run and I am qualified in the top half of the field, which is always a good place to be. We initially didn’t expect to have Troy at this event but I’m glad he was able to make it.”

The action at No Problem Raceway Park did not stop at the conclusion of Friday’s on-track activities, as the facility hosted the crawfish boil and racer appreciation party that has become an annual tradition at the JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals.

Qualifying and eliminations in Belle Rose will continue on Saturday, March 21., and final eliminations are scheduled for Sunday, March 22.

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