No Problem Raceway Park, Belle Rose, La. (March 20-22)
The JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals at No Problem Raceway Park in Belle Rose, La., is one of three JEGS-sponsored events designed exclusively for racers in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. The other races are the JEGS Pacific SPORTSnationals at Auto Club Dragway in Fontana, Calif. (May 29-31), and the JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals in Columbus, Ohio (Sept. 18-20). Collectively, these three events attract upwards of 1,200 unique competitors each season.
Last year, at the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals, Anthony Bertozzi won for the third time in as many years when he claimed victory in Top Dragster. Other champions from the 12th annual event were David Rampy (Comp), Harvey Emmons III (Super Stock), Austin Williams (Stock), John Brener (Super Comp), John Labbous Jr. (Super Gas), Greg Parson (Super Street), Vince Hoda (Top Sportsman), and Randal Guitreau (Sportsman Motorcycle). In addition, Stock champ Williams also won the special Moser Sportsman Shootout race.
The most successful racers in the 12-year history of the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals are Austin Williams, Bertozzi and Keith Raftery with three wins each. Williams and Raftery also have runner-up finishes to their credit.
Other drivers with multiple wins in Belle Rose include T.J Tracey, who won the Top Sportsman title in 2007 and 2012 to go with a runner-up finish in 2008, Jeff Strickland, who won the Stock title in 2005 and the super Stock title in 2008, Sid Norwood, who claimed back-to-back Super Street wins in 2005 and 2006, Kevin Helms, who won Super Stock in 2006 and Stock in 2008, Craig Bourgeois, a back-to-back Comp champ in 2006-2007, Glen Self, also a back-to-back Comp champ in 2008-2009, Rampy, a Comp winner in 2011 and 2014, and Brad Zaskowski, who won Super Stock in 2007 and 2009.
The only drivers to double at the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals are Steve Szupka, who won Stock and Comp in 2013 and Tommy Phillips who drove to both the Super Comp and Super Gas titles at the 2009 event.
The annual battle for the coveted JEGS Crown trophy also will begin at this weekend’s event. The JEGS Crown is a handcrafted trophy that can only be won by claiming two of the three JEGS SPORTSnationals events in a calendar year. The winners of the JEGS Pacific SPORTSnationals in Fontana, Calif. and the JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals in Hebron, Ohio, are in the running for the trophy this year.
Since its inception, the JEGS Crown has been awarded just once, to Pro Mod competitor Mike Ashley, who won the Pro Mod class in Belle Rose and Columbus in 2005.
The list of former NHRA national champions who are also former winners of the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals includes Jeg Coughlin Jr., Rampy, Austin Williams, David Tatum III, Steve Cohen, Scotty Richardson, Bertozzi, Jeff Hefler, Hugh Meeks III, Kevin Helms, and Larry Stewart.
For the second year, the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals will include a very special event, the Tim Hebert Hemi "Chootout." The race is open to competitors in the popular SS/AH class and features a $12,000 purse with $7,000 going to the champion. The race is being sponsored by Southland Dodge, Steve Kent Services, Paillot Bros. Construction, Engines, Inc., Henson Family Dealerships, 3001, and No Problem Raceway. Hebert was a longtime NHRA Division 4 racer who passed away suddenly at age 53.
The JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals features a very busy schedule that includes the Moser Sportsman Shootout, Class Eliminations for racers in Stock and Super Stock, King of the Bayou Shootout races for drivers in Super Comp, Super Gas, and Super Street, the Hemi "Chootout," and a CIC race for NHRA class-legal cars.
Prior to its revival in 2004, SPORTSnationals events were held from 1974 to 1986 at a trio of tracks; Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Ky., Houston Int’l Raceway, and Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
The JEGS Mail Order team will be represented by veteran Mike Coughlin, who plans to continue his pursuit of the inaugural NHRA Top Sportsman season championship behind the wheel of his 200-mph Camaro.
JEGS By the Numbers (JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals edition)
1 Driver to win the JEGS Crown trophy (Mike Ashley, 2005)
3 Straight JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals wins for Anthony Bertozzi
3 Final rounds by the Coughlin family at the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals (2 wins, 1 runner-up).
11 Drivers who have won both an NHRA national championship and the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals
12 Years since the inaugural JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals in 2004.