BELLE ROSE, La. – The first champions of the sixth annual JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals were crowned Saturday at No Problem Raceway Park in Belle Rose, La. Steve Cohen, Jacklyn Gebhardt-Still and Tom Phillips each won individual titles in the special King of the Bayou race that has become a staple of the Cajun SPORTSnationals. Cohen, of Trilby, Fla., drove his dragster to the Super Comp win over Bart Nelson. Gebhardt-Still, of Jacksonville, Ill., drove to the Super Gas title by beating former NHRA national champion Jim Hughes in the final and Phillips, of Dallas, Texas claimed top honors in Super Street by beating Jonathan Blades. In addition to the $1,000 winner’s check, Phillips also claimed a $500 bonus for running closest to his index.

Champions were also crowned today in the Top Dragster and Top Sportsman Shootout races, which are special bonus events that are open to the top eight qualifiers in each eliminator. Mike Manners of Willis, Texas, whose dragster was easily the quickest car in Top Dragster, won the Shootout with a 6.15 elapsed time to defeat Scott Williamson. Manners just missed a double in the Top Sportsman Shootout as he reached the final round but was turned aside by former SPORTSnationals winner Keith Raftery of Lake Charles, La. Raftery, the No. 3 qualifier in the Top Sportsman class, got a head-start against Manner and then pulled away for the win, 6.48 to 6.83.

Finally, there was a special combo race held for competitors in Super Stock and Stock. The event featured a unique eliminator format which is similar to the one used to handicap racers in Comp Eliminator, allowing the quickest drivers in each class to showcase their performance. Mike Mans of Rogers, Minn., prevailed in the final round against Charlie Bohannon of Valley Station, Ky.

A new leader emerged in the final qualifying session for Competition Eliminator racers as Adam Hickey of Hammond, La., drove his ’08 Cobalt to the top spot. Hickey leads Glen Treadwell and yesterday’s leader Bruno Massel, who was bumped to third.

Craig Treble, who normally competes in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, is the top qualifier in the Sportsman Motorcycle division with his Suzuki Hayabusa. Treble, of Harvey, La., earned the top spot by posting the best starting line reaction time of any rider in the field.

With the field of 32 drivers set for final eliminations in Top Sportsman, Mike Coughlin remains the No. 6 qualifier with his Chevy Cobalt. The former three-time SPORTSnationals champion ran a best of 6.735 seconds and is scheduled to face Chris Gilitti of Spring, Texas, when the first round of eliminations takes place on Sunday morning. All 32 qualifiers in Top Sportsman ran 7.34 seconds or quicker, making for a very fast field.

“We qualified No. 6, which is right about where I expected to be,” said Coughlin. “So far, everything is going very smoothly. We haven’t had any big surprises and my Cobalt has been very consistent. This field is loaded with a lot of good drivers and a lot of fast cars so whoever wins tomorrow will definitely have to earn it but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

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