New England Dragway (Epping, N.H.) August 21-22
The latest round of the popular JEGS NHRA SPORTSnationals will debut at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H., August 20-23. The event is part of a double-header featuring the Northeast Division Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
The double-event weekend will begin Thursday with qualifying for the Northeast Division event followed by eliminations on Friday. The JEGS SPORTSnationals portion of the race will be conducted Saturday and Sunday. The format is similar to the recent JEGS Speedweek event that set attendance records at National Trail Raceway.
New England Dragway is the ninth facility to host a JEGS SPORTSnationals race, joining tracks in Hebron, Ohio, Bowling Green, Ky., Indianapolis, Denver, Houston, Belle Rose, La., Fontana, Calif., and Las Vegas.
Recent winners of the JEGS SPORTSnationals in Ohio were Chad Voges (Comp), Jeff Dona (Super Stock), Eric Campolito (Stock), Phillip Oakley (Super Comp), Dwight Nuest (Super Gas), Mark Smith (Super Street), John Benoit (Top Sportsman), Anthony Bertozzi (Top Dragster), and Bruce Sauer (Sportsman Motorcycle).
With his Top Dragster victory at National Trail Raceway, Anthony Bertozzi became the most successful racer in the history of the JEGS SPORTSnationals with five wins. Bertozzi also won four-straight race in Belle Rose from 2012-2105 winning twice in Super Stock and twice in Top Dragster.
Frank Manzo, who would become one of NHRA’s most prolific winners with 17 world championships, won the first of his 105 national event titles in the Pro Comp class at the 1980 SPORTSnationals.
The 2006 JEGS Pacific SPORTSnationals in Fontana, Calif., is the only NHRA national event to feature the Top Comp class. It was won by five-time world champion Justin Lamb.
Brothers Mike and Jeg Coughlin Jr. are also among the most successful racers in the history of the SPORTSnationals with four wins each. Keith Raftery, and Kevin Helms have also claimed four wins each. In addition, 13 other drivers have combined for three wins apiece.
Former SPORTSnationals champions that have gone on to success in the NHRA professional ranks include six-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr., Bo Butner, Alexis DeJoria, Bo Butner, Darrell Gywnn, Dave Connolly, and Larry Morgan.
Six women; Alexis DeJoria, Mary Meints, Lynn Hoosigian, Katie Sepanek, Jennifer Hoffman, and Val Harmon, have won SPORTSnationals titles.
The inaugural SPORTSnationals race was held at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Ky. and the champions were Jimmy Scott (Pro Comp), Dick Krieger (Comp), Paul Mercure (Modified), Bobby Warren (Super Stock) and Joe Moore (Stock).
The Jr. Dragster class will be part of the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event held on Thursday and Friday only.
New England Dragway opened on Sept. 11, 1966 and is the only quarter-mile dragstrip in New England. It is open four days a week from April through October featuring everything from grudge racing to an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series race.
The JEGS Team will be represented in Epping by three-time and reigning Division 3 champion Mike Coughlin, who will be competing in the Top Dragster class. Mike was a runner-up at last month’s JEGS SPORTSnationals race in Ohio and was a quarterfinalist in his most recent appearance at the Division 3 race in Indianapolis.
Mike is a 14-time NHRA national event winner. He has won national event titles in Pro Stock Truck, Super Comp, Top Sportsman, and Top Dragster.
Mike began his career in the Super Gas and Super Comp classes in the 1980s and has extensive experience in the heads-up “super classes”
JEGS SPORTSnationals (By the Numbers)
5 Drivers with four or more JEGS SPORTSnationals wins (Anthony Bertozzi, Mike Coughlin, Jeg Coughlin Jr., Kevin Helms, and Keith Raftery.
9 Facilities to host a JEGS SPORTSnationals event
46 years since inaugural SPORTSnationals was held at Beech Bend Raceway Park in 1974
402 winners crowed since the inaugural SPORTSnationals race in 1974