BOURGEOIS ENJOYING FANTASTIC SEASON IN COMP ELIMINATOR
Craig Bourgeois knows what it takes to be the best.
The Metairie, La., driver won NHRA’s Comp Eliminator championship in 2015.
This season, he’s making an early push to become a two-time world champion while driving his front-engine dragster built by Chuck Haase.
Bourgeois has competed in four races this year, winning three – the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., the two Dallas NHRA Division 4 races and sandwiched between those events he was runner-up at the Division 4 race in Houston. A year ago, Bourgeois finished fourth in the world standings.
“It has been a pretty wild year,” Bourgeois said. “With the new points structure that Division 4 has because of Rodger Brogdon. It’s incredible because it draws some more cars in Division 4 and with that the races are harder to win. I attribute a lot of my success to a really good car and Mickey Thompson tires.”
According to Bourgeois, Brogdon, through his RBR Machine company, pledged $25,000 total for every Division 4 points race.
“The way it is broken down for Comp, $7,500 is awarded for first place, $3,500 for runner-up, and $1,500 for the semifinalists,” Bourgeois said. “I think it is $750 for the quarterfinalists, $500 for the second-round loser and first round loser gets $250. Then, what he did as an added bonus, since some of the races this year don’t have the full 32 cars and you wouldn’t be paying out the whole $25,000, he’s taking the remaining of that $25,000 that he normally would pay and he’s going to put it all in a pot and at the end of the year the Division champion gets that money. It will be really cool for us if we can win the Division, I can tell you that.”
Bourgeois was quick to thank Brogdon for his generosity.
“It’s a big hat’s off to Rodger Brogdon and RBR Machine,” Bourgeois said. “Last year in Houston I think we had 11 or 12 cars and this year we had 22. Last year in Dallas we had like 21 cars and this year we had 39 cars. Having 39 cars in Comp is unheard of, especially for a divisional race.”
Bourgeois runs off a 7.42 A Nostalgia Dragster Index. His crew chief is Jimmy Dunn.
“The car is capable of running 6.80s,” Bourgeois said. “We have a really good car and we have a really good crew and a lot of luck on our side. When you add all that together you start turning on win lights and that’s what has been happening and when you do that better and better things start happening for you.”
Bourgeois said he began racing Comp Eliminator in 1995 or so in a rear-motor dragster.
“Then, I gave it up for a few years and I came back in 2004 ad from there I have been at it ever since,” Bourgeois said. “I grew up with a guy named Joe Martino who used to run Comp Eliminator back in the day and I liked the class. I ran Super Comp back then, but it really wasn’t for me. I liked Comp Eliminator. I got my feet wet in it and did OK with it and it just grew from there.”
When Bourgeois isn’t racing, he owns and operates an automobile repair facility – Bill’s Auto Repair.
“The guy who hired me back when I was 17 years old, his name was Bill Welsh,” Bourgeois said. “I ended up buying the business in 1999 and I never did change the name.”
Up next on the dragstrip, Bourgeois will try and continue his good fortune when he competes at the NHRA’s Southern Nationals May 3-5 at Atlanta Dragway.
“I’m going to keep racing as long as the good Lord lets me,” Bourgeois said. “I’m starting to slow down a little bit, but we’re still having fun and having a good time. We go out there to have a good time and if we win, it is an extra bonus.”