LAUGHLIN RACES TO BRISTOL’S PRO STOCK CROWN
Being a part-time NHRA Pro Stock racer makes things difficult for Alex Laughlin.
That, however, didn’t detour Laughlin this weekend at the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn.
Laughlin cruised through the competition, culminating with his victory over Bo Butner in the finals Sunday.
Laughlin recorded a perfect light – .000 – and then clocked a 6.718-second elapsed time at 205.04 mph to oust Butner’s 6.729-second lap at 205.79 mph.
“After the semifinals when I was (.012) on tree, for the first time in my life I thought we needed to slow the pedal down because I’ve struggled forever on the tree,” said Laughlin after he snared his second career NHRA Pro Stock Wally. “I always swore, guys I could see the light just like everybody else sees it, something else isn’t working. We made one change after another and incrementally it got better every time and after the last couple of changes, coming into this weekend, I knew the first time I let the clutch out that we were on to something.”
A year ago, Laughlin competed in all 24 NHRA Pro Stock national event races, highlighted by his inaugural Pro Stock race victory at St. Louis, Sept. 25. He powered his Gas Monkey Garage Chevy Camaro to a final round win over Butner. Laughlin also captured one No.1 qualifying spot at the Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Denver in July.
Laughlin just missed finishing in the top 10 in the points standings to make it into the Countdown to the Championship, coming in 11th place.
On Sunday, Laughlin defeated Allen Johnson, Jeg Coughlin, rival Tanner Gray and Butner while driving with power supplied by Elite Motorsports.
“Being .012 on the tree in the semifinals, I was nervous about going red (in the finals) because I knew I would be a little more amped up than I was before, but we did what we had to do,” Laughlin said. “We didn’t really have anything handed to us. We had some good match-ups all day. I was nervous about going up against Jeg in the second round as his car has been running great. His car ended up shaking and I got the win over him.”
Laughlin also addressed his victory over Gray, who was disqualified when he recorded a red light. The two drivers and their crews were involved in a heated exchange after Gray beat Laughlin in the first round at the Spring Nationals at Houston April 23.
In the offseason, Laughlin made the switch from Gray (Motorsports engines) to Elite.
“I definitely feel like I had a point to prove,” Laughlin said. “To go up there and be good on the tree against him even though he was red, just proved to the rest of them there was something wrong with the car and that the guys at Elite have found it and fixed it. I always had a fast car and now I have a competitive car on the starting line. I came into this weekend with the confidence to win and I believed that we would win this race and we did.”