PLOURD EPITOMIZES #VERSATILE EN ROUTE TO TEXAS MOTORPLEX COMP WIN
With the stars shining bright above the Texas Motorplex, Brad Plourd gave an object lesson of what versatility is.
Last month Plourd drove his Lucas Oil Stocker to victory at the Thunder Valley Raceway Park. With the sun already gone from the Ennis, Texas skyline, Plourd drove to his first victory of the season in the Rooftec Competition Eliminator Bonus program and did so behind the wheel of a supercharged, alcohol-burning altered.
"I pride myself in being able to drive whatever is handed to me, and I work at it hard," Plourd said. "I practice a lot, race every Saturday night that I can locally. It's nice being called versatile. That's my goal. My other goal is a championship."
First things first, Plourd came into the second of the Texas Motorplex double-divisional ranked No. 15 in the Rooftec Competition Eliminator Bonus points fund. This event, the fourth of the NHRA's Division 4 South Central schedule, represented the final opportunity for racers to get into the top 16 of the specialty series, in which those racers will be eligible to compete in the $50,000 Rooftec Competition Eliminator Cash Clash during the NHRA U.S. Nationals.
Hollywood couldn't have scripted a finer storyline than Plourd and final-round opponent Greg Kamplain coming into the event holding onto the final two spots in the top 16.
In the world of Competition Eliminator, where strategy rules the roost when it comes to how far one runs under the index, both Plourd and Kamplain had taken their hits. Plourd lost .08 off his index, while Kamplain had been hit for .11.
At the green, Kamplain nailed the tires, and Plourd, who entered the event as No. 16 qualifier -.604 under the AA/Altered Methanol index with a 6.356 elapsed time. He won with a 7.163.
Rick Brown came into the event with the Rooftec Competition Eliminator Bonus point lead, but after a first-round loss in Race One and a DNQ in the second, opened the door for Craig Bourgeois to take the lead, where he holds a one-point advantage over Rodger Brogdon.
Plourd might have had one cool altered, but when it came to Super Stock, the COPO-powered '55 Chevy of Jeff Hefler took the prize for having the neatest. Hefler got the best of Brandon Bakes' COPO Camaro for the win.
"I don't know about the neatest but it's probably the most wore out car," Hefler said of his Jeff Taylor 427-powered classic. "But it's something different.
"I actually drove pretty good, surprisingly, and just got lucky when I needed to."
Jeff Lopez won Stock by beating Kyle Rizzoli. The weekend was one of continuous refinement in his car's combination.
"We changed a lot of stuff throughout the weekend," Loez explained. "Did a lot of adjusting. Hit the sweet spot, lost the sweet spot, found it again in the final. Just kept working at it."
Lopez added the double divisionals make a challenging weekend.
"They're very hard because everybody has a ton of data," Loez added. "I mean, especially the second one. To me, the second one's always the hardest. I'll be honest, that's why we won. We had enough data, we kept changing stuff and finally made the car and me on the same page and got it all done."
Jimmy Lewis doubled-up in Top Sportsman winning both events in the two-race weekend, and headlined a group of winners that included Mark Jones (Top Dragster), Hannah Wolter (Super Comp), Austin Williams (Super Gas) and Jay Bunce (Super Street).
The NHRA's Division 4 now officially goes into summer break before competition resumes in last September at Tulsa Raceway Park.