HOUSTON (April 22) — It may be his first Pro Stock race of the year, but Alex Laughlin isn’t showing any signs of rust, qualifying his Gas Monkey Energy Drink Chevrolet Camaro in the No. 10 position at this weekend’s 30th annual NHRA Spring Nationals.
Laughlin posted a steady 6.611 at 208.68 mph with his Elite Performance-powered hot rod, setting up a first-round elimination date with No. 7 qualifier Tanner Gray, who had a best pass of 6.575 at 209.23 mph during qualifying.
“The power we’re getting from Elite Performance is really good,” Laughlin said. “Those guys have been great in working with us to match that horsepower to our car. We made a lot of progress this weekend but there is definitely plenty of room to improve. I’m really excited about the possibilities.
“We’ll have a big test right out of the gate tomorrow with Tanner. He’s a rookie in drag racing but he knows how to drive. He won the last race in Las Vegas and that team is good. I’ll need to be on my game to have a chance, but I love the challenge. I know we’ll be working all night to make this Gas Monkey Energy Drink Chevy ready for eliminations.”
Winning the race isn’t out of the question for the talented young driver from Bluff Dale, Texas. He won his first NHRA national event in Pro Stock last fall when the tour was in St. Louis and he’s proven to be lethal on the Christmas Tree.
“This is our first race of the year so we’re behind a little bit,” Laughlin said. “But we feel confident in what we’re doing and we’ll certainly try our best to turn on some win lights tomorrow. The upside potential of our team is off the charts. It all starts here so why not have some fun and throw ourselves into the mix right away.”
Aside from his work in Pro Stock, Laughlin has once again piloted the Gas Monkey Energy Drink Top Alcohol Dragster owned and tuned by Anthony Deciro this weekend. In that class, Laughlin suffered a tough first-round loss Saturday evening after a mechanical failure kept him from making a pass against Robin Samsel, who posted an unopposed 5.342 at 268.17 mph.
“It was tough weekend all the way around with the dragster,” Laughlin said. “We struggled in qualifying and we had an issue before I even did the burnout in Round 1. Definitely a weekend I’d just as soon forget, although Robin would have been tough to beat no matter what.
“The dragster is a good racecar and we’ll be back strong for sure. It just wasn’t meant to be this time around.”
Pro Stock eliminations start at noon with television coverage on FOX Sports 1 kicking off at 4:30 p.m., Sunday.