Aaron Stanfield made personal history for himself at the 12th annual NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals Monday.
Stanfield drove a Camaro for Richard Freeman’s Elite Motorsports to the semifinals before losing to eventual race champion Deric Kramer. This was the first time in Stanfield’s career he has made it to the semis in the NHRA’s Mello Yello Series Pro Stock class.
“It felt really good,” said Stanfield, 24. “There’s no better feeling in the world right there, other than taking it a little bit further.”
Stanfield qualified No. 11 at 6.571 seconds, and then stunned three-time world champion Greg Anderson on a holeshot.
Stanfield clocked a 6.559-second elapsed time at 210.90 mph to defeat Anderson’s quicker 6.549-second elapsed time at 211.99 mph.
The difference was Stanfield’s.041 reaction time, compared to Anderson’s .096 reaction time.
“My light wasn’t that great and his wasn’t either, but the car ran really good and got it close enough where my light was able to do it,” Stanfield said. “It was cool to get to race him (Anderson) knowing that he and my dad used to go out at pretty hard back in the day.”
Aaron’s father is Greg Stanfield. Greg competed in Pro Stock from 2002-2014, winning three national events and finishing a career-best second in the point standings in 2010. Aaron said his dad will be at the track supporting him.
Stanfield then proceeded to stop Shane Tucker in round two. Stanfield clocked a 6.565-second elapsed time to edge Tucker’s 6.567-second ET.
“Second round was really cool,” Stanfield said. “It’s awesome just No. 1 to get to drive the car, but when you start going rounds that’s the cherry on top for me. I was able to cut a little better light that round (.016) and the car ran good again.”
Kramer ended Stanfield’s day in the semis with a 6.537-second lap compared to Stanfield’s 6.567-second run. Stanfield had a .061 reaction time.
In addition to Pro Stock, Stanfield also made to the semis in Top Dragster in Charlotte.
“We came up a little short on ET and I didn’t do my job behind the wheel letting go of the clutch,” Stanfield said. “With that run I needed to cut about the same light I did in second round and I just missed a little bit. I’m still trying to find some consistency with myself driving as far as the starting line goes. I felt like I did a little bit better job (in Charlotte) and it was a pretty good weekend with as well as I did in Top Dragster.”
Stanfield’s performance in Charlotte was noteworthy since it had been just over four years since Stanfield drove a Pro Stock car before signing on to drive for the Elite Motorsports team for the final six races of the season of the 2019 season.
Stanfield has qualified for all three Countdown races – Reading, Pa., St. Louis and Dallas – and he has 3-3 elimination round record.
Stanfield’s latest driving opportunity came to fruition through conversations with Elite Motorsports and the Janac brothers, who Stanfield has raced in the Factory Stock Showdown class with.
“This has been a great experience,” Stanfield said. “The Elite guys work really hard and they have taken care of me and have been doing their part. This (Pro Stock) car has been the most challenging thing I have ever driven by far. It’s more of the perfectionist side of it and perfecting it and making it perfect. They are very sensitive cars and it is a little bit different for me than what I’m used to driving. I feel like I’m getting a little bit better each time I go out. I would like to throw a big thank you to the Janac brothers and JC3 Energy and Elite Motorsports for giving me this opportunity.
This weekend Stanfield will be competing in the Pro Stock ranks at the NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, near Dallas.
Mark Ingersoll and Brian “Lump” Self are serving as Stanfield’s crew chiefs with the Elite Motorsports Camaro.
“My dad has been at three races (in the Countdown), but he had to get home (to Bossier City, La.) on Monday (Oct. 14) because he had to trade some of our race cars out at the shop in our trailer because we are racing Super Stock here in Dallas instead of Top Dragster.”
Aaron said his dad is racing Stock and Super Stock in Dallas and he’s racing Super Stock and Pro Stock. According to Aaron, he and his father are tuning Factory Showdown cars for Stephen Bell, Arthur Kohn, David Janac, the Janac brothers, and Randy Taylor.
“This will be a hectic weekend for sure, but I would always like to have too much to do than not enough to do,” Aaron said.
Aaron Stanfield made his Pro Stock debut at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis in 2014. He has run five career Pro Stock races, the last being at the U.S. Nationals in 2015.
Since 2015, Aaron has been competing in the Sportsman ranks in Top Dragster and Super Stock classes. He also drove in the Factory Showdown class in 2018 and this year he has been tuning cars that are competing in that class with Stanfield Racing engines.
Aaron is driving the same exact Super Stock car – a 1987 Camaro – that his father drove to win three of his four Super Stock world championships. Greg bought back the car in 2010 and had it restored so Aaron could race it. Greg won NHRA Super Stock championships in 1990, 1992-94.
Aaron said he will be running Super Stock and Pro Stock at the Las Vegas NHRA national event Oct. 31-Nov. 3. Then, he will compete in Super Stock and Top Dragster in the NHRA Division 7 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series race at The Strip in Vegas Nov. 7-10. Stanfield will conclude the NHRA Mello Yello Series at the Auto Club Finals in Pomona, Calif., Nov. 14-17.
“I’m very excited any weekend at the race track, makes me happy,” Aaron said. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what it is I just want to be racing. Getting to drive that Pro Stock car is a dream come true for me.”
During the second round of qualifying at the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals in Concord, NC, Pro Stock driver Alan Prusiensky’s 2018 Dodge Dart crashed. – https://t.co/sTmiyXaaKV pic.twitter.com/rIAu4G63wl
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) October 12, 2019