Most parents hope their children will improve on what they could accomplish in life. For Greg Stanfield, an accomplished drag racer who delivered on a high level, son Aaron delivered more than anyone could have expected.
Greg knew what the next-generation Stanfield could pull off. After all, it’s how he trained him to be.
On Sunday at the pandemic-delayed NHRA Springnationals, Stanfield won his first career Pro Stock title, doubled up as the Factory Stock Showdown winner, and clinched the SAMtech.edu Factory Stock series championship.
“Definitely can’t put it into words,” the younger Stanfield said. “I remember sitting at home back when NHRA would only have the live feed on a radio, and I would listen to my dad race, and I’ve dreamed of the day that I could hold up a Pro Stock Wally since I was a little guy. It’s always been at the top of my list of goals, along with winning a world championship.”
Greg’s boy faced several second and third-generation racers behind the wheel of the Janac Brothers Camaro en route to his double-up. Case in point, he beat Troy Coughlin, Kyle Koretsky, and Jeggie Coughlin to win Pro Stock. In the finals of Factory Stock, he beat David Barton.
“To be honest, this whole day has been so crazy just accomplishing huge dreams that I never thought I’d be able to accomplish,” Stanfield ssaid. “I guess I haven’t had time to soak it all in. I felt I was pretty calm throughout the entire day. So I think that helped me.”
Stanfield could have gotten rattled in the Pro Stock final. Before his match with Coughlin, the iconic Pro Stock racer had problems getting his car to fire. Then when he got it fired, he pulled into the water, and it died again. Amid the mayhem, Coughlin did a short burnout, staged and left on Stanfield. Stanfield appeared unfazed.
“I try to stay as calm as I can stay in the race car,” Stanfield reiterated. “It was definitely a different procedure, but nevertheless, I knew my guys have my best interests in mind. I stayed focused, and we did our job and got it done.
“What my dad has taught me is when you hop in the race car, clear your head, and focus on what you got to do. That’s what I was able to do today. I’m thankful for everything that he’s taught me and thankful to have these memories with him.
“My Dad’s always taught me by saying, ‘Aaron, the great ones can slow everything down and focus on what they need to do.
“That’s what I try to do. It doesn’t always happen but it definitely worked out today.”
Doubling up and winning a championship are incredible feats, but beating Jeggie Coughlin in a Pro Stock race, well, Stanfield understands that is a feat all in itself.
“Along with my dad, I always thought he was my hero,” Stanfield admitted. “But Jeg is a legend in the sport of drag racing and a legend in Pro Stock. In my eyes, he is one of the best ever to hop in a race car. Funny enough, in my very, very first Pro Stock race, I raced Jeggie and I beat him because he red-lighted. I have not beat him until this day and he’s beat me a lot.”
Despite falling in the second round, Erica Enders stretched her points lead as she tries to win back-to-back world titles and her fourth overall. She leads Jason Line and Coughlin by 55 points heading to Las Vegas.
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