For Rodger Brogdon and his Houston based RoofTec race team, this weekends Lucas Oil drag racing series event in Ennis, TX means as much, if not more, as any other event on the circuit. Certainly the plan going in to the event is to leave Sunday with another win to keep the early season success going. But to leave with a win accomplishes another goal, and this one means so much to everyone on the team.

This event is the last opportunity to earn points for the upcoming Jeg’s AllStars event, to be contested in early June in Chicago, IL. For Brogdon (who leads the points chase going into the event) it presents a chance to represent his division for the third straight year. Brogdon notes “every drivers goal is to qualify for the Jeg’s AllStars event, to be able to make it three years in a row would really mean a lot.”

“We know Shane Heckel is right behind us in the points, and has been running very well of late” says Rodger, “so we know that we have to be prepared to go rounds. By going rounds we can shut the door on Shane’s dragster and solidify our position as a Jeg’s AllStars representative for our division yet again.” “ By taking last weekend off, we were able to get our pieces freshened up and be ready to close out the Jeg’s points chase.” Rodger also noted “We will only campaign the Chevrolet Cavalier C/SM this weekend, allowing the team to focus on the needs of only one car and alleviating some of the pressure normally found in our two car team.” The entire RoofTec team will be on hand, with Pete Smallwood, Scott Benham, Brian Self and Steven DeTullio all working hard to ensure their trip to Chicago in June.

This weekends race will be contested on the fabled all concrete surface of the Texas Motorplex, just outside Dallas, with qualifying on Friday and Saturday then final eliminations on Sunday. The fact that the track is all concrete may play into this weekends race in a major way, as a chance of scattered showers are forecast for late Friday,...
Heckel shooting for All-Star bid in Dallas

ENNIS, Texas - Second generation NHRA Competition Eliminator driver Shane Heckel will be shooting for the prestigious Jeg's Division 4 All-Star slot during this weekend's Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at the Texas Motorplex just south of Dallas. Heckel currently trails defending Division 4 Champ Rodger Brogdon by 44 points going into the final event to determine who will represent the division at the Jeg's Sportsman All-Stars event at Chicago in June.

Heckel, from LaPorte, Texas, campaigns a B/Dragster, which is essentially a Pro Stock motor and drivetrain in a dragster chassis. To overtake Brogdon in All-Star standings, Heckel needs Brogdon to go out in the first or second round and he must win or runner-up.

"As good as Rodger is running it's kind of a long shot," said Heckel. "If he goes out in the first round, we can win the spot with a runner-up, if he loses in the second round, we can win the spot if we win. If we win the spot, that's great, if not we're still shooting to win the race. We've had plenty of chances to wrap it up, so now we'll just have to make the most of this last one."

Heckel, the current B/D national record holder, enters the event coming off a strong outing at last weekend's Cajun SPORTSnationals in Belle Rose, La., and hopes to keep that momentum going in Dallas.

"The car has been running very well of late," said Heckel. "We get some good power from TRE Racing Engines and this Ballistic chassis has worked well. I got a great crew behind me in my Mom (Kathy) and Dad (Mike), my wife Angie, daughter Brooke, Keith Crump and Mike Schlebach. Hopefully we can keep things rolling in Dallas."

Qualifying begins on Friday for the Comp cars, with two more sessions on Saturday. Final eliminations conclude the event on Sunday. Stay tuned to for the latest news in Comp Racing.

Contact: Will Hanna/ Pro...
Bourgeois, Coughlin lead winners at Cajun SPORTSnationals
photo courtesy Chris George,

<img border="0" src="" align="left" width="360" height="240">BELLE ROSE, La. - Racing completed Sunday at the NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals being held at No Problem Raceway with hometown driver Craig Bourgeois of Metairie, La., taking home the championship trophy in the Comp eliminator category, and Jeg Coughlin of Delaware, Ohio, finishing first in the Top Dragster class.

With a pass of 6.996 seconds at 187.91 mph, Bourgeois held off Dick Maris of Valrico, Fla., who finished with a pass of 7.002 seconds at 167.63 mph. Coughlin earned his first win at the Cajun SPORTSnationals with a victory over Timmy Graves of Denham Springs, La. Coughlin’s pass of 7.502 seconds at 160.84 mph was enough to beat Graves’ pass of 7.765 seconds at 171.69 mph.

“It’s great to win anywhere,” said Jeg Coughlin when asked how it felt to win the Jeg’ SPORTSnationals. “We had a great time down here and I’m really looking forward to running the Jeg’s Northern SPORTSnationals in Columbus. I was running the NHRA POWERade Series last year and didn’t get to race it.”

In Super Street, Sid Norwood of Brandon, Miss., earned the win in his ’80 Corvette over Bart Dufrene Jr, of Des Allemands, La., with a pass of 10.889 seconds at 151.43 mph. This is the second year in a row that Norwood took home the winner’s trophy.

“Any day you can come down here to Louisiana and beat these guys, you’ve had a great day,” expressed Norwood. “We won here last year and lost in Columbus in the semi-finals. We’re definitely going back to Columbus. We want that Jeg’s Crown!”

The event’s winners in all categories now have the opportunity to win the prestigious Jeg’s Crown if they go on to win the NHRA Jeg’s Northern SPORTSnationals. In 2005, Mike Ashley was the only driver to take...
The North Central Division 2006 season opener for the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series scheduled for April 7-9 at Indianapolis Raceway Park has been postponed. The event has been rescheduled for April 21-23. IRP's test session scheduled for Thursday, April 6, has also been rescheduled, for Thursday, April 20.
Heckel reaches semifinals at home event

BAYTOWN, Texas - NHRA Competition Eliminator driver Shane Heckel had a good day at the track in spite of a weekend filled with concern during this past weekend's O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park. Heckel wheeled his B/Dragster into the semifinals in front of his hometown fans, but had his daughter Brooke, who was hospitalized with kidney problems over the weekend, on his mind.

Heckel, who lives just miles from the track in La Porte, Texas, qualified his TRE powered Ballistic Racecraft B/D second in the quick field with a 6.646 second elapsed time that put him .654 under the class index. In round one, he defeated Scott Benham's Team Rooftec machine with a 6.79 (-.503), then took out J. Allen Sherman's Super Mod entry with a 6.719 (-.581), which knocked .08 off his index. Heckel was forced to use up more index to take the stripe against Doug Engels' V-6 powered dragster with a 6.682 (-.538). Heckel's semifinal opponent was Team Rooftec's flagship with owner Rodger Brogdon at the wheel. After realizing he wasn't going to catch Brogdon, Heckel lifted to save the index and registered a 6.770 (-.420). Heckel will receive a permanent penalty to his index of .01 due to cumulative runs under the index totaling .61.

"The car ran good," said Heckel. "It's just hard to drive the finish line when you're going 200 mph and your opponents are only going 140 mph. I just didn't drive the finish line as well as I should. We'll still take the semifinal finish at home. We lost a penny of index this weekend, so we'll just have to work a little harder to find it back. It was just hard to really concentrate on the race with my daughter Brooke in the hospital."

Heckel's good day at the track was followed by a good day at home Monday when his daughter Brooke was released. She went back to school that day.

The next event on the tour for the Heckel Racing...
Photo courtesy Robert Grice, Extreme Photography

For many in the NHRA community, a question that is often bantered about “Where is the next generation coming from?” many times goes unanswered. Yet a look around the pits at any divisional or national event will find several up and coming young drivers, from the pros on down into the sportsman ranks.

If you go searching in the Comp pits at races in the southern part of the U.S., you will more than likely find a very young man working on a very quick B/SMA Pontiac with his dad. That young man, (with manners most parents would kill for their children to have) is 16-year-old Chase Williams, second-generation driver of the Bramblett Auto Parts sponsored Pontiac.

Having spent his entire life around dad Greg’s Super Stock and Comp eliminator cars, the natural progression into the drivers seat would seem a natural. But for this high school sophomore the trip from youngster, to able assistant, to driver, has taken a path that many would not consider a natural progression.

With the advent of the Jr. Dragster program, many young drivers have spent considerable time in front of a Briggs and Stratton honing their skills, but that was short lived for this young Texan. While he admits to spending some time in the Junior program, it just wasn’t the direction that he wanted to go. Dad’s series of racecars since the late 80’s had already prepped this up and coming driver for action somewhat more intense than the junior program could offer.

Running out of the family business, Bramblett Auto Parts (an automotive salvage and recycling facility in Carthage, TX) young Chase had already become accustomed to the rigors of Comp eliminator by the time he was old enough to take over the wheel, and the lessons learned early in life are already paying dividends. Competing in the two season opening events at Belle Rose and Memphis, Chase has managed to...
There is just something about racing at your home track national event. The turnout of employees, friends and family keeps the pit area hopping all weekend long. Racecars and their maintenance almost become secondary to the constant ebb and flow of people. At times the crew manning the bar-b-que grille outnumbers the crew keeping the engines fresh and ready to go.

For Rodger Brogdon and the RoofTec team, just making it to the final round amidst the weekends hustle became a cause to celebrate. Coming up short in the final round against Colt Mikel wasn’t the outcome that everyone wanted, but with Colt going into the final round only carrying a .02 index adjustment vs. Rodger’s .10 loss to the index, the team knew it was going to be tough.

Colt was also on his game the on the tree, recording a perfect reaction time in the quarter finals, a .012 in the semis, and going .004 in the final round. Rodger was just as strong in the reaction time department, recording a .031 light in the quarter finals and a .007 in the semis, but in the final round, a tardy light by Brogdon set the stage for Colt to take home his first NHRA national event “Wally.”

As the team was loading the cars into the trailer, Rodger said “we’ll take the next couple of weeks off, skipping the event in Vegas to get ready for the Jegs Sports Nationals in Belle Rose.” “ The engines need to be freshened and the team will take the time to prepare for that event and then the Lucas Oil Divisional event in Ennis (Texas) the following weekend.”

With the points meet in Ennis the last one to earn points for the Jegs All-Star event, the RoofTec team wants to maintain their lead and secure the third All-Star berth in a row for team owner Rodger Brogdon.
For Rodger Brogdon and the RoofTec race team this weekends O’Reilly Spring Nationals is a very special race giving the team a chance to flex their muscle at their home track, Houston Raceway Park.

Normal race weekends would find the team unloading a pair of Super Mod Chevrolet Cavaliers for race day. But since the hometown O’Reilly Spring Nationals are held in front of family, friends and co-workers, all of the team’s racecars are brought out, and this weekend they’ll add the B/SR of Scott Benham to the race day arsenal. With Benham’s addition, the team now has a third car and driver that has found it’s way to the winners’ circle before.

With team owner Brogdon scoring a win for the team already this year, and driver Brian Self going into the late rounds at a couple of events, the team is already on an early season run. By adding the third car for the weekend, it expands the team’s ability to learn and gather data from each and every run down the track. With three championship-winning drivers at the wheel of three very competitive racecars, the odds of advancing to the final round this weekend look good for Rodger Brogdon and the RoofTec team.

The weekends race schedule calls for two rounds of qualifying on Friday and a final qualifying run to set the field on Saturday morning. First round of eliminations on Saturday afternoon will whittle the 32-car field to the final 16 for Sunday eliminations. With a third of the event pre-entries past national event champions, the battle for the Comp Eliminator title at the O’Reilly spring Nationals will be hard fought.

For the entire RoofTec team, (Rodger, Brian, Scott, Pete Smallwood and Stephen DeTullio), this weekend’s hometown event will be hectic with all the family and friends on hand. But even with the inherent demands from the hometown performance, this is one team that knows how to answer the call on race day.
Wanted to let all know that per Shane's conversation with Len Imbrogno 3/28/06 the H/AA index will NOT take a CIC hit. The competitor was found not to be legal by NHRA tech officials. Engine was found to be at least 22" too big. The competitor is facing a one year suspension and no points will be awarded to the competitor.
Final eliminations at Memphis Motorsports Park on Sunday afternoon didn’t find Rodger Brogdon’s RoofTec Racing Cavalier in the winner’s circle of this Lucas oil event. But, in the bigger picture, the division points lead and Jeg’s All-Star points still show a #1 next to Rodgers name.

When the final qualifying sheet was posted, Brogdon’s RoofTec Cavalier sat third, with team driver Brian Self back in ninth, in a very quick field of Comp cars. The top six cars were all -.70 or better, and to make the top half of the field required a -.637 run.

First round of eliminations saw Brogdon take a permanent hit to the D/SM index with a winning -.694 lap over Joey Tanksley’s new C/D, while Brian Self also advanced, albeit not quite severely at -.512. Of the twelve pairs that matched up in round one, seven winners found a CIC penalty on their time slips; four of those were permanent hits.

Round two saw the two teams cars continue on in eliminations with Brogdon taking a win over George Gallimore’s slightly out of shape A/AP while “Lump” snuck by the F/A of Pat Ross with a -.526 lap.

The end of the day though occurred in round three, with both drivers bowing out via the red light. Brian Self was up in the first pair and handed the win to Chase Williams with a .008 red and two pair later, Brogdon went .024 red to eventual runner-up Dale Spencer.

For Brogdon, there is one more Lucas Oil event in division four to claim points for the Jeg’s All-Star race in Joliet later this season. That comes at the Texas Motorplex in but a few short weeks, and right now, securing that spot for the third year in a row, is a top priority.

Between now and then though comes the O’Reilly Spring Nationals at Rodgers home track, Houston Raceway Park. With a three-car attack for next weekends race, the RoofTec team is planning on taking this weekends performance, and stepping it up a notch.