BITHLO, Fla. – NHRA Pro Stock star Alex Laughlin added another milestone moment to his doorslammer drag racing career Sunday evening when he turned on the final-round win light at the inaugural Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals presented by CTech Manufacturing.
Racing at Orlando Speed World Dragway, Laughlin defeated Todd Tutterow in the final round, recording a 5.671-second pass at 251.53 mph to Tutterow’s 6.362-second run at 146.21 mph.
Laughlin hadn’t even sat in the seat of Marc Caruso’s Caruso Family Racing ’69 Camaro before the World Doorslammer Nationals. But after a series of test runs, four rounds of qualifying and four passes in eliminations, Laughlin was cutting consistent reaction times and wheeling the roots-blown ATI Performance entry like a veteran.
“It sounds pretty crazy – let’s be real, it is real crazy,” Laughlin said. “We started off on the wrong foot. We struggled through every test run. Once we started qualifying, things started going our way. Once we started racing, things really started going our way.”
Laughlin qualified No. 3 with a 5.66-second pass at 251.77 mph. He moved on past the first round of eliminations by beating Jim Whiteley’s 5.738-second run with a 5.717-second pass at 249.76 mph. The Texas native caught a break in the second round when Sidnei Frigo slowed to a 10-second pass, allowing Laughlin to race on to the semifinals with a 5.825-second run at 248.16 mph.
Tuner Lee White stepped up for the semifinal matchup with Michael Biehle. Laughlin won on the strength of a 5.704-second pass at 250.64 mph.
Laughlin and Tutterow were both aggressive in the final round. Tutterow left the line first with a .042 light to Laughlin’s .045. It was an even race until Tutterow had to drive through tire shake, ultimately backfiring the supercharger downtrack. Laughlin made a clean pass down the Orlando quarter mile to take the win.
“Man, Lee White is definitely an underestimated crew chief,” Laughlin said. “The dude knows what he’s doing. He deserves all the credit for this. The Carusos have some of the nicest equipment money can buy in the class. Props to them, props to Lee. We just won the first-ever World Doorslammer Nationals and it’s an unbelievable feeling.”
In addition to racing in Pro Mod, Laughlin was also competing for $75,000 in Pro Stock. He qualified No. 9 in Pro Stock before falling to Elite Motorsports teammate Aaron Stanfield in the second round. He was the only driver competing for the double-up in both classes.
“After qualifying third, I thought we absolutely had a shot at it,” Laughlin said. “The Pro Stock car was running pretty decent and this thing was running pretty decent, so I thought we had a shot at winning both – definitely a good shot at winning one, and it turns out we did.”
While Laughlin didn’t pull off the double-up, he did get to share the winner’s circle with another one of his Elite Motorsports teammates, Jeg Coughlin Jr., who won the $75,000 Pro Stock race.
“What a day,” Laughlin said. “Me and my teammate won both classes. That’s rad – raaaad.”