ALEX LAUGHLIN HEADED DRAG RADIAL RACING
NHRA racer Alex Laughlin confirmed to Competition Plus that he'll add another ride to his busy drag racing schedule for 2018.
Laughlin will compete in the Lights Out 9 drag radial event on Feb. 15-18 at South Georgia Motorsports Park, as well as the Sweet Sixteen event there in March.
The Lights Out event marks the first time the Pro Stock winner will compete in a drag radial event. When asked why he wanted to give radial racing a try, Laughlin had a simple answer.
"Drag racing," Laughlin said. "And more of it."
Laughlin said he went as a fan to the Wooostock race at Darlington Dragway last year and had a blast
"I've never been to one before," Laughlin said. "I like all kinds of racing, for sure, especially drag racing. I had some time, so I went there to that race just as a spectator. Stevie Fast (Jackson) was out there with his car, and I thought, 'This is a pretty cool deal.'"
Laughlin became interested in building his own drag radial car, and he bought a 1963 split-window Corvette to build to drag radial specs. But with his incredibly busy schedule over the last year, there simply wasn't time to complete the construction project.
"We ended up buying a car that's pretty much turnkey," Laughlin said. "It's a C6 Corvette, and we ended up selling the other car."
Laughlin bought the screw-blower car from Marty Robertson to race in drag radial. He's made a few passes in the car, but it drives nothing like his Pro Stock Camaro or the Street Outlaws blower car he's raced.
"It is not even close to comparable to (other cars)," Laughlin said. "The blower car for the Street Outlaws deal is basically a Pro Mod. The Pro Stock car is a big-tire (car) with not a lot of horsepower – and how light it is.
"The radial car weighs 2,950 pounds. It's heavy, and the 60-foot is like 1-flat, which is boring. But (soon) into it, the thing is pulling 4 Gs and just stuck to the track. It's just awesome, just awesome."
Drag radial races are notoriously unpredictable, and with limited experience driving one of those vehicles, Laughlin's expectations for the Lights Out race are, shall we say, tempered.
"To go out there and run with everybody and not make a fool of myself would be an absolute good experience," Laughlin said.
Laughlin will get plenty of experience racing in the next few weeks. He'll race his Gas Monkey Pro Stock car in the season-opening Lucas Oil Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., then the Lights Out 9 drag radial race in Georgia, followed by the NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix – all in successive weekends.
Laughlin said he spent more than 300 hours in an airplane in 2017, and he'll be well on his way to that amount again.
"I'm going to race Pomona in Pro Stock and leave our rig over in Phoenix for the next NHRA race," Laughlin said. "We've borrowed a rig from Richard Freeman from Elite to haul the radial car in. We've got that in the shop now loading it with blower parts and all that good stuff to run this radial race.
"So I'll run Pomona, go from west coast to east coast to run the radial race, and come right back to Phoenix the next weekend for another Pro Stock race."