Drag Illustrated Issue 177, July / August 2022 - Page 114

NHRA Comp Eliminator hitters offer opinions on what makes the class so special BY KELLY WADE
✖ DRAG ILLUSTRATED ROUNDTABLE ✖
FRANK ARAGONA JR .
BRUNO MASSEL
JIM GREENHECK
ROYCE FREEMAN JR .
RODGER BROGDON

STATE OF

NHRA Comp Eliminator hitters offer opinions on what makes the class so special BY KELLY WADE

Photographs by DAVID BEITLER , ALEX OWENS and AUTO IMAGERY

The unique Competition Eliminator category offers all-out racing featuring an expansive array of race cars and engine combinations , and although some ( or many ) observers may find the structure of the class a bit complicated , few could deny that it ’ s just downright fun to watch these faithful racers “ run whatchu brung .”

A handful of years ago , NHRA made enticing changes to the category that housed nearly 100 different class combinations , and since that time , participation has slowly begun to build . Over the past couple of seasons , Comp has continued to grow .
To find out what keeps these drivers so invested , we sat down with Frank Aragona Jr . and Bruno
Massel – both three-time world champions in the category – as well as longtime Competition Eliminator devotees Jim Greenheck , Royce Freeman Jr ., and Rodger Brogdon , a Texas businessman who launched an incredible campaign to enrich the class at the division level .
What is it about Comp Eliminator that is so appealing to you ?
Aragona : We like being able to make the car go as fast as it can possibly go . And then there ’ s a whole chess game that goes into Comp ; you have to preserve your index , save it each round , and not hit your index permanently and save it for the next race . It ’ s just the whole challenge of it that ’ s always drawn me to it .
Massel : This category is challenging on so many different levels , and that ’ s what makes it appealing . From the performance standpoint ,
you want to have a fast car . From the driving standpoint , you need to be good on the tree and drive the finish line – and then it ’ s a chess game to preserve the index . There are just so many things that go into it that the average person doesn ’ t understand . You ’ re always toying with the car , trying to find something better . It ’ s not necessarily the “ poor man ’ s Pro Stock ,” but there ’ s part of that to it .
Greenheck : When I grew up , it was Modified Production . That went away , so that left us with Comp . I like the innovation . It all started when I was 16 , when I went down the dragstrip for the first time . I fell in love .
Freeman : Comp has always been appealing , especially when you deal the way we do in a performance-based engine building program . Comp is built for the guys that maybe think outside the box a little bit and build everything one-off
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