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The Sports Report: Lauren Freer’s history-making double

Lauren Freer became the 30th driver to double up at an NHRA national event and the first woman to accomplish the feat when she claimed the Super Comp and Super Gas titles at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk.
27 Jun 2023
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
The Sports Report
Lauren Freer

There are two events in NHRA Drag Racing that are special but not exceedingly rare and that is female winners and national event doubles. Heading into last week’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, there had been 97 women winners and 29 unique drivers to double up. Oddly enough, those two pathways hadn’t crossed until last weekend in Norwalk when Lauren Freer bagged both the Super Comp and Super Gas titles at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.

If you had been looking for a prime candidate to be the first female to double at an NHRA race, Freer would have been at or near the top of the short list of favorites. Amongst a sea of talented women drivers in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, Freer has a record that stands out with four prior wins in nine final rounds in Top Dragster, Super Comp, and Super Gas. She's also won a host of divisional events and big-money bracket races, further cementing her reputation as someone to avoid on race day. Freer doesn’t seem to mind pressure and is universally respected among her peers, both men and women.

A day after winning a pair of Wallys, Freer took to her Facebook page to express both her emotions and her gratitude to those who helped her.

“Wow. I still don’t think it has set in yet, but the Wallys are still here, so I guess they are staying,” Freer said. “I always told Dad I wanted to be the first woman to double at a national, and I can’t believe I did it. I can’t thank everybody enough for all the congratulations posts and pics and videos.

“Yesterday was so surreal. It’s been six years since my last national event, and this [is] my first in Super Gas. Again, thank you to everybody for all the posts. [They make] the weekend even better.”

Freer, like every other Sportsman racer in Norwalk, had to be flexible after weather concerns forced the bulk of eliminations to be completed on Saturday evening. Racing in two categories, Freer stayed busy shuffling between her Corvette roadster Super Gas entry and her Miller Race Cars-built dragster in Super Comp.

Nothing came easy as Freer squared off against some of the best Super class racers in the country. In Super Comp, Freer highlighted the day with an almost perfect .001 light against D3 ace Phil Smida, and her road to the Super Gas final may have been even more challenging with her path blocked by world champs Jeremy Mason and John Labbous Jr.

Saturday’s marathon eliminations stretched late into the evening and well into Sunday morning with Freer winning 10 straight rounds and reaching the final in both classes. Sunday afternoon, Freer tackled Super Comp first and notched her first win in seven years when she overcame Dave Dahlem’s .005 light to win, 8.91 to 8.94. A short time later, she returned in Super Gas and completed the perfect weekend with a very narrow win against Pat Martin, 9.911 to 9.916. Both drivers were tuned into the starting line with Freer holding a very slight .005 to .007 edge off at the start.

“It was just an amazing feeling. It’s been seven years since my last win in Reading, and it’s incredible to be the first female to do this,” said Freer, who works with cancer patients in her hometown of Mooresville, N.C.

As noted earlier, Freer is the 30th driver to double up at an NHRA national event, and the feat has been accomplished a total of 45 times, most recently by Anthony Bertozzi in Pomona earlier this season. The other drivers who have doubled in Super Comp and Super Gas include some of NHRA’s best: Tommy Phillips, John Labbous Jr., and Luke Bogacki. For the record, this is also the third double in Norwalk, as Nick Folk (Super Stock/Super Comp) and Jeff Strickland (Stock/Top Dragster) each scored a pair of wins at Summit Motorsports Park in 2017.

Following her historic achievement, Freer had a long list of people to thank, including her husband, her parents, B.B. Williams, Jason Bator, John Labbous Jr., Ray Miller Race Cars, Luke Bogacki, Michael Scott of Right Trailers, Brett Nesbitt of Nesbitt Performance, APD Carburetors and Joey Hessling, Hughes Converters, Mickey Thompson, Janet and Jeff Miller, Todd Paton, Tisha Wilson, and Rhonda McCole.