The Roan Mountain racer drove in the Competition Eliminator class in the early 1990s and later raced in the Pro Stock Truck division, where he won a national-event win at St. Louis in 1998 and earned three final-round appearances.
In recent years, the Cloudland High School alum has served as a World Championship-winning engine tuner for the KB Racing Team and has raced as a local competitor in the DER Bracket Series at Bristol Dragway.
Tabbed to drive a third Summit Racing Camaro at the suburban Chicago race, Freeman qualified 13th with a pass at 6.629 seconds at 208.39 mph.
He lost to teammate Jason Line in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations. Line had a clean pass down the track at 6.574 seconds (210.44 mph) to beat Freeman, who ended at 7.414 seconds (135.61 mph).
Still, Freeman was happy to be in the field after becoming the first Tri-Cities area driver to race at the national level since Greeneville’s Allen Johnson, the 2012 NHRA Pro Stock champion, retired at the end of last season.
“At least I qualified, we had some fun, and I’m looking forward to doing it again sometime,” said Freeman, who licensed for the Pro Stock class at Charlotte in April. “That’s all that matters.”