The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads east to Gainesville, Florida, home of the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Auto Plus Raceway at Gainesville. Along with the Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock classes, the Pro Stock Motorcycle class makes its debut at Gainesville.
Tony Schumacher, a four-time winner in Top Fuel in the Gatornationals, sits atop the points standings following his win at the Arizona Nationals. Last year’s Gatornationals winner Morgan Lucas is fifth in points after a strong run to the finals against Schumacher in Arizona. There’s another four-time Top Fuel winner in the field as well with Larry Dixon competing in Gainesville.
John Force Racing knows its way down the track in the Funny Car class: Robert Hight is the defending champion of the event, the second of four-straight wins he had early in 2012, and team patriarch John Force has seven wins in the event. Youngest daughter Courtney has a win already this season, and will be one of the drivers to watch at Gainesville.
Vincent Nobile and Erica Enders won Pro Stock Wallys at the Winternationals and Arizona Nationals, respectively, and sit one-two in points. Surprisingly sitting in sixth and seventh place in Pro Stock: Jason Line (sixth), Greg Anderson and 2012 champ Allen Johnson (tied – seventh).
Eddie Krawiec returns to Gainesville not only as the defending race winner but also as defending Pro Stock Motorcycle champ. He and his Vance & Hines Screamin’ Eagles Harley Davidson teammate Andrew Hines dominated the category last season, winning 15 of 16 races, but rules changes for the Harleys might give some of the other competition a chance. Three to watch: “The Hectors,” Arana and Arana Jr., are joined by youngest son Adam Arana this season, with Adam running for the Auto Club Road to the Future Award.
Pro qualifying for the NHRA Gatornationals gets underway on Friday, March 15th at noon and 2:15 p.m. ET, and continues on Saturday, March 16th at noon and 2:15 p.m. ET; eliminations begin Sunday, March 17th at 11 a.m. ET. Stay up-to-date with the NHRA Gatornationals at www.nhra.com.
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