Last weekend, the National Hot Rod Association returned to Gainesville for the 47th edition of Gatornationals at Auto-Plus Raceway. It was the third of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and included drivers in four different categories. There was Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle - each earning points towards the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships. I ended up spending all weekend covering the race while on assignment with the Gainesville Sun.
There were approxiately 75,000 devoted drag-race fans, filling almost all of the seats throughout the weekend. Although, most people came to watch the pre-race ceremonies and eliminations on Sunday. Here's what the schedule looked like:
Friday, qualifying at 12:45 and 4:15 p.m.
Saturday, qualifying at noon and 3:15 p.m.
Sunday, pre-race ceremonies begin at 10 a.m., with eliminations beginning at 11 a.m.
Brittany Force won her first NHRA Top Fuel event with her Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster, beating Terry McMillen on Sunday in the final at the Gatornationals. She was one of 16-time world champion John Force's three racing daughters, Brittany was winless in her first seven Top Fuel finals.
On the other hand, Robert Hight gave John Force Racing its first double victory by winning the Funny Car class with his Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car to a 4.429 at 280.95. This is Hight’s first win in 2016 and third in Gainesville, currently leading the Funny Car points.
In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson raced his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro and won against Ken Black Racing teammate Jason Line. Anderson posted a 6.590 at 210.01. The KB Racing duo of Anderson and Line has combined to win the first three Pro Stock events this year.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Eddie Krawiec rode his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a 6.820 at 198.23 and defeated Hector Arana Sr.’s 6.920 at 196.44. This marks Krawiec’s 32nd career win and his fourth victory at Gainesville Raceway.