NHRA Full Throttle coverage is presented by Sonny's Racing Engines.

Gainesville Florida

March 10-13, 2011

Photo Gallery one (Pits, Cackle, Legends)

Photo Gallery two (eliminations)

Eliminations wrap up.

2011 NHRA Tire Kingdom Gatornationals Weekend Wrap Up

Gainesville, Florida
By Pat Welsh

Photos by Pat Welsh and David Smith

 

 

The 60th Anniversary of the National Hot Rod Association is a really neat deal. On Saturday morning the starting line was the scene of a large gathering of many of the greats of the sport.

Don Garlits, Herm Petersen, Bruce Larson, Dale Funk, Marvin Graham, Jim Walther, Rich Guasco, Don Hampton, Wayne Gapp, Jerry Baltes, Dale Emery, Joe Mondello, Linda Vaughn, Steve Reyes, TC Lemons, Jeg Coughlin Sr., and Florida's Favorite Darrell Gwynn were honored for their contributions to the sport of drag racing. I'm sure I'm missing a few names but it's a good thing to witness all of these people who dedicated their lives to the sport together as one group.

Continuing with the nostalgia theme the NHRA Cacklefest was held on Sunday in front of the large Gatornationals crowd. On hand were the "Little Puffer" AA/D of Rex Stevens, Jimmy King driving the "King and Marshall" AA/FD, Art Marshall in the Jim and Allison Lee "Great Expectations II" Dragster, the Barnes and Gladstone "Michigander" Dragster, Jerry Baltes in the Croshier, Baltes, and Lavato Dragster, and "Big Daddy" Don Garlits with his relatively new next generation Chrysler 392 hemi "Mopar Wynn's Charger" AA/FD.

The cars fired up on the return road then took their respective places on the racetrack. They ran them till they ran out of fuel.

Throughout the weekend The Gwynn-Garlits Match Races for a Cause took place on the track. Don Garlits faced off against Darrell Gwynn in custom-built battery-powered dragsters designed by race builder Mike Gerry. Garlits, driving a replica of his famous Swamp Rat 30 and Gwynn racing a copy of his 1986 Top Fuel Dragster duked it out on both Saturday and Sunday with exhibition passes.

The "Brand X" and "Texas Jungle Jim" Funny Cars made one pass on Saturday afternoon. Mike Smith from Boynton Beach, Florida driving the "Brand X" scored the win over Jon Capps with a 5.99 204 to 6.20 225. They were scheduled to run on Sunday but that didn't come about.



Del Worsham is one of the best nitro drivers ever. The California native isn't new to Top Fuel racing having driven Roger Primm's car in the 1990's for a brief stint. Worsham, who in the past had driven the family funny car before landing with the heavily talented Al-Anabi Racing Team had a couple of not so great years driving the Al-Anabi Toyota Funny Car before team owner Alan Johnson ditched the flopper for a second Top Fueler. Driving alongside fellow teammate and World Champion Larry Dixon, Worsham has all the tools he needs to succeed.

Worsham followed up his semi-final round finish at the Winternationals with a final round super-close victory over Tony Schumacher's "U.S. Army" Dragster in Florida. Worsham's 3.858 318.99 took care of Schumacher's 3.866 318.39 to capture the 42nd Annual Tire Kingdom Gatornationals Top Fuel Title and his first win in Top Fuel. Schumacher set a new Track Speed Record in qualifying with a 325.45 which was 5 mph faster than anyone else.

Jeff Arend driving the "DHL" Toyota Solara had a wild run in the first round of Funny Car against Tim Wilkerson. After his car lost traction Arend got off the throttle and when he got back into it the car rotated violently around. The car then crossed the finish line and the centerline in that order. Arend took the win but he would be done after the second round.

Mike Neff doesn't seem like he missed a beat when he took the 2010 season off to help tune John Force to his latest Championship title. Now back in the seat of the "Ford Drive One" 2011 Mustang, Neff is proving that he knows how to drive.

He scored the Gatornationals Funny Car victory over Cruz Pedregon in the "Snap-On Tools" Toyota Solara with a 4.092 310.48 after Pedregon broke some clutch fingers at the launch and smoked the tires.

Pro Stock Cars had insanely perfect conditions this weekend with the cool weather. The first official runs into the 6.40's and new National ET and Speed Records during qualifying were punctuated with close performances during eliminations on Sunday.

Roger Brogdon after qualifying with his first number spot made it all the way to the semi finals before losing to Jason Line. When it was all said and done Line and Greg Anderson met in the final round and Line took the win on a holeshot with a 6.554 211.96 to Anderson's quicker 6.545 212.43.

Pro Stock Motorcycle's had an equally outstanding weekend. Hector Arana and Eddie Krawiec held on to the number one and two qualifying spots with a National ET Record 6.777 for Arana and a new National Speed Record 199.26 mph for Krawiec. Arana's son Hector Jr. is trying his hand at NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing in 2011 but he didn't make the show ending up 27th out of 27 bikes. Karen Stoffer looked sterling during eliminations taking out Arana in the semi finals. Her bid to win the Gatornationals title came up short in the final when she red lit. Krawiec took the win with a 6.847 197.08.

On to my favorite class: Pro Mod. Proving that Pro Mod's can be the most unpredictable cars in all of drag racing Chip King in the "Strutmasters.com" Dodge Daytona had a wild ride in Saturday's 3rd qualifying session. Near the finish line King got real loose then the engine let go. The car shot through the shutdown area with lots of smoke billowing out from everywhere: the cockpit, front and rear wheel wells, and the engine. How he didn't hit the wall is amazing to me but he didn't.

Roger Burgess in his "ProCare RX" '63 Corvette is making some nice progress with the turborcharged beast, but it seems he's having problems keeping it in the lights while simultaneously getting the rpm's up and he red lit in the semi finals.

Kenny Lang from Grande Pointe, Manitoba, Canada debuted the new "Summit Racing" '68 Camaro at this race. But first he had to get around Khalid Balooshi from Doha, Qatar in the semi finals if he wanted to win the Gatornationals title. Balooshi took him out with a 5.911 to Langs's 5.947.

In the final it was Balooshi's nitrous '68 Camaro vs Danny Rowe's supercharged '68 Camaro. Rowe took the starting line advantage with a 0.056 light but Balooshi's power took control and he won the 2011 Tire Kingdom Gatornationals Pro Mod Title with a 5.912 240.51 to Rowe's 5.943 246.21.

 

Sportsman wrap up

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --


The 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals were spectacular. Lucas Oil drag racers crafted a series of moments that fairly well explained why this sport is so totally addictive and horribly contagious. Record breaking passes, career best runs, first wins, identical final round numbers, brothers in the winner's circle: it was everything you could want and more, especially for victors Chris Demke (Top Alcohol Dragster), Mickey Ferro (Top Alcohol Funny Car), Sal Biondo (Comp), Peter Biondo (Super Stock), Russell "Bubba" Linke (Stock), Tom Dauber (Super Comp), and Jason Lynch (Super Gas).


Sunland, Calif.-based Demke drove his Jerry Maddern/Adam Rhoades-tuned Peen Rite Abrasive Finishing blown rail to a 5.255 at 272.06 mph that was a thousandth quicker than his previous career best in his first take at the Gainesville Raceway surface. With a fat new injector in place, Demke's Top Alcohol Dragster made the second-quickest run ever for a blown entry.

That first hit was a fair indication of greater things ahead for the team, and they went on to knock out Don Fiorelli and his olds-powered dragster with a 5.291 to claim low e.t. of the first round by a substantial margin. Rich McPhillips was their next victim to fall by way of a 5.338 that was again the quickest of the round.


The semifinals saw the lowest number in the hands of Randy Meyer, and his 5.328 came with final-round lane choice over Demke, who had his hands full but kept ahead of Bill Reichert to earn his 100th round win and a berth in the 12th national event Top Alcohol Dragster final of his career - his first since winning the Brainerd event last season.

Demke was a strong .017 at the starting line to Meyer's .067 and clocked a quick 5.294 to 5.305 for his fourth national event win.

No. 1 qualifier Duane Shields, in his Shortline Express A/Fuel dragster won the final round of the Valdosta make-up scheduled during the closing qualifying session (he defeated Meyer), but in the first round of Gatornationals eliminations he was late to launch and dropping cylinders, and the surprise upset victory was awarded to Jerry Powell and would be counted as his first win light in national event competition. Shields entered eliminations from the top spot for the 16th time in his career and did so on the basis of a very un-pretty yet exceptionally effective 5.203 at 274.66 mph recorded in the first session of qualifying.


You couldn't really say that Ferro taking home the Top Alcohol Funny Car title was a shocker - the final round was the 13th for the Stamford, Conn., driver of the Ryco Hydraulics Monte Carlo and the Wally that was born from it was his seventh - but the way that Al-Anabi Racing's Frank Manzo and Tequila Patron pilot Alexis DeJoria blasted the competition throughout qualifying seemed to lay the framework for a different plan.

DeJoria had her best weekend ever on the dragstrip, and it really began in the second session of qualifying with a career best 5.488 at 266.69 mph. The speed bettered the national record previously held by Tony Bartone at 266 flat, and the run was even more impressive considering that she had to pedal through tire shake to get those numbers.

In the third session, DeJoria did even better and cleared the finish line with a ridiculous 5.446 at 267.91 that exceeded the national record for e.t. (also set by Bartone at the Winternationals just a couple of weeks prior to the Gainesville event), but the national records would be in the hands of the one, the only, THE Frank Manzo when all was said and done. In the second round of qualifying, Manzo went 5.437 at 268.06 mph, and in the first round of eliminations he ran a mind-blowing 5.432 at 267.64. Both ends of the national record were backed up between the two passes and tied with a neat little bow.

Ferro, who started from the No. 3 position, brought down Larry Dobbs in the first round and advanced from round two when Ulf Leanders was a no-show. DeJoria's dream weekend came to an end with an unsightly red light next to Ferro in the semis.


Paul Gill and his Moduline Mustang made a great showing in eliminations after starting from the bottom half. In the opening round, he improved on his qualifying time with a 5.526 to stop Mark Billington and made more progress with a 5.523 in a ginormous upset win over tire-rattling Manzo. His semifinals match with John Bojec ended with the win light in his lane, a number that equaled lane choice in the final and Bojec jamming into the wall on his own side of the track after crossing the center line.

The final was decided at the Tree: Gill posted a .099 reaction to Ferro's .057 and couldn't make up the difference before the quarter-mile timer. Ferro won, 5.570 to 5.547.

Other standouts in the category during the course of the super-fast weekend included Tom Carter, Ulf Leanders, Mark Billington, John Bojec and Cassie Simonton, who each recorded career best numbers. Simonton also scored her first round win at a national event.

Division 2's Valdosta Top Alcohol Funny Car final victor was Tom Carter over Kris Hool, who red-lighted by a thousandth.


In Comp, Sal Biondo reached the 27th final of his career and won the title in the category for the ninth time. He also has six Super Stock victories and has been to the money round in Stock Eliminator twice.

His challenge this time was Frank Aragona Jr. and his F/ED, and Aragon was awesome at the starting line, launching with a .009 green light to Sal's .021, but at the finish line stripe it was Sal in Vinny Barone's I/AA Cavalier getting the decision by two-thousandths.

Notably, Aragona exceeded the F/ED record (an 8.010 at 163.47 mph he recorded in Belle Rose last season) in his first qualifying pass with a 7.974 at 165.68.

Sal's brother, Peter Biondo, scored his 40th national event win with a defeat of first-time finalist Merrill Schrimscher. Peter, now a six-time Gatornationals winner, clocked a .030 light to Schrimscher's .083 and was 9.758 on his 9.72 dial to his opponent's breakout 9.964 (9.98).

The most recent previous national event victory for the diversely successful driver of the GT/DA '00 Firebird was in Charlotte last fall, when he claimed the Super Gas title. Prior to that, Maspeth, N.Y., resident Peter won the 2010 Stock Eliminator battle in Chicago, and before that, his most recent win was in Competition Eliminator at the 2009 Brainerd race.


Old Bridge, New Jersey's Linke, a former JEGS Allstars winner, wheeled his C/SA '97 Camaro to the final round and received a few breaks along the way. After a bye run in the third round, Linke advanced again when fourth-round opponent Dan Dobson red-lighted by four-thou. He ran his number in the quarterfinals to stop Joe Santangelo, and then headed straight to the final when Chris Howe fouled out in the semis.

Consistent Dan Fletcher ran back-to-back 11.27s heading into the final and dialed an 11.28 looking to close out the weekend on a high note, but a .020 red-light start put the brakes on what could have been his 71st national event win.


In one of the most unbelievable finals of the day, Super Comp racer Dauber, of Bellerose, N.Y., picked up his third national event victory when he beat Edmond Richardson, a 45-time national event winner, by two-thousandths in the final. The two were almost identical at the starting line with remarkable lights; Dauber's .007 to Richardson's .009 was the deciding factor as the pair posted identical and amazing dead-on the index 8.900s at the top end.

Lynch and final round opponent Michael Ruff fought for the Super Gas title with close and quick launches and a tight race to determine who could run the number. Ruff left first, .009 to .015, but Pleasant View, Tenn., racer Lynch had the better combination in his '88 Cavalier to get closer to the 9.90 index, 9.922 to 9.931. The final was the third for each of the drivers, and the victory was the second for Lynch.


Many Lucas Oil racers will head to Belle Rose this coming weekend for the Cajun SPORTSnationals, and the next Full Throttle Series event to catch sportsman racing will be the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, April 1-3.

NHRA LUCAS OIL SERIES RESULTS

Sunday's final results from the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. The race is the second of 22 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

Top Alcohol Dragster -- Chris Demke, 5.294, 267.22 def. Randy Meyer, 5.305, 268.87.

Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Mickey Ferro, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.570, 258.86 def. Paul Gill, Ford Mustang, 5.547, 260.41.

Competition Eliminator -- Sal Biondo, Chevy Cavalier, 8.157, 160.10 def. Frank Aragona Jr, Dragster, 8.111, 163.49.

Super Stock -- Peter Biondo, Pontiac Firebird, 9.758, 133.04 def. Merrill Schrimscher, Chevy Nova, 9.964, 131.59.

Stock Eliminator -- Russell Linke, Chevy Camaro, 10.632, 119.97 def. Dan Fletcher, Camaro, 11.952, 89.23.

Super Comp -- Tom Dauber, Dragster, 8.900, 156.66 def. Edmond Richardson, Dragster, 8.900, 168.28.

Super Gas -- Jason Lynch, Chevy Cavalier, 9.922, 150.73 def. Michael Ruff, Chevy Camaro, 9.931, 158.52.


Saturday final qualifying and wrap up

Photos courtesy Pat Welsh

Interview with GSA Pro Mod star Canadian Kenny Lang.

Interview with Geico/Lucas Oil Top Fuel Dragster owner/Driver Morgan Lucas.

Interview with the busiest female in Drag Racing Melanie Troxel.

 


After a shaky NHRA Full Throttle Series debut on Friday, 2004 NASCAR champion Kurt Busch qualified solidly into the 16-car Pro Stock field on Saturday with 6.532-second pass at 211.46 mph.
Busch ended the day qualified No. 12 and he will have as interesting a matchup as he could draw in Erica Enders, the 27-year old from Houston who was the subject of the Disney original movie, Right on Track.

"You have to have those tough days to go through to appreciate what a good day can be and today was that day," said Busch, who drives the Shell Dodge Avenger. "We're in the show, that was goal number one; goal number two is to get into race mode (Sunday) morning."

Enders, driver of the ZaZa Energy Chevy Cobalt, added: "It doesn't matter, Kurt Busch or George Bush, we're going to do the same thing, put our helmet on the same way."


The No. 1 qualifiers at the second of 22 races in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season were unchanged from Friday's provisionals: Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Rodger Brogdon (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Hagan, who will match up with Bob Bode in R1 as he seeks to make is fifth final round in the last six races, secured his second straight No. 1 at Gainesville Raceway with a track-record 4.030-second pass at 309.84 mph in his DieHard Dodge Charger.

"Florida's been kind to us," Hagan said. "It's nice to come out here and reset our own track record."

In Top Fuel, seven-time champion Tony Schumacher earned the top spot with a 3.814-second pass at a track-record 325.45 mph in the U.S. Army dragster.

"We wanted to see if we could go faster and you know what, we couldn't," said Schumacher, who spun the wheels twice on Saturday.

The No. 1 was the 62nd overall for Schumacher, who has been to five final rounds at the Gatornationals with event titles in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010.

In Pro Stock, Brogdon earned the No. 1 with a 6.495-second pass at 213.47 mph in his Attitude Apparel Pontiac GXP. This was the first No. 1 qualifier in Brogdon's career that spans 62 races.

"It is a little bit special, this is the first national event I ever went to when I started drag racing (Super Stock in 1994). There's only one race bigger, Indy, so it feels good, it feels real good," Brogdon said.


In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Arana remained No. 1 with the national-record time of 6.777 at 195.36 mph that he set on Friday aboard the Lucas Oil Buell.

"Qualifying No. 1 is great, it means you did the best, you were the best in qualifying, but when it comes to Sunday, that doesn't mean anything . on raceday, of course, anything can happen," said Arana, who will open with Joe DeSantis Sunday.

Also of note in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, the field will include three women and one of those three, Angie Smith, will square off against her husband, Matt.

The 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals begin Sunday at 11 a.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN2 beginning at 6 p.m. ET.

QUALIFYING NUMBERS FOLLOW THE AD BELOW

Final qualifying

Top Fuel

1 2 Tony Schumacher, Brownsburg IN, DSR-TFX 3.814 325.45& 325.45
2 4 Antron Brown, Pittsboro IN, DSR-TFX 3.822 318.39 318.39
3 421 Spencer Massey, Ft. Worth TX, DSR-TFX 3.828 316.01 319.37
4 1 Larry Dixon, Brownsburg IN, Hadman-TFX 3.838 317.05 318.47


5 8 Steve Torrence, Kilgore TX, Hadman-TFX 3.860 313.80 313.80
6 5 Shawn Langdon, Brownsburg IN, Hadman-TFX 3.861 316.60 316.60
7 7 Brandon Bernstein, Fairview TX, McKinney-TFX 3.867 313.88 313.88
8 1301 Doug Foley, Sewell NJ, Attac-TFX 3.869 310.55 310.55
9 22 Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 3.871 320.13 320.13
10 99 Del Worsham, Chino Hills CA, Hadman-TFX 3.874 298.73 298.73
11 255 Clay Millican, Drummonds TN, Hadman-BAE 3.877 316.15 316.15


12 34 Morgan Lucas, Brownsburg IN, Hadman-TFX 3.879 317.57 317.57
13 3516 Terry McMillen, Elkhart IN, McKinney-TFX 3.891 316.15 316.15
14 323 Chris Karamesines, Chicago IL, McKinney-BAE 3.898 309.98 309.98


15 142 Dom Lagana, Scarsdale NY, Hadman-BAE 3.925 303.43 303.43
16 44 David Grubnic, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 3.926 306.19 306.19

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 12 Bob Vandergriff, Alpharetta GA, Hadman-TFX 3.928 310.55 310.55
18 802 Stig Neergaard, Torring DK, Neergaard-TFX 3.973 304.46 307.02
19 444 Fred Farndon, Oklahoma City OK, Dragster-TFX 4.231 244.60 244.60


20 303 Pat Dakin, Dayton OH, McKinney-TFX 8.546 75.15 228.69
21 173 Ike Maier, Tottenham ON, Dragster-TFX 11.942 46.87 284.75

Funny Car

1 2814 Matt Hagan, Christianburg VA, '10 Charger 4.030 309.84 309.84
2 4 Jack Beckman, Norco CA, '10 Charger 4.051 308.71 310.77
3 7701 Mike Neff, Indianapolis IN, '10 Mustang 4.074 311.05 311.05
4 31 Johnny Gray, Artesia NM, '11 Charger 4.079 309.34 309.34
5 71 Cruz Pedregon, Brownsburg IN, '09 Solara 4.090 307.09 309.06
6 5 Bob Tasca III, Cranston RI, '11 Mustang 4.114 310.48 310.48
7 1 John Force, Yorba Linda CA, '10 Mustang 4.119 310.48 310.48
8 170 Jeff Arend, San Dimas CA, '08 Solara 4.127 303.78 303.78
9 10 Tim Wilkerson, Springfield IL, '10 Mustang 4.131 304.05 304.05


10 8 Robert Hight, Yorba Linda CA, '10 Mustang 4.133 309.20 309.20


11 9 Tony Pedregon, Brownsburg IN, '09 Impala SS 4.149 302.69 302.69
12 28 Ron Capps, Carlsbad CA, '11 Charger 4.158 292.90 301.07
13 116 Paul Lee, Anaheim CA, '10 Impala SS 4.161 305.29 305.29
14 388 Jim Head, Columbus OH, '11 Solara 4.181 298.07 298.07
15 717 Brian Thiel, Brownsburg IN, '10 Charger 4.184 288.27 295.59
16 340 Bob Bode, Barrington IL, '10 Impala 4.184 278.35 299.66

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 507 Melanie Troxel, Duluth GA, '11 Solara 4.256 299.80 299.80
18 241 John Smith, Anderson SC, '06 Monte Carlo 4.568 195.48 195.48


Pro Stock

1 9 Rodger Brogdon, Tomball TX, '09 GXP 6.495$ 213.47 213.57
2 3 Mike Edwards, Coweta OK, '08 GXP 6.495 213.13 213.47
3 1 Greg Anderson, Morresville NC, '09 GXP 6.495 212.86 213.23
4 5 Jason Line, Mooresville NC, '08 GXP 6.496 212.49 213.20
5 48 Erica Enders, New Orleans LA, '10 Cobalt 6.502 213.57^ 213.57
6 208 Warren Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '09 GXP 6.505 212.46 212.46
7 8 Ron Krisher, Warren OH, '09 GXP 6.510 212.93 213.27
8 2 Greg Stanfield, Bossier City LA, '09 GXP 6.512 211.89 212.36
9 6 Allen Johnson, Greeneville TN, '11 Avenger 6.521 211.96 212.16
10 21 Kurt Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '09 GXP 6.526 211.83 211.83
11 4 Shane Gray, Denver NC, '09 GXP 6.527 211.59 211.76
12 201 Kurt Busch, Mooresville NC, '11 Avenger 6.532 211.46 211.46
13 154 Vincent Nobile, Dix Hills NY, '10 Avenger 6.539 212.46 212.66
14 357 Larry Morgan, Newark OH, '10 Mustang 6.544 210.80 212.09
15 136 Bob Benza, Briarcliff Manor NY, '09 GXP 6.564 210.73 210.73
16 256 Buddy Perkinson, Hopewell VA, '10 Mustang 6.587 210.41 210.54

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 5037 Richard Freeman, Pauls Valley OK, '09 GXP 6.612 209.43 209.98
18 102 Frank Gugliotta, Mount Airey MD, '10 Mustang 6.628 208.71 208.71
19 406 Bob Yonke, Burleson TX, '09 GXP 6.987 207.75 207.75
20 2062 Ronnie Humphrey, Jacksonville NC, '09 GXP 7.430 185.13 212.26
21 55 V. Gaines, Lakewood CO, '10 Avenger 8.668 101.28 210.70

Pro Stock Motorcycle

1 5 Hector Arana, Milltown IN, Buell XB9R 6.777$ 195.36 196.10
2 3 Eddie Krawiec, Brownsburg IN, Harley V-Rod 6.788 199.26^ 199.26
3 2 Andrew Hines, Brownsburg IN, Harley V-Rod 6.826 198.73 198.73
4 8 Karen Stoffer, Gardnerville NV, Suzuki TL1000R 6.833 198.00 198.00
5 4 Matt Smith, King NC, Buell XB9R 6.872 194.32 194.32
6 1 LE Tonglet, Metairie LA, Suzuki GSXR 6.880 196.27 196.27


7 401 Gerald Savoie, Cut Off LA, Suzuki 6.886 191.43 193.68
8 205 Shawn Gann, Stoneville NC, Buell XB9R 6.895 189.95 189.95
9 10 David Hope, Nevada MO, Buell XB9R 6.900 194.07 194.07
10 573 Mike Berry, Littleton CO, Buell XB9R 6.910 192.33 192.33
11 533 Jim Underdahl, Forest Lake MN, Suzuki TL1000R 6.918 196.87 196.87
12 77 Angie Smith, King NC, Buell XB9R 6.926 190.59 190.59
13 413 Michael Ray, New Braunfels TX, Buell 6.933 187.52 187.52
14 6 Steve Johnson, Irondale AL, Suzuki TL1000R 6.940 194.66 194.66
15 745 Katie Sullivan, Corning CA, Suzuki TL1000R 6.990 191.43 191.97
16 310 Joe DeSantis, Rootstown OH, Suzuki GSXR 7.014 190.97 190.97

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 42 James Surber, Whitethorn CA, Buell 7.019 188.23 191.87
18 1680 Justin Finley, Stamford CT, Suzuki GSXR 7.031 193.16 193.16
19 7 Michael Phillips, Baton Rouge LA, Suzuki GSXR 7.033 189.36 197.33
20 69 Bailey Whitaker, Ft. Lauderdale FL, Buell XB9R 7.040 185.64 190.92


21 202 Junior Pippin, Conyers GA, Buell 7.095 186.90 191.16
22 200 Chip Ellis, Brownsburg IN, Buell 7.125 181.89 187.11
23 457 Redell Harris, Prairieville LA, Buell 7.126 186.02 193.90
24 378 Dawn Minturn, Columbus OH, Suzuki 7.152 185.28 188.12
25 878 Fredrik Fredlund, Aland Island FI, Suzuki 7.255 183.29 183.29
26 371 Wesley Wells, Greenwood IN, Suzuki GSXR 7.281 182.67 189.20
27 300 Hector Arana Jr, Milltown IN, Buell 7.397 178.12 179.02

TAD

1 8 A/FD Duane Shields, Boulder City NV, Hadman-B 5.203 274.66 274.66
2 1 A/FD Bill Reichert, Owosso MI, Bowen-Reich 5.249 265.90 265.90
3 2 B/AD Chris Demke, Sunland CA, Uyehara-BAE 5.255 272.06 272.06
4 12 TA/D John Finke, Selkirk NY, McKinney-Chrysler 5.300 274.39 274.78
5 596 A/FD Randy Meyer, Spring Hill KS, Meyer-BAE 5.394 258.17 258.17
6 110 A/FD Rich McPhillips, Audubon PA, Hadman-BAE 5.406 257.58 258.42
7 288 TA/D Sidney Frigo, San Palo BZ, McKinney-TFX 5.470 268.92 268.92
8 465 A/FD Michael Manners, Willis TX, Spitzer-CRE 5.476 261.52 265.27
9 211 A/FD Artie Allen, Jacksonville FL, McKinney-B 5.498 251.11 251.11
10 122 A/FD Arthur Gallant, Boxboro MA, Dan Page-BAE 5.516 223.84 240.59
11 2380 TA/D Matthew Cummings, Pompano Beach FL, Hadm 5.617 246.98 246.98
12 35 A/FD Dave Hirata, Lowell IN, McKinney-HMS 5.668 253.66 253.66
13 1212 B/AD Jackie Fricke, Flemington NJ, ProStart-B 5.944 171.53 171.53
14 227 TA/D Don Fiorelli, Palm Bay FL, Innovative-Ol 5.965 223.62 223.62
15 267 B/AD Dan Lucas, Cumming GA, Canode-BAE 6.748 131.01 131.01
16 37 B/AD Jerry Powell, Kokomo IN, Spitzer-BAE 9.394 84.51 84.51

TAFC

1 1 Frank Manzo, Morganville NJ, '10 Monte Carlo 5.437 268.06 268.06
2 710D Alexis De Joria, Venice CA, '11 Monte Carlo 5.446 267.91 267.91
3 2 Mickey Ferro, Stamford CT, '06 Monte Carlo 5.501 261.02 261.02
4 35 John Bojec, Chardon OH, '10 Monte Carlo 5.552 261.47 261.47
5 307 Cassie Simonton, Johnstown OH, '05 Monte Carlo 5.561 260.97 260.97
6 13 Thomas Carter, Victoria TX, '08 Mustang 5.568 259.41 259.41
7 7 Todd Veney, Brownsburg IN, '09 Impala SS 5.575 257.24 258.96
8 25 Mark Billington, Norcross GA, '05 Monte Carlo 5.578 258.76 258.76
9 34 Paul Gill, Brockton MA, '08 Mustang 5.610 256.75 256.75
10 562 Kris Hool, Evansville WY, '10 Monte Carlo 5.614 260.86 260.97
11 800 Ulf Leanders, Sweden , '09 Charger 5.688 247.79 252.52
12 331 Tony Bogolo, Hamilton OH, '99 Mustang 5.715 243.90 243.90
13 26 Melinda Green-King, Norfolk VA, '09 Mustang 5.775 254.90 254.90
14 193 Larry Dobbs, Welland ON, '01 Corvette 5.791 242.93 242.93
15 289 John Sullivan, Pike Road City AL, '08 Mustang 5.800 248.84 248.84
16 196 Bill Naves, Salisbury NC, '06 Stratus 6.128 221.42 221.42

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 189 John Headley, Newportville PA, '00 Mustang 6.792 138.10 138.10


Pro Mod

1 327 Khalid Balooshi, Doha QA, *'68 Camaro 5.846 243.24 243.24
2 2 Danny Rowe, Laguna Hills CA, '68 Camaro 5.855 250.27 250.27
3 43 Rickie Smith, King NC, '68 Camaro 5.878 241.67 241.67
4 272 Roger Burgess, Duluth GA, *'63 Corvette 5.881 255.10 255.10
5 6 Kenny Lang, Grande Pointe MB, *'53 Corvette 5.897 247.52 247.52
6 802 Michael Gullqvist, Hasselby SW, '68 Camaro 5.908 245.40 245.40
7 8 Ed Hoover, Gilbert SC, *'68 Camaro 5.911 244.38 244.74
8 348 Brad Personett, Elkhart IN, '68 Camaro 5.914 255.19 255.19
9 1 Von Smith, Oak Ridge TN, '68 Camaro 5.928 246.80 246.80
10 328 Chuck Cheeseman, Galena OH, '63 Corvette 5.931 243.28 243.28
11 1090 Raymond Commisso, Toronto ON, *'68 Camaro 5.946 247.52 247.52
12 217 Tim Tindle, Santa Rosa Bch FL, *'67 Mustang 5.972 228.11 228.11
13 1518 Pete Farber, Baldwinville MA, '69 Daytona 5.989 241.80 241.80
14 2103 Joe Baker, Milton FL, *'68 Firebird 6.005 239.65 239.65
15 321A Scott Ray, Greenville OH, '53 Corvette 6.011 232.83 232.83
16 5011 Mike Knowles, Grand Junction CO, '68 Camaro 6.042 244.52 244.74

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 1456 Mike Janis, Lancaster NY, '10 Mustang 6.043 237.75 237.75
18 4 Troy Coughlin, Delaware OH, '07 GTO 6.046 245.72 245.85
19 133 Pat Musi, Cateret NJ, '09 Stratus 6.062 237.50 237.50
20 6294 Dennis Radford, Baker City OR, '70 Duster 6.065 244.12 244.12
21 7 Jay Payne, Ontario CA, '68 Camaro 6.121 241.93 241.93
22 507 Melanie Troxel, Duluth GA, *'68 Camaro 6.122 235.93 246.39
23 173 Ike Maier, Tottenham ON, '63 Corvette 6.151 231.08 231.08
24 277 Raymond J Matos, Toa Alta PR, '70 Barracuda 6.155 215.82 215.82
25 213 Chip King, Southport NC, '69 Daytona 6.218 229.47 249.16

 

Friday Wrap up

2011 Tire Kingdom Gatornationals
Friday Wrap Up
By Pat Welsh

A massive storm crossed Florida yesterday and in its' wake North Florida was greeted with cool temperatures and bright azure skies…perfect conditions for NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing. The much publicized debut of NASCAR superstar Kurt Busch into Pro Stock came with much fanfare. Wherever Kurt went on the Gainesville Raceway property he was followed closely by media and fans and they hung on his every word. Unfortunately by the end of the day Kurt was 21st in the 21 car field.

On the first qualifying attempt his 2011 Shell Dodge Avenger suffered tire shake. "We just didn't make the right adjustment with the clutch to be able to put the power down on the racetrack and it wadded up the tires so I shut it down," Kurt said. "I should have stayed in it, that way we would have at least gotten a quicker elapsed time. That being said I dug a hole early."

Things didn't get better in round two against Vincent Nobile. Kurt added, "He prestaged then I prestaged. When I set my line-lock to look over at him, he didn't move at all. I looked up and there was the stage light already on. That was my fault. Alan Johnson said you always have to keep your eye on the tree and not the other guy's car. So by the time I realized he was staged I inched forward. I never got there. Seven seconds timed out."

"I dropped the clutch and ended up getting tire shake in second gear. I was late shifting to third. With the way the telemetry looked it would have been a 6.53. I would have been about 12th or 13th. An interesting day to say the least."

Mike Edwards made history in the first round with a 6.496, 213.47 mph run: the first Pro Stock run in the 6.40's. At the end of Friday three Pro Stock cars had recorded 6.495 runs (Mike Edwards and Greg Anderson). Rodger Brogdon held on to the first qualifying spot with a 6.495, 213.47 mph run which also set the new Pro Stock National Record. Erica Enders continues to impress with a new National Speed Record of 213.57 mph.

The Pro Stock Motorcycles are flying at Gainesville. Hector Arana stole the show when he set a new NHRA National Record with a 6.777 in the first round backed up with a 6.790 in the second round. Fourteen bikes were into the sixes by the end of qualifying. Most impressive was Eddie Krawiec's 199.26 mph pass.

The wild Pro Mod cars as always put on an entertaining show. Roger Burgess looks impressive in the ProCare RX '63 Turbo Corvette after running a monstrous 5.881, 255.10 mph run in the first round. Brad Personnet however edged him out in the mph department with a 255.19 mph pass. Eleven cars are in the five second zone. Khalid Balooshi held on to the number one qualifying spot with a 5.846, 243.24 mph run in his nitrous assisted Camaro.

Eighteen cars are on hand in nitro Funny Car and at the end of the day Matt Hagan held on to the number one qualifying spot with a 4.030 309.84 pass. Pomona number one qualifier Cruz Pedregon hasn't stung two good passes together yet yielding a best of 4.327. Melanie Troxel debuted the Road Rage.com 2011 Toyota but she continues to struggle with a best of 5.827 137.57 mph. She's also doing double duty in the Road Rage.com Pro Mod car. John "Bodie" Smith in the Paul Smith entry from Florida was disqualified after his first run of 4.152. The car came up ten pounds short at the scales.

The big story in Top Fuel came from octogenarian Chris Karamesines who made possibly his quickest run ever at 3.898 309.98 mph that settled him into the tenth place. Terry McMillen had a big fire off the starting line in his second attempt. Unfortunately he used up his oil down freebie at the Winternationals and this cost him the pass, 5 points, and $1000. Ike Meier from Tottenham, Ontario, Canada is doing double duty this weekend running the Paton Family Top Fuel Dragster and his '63 Corvette Pro Mod. At the end of the day Tony Schumacher held on to the top spot with a 3.814 325.45 mph run.

Weather is predicted to be sunny and in the 70's for the remainder of the weekend.

 

Top Fuel

1 2 Tony Schumacher, Brownsburg IN, DSR-TFX 3.814 325.45 325.45
2 4 Antron Brown, Pittsboro IN, DSR-TFX 3.822 318.39 318.39
3 421 Spencer Massey, Ft. Worth TX, DSR-TFX 3.828 316.01 316.01
4 1 Larry Dixon, Brownsburg IN, Hadman-TFX 3.858 318.47 318.47
5 8 Steve Torrence, Kilgore TX, Hadman-TFX 3.860 313.80 313.80
6 5 Shawn Langdon, Brownsburg IN, Hadman-TFX 3.861 316.60 316.60
7 7 Brandon Bernstein, Fairview TX, McKinney-TFX 3.867 313.88 313.88
8 22 Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 3.871 320.13 320.13
9 255 Clay Millican, Drummonds TN, Hadman-BAE 3.877 316.15 316.15
10 323 Chris Karamesines, Chicago IL, McKinney-BAE 3.898 309.98 309.98
11 34 Morgan Lucas, Brownsburg IN, Hadman-TFX 3.945 297.75 297.75
12 3516 Terry McMillen, Elkhart IN, McKinney-TFX 3.947 281.07 281.07

------------ Not Qualified ------------

13 12 Bob Vandergriff, Alpharetta GA, Hadman-TFX 3.950 297.55 297.55
14 802 Stig Neergaard, Torring DK, Neergaard-TFX 3.957 307.02 307.02
15 173 Ike Maier, Tottenham ON, Dragster-TFX 4.082 284.75 284.75
16 142 Dom Lagana, Scarsdale NY, Hadman-BAE 4.084 240.04 240.04
17 303 Pat Dakin, Dayton OH, McKinney-TFX 4.210 228.69 228.69
18 99 Del Worsham, Chino Hills CA, Hadman-TFX 4.846 155.56 155.56
19 44 David Grubnic, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 5.545 117.17 117.17
20 1301 Doug Foley, Sewell NJ, Attac-TFX 7.346 66.77 85.67


Funny Car

1 2814 Matt Hagan, Christianburg VA, '10 Charger 4.030 309.84 309.84
2 4 Jack Beckman, Norco CA, '10 Charger 4.051 308.71 310.77
3 7701 Mike Neff, Indianapolis IN, '10 Mustang 4.074 311.05 311.05
4 31 Johnny Gray, Artesia NM, '11 Charger 4.079 309.34 309.34
5 5 Bob Tasca III, Cranston RI, '11 Mustang 4.114 310.48 310.48
6 1 John Force, Yorba Linda CA, '10 Mustang 4.119 310.48 310.48
7 170 Jeff Arend, San Dimas CA, '08 Solara 4.127 303.78 303.78
8 116 Paul Lee, Anaheim CA, '10 Impala SS 4.161 305.29 305.29
9 28 Ron Capps, Carlsbad CA, '11 Charger 4.163 300.46 300.46
10 717 Brian Thiel, Brownsburg IN, '10 Charger 4.184 288.27 295.59
11 340 Bob Bode, Barrington IL, '10 Impala 4.184 278.35 278.35
12 388 Jim Head, Columbus OH, '11 Solara 4.244 297.42 297.42

------------ Not Qualified ------------

13 9 Tony Pedregon, Brownsburg IN, '09 Impala SS 4.246 291.51 291.51
14 8 Robert Hight, Yorba Linda CA, '10 Mustang 4.260 281.25 281.25
15 71 Cruz Pedregon, Brownsburg IN, '09 Solara 4.327 210.73 210.73
16 10 Tim Wilkerson, Springfield IL, '10 Mustang 5.354 136.48 136.48
17 507 Melanie Troxel, Duluth GA, '11 Solara 5.827 137.57 137.57
18 241 John Smith, Anderson SC, '06 Monte Carlo DQ

Pro Stock

1 9 Rodger Brogdon, Tomball TX, '09 GXP 6.495$ 213.47 213.57
2 3 Mike Edwards, Coweta OK, '08 GXP 6.495 213.13 213.47
3 1 Greg Anderson, Morresville NC, '09 GXP 6.495 212.86 213.23
4 48 Erica Enders, New Orleans LA, '10 Cobalt 6.502 213.57^ 213.57
5 208 Warren Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '09 GXP 6.505 212.46 212.46
6 8 Ron Krisher, Warren OH, '09 GXP 6.510 212.93 213.27
7 2 Greg Stanfield, Bossier City LA, '09 GXP 6.512 211.89 211.89
8 5 Jason Line, Mooresville NC, '08 GXP 6.519 212.46 213.20
9 6 Allen Johnson, Greeneville TN, '11 Avenger 6.521 211.96 211.96
10 21 Kurt Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '09 GXP 6.526 211.83 211.83
11 4 Shane Gray, Denver NC, '09 GXP 6.535 211.76 211.76
12 154 Vincent Nobile, Dix Hills NY, '10 Avenger 6.539 212.46 212.46

------------ Not Qualified ------------

13 357 Larry Morgan, Newark OH, '10 Mustang 6.543 212.09 212.09
14 55 V. Gaines, Lakewood CO, '10 Avenger 6.544 210.70 210.70
15 2062 Ronnie Humphrey, Jacksonville NC, '09 GXP 6.562 212.26 212.26
16 256 Buddy Perkinson, Hopewell VA, '10 Mustang 6.584 210.54 210.54
17 136 Bob Benza, Briarcliff Manor NY, '09 GXP 6.591 210.24 210.24
18 5037 Richard Freeman, Pauls Valley OK, '09 GXP 6.592 209.98 209.98
19 406 Bob Yonke, Burleson TX, '09 GXP 14.477 58.67 58.67
20 102 Frank Gugliotta, Mount Airey MD, '10 Mustang 15.411 54.02 54.02
21 201 Kurt Busch, Mooresville NC, '11 Avenger 18.334 36.43 36.43


Pro Stock Motorcycle

1 5 Hector Arana, Milltown IN, Buell XB9R 6.777 195.36 196.10
2 3 Eddie Krawiec, Avon IN, Harley V-Rod 6.788 199.26 199.26
3 2 Andrew Hines, Brownsburg IN, Harley V-Rod 6.826 198.73 198.73
4 8 Karen Stoffer, Gardnerville NV, Suzuki TL1000R 6.833 198.00 198.00
5 4 Matt Smith, King NC, Buell XB9R 6.872 194.32 194.32
6 1 LE Tonglet, Metairie LA, Suzuki GSXR 6.880 196.27 196.27
7 401 Gerald Savoie, Cut Off LA, Suzuki 6.892 193.43 193.68
8 205 Shawn Gann, Stoneville NC, Buell XB9R 6.895 189.95 189.95
9 10 David Hope, Nevada MO, Buell XB9R 6.900 194.07 194.07
10 573 Mike Berry, Littleton CO, Buell XB9R 6.910 192.33 192.33
11 533 Jim Underdahl, Forest Lake MN, Suzuki TL1000R 6.918 196.87 196.87
12 413 Michael Ray, New Braunfels TX, Buell 6.933 187.52 187.52

------------ Not Qualified ------------

13 7 Michael Phillips, Baton Rouge LA, Suzuki GSXR 6.964 197.33 197.33
14 745 Katie Sullivan, Corning CA, Suzuki TL1000R 6.980 191.97 191.97
15 200 Chip Ellis, Brownsburg IN, Buell 7.008 187.11 187.11
16 42 James Surber, Whitethorn CA, Buell 7.009 191.87 191.87
17 77 Angie Smith, King NC, Buell XB9R 7.039 184.19 184.19
18 69 Bailey Whitaker, Ft. Lauderdale FL, Buell XB9R 7.050 186.72 186.72
19 310 Joe DeSantis, Rootstown OH, Suzuki GSXR 7.057 187.05 189.20
20 202 Junior Pippin, Conyers GA, Buell 7.064 191.16 191.16
21 378 Dawn Minturn, Columbus OH, Suzuki 7.070 188.12 188.12
22 1680 Justin Finley, Stamford CT, Suzuki GSXR 7.089 188.12 188.12
23 371 Wesley Wells, Greenwood IN, Suzuki GSXR 7.140 189.20 189.20
24 457 Redell Harris, Prairieville LA, Buell 7.159 193.90 193.90
25 878 Fredrik Fredlund, , Suzuki 7.300 181.32 181.32
26 6 Steve Johnson, Irondale AL, Suzuki TL1000R 7.312 188.10 188.1
0
27 300 Hector Arana Jr, Milltown IN, Buell 7.354 179.02 179.02



TAD

1 8 A/FD Duane Shields, Boulder City NV, Hadman-B 5.203 274.66 274.66
2 1 A/FD Bill Reichert, Owosso MI, Bowen-Reich 5.249 265.90 265.90
3 2 B/AD Chris Demke, Sunland CA, Uyehara-BAE 5.255 272.06 272.06
4 12 TA/D John Finke, Selkirk NY, McKinney-Chrysler 5.300 274.39 274.39
5 596 A/FD Randy Meyer, Spring Hill KS, Meyer-BAE 5.394 258.17 258.17
6 110 A/FD Rich McPhillips, Audubon PA, Hadman-BAE 5.406 257.58 257.58
7 288 TA/D Sidney Frigo, San Palo BZ, McKinney-TFX 5.470 268.92 268.92
8 465 A/FD Michael Manners, Willis TX, Spitzer-CRE 5.476 261.52 265.27
9 211 A/FD Artie Allen, Jacksonville FL, McKinney-B 5.498 251.11 251.11
10 122 A/FD Arthur Gallant, Boxboro MA, Dan Page-BAE 5.516 223.84 223.84
11 2380 TA/D Matthew Cummings, Pompano Beach FL, Drag 5.617 246.98 246.98
12 1212 B/AD Jackie Fricke, Flemington NJ, ProStart-B 5.944 171.53 171.53
13 227 TA/D Don Fiorelli, Palm Bay FL, Innovative-Ol 5.965 223.62 223.62
14 37 B/AD Jerry Powell, Kokomo IN, Spitzer-BAE 16.403 48.24 48.24
15 35 A/FD Dave Hirata, Lowell IN, McKinney-HMS 16.793 74.04 74.04

TAFC

1 1 Frank Manzo, Morganville NJ, '10 Monte Carlo 5.437 268.06 268.06
2 710D Alexis De Joria, Venice CA, '11 Monte Carlo 5.488 266.69 266.69
3 13 Thomas Carter, Victoria TX, '08 Mustang 5.568 259.41 259.41
4 7 Todd Veney, Brownsburg IN, '09 Impala SS 5.575 257.24 257.24
5 34 Paul Gill, Brockton MA, '08 Mustang 5.610 256.75 256.75
6 307 Cassie Simonton, Johnstown OH, '05 Monte Carlo 5.612 256.50 256.50
7 35 John Bojec, Chardon OH, '10 Monte Carlo 5.615 258.57 258.57
8 562 Kris Hool, Evansville WY, '10 Monte Carlo 5.632 260.97 260.97
9 331 Tony Bogolo, Hamilton OH, '99 Mustang 5.715 243.90 243.90
10 2 Mickey Ferro, Stamford CT, '06 Monte Carlo 5.770 259.51 259.51
11 26 Melinda Green-King, Norfolk VA, '09 Mustang 5.775 254.90 254.90
12 193 Larry Dobbs, Welland ON, '01 Corvette 5.791 242.93 242.93
13 289 John Sullivan, Pike Road City AL, '08 Mustang 5.800 248.84 248.84
14 25 Mark Billington, Norcross GA, '05 Monte Carlo 5.824 255.97 255.97
15 196 Bill Naves, Salisbury NC, '06 Stratus 6.128 221.42 221.42
16 800 Ulf Leanders, Sweden , '09 Charger 6.135 252.52 252.52

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 189 John Headley, Newportville PA, '00 Mustang 6.792 138.10 138.10

NHRA Wrap-up (courtesy NHRA communications)

Friday qualifying

Matt Hagan continued his torrid run dating back to the end of last year by earning the provisional No. 1 qualifier in Funny Car on the first day of qualifying at the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals Friday.
The other provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the second of 22 races in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season were Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Rodger Brogdon (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Also Friday, 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch, making his NHRA Full Throttle Series debut in Pro Stock, experienced tire-shake on his first attempt and failed to stage in time in his second attempt. He'll get two more shots to qualify Saturday.

"An interesting day to say the least," Busch said. "A lot of rookie things that I'm ready to put behind me. We just didn't do our job today."


Hagan, who has been to the final round at four of the last five races including his runner-up at the 2011 season-opening Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals, secured the provisional No. 1 with a track-record 4.030-second pass at 309.84 mph in his DieHard Dodge Charger.

"I'm excited, coming off of a runner up (at Pomona) and coming here and being No. 1 . we've got a strong race car and a strong team and I'm really looking forward to having some fun out here," Hagan said.

In Top Fuel, seven-time champion Tony Schumacher earned the provisional top spot with a 3.814-second pass at a track-record 325.45 mph in the U.S. Army dragster.

"I thought we'd go quicker; I thought everyone would go quicker. If someone would have told me the No. 1 qualifier would run a 3.81 I would have been surprised," Schumacher said. "We didn't get down the track our first pass so we had to be cautious on that run. It was soft. It chattered (the tires) but made it down the track, and when we looked at the data on the computer, we could see there's a lot left."


It was an auspicious start for Schumacher, who has been to five final rounds at the Gatornationals with event titles in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010.

"I've always considered (the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals), quite possibly, the biggest (race of the year), it's always been special to me," Schumacher said.

In Pro Stock, Brogdon earned the provisional No. 1 with a 6.495-second pass at 213.47 mph in his Attitude Apparel Pontiac GXP. This would be the first No. 1 of Brogdon's career that spans 62 races.

"There's a lot of fast guys out there, we just happened to go a little bit faster than them," Brogdon said.

Mike Edwards (213.47) and Greg Anderson (212.86) also ran 6.495s, but theirs were slightly slower and therefore behind Brogdon in the qualifying order. Also, Erica Enders recorded the fastest-ever Pro Stock run with a top speed of 213.57 in her ZaZa Energy Chevy Cobalt.


In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Arana set the pace in his Lucas Oil Buell with a national-record time of 6.777 at 195.36 mph.

"Unbelievable, when they give me a 6.77, that's great, it felt slow ." Arana said.

The run came not long after Arana watched his son, 21-year-old Hector Arana Jr., who is making his pro debut, kiss the wall near the top end.

"I don't know if he's letting the pressure get to him, but it sure is getting to me," Arana said. "I'm pretty sure he does not want to hear what I have to say."

Qualifying at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals concludes with the third and fourth sessions on Saturday when the fields will be set for Sunday's final eliminations.


Pro Mod


Khalid Balooshi raced to the qualifying lead Friday at Gainesville Raceway in the season-opener for the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
Balooshi, from Doha, Qatar, covered the quarter-mile distance in 5.846 seconds at 243.24 mph in his 1968 Camaro.

Rickie Smith (5.878, 241.67) and Roger Burgess (5.881, 255.10) qualified second and third, respectively.

Defending Series champion Von Smith opened the year with a 5.928 at 246.80 that has him in seventh position entering Saturday's final qualifying session.

Notable drivers not yet qualified into the 16-car field include Jay Payne, Melanie Troxel and Danny Rowe, the 2010 Series runner-up.

Qualifying continues tomorrow with a final qualifying session before the 16-car field is set for Sunday's eliminations.

1 327 Khalid Balooshi, Doha QA, *'68 Camaro 5.846 243.24 243.24
2 43 Rickie Smith, King NC, '68 Camaro 5.878 241.67 241.67
3 272 Roger Burgess, Duluth GA, *'63 Corvette 5.881 255.10 255.10
4 6 Kenny Lang, Grande Pointe MB, *'53 Corvette 5.897 247.52 247.52
5 8 Ed Hoover, Gilbert SC, *'68 Camaro 5.911 244.38 244.38
6 348 Brad Personett, Elkhart IN, '68 Camaro 5.914 255.19 255.19
7 1 Von Smith, Oak Ridge TN, '68 Camaro 5.928 246.80 246.80
8 328 Chuck Cheeseman, Galena OH, '63 Corvette 5.931 243.28 243.28
9 1090 Raymond Commisso, Toronto ON, *'68 Camaro 5.946 247.52 247.52
10 217 Tim Tindle, Santa Rosa Bch FL, *'67 Mustang 5.972 228.11 228.11
11 1518 Pete Farber, Baldwinville MA, '69 Daytona 5.989 241.80 241.80
12 2103 Joe Baker, Milton FL, *'68 Firebird 6.005 239.65 239.65
13 321A Scott Ray, Greenville OH, '53 Corvette 6.011 232.83 232.83
14 4 Troy Coughlin, Delaware OH, '07 GTO 6.046 245.72 245.85
15 5011 Mike Knowles, Grand Junction CO, '68 Camaro 6.052 244.74 244.74
16 6294 Dennis Radford, Baker City OR, '70 Duster 6.065 244.12 244.12

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 7 Jay Payne, Ontario CA, '68 Camaro 6.121 241.93 241.93
18 507 Melanie Troxel, Duluth GA, *'68 Camaro 6.122 235.93 243.99
19 1456 Mike Janis, Lancaster NY, '10 Mustang 6.182 235.19 235.19
20 173 Ike Maier, Tottenham ON, '63 Corvette 6.189 229.08 229.08
21 802 Michael Gullqvist, Hasselby SW, '68 Camaro 6.213 184.65 184.65
22 213 Chip King, Southport NC, '69 Daytona 6.261 241.41 249.16
23 277 Raymond J Matos, Toa Alta PR, '70 Barracuda 8.536 115.88 115.88
24 2 Danny Rowe, Laguna Hills CA, '68 Camaro 10.331 107.62 107.62
25 133 Pat Musi, Cateret NJ, '09 Stratus DQ

Thursday qualifying

Qualifying #'s courtesy DRC.

Comp Round one

1 2780 H/AA Grant Lewis, Jesup GA, '05 Grand Am 8.476 9.18 -0.704
2 368 C/SR Fred Allen, Mary Esther FL, '34 Chevy 8.393 9.09 -0.697
3 33 J/AA Steve Ambrose, Woodhaven MI, '23-T Ford 7.709 8.39 -0.681
4 9 D/AA Arnie Martel, Tewksbury MA, '07 GTO 7.499 8.17 -0.671
5 3 F/ED Frank Aragona Jr, Freehold NJ, Ken Keir 8.052 8.72 -0.668
6 2211 G/AA Van Puckett, Monroe GA, '05 Cavalier 8.262 8.91 -0.648
7 2467 C/DA Jim Kimbrough, Pace FL, Pro Start 6.918 7.56 -0.642
8 3002 F/A Pat Ross, Avon Lake OH, '05 Grand Am 7.941 8.58 -0.639
9 6 I/AA Sal Biondo, Maspeth NY, '07 Cavalier 8.132 8.76 -0.628
10 1484 G/SM Allen Stanfield, Fredericksburg VA, '98 Gr 8.672 9.28 -0.608
11 15 A/SR Vinny Barone, Dix Hills NY, '34 Chevy 7.682 8.29 -0.608
12 14 G/EA Steve Szupka, Willow Groove PA, Ken Keir 8.204 8.80 -0.596
13 56 C/AA Jim Greenheck, Schofield WI, '01 Camaro 7.365 7.96 -0.595
14 2885 A/EA David Rampy, Piedmont AL, '32 Bantam 7.248 7.84 -0.592
15 452 E/A Steven Kent, Lottie LA, '63 Corvette 7.766 8.31 -0.544
16 27 B/AA Lonnie Johnson, Ettrick VA, '99 Dodge 7.225 7.57 -0.345
17 21 F/EA Glen Treadwell, Sorrento FL, '23-T Ford 8.359 8.49 -0.131
18 2112 E/ED Jenny Treadwell, Mt. Plymouth FL, Undercov 8.726 8.80 -0.074
19 298 A/AP Pat Williams, W. Palm Beach FL, '07 Cobalt 7.312 7.17 0.142
20 2126 C/SM Michael Hardee, Hampstead NC, '05 Sunfire 10.255 8.79 1.465
21 3380 BB/AM David Allen, Sewickley PA, '09 GXP 13.698 7.40 6.298

------------ Not Qualified ------------

22 35 A/ED Robert Bailey, Wabash IN, Agan-Chevy DQ

Stock Final qualifying

1 3909 AA/SA Drew Skillman, Greenwood IN, '10 Mustang 9.408 10.60 -1.192
2 1587 AA/S Don Fezell, DuBois PA, '08 Mustang 9.540 10.60 -1.060
3 2033 J/SA Doug Patrick, Boca Raton FL, '72 Cutlass 11.459 12.45 -0.991
4 1387 A/SA Chris Howes, Rothesay NB, '70 Challenger 10.034 11.00 -0.966
5 2333 AA/SA Grace Howell, Aiken SC, '10 Mustang 9.652 10.60 -0.948
6 1117 B/SA Wayne Totaro, Baltimore MD, '02 Firebird 10.314 11.25 -0.936
7 227P I/SA Anthony Puleo, Palm Bch Gdns FL, '85 Camaro11.385 12.30 -0.915
8 2211 F/SA Russell Johnson, Sharpsburg GA, '67 Fairla 10.947 11.85 -0.903
9 3200 K/SA Tim Lowe, Macy IN, '72 Gran Sport 11.760 12.65 -0.890
10 26 B/SA Jeff Adkinson, Damascus GA, '69 Camaro 10.365 11.25 -0.885
11 1 E/SA Brad Burton, Golden CO, '72 Formula 10.820 11.70 -0.880
12 4022 H/SA Jeff Teuton, Houma LA, '09 Challenger 11.271 12.15 -0.879
13 28 V/SA McNeal Freeman, Conyers GA, '85 Caprice 14.622 15.50 -0.878
14 1290 G/SA James Perrone, Shirley NY, '69 Nova 11.128 12.00 -0.872
15 2709 M/S Jason Lynch, Pleasantview TN, '85 Mustang 11.989 12.85 -0.861
16 2923 B/SA Greg Rowe, Bridgeton NC, '94 Firebird 10.389 11.25 -0.861
17 4 D/SA Joe Santangelo, Marlborough CT, '95 Camaro 10.690 11.55 -0.860
18 213A C/SA Anthony Bertozzi, Ashland VA, '69 Camaro 10.544 11.40 -0.856
19 1150 C/SA Russell Linke, Old Bridge NJ, '97 Camaro 10.550 11.40 -0.850
20 2523 D/SA Bryan Phillips, Jonesboro GA, '67 Firebird 10.701 11.55 -0.849
21 1013 B/SA David Ficacci, Whippany NJ, '69 Camaro 10.414 11.25 -0.836
22 2824 I/SA Brian Rowe, New Bern NC, '90 Camaro 11.466 12.30 -0.834
23 1574 C/SA Frank Maiolo, Mt. Vernon NY, '69 Camaro 10.583 11.40 -0.817
24 24 F/SA Jim Marshall, Scottsville NY, '81 Corvette 11.033 11.85 -0.817
25 4043 AA/SA Frank Teuton Jr, Houma LA, '11 Challenger 9.789 10.60 -0.811
26 3321 O/SA Marion Stephenson, Williamsport IN, '77 Le 12.341 13.15 -0.809
27 3 C/SA Edmond Richardson, Breenbrier TN, '99 Cama 10.593 11.40 -0.807
28 2730 A/SA Bo Kenney, Manassas VA, '00 Firebird 10.193 11.00 -0.807
29 3473 E/SA Craig Marshall, Columbus OH, '74 Dart 10.900 11.70 -0.800
30 190 J/SA Frank Aragona Jr, Freehold NJ, '85 Camaro 11.651 12.45 -0.799
31 2020 C/SA Brenda Grubbs, Plant City FL, '69 Camaro 10.601 11.40 -0.799
32 1608 A/SA Gary Richard, Bay Shore NY, '10 Mustang 10.202 11.00 -0.798
33 2733 H/SA Merrill Schrimscher, Lake Mary FL, '85 Cam 11.355 12.15 -0.795
34 3639 B/SA Nick Folk, Durand IL, '99 Camaro 10.459 11.25 -0.791
35 47 D/SA Jimmy Hidalgo Sr, Donaldsonville LA, '97 C 10.769 11.55 -0.781
36 259 D/SA David Hunt, Pelion SC, '67 Mustang 10.770 11.55 -0.780
37 2340 G/SA James Carter, Richmond Hill GA, '80 Volare 11.229 12.00 -0.771
38 43 B/SA Jimmy Hidalgo Jr, Donaldsonville LA, '02 F 10.480 11.25 -0.770
39 1578 G/S Jim Roberts, Portsmouth RI, '69 Camaro 11.136 11.90 -0.764
40 5155 C/SA Bruce Kerber, Cedar MN, '96 Corvette 10.642 11.40 -0.758
41 25 A/S Kevin Helms, Schriever LA, '69 Camaro 10.192 10.95 -0.758
42 339 L/SA Bill Klomps, Bayfield ON, '75 Omega 11.964 12.70 -0.736
43 3421 B/SA Dick Kincaid, Canton OH, '98 Firebird 10.527 11.25 -0.723
44 2707 C/SA Mickey Whaley, Kinston NC, '69 Camaro 10.691 11.40 -0.709
45 2067 B/SA Scot Lamar, Hawthorne FL, '97 Camaro 10.543 11.25 -0.707
46 2377 A/SA Mack Reeves, DeLeon Springs FL, '09 Challe 10.323 11.00 -0.677
47 1781 F/SA Dan Fletcher, Churchville NY, '69 Camaro 11.183 11.85 -0.667
48 2075 Q/SA Don Himes, Port Charlotte FL, '79 LeMans 13.142 13.80 -0.658
49 1656 AA/SA Ken Miele, Egg Harbor Twp NJ, '67 Shelby 9.946 10.60 -0.654
50 3751 F/SA Terry Nagel, Breckenridge MI, '68 Camaro 11.199 11.85 -0.651
51 2209 K/SA Jorge Carnero, Miami FL, '90 Firebird 12.000 12.65 -0.650
52 2324 F/SA Garry Glazener, Jackson SC, '72 Mustang 11.211 11.85 -0.639
53 23 A/SA Jeff Strickland, Red Bay AL, '70 Nova 10.396 11.00 -0.604
54 2102 U/SA Ron Ortiz, Englewood FL, '67 Belvedere Wgn 14.261 14.85 -0.589
55 218 I/SA David Bell, Screven GA, '73 Nova 11.712 12.30 -0.588
56 2059 A/SA Bill Howell, Aiken SC, '70 Mustang 10.415 11.00 -0.585
57 209 A/SA Larry Smith, Davenport FL, '10 Challenger 10.429 11.00 -0.571
58 2904 C/SA Timmy Miller, Douglas GA, '97 Trans Am 10.834 11.40 -0.566
59 61 G/SA Mark Faul, Tacoma WA, '69 Chevelle 11.435 12.00 -0.565
60 703 H/SA Diana Everett, Glen Saint Mary FL, '92 Cam 11.587 12.15 -0.563
61 2749 D/SA Len King, Langley SC, '70 Challenger 11.002 11.55 -0.548
62 2434 E/SA Brien Radley, Belleview FL, '69 Camaro 11.178 11.70 -0.522
63 277 N/SA Harry Frank, Citrus Springs FL, '85 Camaro 12.576 13.00 -0.424
64 6104 D/SA Brad Plourd, Covington WA, '68 Camaro 11.131 11.55 -0.419
65 2335 K/SA Dan Dobson, Gainesville FL, '86 Monte Carlo12.376 12.65 -0.274
66 248H F/S Casey Miles, Boca Raton FL, '69 Camaro 11.596 11.80 -0.204
67 2230 B/SA Jeremy Waibel, Frostproof FL, '69 Camaro 11.535 11.25 0.285

Super Stock qualifying

1 340 GT/DA Rich South, Pataskala OH, '09 G5 9.506 10.50 -0.994
2 3028 GT/CA Jerry Silveus, Van Buren OH, '05 Cavalier 9.408 10.40 -0.992
3 3903 SS/BA Ray Skillman, Greenwood IN, '10 Mustang 8.956 9.90 -0.944
4 1173 GT/BA Norm Hall, Waldorf MD, '05 Cavalier 9.318 10.25 -0.932
5 38 SS/DA Allen Wade, Rochester IN, '69 Camaro 9.277 10.20 -0.923
6 1108 SS/EA Gary Richard, Bay Shore NY, '10 Mustang 9.442 10.35 -0.908
7 2008 SS/JA Bobby Warren, Clinton NC, '98 Firebird 10.102 11.00 -0.898
8 22 SS/CM Jeff Adkinson, Damascus GA, '10 Cobalt 8.652 9.50 -0.848
9 1574 GT/AA Frank Maiolo, White Plains NY, '08 Cobalt 9.303 10.10 -0.797
10 138 SS/AH Wendell Howes, Rathesby NB, '68 Barracuda 8.511 9.30 -0.789
11 23 GT/IA Joe Tysinger, Wrightsville Beach NC, '87 F 10.438 11.20 -0.762
12 2112 GT/AA James Wilson Jr., Mocksville NC, '97 Formu 9.345 10.10 -0.755
13 1584 GT/CA Arnold Martel, Tewksbury MA, '87 Camaro 9.652 10.40 -0.748
14 2885 GT/EA David Rampy, Piedmont AL, '89 Camaro 9.920 10.65 -0.730
15 1995 GT/EA Robert Carpenter, Port Robinson ON, '82 Ca 9.925 10.65 -0.725
16 208 GT/K Jimmy Spell, Stedman NC, '90 Camaro 10.375 11.10 -0.725
17 2733 SS/HA Merrill Schrimscher, Lake Mary FL, '66 Nova 9.890 10.60 -0.710
18 1273 GT/BA Bo Kenney, Manassas VA, '08 Cobalt 9.570 10.25 -0.680
19 1066 SS/MA Glenn MacDonald, Hudson QB, '65 Chevelle 11.212 11.85 -0.638
20 3473 SS/CM Craig Marshall, Columbus OH, '98 Grand Am 8.871 9.50 -0.629
21 27 GT/CA Pat Clifford, Apopka FL, '85 Camaro 9.797 10.40 -0.603
22 300 SS/BM Chuck Gallagher, Lexington NC, '94 Sunbird 8.633 9.20 -0.567
23 2221 GT/EA Richard Mace, Jacksonville FL, '01 Firebird10.100 10.65 -0.550
24 2075 GT/KA Jake Sealey, Aiken SC, '93 Mustang 10.946 11.45 -0.504
25 213A SS/AS Anthony Bertozzi, Ashland VA, '98 Grand Am 9.098 9.60 -0.502
26 2223 GT/EA Jay Slane, Palm Harbor FL, '85 Firebird 10.228 10.65 -0.422
27 24 SS/AM Kevin Helms, Schriever LA, '95 Achieva 8.664 9.00 -0.336
28 1136 GT/DA Peter Biondo, Maspeth NY, '00 Firebird 10.175 10.50 -0.325
29 5 SS/BS Sal Biondo, Maspeth NY, '95 Achieva 9.326 9.65 -0.324
30 3474 SS/AA Bob Marshall, Columbus OH, '65 Coronet 9.378 9.70 -0.322
31 319X GT/TA Rick Baehr, Wellington OH, '88 S-10 10.237 10.55 -0.313
32 1187 SS/BS David Heuwetter, Iselin NJ, '86 Camaro 9.344 9.65 -0.306
33 21 SS/JA Jeff Strickland, Red Bay AL, '95 Camaro 10.694 11.00 -0.306
34 332 GT/DA Marion Stephenson, Williamsport IN, '88 Cu 10.207 10.50 -0.293
35 2090 SS/HA Eddie Diaz, Casselberry FL, '68 Camaro 10.314 10.60 -0.286
36 1972 SS/DM Gregory Porter, Suffolk VA, '87 Cutlass 9.479 9.75 -0.271
37 1135 GT/GA John Savino, Newburgh NY, '91 Grand Am 10.645 10.90 -0.255
38 1781 SS/AS Dan Fletcher, Churchville NY, '69 Camaro 9.370 9.60 -0.230
39 61 GT/FA Mark Faul, Tacoma WA, '98 Grand Am 10.605 10.80 -0.195
40 2434 GT/DA Brien Radley, Belleview FL, '87 Formula 10.382 10.50 -0.118
41 2114 SS/GA Robert Juarbe, Ocala FL, '66 Chevy II 10.647 10.55 0.097

Gators preview and facts

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --

The 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, the second of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Drivers in four categories - Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle - earn points leading to 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championships. NHRA is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2011 and will pay tribute to the evolution of the hot rod and honor its legendary racers as well as the sport's current stars.
WHERE: Gainesville Raceway, Gainesville, Fla. The track is located on 11211 North County Road 225 in Gainesville.

WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, March 10-13

SCHEDULE:
THURSDAY, March 10 - LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying at 9 a.m.

FRIDAY, March 11 - LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations at 8 a.m.
GET SCREENED AMERICA PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 1:45 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
FULL THROTTLE SERIES qualifyingat noon and 2:45 p.m.

SATURDAY, March 12 - LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations begin at 8 a.m.
GET SCREENED AMERICA PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 12:45 p.m. and eliminations at 3:15 p.m.
FULL THROTTLE SERIES qualifyingat 11 a.m. and1:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, March 13 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
FULL THROTTLE SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

TELEVISION:
Sunday, March 13, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise 90 minutes of qualifying highlights at midnight (ET).
Sunday, March 13, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise three hours of eliminations coverage at 6 p.m. (ET).

2010 EVENT WINNERS: Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel; Tim Wilkerson,Funny Car; Jason Line, ProStock; Eddie Krawiec, Pro Stock Motorcycle.

MOST VICTORIES: Warren Johnson, 9, PS; John Force, 7, FC; Don Prudhomme, 5, FC; Joe Amato, 4, TF; Kenny Bernstein, 4, FC/TF; Larry Dixon, 4, TF; Don Garlits, 4, TF; Ed McCulloch, 4, FC; Dave Schultz, 4, PSM ; Tony Schumacher, 4, TF; Terry Vance, 4, PSM.

TRACK RECORDS:
Top Fuel - 3.797 seconds by Tony Schumacher, March '10; 324.98 mph by Schumacher, March '10.
Funny Car - 4.060 seconds by Robert Hight, March '10; 316.15 mph by Matt Hagan, March '10.
Pro Stock - 6.520 seconds by Mike Edwards, March '10; 212.23 by Edwards, March '10.
PS Motorcycle - 6.847 seconds by Karen Stoffer, March '10; 197.45 mph by Andrew Hines, March '05.


NATIONAL RECORDS:
Top Fuel - 3.770 sec. by Larry Dixon, Feb. '11, Pomona, Calif.; 327.03 mph by Tony Schumacher, Feb. '11, Pomona, Calif.
Funny Car - 4.011 sec. by Matt Hagan, Oct. '10, Reading, Pa.; 316.38 mph by Ashley Force Hood, March '10, Charlotte, N.C.
Pro Stock - 6.509 sec. by Mike Edwards, Oct. '09, Richmond, Va.; 212.46 mph by Greg Anderson, March'10, Charlotte, N.C.
PS Motorcycle - 6.811 sec. by Eddie Krawiec, Nov. '10, Pomona, Calif.; 197.65 mph by Michael Phillips, July '10, Sonoma, Calif.

TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also available online at www.NHRATIX.com.

GENERAL ADMISSION (includes pit pass) - FULL EVENT: $140. DAILY: Thursday: Adult, $16; Friday: Adult, $36; Junior (6-12 years), $10. Saturday: Adult, $58; Junior (6-12 years), $10. Sunday: Adult, $58; Junior (6-12 years) $10. Children (5 years-under), free with paying adult in general admission and pit access areas each day.

RESERVED SEATS (includes pit pass) - FULL EVENT: $160. DAILY: Friday: Adult, $46; Junior (6-12 years), $20; Child (5 years-under), $10. Saturday: Adult, $65; Junior (6-12 years), $24; Child (5 years and under), $14. Sunday: Adult, $65; Junior (6-12 years), $24; Child (5 years and under), $14.

Press releases

Mike Janis Racing

March 10, 2011

Elma, NY– With the offseason behind them Mike Janis and his Elma, NY based team headed to Valdosta, GA for some pre-Gatornationals testing. The team spent three days testing several combinations in hopes of being able to run with the best the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Series has to offer.

With the NHRA slowing down supercharger overdrive for the 2011 season from 20% over to 14% over the Janis team was forced to abandon their scheduled R&D program and adjust to the new rules.

“The off-season rule change hit us pretty hard. We had hoped to focus on cylinder head development and other areas but due to the rule change we had to scramble and change our focus. I know we don’t have the power to run with the turbo guys, but we have made some gains in the horsepower department and with a little consistency maybe we can have a shot,” said the team’s chief designer and fabricator, Kevin Peters.

On the final day of testing in Valdosta, Janis was able to make back to back consistent runs.

“Our plan was to just get off the line. That’s where a majority of races are won or lost. We know that if we gain some consistency in our 60 ft times we’ll have a shot. I’m pretty pleased with the results,” said Mike Janis.

The next stop for the Janis and his team will be the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gator Nationals in Gainesville, Fl. March 11-13. Janis and the other Get Screened America Pro Mod Challenge competitors will be afforded three shots at making it into the 16 field for eliminations. Round one of qualifying will be held Friday, March 11, at 1:45 PM (EST). The second round will be later that same day at 4:30 PM. The final qualifying attempt will be Saturday at 12:45 PM. The first round of eliminations will be held later that same day at 4:15 PM. Final eliminations will run in conjunction with Sunday’s professional eliminations.

Following the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the schedule features stops at some of the biggest events on the circuit, including in Las Vegas (April 1-3), Houston (April 29-May 1), Atlanta (May 13-15), Englishtown (June 2-5), Bristol (June 17-19), and Norwalk (June 23-26). Later in the season, the 250-mph machines will race at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis (Aug. 31-Sept. 5), in Charlotte (Sept. 15-18), and in Las Vegas (Oct. 27-30).

FOLLOW A DREAM OPENS 2011 NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION

DRAG RACING SEASON AT 42ND ANNUAL TIRE KINGDOM GATORNATIONALS

Racing Action Begins This Weekend, March 11-13

Marstons Mills, MA – March 10, 2011 –Jay Blake's Permatex/Follow A Dream team opens its 2011 season March 11-13 at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., where last year the team reached the semifinals in driver Todd Veney's debut. The team went on to win two races, reach four finals, and finish seventh in the final 2010 NHRA standings, the best finish in its eight-year history.

"The Gainesville race was a great start for us last year," Veney said. "I ran quicker and faster than I'd ever gone in my life on my first run there, and we got quicker and faster on almost every run after that and made it to the semifinals."

Tuner Tom Howell, who left the United States just days after the team finished the 2010 campaign with a victory in Atco, N.J., returns to the U.S. just days before the race. "We're all looking forward to having Tom back with us," said Blake, the team owner and crew chief. "It's been a long winter of work on Cape Cod, and everybody's ready to get back to the track."

Following the Gatornationals, the Permatex/Follow A Dream crew will stay in Gainesville for a full day of testing. From there, the team will hit the national events in Charlotte, Houston, Englishtown, Norwalk, and Chicago in the first half of the season, and concentrate primarily on divisional competition in the second half of the year, beginning with the Division 1 opener in Reading, Pa., in late May.

For more information, go to the official Follow A Dream website, http://www.followadream.org/, or Jay's blog, http://followadreamer.blogspot.com/.

Jay Payne, FireIce Mustang ready for start of Pro Mod season

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Veteran drag racer Jay Payne is rolling out the FireIce Mustang for what he expects to be an adventurous Get Screened America Pro Mod season starting with the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals March 11-13.

Rule changes in the series have taken away power from supercharged cars like the FireIce Mustang, so Payne and crew chief Brad Anderson experimented with some new parts during a test in Valdosta, Ga.

"We tried a torque converter instead of a clutch," Payne said. "We made nine attempts and made it down the track three times. It showed promise, but we don't have enough data to use it this weekend, so we'll go back to the tried-and-true stuff this weekend."

Payne said he expects to see the turbocharged cars in the class run the quickest ETs, but is counting on his car's consistency to propel him to a deep run in the season opener.

"We'll see how the weather goes and how many shots we get," Payne said. "It' been a long winter and everybody has new rules to work with, so what happens Friday will tell us a lot."

Rule changes or not, Payne is ready for another exciting season with the FireIce team.

"Pro Mod is just an awesome class," Payne said. "Plus I get the honor of representing 1.1 million firefighters from around the country and bringing awareness to worthy causes such as The Leary Firefighters Foundation and Angel Faces."

Michael Cordani, the CEO of FireIce's parent company, GelTech Solutions, said a Payne victory would cap an exciting week for GelTech and its employees.

"Our headquarters are here in Florida so we're especially excited to see Jay run in our back yard," Cordani said. "Earlier this week, FireIce received approval for use by the U.S. Forestry Service to combat wildfires. A good weekend from Jay would send everyone here over the top."

FireIce is an environmentally friendly fire suppression gel firefighters add to water in pumper trucks, helicopters, fire planes, and handheld extinguishers to help extinguish fires much quicker than with water alone. Aside from supporting Payne's racing efforts, GelTech, a publicly traded corporation (OTCBB: GLTC), is a corporate partner to the Fallen Firefighters Foundation, which helps firefighters families in need.

R2B2 Racing stable representing the cutting edge of Pro Mod class


GAINESVILLE, Fla. ()March 8) -- The R2B2 Racing pits will look and sound a lot different when the Get Screened America Pro Mod Series starts its 2011 season at this weekend's 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals.


The R2B2 racing stable has added two turbocharged cars -- and their distinctive rumbles -- to its team and has brought star driver and turbo expert Brad Personett into the fold.


"I'm going to be driving a 1953 Corvette with a twin turbo and automatic transmission," said R2B2 driver/owner Roger Burgess. "I'll be using an Alan Johnson wedge motor, which is a combination no one has used before.


"We're excited about this because this is the culmination of a two-year process to design and build a competitive Pro Mod car that is also low-maintenance."


Burgess said his team has been busy working out some bugs in the brake system ahead of the season opener.


"We've switched to carbon-fiber brakes, which have given us some problems," Burgess said. "We made some changes and now the car is staging and launching the way it is supposed to."


Personett said he's been busy finding the tuning window for his record-setting turbocharged machine.


"We take steps forward, then we take a step or two back," Personett said. "It doesn't sound good, but at least we are doing it now in testing rather than at Gainesville, which we did last year. I feel like we're ahead of things.


"It's just a matter of working out the little gremlins and making some laps in the car."


R2B2 Racing will also field two supercharged Pro Mod cars, each driven by returning members of the team, Melanie Troxel and Raymond Commisso.


Commisso said he is ready to rebound from one of the worst seasons of his career.


"I think we have a promising racecar," Commisso said. "We've made some good laps, and I'm more confident than I was last year. My head is in the game 100 percent and I'm going to try to win some races."


Also running with R2B2 Racing power for this race is 2010 Atlanta Pro Mod winner Micke Gulliqvist of Sweden.


The Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals get under way with qualifying at noon EST at Gainesville Raceway. Qualifying continues on Saturday with Pro Mod eliminations Saturday afternoon.

Troxel unveils new sponsor as she prepares for first double-duty race of '11

 

Canadian Pro Mod teams head south

Canada will be well-represented in the NHRA Get Screened American Pro Mod Series at the upcoming NHRA Gatornationals in Florida.

Ike Maier of Tottenham, Ontario, Raymond Commisso of Toronto, Ontario, and Ken Lang of Grand Pointe, Manitoba will all be making the trek to Gainesville for the second race in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series tour.

The Pro Mod session at Gainesville will be the first of 10 such events at selected NHRA races this year.

“It should be interesting this year with the rules changes,” noted Maier, who will be driving his 1963 Corvette Pro Mod. “The most important change is the reduction in the blower drive, and a lot of teams will be struggling to get the right combination.”

In December of 2010, the NHRA modified the supercharger overdrive requirements which are now set at 14.5 percent from the previous 20 percent.

Other changes to the Pro Mod class, which the NHRA has now embraced after treating it as a exhibition class for several years, include automatic transmissions in the cars (with a 75-pound weight reduction), and the use of automated/electric/pneumatic shifting devices.

Commisso will be driving the ProCare RX 1968 Camaro, and former IHRA Pro Mod champion Lang will be in his 1953 Corvette-bodied Pro Mod.

The Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals will be held March 10-13, and will be the 43rd annual event at the northern Florida track. Qualifying sessions for the Pro Mod class are scheduled for Friday, March 11, and Saturday, March 12, with eliminations Sunday March 13.

Melanie Troxel


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 7) -- It won't be an illusion -- drag racing superstar Melanie Troxel will pretty much be everywhere during this weekend's 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.


The only female racer in the nitro ranks, Troxel will be behind the wheel of her Toyota Funny Car, which will have a different look thanks to new sponsor RoadRage.com.


Troxel also will be behind the wheel of a RoadRage.com '69 Camaro as the Get Screened America Pro Mod Series kicks off its season.


Additionally, fans will see plenty of Troxel on the Gainesville Raceway big screen as she encourages fans to sign up for Roadrage.com, a new social media Web site geared toward the motoring enthusiast.


"We're excited to have RoadRage.com team up with R2B2 Racing at this event," Troxel said. "This is the first race this year where I'll be pulling double duty in my two cars and I think everyone on the team is ready for the challenge."


Troxel has spent much of the past week in Palm Beach, Fla., getting her Pro Mod car ready for the season in anticipation of bringing home another Wally or two in 2011.


"We like what we've seen out of the car this week," Troxel said. "We'll have a full stable of four R2B2 cars this weekend and there's lots of different combinations out there.


"I also like the way our RoadRage.com Funny Car looks. It's really going to stand out."


After both cars several times last season, Troxel said she and the team have developed procedures to make the switch between Funny Car and Pro Mod seamless for both driver and crew.


"Since I did this several times last year, I'm already prepared for what it's going to be like," Troxel said. "The Pro Mod guys understand they might not see me much during the day. I might just see them in the staging lanes after I ride my KYMCO scooter back from the top end after a Funny Car run.


"We've got a big group over here at the R2B2 Racing pit, and plenty of help to get the Pro Mod ready, so it shouldn't be an issue. We're just doing things a little differently because of the unique circumstances of racing two cars."


While Troxel has been in Florida, she has been keeping in close contact with Funny Car crew chief Aaron Brooks as he prepares for the Gators at the team's Duluth, Georgia shop.


"Aaron has been wracking his brain trying to figure that Funny Car out," Troxel said. "We've got all the confidence in the world that he can get this car sorted out. It's just taken a few more passes than we planned."


Troxel admitted that the team was tempted to take the Funny Car testing as well, but now that they are running for the championship, she is limited to just four in-season test sessions.


The Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals get under way with qualifying at noon EST at Gainesville Raceway. Qualifying continues on Saturday with eliminations starting at 11 a.m. Sunday
.

Morgan Lucas

Top Fuel points leader Lucas brings powerful GEICO dragster to Florida


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 7) -- It's been more than a week since the all-Morgan Lucas Racing Top Fuel final in Pomona and the magnitude of the accomplishment is finally setting in with team owner and driver Morgan Lucas.


"That Sunday night, we had a little fun, but that wasn't the end of the celebration," said Lucas, driver of the victorious GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster. "That win really meant a lot to everybody involved with our race team."


It was a win that has energized the entire MLR organization as Lucas heads into this weekend's 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in central Florida.


"It gave us confidence and the knowledge we need to press harder on some things," Lucas said. "We know we're a championship capable team. We weren't 100 percent perfect in Pomona, but we made it down the track and outlasted everybody else on difficult track conditions."


Now the team sets its sights on not just chasing more wins, but also a championship.


"Now we know what it's like, now we've got the taste," Lucas said. "It only took Dickie Venables three tries to win his first race as our crew chief. We've got greater aspirations than this win.


"I feel like we're on to something. All Dickie needs is more chances and we'll do nothing but improve."


The good vibrations make the trip to Florida even more enticing.


"I look at Gainesville and see one of the most prestigious, historic, exciting races on the schedule," Lucas said. "It's an honor to get to race there, but it's even more exciting to look at the race knowing we have a great chance of winning there. It's a great feeling and I can't wait to get down there.


"Everybody is just on Cloud 9 and now we're ready to keep that feeling going."


The Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals get under way with qualifying at noon EST at Gainesville Raceway. Qualifying continues on Saturday with eliminations starting at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Shawn Langdon

Second in the points, Langdon awaits first win for Lucas team


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 7) – Shawn Langdon is coming off a runner-up finish and heading to a facility he loves, so he's expecting big things for the Lucas Oil/Speedco Top Fuel dragster at this weekend's 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at historic Gainesville Raceway.


"We had a good showing in Pomona and we're just excited to get going again," Langdon said. "Gainesville always has a good track and a good atmosphere. It has the feel of the start of the season for racers on the East coast so there's a lot of excitement in the air. Plus, it's always a full house. I love it.


"Conditions should be pretty close to Pomona, so we think we can finish what we didn't get done out West."


Langdon finished runner-up to teammate and car owner Morgan Lucas at the Winternationals and Langdon believes once the Lucas Oil dragster group experiences the winner's circle for themselves, it will be a huge lift.


"Hopefully we can get this first win out of the way," Langdon said. "It's something the whole team wants really bad. We don't want to get to a point where we're trying too hard, because if you try too hard you'll make mistakes. It just needs to happen and I know it will."


So far, however, the team has successfully carried the momentum it gained at the end of 2010 to the start of this season.


"It was a huge confidence booster for us to start the season the way we did," Langdon said. "Dating back to last year, we've been in three of four finals. It's a testament to our team and the guys doing all the work on the car.


"We've had almost everything we've needed to get a win except the luck. We've had a good car, a great crew, I've had good reaction times. We just needed that little bit of luck to pull it all together."


Langdon pointed to the crew's raceday effort in Pomona to get him on track in time to face Antron Brown in the semifinals after a massive engine failure in the quarterfinals as evidence that the Lucas Oil team might be generating its own luck.


"My guys want to win more than anyone out there," Langdon said. "These guys are dedicated and it's a huge team effort. Even Morgan (Lucas) came over to help us. We had the guys from hospitality come over to help. It shows what kind of strong team Morgan Lucas Racing has."


The Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals get under way with qualifying at noon EST at Gainesville Raceway. Qualifying continues on Saturday with eliminations starting at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Larry Morgan

Morgan to make his 500th start in Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 9) – This year's Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals is going to be a little more special for Larry Morgan than most races during his career because when his Lucas Oil Ford Mustang Pro Stock car rolls to the starting line it will mark Morgan's 500th career race in NHRA competition.


"I'm pretty excited about that," said Morgan, a 10-time Pro Stock winner. "It would be pretty cool to do well there. The NHRA were the ones who told me about it because when you are racing and working on the car, you lose track of things like that. But it's a cool deal.


"I hope it's going to be an exciting weekend for everyone on the team."


The milestone has given the veteran driver extra incentive to win.


"We've got enough power to qualify and do well," Morgan said. "We just have to make the right decisions. With this being my 500th race, I really want to do well for the folks who are behind me like Lucas Oil, Speedco, Ford, Summit and of course all the guys who work for me."


To make sure everything is right with the car, Morgan is taking a side trip to Bradenton, Fla., for a quick test session before making the final jog up to Gainesville Raceway.


"There's some stuff we want to work on with carburetors," Morgan said. "We'll try to do a little more too, but we've only got one day to work.


"We want to prepare and make sure everything is right."


Not getting things right was a hard lesson learned in the season opener for Morgan. He easily qualified for the Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., but a misadjusted air gap in the first round of eliminations caused Morgan's Ford to creep through the beams during staging, turning on the red light.


Morgan was frustrated by the early loss and a little wary about incurring the wrath of his wife Diane when he got back to Ohio.


"She's as competitive as I am and wants everything to be right," Morgan said. "By the time I got home from Pomona, she was all right, but I wasn't so sure. She hadn't sounded very happy with me when I called after the race.


"After she picked us up at the airport I sat in the back and didn't say anything for the first 15 miles. She asked me why I was so quiet, and I said 'I figured I was already in enough trouble.'"


Morgan said is hoping the extra work before the Gators will make his next trip home full of celebration.


The 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals get under way Friday with qualifying at noon EST at Gainesville Raceway. Qualifying continues on Saturday with eliminations at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Please visit www.LucasOil.com for more information.

Mike Knowles

Knowles Takes Semi-Final Finish at PBIR Shakedown; Ready for Gators

Courtesy of: Knowles Racing

March 7, 2011

Grand Junction, CO– Mike Knowles is a happy man! After a weekend in Florida the self made business man is back home in his Colorado office with a little color and a big smile on his face. Three eighty runs will do that to a Pro Mod guy.

“We had a great weekend. I knew Al (Billes) wouldn’t need much time to get acquainted with my car and my guys but man did everything gel quickly. They crept up on the tune up but after a few hits Al was on it,” said Knowles.

Knowles qualified his Tim McAmis built ’68 Camaro in the number three position with a 3.87 eight mile pass. Knowles defeated Pete Farber and his ’69 Daytona in round one with a 3.89 to Farber’s 3.99. Round two saw Knowles posted another 3.89 run in his round two defeat of Sweden’s Mike Gullquist. The weekend ended in the semi-finals against
Shannon Jenkins and his AL-Anabi ’69 Camaro. Both cars faced traction problems but Jenkins was quicker to recover taking the win with a 4.18 elapsed time.

“I had a great time here. I grew up down here and have some friends here so this is really cool. The event was fantastic. Dave Hance did a great job and so did the staff here. Our performance this weekend
really has me looking forward to Gainesville and I just couldn’t be happier with my entire crew,” said Knowles.

The next stop for the “Blown Money” team will be the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gator Nationals in Gainesville, Fl. March 11-13. Mike Knowles and the other Get Screened America Pro Mod Challenge
competitors will be afforded three shots at making it into the 16 field for eliminations. Round one of qualifying will be held Friday, March 11, at 1:45 PM (EST). The second round will be later that same day at 4:30 PM. The final qualifying attempt will be Saturday at 12:45 PM. The first round of eliminations will be held later that same day at 4:15 PM. Final eliminations will run in conjunction with Sunday’s professional eliminations.

Following the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the schedule features stops at some of the biggest events on the circuit, including in Las Vegas (April 1-3), Houston (April 29-May 1), Atlanta (May 13-15), Englishtown (June 2-5), Bristol (June 17-19), and Norwalk (June 23-26). Later in the season, the 250-mph machines will
race at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis (Aug. 31-Sept. 5), in Charlotte (Sept. 15-18), and in Las Vegas (Oct. 27-30).

2011 NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series Television Schedule*

Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville
Sunday, March 20, midnight

SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, Las Vegas
Saturday, April 9, 4 p.m.

O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals, Houston
Sunday, May 8, 2 p.m.

Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, Atlanta
Saturday, May 22, 6:30 p.m.

NHRA SuperNationals, Englishtown
Sunday, June 12, 1 p.m.

Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford
Dealers, Bristol
Sunday, July 3, 2 p.m.

Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, Norwalk
Sunday, July 3, 2:30 p.m.

Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, Indianapolis
Sunday, Sept. 11, 6 p.m.

O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Charlotte, N.C.
Sunday, Oct. 2, 4 p.m.

NHRA Las Vegas Nationals, Las Vegas
Sunday, Nov. 6, 2 p.m.

Mike Knowles' Blown Money Racing would like to thank their sponsors:
GRP www.grpconrods.com
NGK www.ngksparkplugs.com
WINBERG CRANKSHAFTS www.winbergcrankshafts.com

Arana (Lucas Oil) Racing

Arana Sr. and Jr. both nervous about Gatornationals, but for different reasons


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 8) -- The first race of the season is a nervous time for racers, even the seasoned veterans. So it's no wonder Lucas Oil Pro Stock Motorcycle rookie Hector Arana Jr. is a ball of nerves as he and his father Hector Arana Sr. prepare for this weekend's season-opening 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.


"I have every feeling there is right now," Arana Jr. said. "I'm excited, nervous, overwhelmed, happy, and so much more. I'm feeling it all right now. Every time I sit down and just envision my first time down the track at the Gatornationals, my heart literally starts to race."


Arana Jr. is a second-generation racer, following in the footsteps of his father, who won the 2009 championships after more than two decades of competition. The rookie has watched his dad make thousands of quarter-mile passes, and now he's ready to make his first.


"I'm feeling comfortable and ready to get down there and just get my first pass at an event under my belt," Arana Jr. said. "I'm not too worried about the big crowd distracting me. I've been going up there for years with my dad although this time it's going to be a little different. I just want to go up there and lay down a nice smooth pass to start the weekend and my career off right."


Arana Sr. has some mixed emotions on his son's debut.


"I'm happy that I'm going to be racing with my son but on the other hand it scares me because he's my son I don't want anything to happen to him," Arana Sr. said. "I set him up with the best chassis, the best leathers, and newest helmet to make sure he's safe and ready to race."


Arana Sr. knows his son has what it takes to be competitive in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class and that he will shine once he gets his first day of competition out of the way.


"Once Hector qualifies for his first race and gets more seat time he'll feel more comfortable on the bike," Arana Sr. said. "I know he can do it. I told him to ride the bike, listen to the bike, and everything will fall into place. I know we'll have a great season together. "


Arana Jr. has very high aspirations for his rookie season. Although he may have the mixed emotions of a rookie, he has the goals of a seasoned rider.


"My goal for the weekend is to qualify in the top half and win the race," Arana Jr. said. "I have to set my goals high. I have the bike and the motor to do it, the rest is all on me."


The entire Arana family has been working hard to make sure Arana Jr.'s bike is ready to roll for the 2011 season.


"We've been working really hard trying to get the bikes ready with most of our focus going to Hector's bike, and of course I neglected mine until the last minute," Arana Sr. said. "So it's been rough but we got it all together and we're ready to start the season in Gainesville."


Arana Sr. was supposed to have a brand new bike for the 2011 season and Arana Jr. was going to ride his dad's championship-winning Lucas Oil Buell but when it came down to it, the new bike was a better fit for the rookie.


"I want to thank my dad for setting me up with this new Kosman chassis," Arana Jr. said. "He was supposed to get the new bike but when we went testing the new bike was a better fit for me and less work for the team so I lucked out and got a brand new bike to start off my career."


Arana Jr. also is very thankful and humbled by the support he has received since the announcement that he will be competing in Pro Stock Motorcycle in 2011. He knows that he wouldn't be able to have done any of it without his support system.


"I just want to thank Forest and Charlotte Lucas and everyone at Lucas Oil," Arana Jr. said. " I also need to thank my dad, mom, brother and sister and everyone else that has always been supportive."


Qualifying for the rookie and the veteran begins at noon Friday. ESPN2 will carry coverage of qualifying and eliminations.

Karen Stoffer

Stoffer going back in time to gain inspiration for the future


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 7) – Karen Stoffer and her GEICO Suzuki race team are going retro in 2011.


With the start of the NHRA Full Throttle Series season just days away for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class at this weekend's 42nd annual Tire Kingdom Gatornationals, Stoffer and her crew are getting into that racing mindset.


"It's always fun and exciting to start a new season – fresh starts, if you will," Stoffer said. "This year though is going to be about going back."


Stoffer is coming off a 2010 season where she finished eighth in the Full Throttle championship standings, set a national record for elapsed time, and recorded a runner-up. However, Stoffer said she and her GEICO teammates are going back even farther to draw inspiration for this season.


"We have no new plans, no new paint, and no new crew members," Stoffer said. "The idea is to 'do it the old way' like we did about four years ago. We just want to get back to the basics and back to what we did in the past when we had the most success.


"Short of going back to the original blue-and-white GEICO bike -- we are making a concerted effort to strive for the 'good old days.'"


Stoffer said she is full of confidence heading into Gainesville because her husband and crew chief, Gary, has had a full year to work with the updated Suzuki powerplant. The same bike was a rocket at Gainesville a year ago when she went quick enough to set the world record.


"Conditions should be as great as ever at Gainesville," Stoffer said. "The bike should produce a lot of power. The challenge is to rein it in and keep it straight. If we can get that done I think our chances to turn four win lights on during Sunday's eliminations are very good."


The Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals get underway with qualifying at noon EST at Gainesville Raceway. Qualifying continues on Saturday with eliminations starting at 11 a.m. Sunday.

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