TOP FUEL PILOT DIXON HOPES FOR REPEAT WIN AND FIFTH OVERALL AT GATORNATIONALS: To say that Larry Dixon is used to success at Gainesville Raceway might be the understatement of the year. The defending event winner in the Top Fuel category has racked up four wins at the historic track over his career and is tied with NHRA legend Joe Amato for the most wins in the class at the track.
Dixon will try to surpass Amato this weekend and become the first Top Fuel driver to win five events at Gainesville Raceway as the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Florida for the 41st annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, the third stop on the series for Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock, and the season-opening race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category. Dixon is not only in the hunt for his second straight win and fifth overall at the track, but the two-time world champion is also eyeing the points battle in Top Fuel.
“The Gatornationals is a very prestigious event, and if we are fortunate enough to win, it would be a great honor for me and everyone else associated with His Highess Sheik Khalid and the Al-Anabi Racing team,” said Dixon. “As a kid, I always dreamed of just competing in the Gatornationals, but becoming the all-time Top Fuel wins leader would make me very proud. I hope we put ourselves in a position to get that done.”
Joining Dixon to defend their Gainesville wins are Funny Car’s Bob Tasca, who earned his first career win in the NHRA Full Throttle Series at last year’s Gatornationals; Pro Stock’s Jason Line, who looks to collect his third win at the famed track this year; and Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Hector Arana, who began his record-setting, world-championship-winning season with his first Gatornationals win last year. They’ll be joined by all the stars of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
NHRA GET SCREENED AMERICA PRO MOD SERIES TO MAKE DEBUT AT TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS: NHRA’s newest national touring series will make its debut at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals: The NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. Conducted for nine seasons as an exhibition at select NHRA national events, the new series will feature some of the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer cars, featuring an eclectic mix of vintage and late-model body styles, in quarter-mile competition. A diverse group of drivers in the series will compete for Wally trophies, official NHRA points and world championship titles.
The Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, the first of 10 events in the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Series, will be contested this weekend and will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD. For more information on the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Series, including a schedule of events and TV times, visit www.NHRA.com.
NHRA GATORNATIONALS, GAINESVILLE RACEWAY, March 11–14: The traditional season opener for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to this historic event in the swamp lands of Florida. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Bob Tasca (Funny Car); Jason Line (Pro Stock); and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS, zMAX DRAGWAY, March 25–28: For the first time in NHRA Nationals history, qualifying and eliminations for Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle at an NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event will be conducted four-wide instead of just two.
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA SPRING NATIONALS, HOUSTON RACEWAY PARK, April 9–11: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes it’s first of two stops in the Lone Star State. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Ashley Force Hood (Funny Car); Ron Krisher (Pro Stock); and Craig Treble (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
HE SAID, SHE SAID
WAITING ON A WIN: Top Fuel pilot and current points leader Cory McClenathan on what a win at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals would mean to him:
“Every time you go to a track you never won at you want to walk away with that Wally on those weekends. And if you have been driving as long as I have been, you want to win at every single race track on the tour, and that’s one that has eluded us. We had some very good weekends there, we qualified well there, went to a final, but we never seemed to be able to make it to the winner’s circle there.”
|Greg Anderson (left) and Jason Line|
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
5: That’s how many times the Summit Racing team of Greg Anderson and Jason Line have been to the final round at the historic NHRA Gatornationals in the past six years. Line has been to the final round in 2009, 2008 and 2005, with wins in 2009 and 2005, while Anderson has been to the finals in 2007 and 2004, winning both of those events.
DID YOU KNOW…
…that 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Kurt Busch will be competing at this weekend’s Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in the Super Gas category. Busch will look to follow up his recent NASCAR Sprint Cup win in Atlanta with his first NHRA win and “Wally” driving a rebuilt ’70 Dodge Challenger owned by him.