Steven Jackson held on for his first career No. 1 qualifying position in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Jerry Bickel Race Cars, Inc., is the first of 12 events on the season. His qualifying pass of 5.781-seconds at 251.58 mph on Friday secured the No. 1 position.
Jackson, in his Jerry Bickel Race Cars built Camaro, was unable to parlay the No. 1 qualifying position into success in eliminations as he was defeated by Eric Latino in the first round. Latino posted a winning time of 5.779 at 256.45 to Jackson’s losing run of 6.664 at 146.30. Latino will face Troy Coughlin in his JEGS.com Chevy Corvette when eliminations continue on Sunday.
Also in eliminations, Rickie Smith the defending event winner and 2016 NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series champion was ousted by Michael Biehle in his ’13 Ford Mustang. Smith’s IDG ’15 Camaro lost traction early in the run and Biehle was able to get the round win.
"It feels good. I mean, every round I win feels good, no matter who it is,” Biehle said. “Obviously it feels great when you’re able to take somebody out that’s as great as Rickie. He’s got a lot of seat time and he does an awesome job with his car and his whole program. It just feels good to still be here."
Biehle will match up with Danny Rowe; Mike Janis will race Steven Whiteley; and Mike Castellana will compete against Kevin Rivenbark on Sunday.
Pro Mod Series eliminations will resume on Sunday at approximately 12:30.