Sights and scenes from an epic final day of the 50th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.
The Darrell Gwynn “Track Walk for those who can’t” attracted a large number of NHRA pro racers including current Mello Yello Funny Car champ J.R. Todd and rookie nitro racer Austin Prock. The annual event raises money for the Marc Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis.
It isn’t an exaggeration to suggest that veteran photographers Steve Reyes, left, and Rich Shute, have captured more long-lasting drag racing images than anyone else. Reyes announced the 50th Gatornationals would be his last event and fittingly, he was honored during pre-race ceremonies.
The first round of Top Fuel was nearly completed before a brief rain shower held up the proceedings. While the Safety Safari dried the track, race teams, including Leah Pritchett’s Pennzoil crew, did what they could in order to stay dry.
Award winning country music artist Lee Greenwood made an appearance in Gainesville to sing his signature tune, "God Bless the U.S.A.", as part of NHRA’s regular pre-race tribute to first responders.
During Sunday’s rain delay, 16-time Funny Car world champ held court with fellow champs Tony Pedregon and J.R. Todd. Force went on to reach the semifinal round of Funny Car in his Peak Camaro.
Andrew Hines breathed a huge sigh of relief after scoring his first Pro Stock Motorcycle win in more than a year. Hines also set the elapsed time record at 6.720-seconds, and set a personal best 199.94 mph.
It's hard for anyone to dominate in the Pro Stock class, but Bo Butner is currently doing just that with two wins in the first three races of the year. The 2017 Mello Yello champ has already opened up a 72-point lead over second-place Alex Laughlin.
Robert Hight was the class of the tough Funny Car field with a string of 3.8-second runs in his Jimmy Prock-tuned Auto Club Camaro. The two-time Mello Yello champ now has two wins on the young season.
After successfully defending his 2018 Gainesville Top Fuel win, Richie Crampton was congratulated by runner-up Clay Millican. Crampton is now a nine-time winner in the Top Fuel class.
Each of the four Mello Yello pro champs celebrated with the special edition gold NHRA Wally trophies that went to all the champions of the 50th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.