Andrew Hines is still looking for his first 200-mph run, but he managed to open the new season with a round win over Cory Reed. Hines, the low qualifier, set the pace in round one with a 6.781 to hold off Cory Reed’s EBR. Reigning Mello Yello world champ Matt Smith also found the 6.7s with a 6.795 in his win against wife and teammate, Angie.
Hector Arana Jr., the 2013 Gainesville winner, also put forth a very competitive effort with a 6.815 on his Lucas Oil EBR in his win against Kelly Clontz and Eddie Krawiec is also in contention for a seventh Gatornationals title following his impressive 6.803 to 6.964 win over Scotty Pollacheck.
Angelle Sampey’s debut with the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson team was cut short after she lost to Joey Gladstone, who helped seal the win with a .002 reaction time.
Second-round matchups (lane choice first): Andrew Hines vs. Jerry Savoie; Hector Arana Jr. vs. Ryan Oehler; Matt Smith vs. Joey Gladstone; Eddie Krawiec vs. Jimmy Underdahl.