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Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals Sportsman Video Highlights

Rachel Meyer has added to the family win total after driving to her first victory at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals to lead the list of Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series winners at Gainesville Raceway. Meyer shared the spotlight with Ray Miller III and Jonathan Anderson, who successfully defended their titles in Super Comp and Super Gas,
18 Mar 2021
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Rachel Meyer

Over the past five years, Megan Meyer has won a dozen national events and two world championships in Top Alcohol Dragster, and before that, her father, Randy, collected eight more wins as a driver. Now, Rachel Meyer has added to the family win total after driving to her first victory at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals. Meyer shared the spotlight with two-time Top Alcohol Funny Car world champion Sean Bellemeur, along with Ray Miller III and Jonathan Anderson, who successfully defended their Gainesville titles in Super Comp and Super Gas, respectively. Other winners crowned on Sunday were Greg Kamplain (Comp), Sterling Simmons (Super Stock), Jimmy Hidalgo Jr. (Stock), Jeff Strickland (Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers), and Brandon Miller (Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers).

Meyer, who was previously a runner-up at the 2017 Topeka race, worked her way through a stacked field of Top Alcohol Dragster racers to beat Jackie Fricke in the final, 5.22 to 5.29. Meyer also defeated Dan Mercier, teammate Julie Nataas, and low qualifier Karen Stalba to reach the final, running as quick as 5.18 in the process. [video]

Bellemeur’s latest victory in Tony Bartone’s Hussey Performance Camaro is the 20th of his career, and it came at the expense of final-round opponent DJ Cox. The Top Alcohol Funny Car final was easily the best race of the day as Bellemeur gained a slight lead at the start and won on a slight holeshot, 5.524 to 5.522. Bellemeur’s path to the final round included wins against Aryan Rochon and Kris Hool, and Cox topped reigning world champion Doug Gordon in a critical semifinal matchup.  [video]

Last March, Miller drove to the Super Comp title in Gainesville, and the 2019 world champ successfully defended his title when he got the best of Allan Ackles in the final. Miller was solid throughout eliminations but saved his best performance for last with a .010 light and an 8.902. Ackles was aiming for a Gainesville double of his own after winning the 2020 NHRA Southern Nationals, which was contested at Gainesville Raceway last September. Ackles ran his winning streak in Gainesville to 11 straight rounds with a semifinal victory against Jason Kenny.  [video]

Anderson also has a pair of Gatornationals trophies to show off after winning the Super Gas class for the second straight year. The past Division 2 champ gave up a lead at the start to Larry Bernhausen but rallied to win, 9.924 to a 9.898 breakout. Anderson’s earlier victims also included Rusty Cook and 1992 Gatornationals champ Frank Altilio.  [video]

Kamplain’s résumé continues to impress as the longtime Division 3 Comp racer now has three Gatornationals victories to go with his two NHRA U.S. Nationals wins and nine overall wins in Super Street, Super Comp, and Comp. Kamplain lost just .04-second in Competition Index Control penalties prior to his final-round bout with Richard Preiser, who was down .12-second in his H/EA Bantam roadster. That likely proved to be the difference as Kamplain scored the win with a (-.553) 6.967 to Preiser’s (-.435) 8.965.  [video]

After three runner-up finishes dating back to the 1995 Reading event, Simmons cashed in for his first national event win by driving his GT/FA Cavalier past Tyler Caheely in the Super Stock final round. Simmons, also a finalist in Charlotte and Englishtown, left little room with a .011 light and a 9.382 on his 9.38 dial. Caheely did his best to make it close but broke out by a thousandth of a second. Simmons got to the final following wins over Dennis Steward and Mike Crutchfield, and Caheely had to deal with Tim Fletcher in the semi’s.  [video]

After watching his buddy, David Latino, sweep the Super Stock and Stock titles at last year’s Gatornationals, Hidalgo got into the act and came away with his seventh national event victory. Hidalgo faced 2006 Stock world champ Randy Wilkes in the Stock final and turned on the win light in a double breakout. Hidalgo also scored wins against Tim Stickles, Joe Lisa, and Roy Caraway on his way to the final. Wilkes punched his ticket to the final by beating 1992 Comp world champ Steve Johns.  [video]

The Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers class featured a load of top-tier talent, including world champion Strickland, who won his 18th career title following a final-round win against reigning champion Anthony Bertozzi. Both drivers were almost perfect at the start, and Strickland won with a 6.241 on his 6.23 prediction.  [video]

On the way to his first win in the Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers class, Brandon Miller defeated his father, David, and then he went on to stop Derrick Brown in the final. Miller finished the job with a nearly flawless 7.091 on his 7.09 dial, and Brown was close behind with a 6.276 on his quick 6.26 dial. [video]