After two days of qualifying in front of a packed house, the fields are set for final eliminations at the 54th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals as the new season kicks off at historic Gainesville Raceway. Reigning world champion Brittany Force leads in Top Fuel while Ron Capps is the low qualifier in Funny Car. Troy Coughlin Jr. and Gaige Herrera will kick off final eliminations from the top spots in Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle respectively.
Yesterday, Josh Hart collected $80,000 as the winner of the Pep Boys Allstar Callout for Top Fuel dragsters. Hart, a former Gainesville winner and Florida resident, defeated Mike Salinas in the final round. Both drivers will also be among the favorites to capture today’s title, which will be broadcast live on Fox TV. Force’s 3.699 from Friday held for the top spot while four-time world champ Steve Torrence, Doug Kalitta, Leah Pruett, and Clay Millican are close behind with 3.72 runs.
Bob Tasca III was the top qualifier until Saturday afternoon when reigning Funny Car champ Ron Capps took over the pole position with a 3.784 in his NAPA Toyota. Teammates Robert Hight and John Force also slipped past Tasca to take the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively while Matt Hagan is also in the 3.8s with a 3.899 in his Dodge Power Brokers Charger.
The lead changed hands yesterday in Pro Stock when Troy Coughlin Jr. drove his JEG’S Camaro to a 6.515 to move past teammate Erica Ender and take the lead in a very close and competitive field. There is just .06-second between low qualifier Coughlin and his round one opponent, veteran Larry Morgan. After Couhglin and Enders, the top half of the Pro Stock field includes Mason McGaha, Aaron Stanfield, defending event winner Dallas Glenn, Kyle Koretsky, Cristian Cuadra, and Bo Butner.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the event has been the performance of Pro Stock Motorcycle low qualifier Gaige Herrera, who claimed the top spot in his debut with the Vance & Hines team. Herrera found the 6.6s twice on Saturday including a 6.685 that is good for the top spot. For good measure, Herrera also set the track record speed mark at 203.49 mph with his Suzuki Hayabusa. Steve Johnson and Chase Van Sant are also well positioned going into Sunday’s final elimination after 6.74-second runs.
In addition to the Camping World NHRA Series pros, the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals will also crown champions in the FuelTech Pro Mod Series presented by Type A Motorsports, the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown, and a full slate of Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series categories.
You can catch the action all weekend on FOX TV, FOX Sports 1 and NHRA.tv.
You can follow NHRA on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to get a closer look at the action.
2022 EVENT WINNERS
Tripp Tatum, Top Fuel; Matt Hagan, Funny Car; Dallas Glenn, Pro Stock; Karen Stoffer, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
3.674 seconds by Tripp Tatum, March 2022; 337.75 mph by Brittany Force, March 2022
3.828 seconds by Robert Hight, March 2017; 336.23 mph by Ron Capps, March 2022.
6.450 seconds by Erica Enders, March 2022; 214.69 mph by Erica Enders, March 2014
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
6.665 seconds by Karen Stoffer, March 2022; 203.49 by Gaige Herrera, March 2023.
SUNDAY, March 12, FS1 will televise 90 minutes of qualifying coverage at 9 a.m. (ET) and 90 minutes of the Pep Boys All Star Callout at 10:30 a.m. Three hours of final eliminations coverage will be on FOX TV at Noon on Sunday, March 12.