GAINESVILLE – The 50th NHRA Gatornationals raced into action on Thursday with a full slate of Lucas Oil sportsman racing. After a couple of rounds of qualifying and time trials, the top-notch field moved straight into final eliminations.
The large field of 400 sportsman racers was reduced to just over 200 after round one of eliminations. For the racers that found a win light today, round two awaits them tomorrow for their only action of the day.
In addition to round two for the majority of the sportsman classes, Competition Eliminator will move into round one on Friday. Also, the highly anticipated Factory Stock Showdown class will see the track for the first time on Friday. With two rounds of qualifying scheduled, it should be an exciting day for the FSS crowd.
Sportsman recaps for each class are listed below. Follow along as we track our Team DragChamp pre-race picks throughout the event. Click here to read our Gatornationals Sportsman Preview and see our pre-race picks.
Bad Brad Plourd captured the top spot on the ladder with a -.717 under 6.323 blast in his Pro Mod-style buggy. Greg Kamplain (-.670) and Randy Daniels (-.669) were second and third respectively.
With the number one qualifying position secured, our pick to win (Plourd) is looking pretty good.
Former Pro Stock racer Roy Hill captured the top spot in Super Stock with a -1.444 under 8.206 lap. Scott Gove (-1.096) and Steve Comella (-.980) rounded out the top three.
Team DragChamp went 2 for 3 in round one with Cooter Hidalgo and Jeff Longhany. Number 2 in the world Brad Zaskowski fell in the opening frame.
Jimmy Daniels moved into the second round with a win over Michael Volkman. You can keep track of Jimmy on his Facebook page @DanielsRacing1.
Charlie Downing, of the Class Racer Podcast, captured the top spot in qualifying with an impressive -1.72 under 9.930 shot in is E/S entry. Downing was followed closely by Gary Richard (-1.639) and Jeff Hairrington (-1.488).
Team DragChamp took a beating in round one with Daniel Young losing a heads-up race and Mike Mahan missing the tree. Slate Cummings will carry the DragChamp flag for the rest of the event.
The Super Comp field is down to 31 cars after one round of eliminations. Lance Pinto drove his ’05 Cavalier to the number one spot posting a 8.901 in round one. Don Higgins and Michelle Furr also posted winning 8.901 E.T.’s.
Team DragChamp fared well in round one with Jonathan Anderson and Ray Miller 3 moving through to round two. Jason Kenny fell in a close race to Baby Gators Top Dragster winner Ross Laris by just .002. Kenny left first .051 to .053 but came up short after Laris posted a 8.905 to Kenny’s 8.909.
Michelle Furr moved into the second round in both Super Comp and Super Gas. You can follow Michelle on Facebook at @FurrRacing.
Former world champ Iggie Boicesco drove his ’02 Corvette to the number one spot with a dead-on 9.900 lap in round one. Vince Costa (9.902) and another former world champ David Tatum III (9.903) rounded out the top three.
Sherman Adcock, John Taylor, and Steve Furr all made it pass the first round to give Team DragChamp a perfect score in Super Gas.
Jesse McKnight took the number one spot on the ladder with a near-perfect 10.901 lap in his ’00 Camaro. Jeff Weets, Larry Paden, and Randy Shipp all posted 10.902 winning times in round one.
Team DragChamp pick Rudy Matthews fell in round one but Division 4 ace Ray Dew carried us into round two.
Lester Johnson posted a 6.238 lap at 228.73 mph to capture the pole position in Top Sportsman in his cool ’55 Chevy. Division 4 runners Allen Firestone and Mario Boesch rounded out the top three.
Team DragChamp was a perfect 2 for 2 in Top Sportsman as defending world champ Ronnie Proctor and Sandy Wilkins found win lights in round one.
Division 4 was once again well represented in Top Dragster. Last week’s Baby Gators winner, Ross Laris, captured his second straight number one qualifier with a 6.135 at 299.47 mph lap.
Laris was followed by fellow Division 4 runners Darian Boesch (2nd) and Aaron Stanfield (4th). Mike Coughlin put his Jegs.com dragster into the number 3 spot.
After winning a close race in Super Comp, Laris lost a close double-breakout race in Top Dragster. Team DragChamp is still alive as former world champ Jeff Strickland moved into round two.
Ross still has a shot in Super Comp and no matter what, he’ll be taking a Wally back home to Louisiana next week.
DragChamp will have daily sportsman racing results from the NHRA Gatornationals. Check out website and follow us on Facebook @dragchampmagazine.