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2020 NHRA Gatornationals Sportsman Preview

2020 Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals Lucas Oil Sportsman series event preview.

GAINESVILLE – The 2020 NHRA tour is in full swing as racers head to Florida for the Gatornationals, the third event on the 24-race schedule. The East Coast opener is one of the most coveted nationals on the NHRA tour. Racers from all across the North East come to Gainesville each year to escape the cold weather. This combined with the tough Division 2 crowd makes for a highly competitive event.

The Gatornationals will showcase 350 Lucas Oil sportsman racers competing in eight different classes. The schedule includes Competition Eliminator, Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, Super Gas, Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, and Factory Stock Showdown.

The four-day NHRA schedule is in place at Gainesville which includes three qualifying and time runs for the Lucas Oil classes on Thursday. After three shots on Thursday, racers will move into final eliminations on Friday morning. Saturday will greet racers with two additional rounds of eliminations while the final few rounds will be completed on Sunday.

Before we look ahead to the 2020 Gatornationals, let’s look back at last season’s champions.

2019 NHRA Gatornationals Nationals Champions

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series

Competition Eliminator – Craig Bourgeois

Super Stock – Kevin Riner

Stock Eliminator – Randi Lyn Shipp

Super Comp – Holden Laris

Super Gas – Ed Richardson

Super Street – Doug Ramsey

Top Sportsman – Sandy Wilkins

Top Dragster – Anthony Bertozzi

Factory Stock Showdown – Drew Skillman

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2020 NHRA Gatornationals Nationals Predictions

With each NHRA national event DragChamp’s sportsman preview includes an overview of each class. In addition, we select the DragChamp Picks to win the race. Here are this week’s picks.

Competition Eliminator – 17 Car Field

Frank-Aragona
Frank Aragona

2019 world champ Frank Aragona makes his debut this weekend. He’ll see stiff competition from the likes of Brad Plourd, Jim Greenheck, and Randy Daniels.

DragChamp pick to win:

Randy Daniels – Super competitive player on the East Coast is due for a big win.

Super Stock – 61 Car Field

Kevin Riner

2019 event champ Kevin Riner will have his hands full if he expects to defend his title. The entry list is loaded with talent including: Anthony Bertozzi, Jimmy Hidalgo Jr. Michael Iacono, Marion Stephenson, and more.

Mike Crutchfield comes into the event on fire! In the first two Division 2 LODRS events, Mike earned a win and a runnerup. He’ll look to carry that momentum into the Gators.

DragChamp picks to win:

Joe Lisa – Division 1 hitter is always a player in Gainesville.

Tyler Caheely – Talented driver with great equipment, look for him to be in the running on Sunday afternoon.

Emily Volkman – Enjoyed a great season in 2019, would love to start 2020 with a big win.

Stock Eliminator – 62 Car Field

Randi Lyn Shipp

Racers from five different Divisions make up the 62 car Stock Eliminator field in Gainesville. Randi Lyn Shipp returns to defend her 2019 title. She’s joined by a host of talented drivers including Jeff Adkinson, Mike McMahan, Slate Cummings, and Shane Oakes.

DragChamp picks to win:

Jeff Strickland – Strick is a bad dude who knows how to turn on win lights.

Jeff Longhany – The 10th ranked driver nationally in 2019 is due for a win on the national level.

Gary Richard – Talented New York competitor can get it done in his late model Mustang.

Super Comp – 60 Car Field

Holden Laris

The talent in the Super Comp field at the Gatornationals is absolutely sick! Just a few names that stand out are Jonathan Anderson, Brad Plourd, Labbous, Kevin Brannon, and Ray Ray Miller.

Bracket racing ace Troy Williams Jr. posted a runner-up finish at the Baby Gators so look for him to be a factor this week.

DragChamp picks to win:

Todd Ewing – Although he rarely competes on the NHRA circuit, he usually wins when he does!!!!

Sherman Adcock Jr. – Has enjoyed great success at the Gators over the years.

Lauren Freer – Ended 2019 on a roll, that momentum could lead to a big year in 2020.

Super Gas – 60 Car Field

Ed Richardson

2019 #3 ranked driver Charlie Kenopic and Division 2 champ Johnny Labbous Jr. lead the Super Gas field in Gainesville. Their joined by class heavyweights Steve Furr, Baby Gators runner-up Jason Kenny, Rusty Cook, and Cole Cummings.

DragChamp picks to win:

John Labbous Jr. – Lil’ John is flat out nasty in his Super Gas Corvette.

David Morris – The VP Race Fuels rep can also shoe a race car!

Jim Perry – Former Super Comp world champ is deadly in his S-10.

Top Sportsman – 31 Car Field

Sandy Wilkins

World Champ Sandy Wilkins and #4 ranked driver Curt Fredrich lead the Top Sportsman field in Gainesville. Look for Wilkins to kick off his title defense in a big way.

DragChamp picks to win:

Dylan Stott – Grabbed a runner-up finish at the Baby Gators, would love to go one round further this week.

Mark McDonald – Division 3 runner is always a threat to win.

Top Dragster – 36 Car Field

Anthony Bertozzi
Anthony Bertozzi

With 36 cars on the entry list, the Top Dragster bump may be the talk of the sportsman pits this weekend. Looking at the entry list, qualifying should be a show in and of itself. Anthony Bertozzi returns to defend his 2019 event title but will face intense competition from a host of talented racers.

DragChamp picks to win:

Maverick Palmatier – This young man is just barely out of Juniors but can flat out wheel a race car.

Ross Laris – The motorsports insurance kingpin was runner-up at the Baby Gators last weekend. Ross posted a .017-pack in the final only to get .007 change back! His opponent, Wayne Landry was .009 dead one in the win.

Factory Stock Showdown – 22 Car Field

Arthur Kohn

The Factory Stockers roll out for the first time since late last season. With a long winter break, I’m sure we’ll see some super-quick passes this week from the top teams. We’ll also see if the off-season rule amendments made the difference the NHRA was looking for.

World Champ Drew Skillman and his father Bill are chased by the four-car Stanfield Powered team, the Barton-powered COPO’s, and the DSR HEMI’s.

DragChamp pick to win:

Arthur Kohn – The Texas-based COPO racer has been knocking on the door for the last two seasons. It’s time for him to break through!

DragChamp is your source for NHRA Lucas Oil sportsman drag racing news and drag race results.

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