Dixon, Cannon, Krisher And Hines Take Early Qualifying Lead At Gatornationals GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Larry Dixon used the first day of qualifying to grab the early lead in Top Fuel competition at the 33rd annual Mac Tools Gatornationals on Friday...
Dixon, Cannon, Krisher And Hines Take Early Qualifying Lead At Gatornationals
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Larry Dixon used the first day of qualifying to grab the early lead in Top Fuel competition at the 33rd annual Mac Tools Gatornationals on Friday at Gainesville Raceway.
Dixon drove his Miller Lite dragster down the quarter-mile track in 4.604 seconds at 321.96 mph to pace the Top Fuel category.
Scotty Cannon, Ron Krisher and Matt Hines led their respective categories at the $1.9 million race, the third of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Dixon, the current points leader, is looking to earn his second No. 1 qualifying spot of the season and 14th of his career.
"We got a good grip on the track the second time down and was able to get a 4.60 which is a pretty good run," Dixon said. "I am pretty happy with it. I don't think the 4.60 will hold up, but we'll see."
Two of the greatest drivers in NHRA history made qualifying attempts on Friday. Driving her Action Collectibles/Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, Shirley Muldowney earned the early No. 9 spot with a time of 4.790 at 249.81. "Big Daddy" Don Garlits has the No. 16 spot with a 7.596 pass at 101.45.
"I think it is great that they are here," Dixon said. "I kind of wish I wasn't racing so I could sit back in the stands and watch them. They are two of the biggest names in Top Fuel. I grew up watching them."
Cannon led the Funny Car field with a 4.957-second run at 307.30 mph in his Oakley Pontiac Firebird. If Cannon can stay at the top of the Funny Car field, it will be the first No. 1 qualifying spot in his career.
"The track was a little greasy and it was forcing everyone to back down the engines," Cannon said. "I am surprised that we stuck to the track as well as we did."
Cannon said that while he was pleased to turn in a good run, they have a lot of work to do on the car.
"The car was not going down the track straight," Cannon said. "It was really tough to drive. If we want to win on Sunday, we are going to have to make it go straight."
Krisher set both ends of the Pro Stock track record with a 6.821 pass at 203.37 in his Eagle One Chevy Cavalier. Krisher has qualified in the top spot at the two previous races this season, but has failed to earn the event victory.
"We are trying to get that win along with the No. 1 qualifier," Krisher said. "We just need to get a little smarter and luckier on Sunday."
Hines set both ends of the track record with a 7.156 run at 193.85 on his Vance & Hines Eagle One Suzuki to lead the way in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class in the season opener for the category.
"I was really impressed with the numbers," Hines said. "(Pro Stock Motorcycle rider) Antron Brown said we ran the time and I told him he had to be seeing things. This is how you want to start the season. We want to come out swinging."
Hines, a three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion, is the defending winner at the Gatornationals.
"We want to win here because this is how you put together a championship season," Hines said. "We really like this track. It has always been good to us."
Qualifying continues with two sessions Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.