Gainesville: Goodyear Racing event report

GOODYEAR-SHOD DRIVERS COLLECT FIVE GATORNATIONALS WINS GAINESVILLE, Fla. (DATE) -- First it was wet, then it was fast. Cars racing on Goodyear tires won five categories and set records at the NHRA's Tire Kingdom Gatornationals at ...

GOODYEAR-SHOD DRIVERS COLLECT FIVE GATORNATIONALS WINS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (DATE) -- First it was wet, then it was fast.

Cars racing on Goodyear tires won five categories and set records at the NHRA's Tire Kingdom Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. The event was slowed by two days of heavy rain but once the sun came out on Saturday, the pace was stunning.

"Our Goodyear Eagles performed well," said Carolyn Ashbee, Goodyear's sales account manager for drag racing. "The weather conditions changed constantly on Saturday and Sunday and the track temperature never really warmed up. There was a lot of grip and we saw some big speed numbers."

In the Full Throttle Series professional categories, Tony Schumacher won in Top Fuel, Tim Wilkerson won in Funny Car and Jason Line was the Pro Stock winner. Duane Shields won the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Alcohol Dragster final, his second straight Gatornationals win and Arnie Martel won in Competition Eliminator.

"First of all, it's the Gatornationals," Schumacher said. "It was exactly what we needed to do at the exact time we had to do it."

Track and national records fell during the weekend. Schumacher shattered the Top Fuel speed record for the 1,000-foot distance when he was timed at 324.98 mph. That mark came after David Grubnic tied the all-time speed record for the 1,000-foot distance in the Top Fuel category when he was clocked at 321.58 mph. Matt Hagan set a Funny Car speed record for 1,000-foot racing when he zipped down track and was clocked at 316.15 mph during the first round of eliminations. Like Grubnic in Top Fuel, Robert Hight set the track's elapsed time and speed records for Funny Car when he made a 4.060-second, 310.13 mph pass Saturday, only to have that record broken on Sunday.

Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, took advantage of a lull in his NASCAR schedule to compete in the Super Gas category of the Lucas Oil Series for sportsman in a 1970 Dodge Challenger he built. It was his first NHRA event. "I felt like an eight-year old school boy when I got that (technical inspection) sticker," Busch said. "The fun meter has been pegged."

And that was before his first pass of the weekend. Busch was later knocked out in the first round of eliminations.

Schumacher's record came during his third-round win over rival Larry Dixon. Schumacher said the last two rounds, when he beat Dixon in the semi finals and teammate Antron Brown in the finals, were nerve-wracking.

"I was a little bit nervous because Antron has been leaving like a machine and Dixon leaves like a machine," Schumacher said. Schumacher won for the first time this season. He leads the Top Fuel standings with 266 points. Cory McClenathan is second with 255.

Wilkerson beat Bob Tasca in the Funny Car final, collecting his first victory of 2010. "I really don't get worked up about who I race," Wilkerson said. "I race the racetrack."

John Force held on to the Funny Car points lead despite losing to Ron Capps in the second round. Capps trails Force, 280-226.

Line beat defending Pro Stock champion Mike Edwards in the final round. It was the third win for Line at Gainesville and his first win this season. "I didn't think we were going to qualify," Line said.

The Gatornationals featured the final rounds of Pro Stock competition left over from the weather-plagued race two weeks earlier in Arizona. Edwards won the race, beating Bob Yonke in the final.

-source: goodyear racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Larry Dixon , Ron Capps , John Force , Kurt Busch , David Grubnic , Cory McClenathan , Tim Wilkerson , Duane Shields , Bob Yonke , Jason Line , Matt Hagan , Mike Edwards