GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Bruce Sarver is fitting in just fine with the e-moola.com Funny Car and the entire Alan Johnson Racing team. Sarver, Johnson and the entire team were excited for the NHRA's 50th Anniversary season to begin.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Bruce Sarver is fitting in just fine with the e-moola.com Funny Car and the entire Alan Johnson Racing team. Sarver, Johnson and the entire team were excited for the NHRA's 50th Anniversary season to begin. Their momentum continued during the first two races as Sarver won the season-opener in Pomona, Calif., and was the runner-up in Phoenix. Sarver has a 58 point lead over the legendary Force as they prepare to compete in the 32nd annual Mac Tools Gatornationals, March 15-18, at historic Gainesville Raceway IN Gainesville, Fla. The $2 million race is the third of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag racing series. "Things are starting to click for this team," said Sarver. "We're in the points lead, we're having fun and going to Gainesville to try and continue where we left off (in Phoenix)." Sarver began his racing career in go-karts, where he logged more than 200 go-kart victories in 20-plus years of racing. He also competed for six years on the late-model NASCAR Winston west stock car series where he won the Coca-Cola 100 at Mesa Marin Raceway in Southern California. After competing on the NHRA circuit in Top Fuel from 1996-99, the 39-year old Sarver was approached during the 1999 season by renowned crew chief Alan Johnson, who also owns and tunes the Team Winston dragster driven by three-time series champ Gary Scelzi. Johnson was going to field a Funny Car team and he wanted Sarver to sit behind the wheel of the Pontiac Firebird. "It didn't take me long to pick Bruce," said Johnson, when he hired Sarver back in 1999. "He's a very motivated and committed driver. His driving experience in all forms of racing should make it easy for him to make the transition into a Funny Car." Sarver, from Bakersfield, Calif., was running his Top Fuel operation on a shoestring budget but still managed to crack the top 10 in the Winston standings in 1998. He saw this as a great opportunity and realized he would be joining one of the most elite teams in all of drag racing. After failing to qualify for four of the first eight national events during the 2000 season, the team became better acquainted with each other and began to get a better handle on the tune-up of the 6,000 horsepower vehicle. The result was Sarver's first Funny Car final round appearance and win when he drove past Ron Capps in the finale at Reading, Pa., last season The momentum carried over to the fall event in Houston where Sarver and the e-moola.com team scored their first No 1 qualifying position. They completed the 2000 season with a runner-up finish to Winston champion John Force at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals. Despite his early season struggles, Sarver managed to finish ninth in the 2000 Winston standings. With the more two-vehicle Funny Car teams being formed to take aim at John Force's Winston championship streak, no one should overlook the Johnson-tuned, Sarver-piloted Firebird.