Gatornationals Story

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - SUMMIT FastNews - Kenny Bernstein, Cruz Pedregon, Warren Johnson and Matt Hines were the big winners in the the professional categories today at the 29th annual Mac Tools Gatornationals. The event, postponed from last weekend,...

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - SUMMIT FastNews - Kenny Bernstein, Cruz Pedregon, Warren Johnson and Matt Hines were the big winners in the the professional categories today at the 29th annual Mac Tools Gatornationals. The event, postponed from last weekend, was completed today under clear skies and ideal conditions, resulting in record performances in most classes.

Bernstein, of Richardson, Texas, drove his Bud King Dragster to his victory of the season with a 4.604 second, 318.47 mph run in the final round of Top Fuel. San Diego's Larry Dixon ran 4.734 seconds at 288.73 mph in his Miller Lite dragster to take runner-up honors.

Moorpark, Calif.'s Pedregon won a classic Funny Car match-up against arch-rival John Force. The Interstate Batteries driver ended a 18-month winless streak by pedaling his Pontiac Firebird to a 5.747 second, 277.77 mph run, while Force smoked the tires on his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang and ran a slower 6.416 seconds at 217.81 mph in his first final round appearance of the season.

Pedregon, who claimed a $50,000 MBNA World Record Club bonus with his 4.873 second elapsed time national record, earned approximately $104,000 for the event, a career best.

Johnson, of Sugar Hill, Ga., moved into the NHRA Winston Pro Stock points lead by outrunning Jim Yates in the final and setting both ends of the national record. Johnson's GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird ran a record 6.873 seconds at 200.66 mph, while Yates ran 6.935, 198.10. Johnson's 201.20 mph effort during a first round win over Robert Patrick stood as the NHRA Pro Stock speed record.

Johnson earned a $25,000 MBNA World Record Club bonus with his 6.873 second elapsed time national record, bringing his weekend payday to $55,000.

Hines claimed the season-opening Pro Stock Motorcycle victory in impressive fashion, setting both ends of the national record and earning a $10,000 MBNA World Record Club bonus for his 7.245 second low elapsed-time. The Trinidad, Colo. native rode his Suzuki GSXR to a 7.318 second, 183.41 mph victory in the final over Dave Schultz, who ran 7.421, 182.14, also on a Suzuki.

In the Federal-Mogul sportsman categories, Keith Stark and Frank Manzo took home the honors in F-M Dragster and F-M Funny Car, respectively. Stark's return to Gainesville was especially emotional, as he narrowly survived a crash at this event last year.

Results provided by the FastNews Network, courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment ** http://www.summitracing.com/ **

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Robert Patrick , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Warren Johnson , John Force , Cruz Pedregon , Frank Manzo