Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

To: flattorney

March 12-15, 2009
3rd of 24 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Events
Event Schedule | Entry List | Team Reports | Live Audiocast (WMPlayer Direct) | Results
2008 Winners: TF Tony Schumacher ~ FC Tony Pedregon, ~ PS Jeg Coughlin ~ PSM Matt Guidera

Tickets | Fans Assistance KBase | Gainesville Chamber of Commerce
The Gatornationals attracts significant crowds. Many good local area hotels are booked months in advance.
Parking can be problematic so all fans must arrive several hours before championship racing starts.

Weather: Gainesville Race Track Maps: US Surface SEast: Surface IR Satellite Live Radar: 1 2 3
Forecasts may be inaccurate. Florida's Spring weather is unpredictable and can change on short notice.
      The Gatornationals is the NHRA East Coast opener and the season’s first of seventeen(17) events for Pro Stock Motorcycle riders. It's one of the sport’s most revered races with a rich tradition of history-making performances. It also typically hosts one of the largest event attendance of the NHRA championship drag racing season. And with good weather, the 40th Annual NHRA ACDelco Gatornationals should be no different with cash and contingency awards totaling more than $2 million. This hallowed race track has produced the first 260 mph Top Fuel and Funny Car runs in 1984, and the first 270 mph and 300 mph Top Fuel passes in 1986 and 1992, respectively. During the 2000 NHRA Gatornationals, eight of ten National records were set in the professional classes. Gainesville Raceway's starting line 675 feet concrete launchpad, flat racing surface, and very long shutdown area, makes it one of the drivers' favorite on the tour.
      Gainesville Raceway opened in 1969 and held its first Gatornationals event in 1970. It’s the fourth oldest event on the NHRA Championship Drag Racing annual tour, behind the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, and the Winternationals and NHRA Finals at Pomona. Following the 2003 season, Gainesville Raceway has continued to undergo significant renovations. In 2008, a new $2.6 million three-story state-of-the-art control tower was completed, which is located directly behind the drag strip’s starting line. The track offices are on the first floor, race-control operations on the second floor, and a spacious media center on the top floor.
      Gainesville Raceway is the home of Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School, which for twenty-four years has been the leading school for drivers competing in the NHRA. Gainesville, and Gainesville Raceway, are also home to the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame. On Thursday, March 12, 2009, the 2009 inductees will be honored at the Annual International Hall Of Fame Banquet being held at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, Gainesville. The Gatornationals is noted for attracting a "who's who" of NHRA legends. Many attend unannounced and can be found in the pit areas. Don Garlits, NHRA No. 1 Greatest, will be attending the full Gatornationals event. Darrell Gwynn, NHRA No. 32nd Greatest, will be attending the Finals, on Sunday, March 15, 2009, in behalf of the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, which is an official charity of the NHRA. ~ FlA
      The Four Championship Drag Racing Divisions Event Schedule
Fri. 03.13.09: Pro Stock Qualifying Session 1 (PS Motorcycle; PS Car): 11:30 am
Nitro Qualifying Session 1 (Funny Car; Top Fuel Dragster): 12:30 pm
Pro Stock Qualifying Session 2 - 2:30 pm
Nitro Qualifying Session 2 - 3:30 pm
Sat. 03.14.09: Pro Stock Qualifying Session 3 - 11:30 am
Nitro Qualifying Session 3 - 12:30 pm
Pro Stock Qualifying Session 4 - 2:30 pm
Nitro Qualifying Session 4 - 3:30 pm
Sun. 03.15.09: Pre-Race Ceremonies: 10:00 am
Final Eliminations: 11:00 am
   ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals Coverage (ET)
Sun, 03.15 Qualifying 2:00-4:00 am (ESPN2)
Sun, 03.15 Repeat Qualifying 10:00-11:30 am (ESPN2)
Sun, 03.15 NHRA Race Day 11:30 am-12:00 (ESPN2)
Sun, 03.15 Eliminations 3:00-6:00 pm (ESPN)(1)(2)
Wed, 03.18 Repeat Eliminations 2:30-4:30 am (ESPN2)
(1) Note channel change from ESPN2 to ESPN
(2) Watch Full Coverage On-Line at ESPN 360

Can’t get interviews from some of the NHRA drivers.
No problem, ESPN sends in a Brut Girl to get “the dirt”.

Photos, Greg & Kim Anderson: The media often calls John Force the Dale Earnhardt Sr. of drag racing. But the person that most reminds me of Dale is, without question, 3 time (2003-5) NHRA Pro Stock World Champion Greg Anderson. Greg has many of Dale’s mannerism, is a great guy, and a very tough competitor with 57 NHRA event wins. 2009 will be Greg’s 11th NHRA racing season. His wife Kim is on the starting line every time Greg makes a 1/4 mile pass. And, the male drag racing fans love her – more like lust for her. NHRA Profile | His Site Bio | Racing History ~ fla

Home: The FR 2009 NHRA Championship Drag Racing Thread
FlAttorney's FR Racing

46 posted on 03/14/2009 7:54:24 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: flattorney

      FlA Says: This will be my 10th consecutive year to attend the Gatornationals, and my 76th NHRA national drag racing event. Nine of us are making the trip and we are attending all three professional championship racing days from Friday to Sunday. Our attending group paid the highest prices ever for advanced 2009 Gatornationals tickets. So much for all of NHRA's marketing yap about lower ticket costs for this event. Basically, the good seats ticket holders are cross-subsidizing the "event filler" people in the general admission cheap seats. Nothing new, and hey socialism is now politically correct. However, I'm not complaining. Three days of Gatornational tickets were dramatically cheaper than the three NASCAR races we attended at Daytona International Speedway last month.
      Below are several recent track photos, except the last one. The aerial photo is over a decade old before major renovations started. It shows why Gainesville Raceway is one of my favorite tracks - flat and very long. In my book, this offsets the facility being dated, although it has come a long way the last six years. It's also the reason I waited until I moved to Florida to get back into a blown alcohol dragster after attending and receiving my certification from Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School. Great track and great school (1.-Footnote). Check out the photo of the newly upgraded shutdown area sandtrap and catch-net. Construction was just completed. Now this is how they are suppose to look. Not like that joke at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Englishtown that NHRA ignored until Scott Kalitta was killed.

      03.11.09 Weather: A major pressure front is moving towards north Florida, but is projected to stall out northern of Gainesville and not bring rain to the area until Mon-Wed of next week. However, some forecasts indicate a 20-30% rain chance on Sunday. Hopefully there will be no rain and thunderstorms like last year. Gainesville Raceway Fri-Sun Projection: Cloudy, fog during early mornings, low to mid-80's afternoon, low-moderate winds, mid-50's night, possibility of rain Sunday. It will be interesting to see what total attendance ends up being for the Gatornationals. Despite great weather, the attendance was down for the last NHRA race in Phoenix.
      Below is part of what I wrote about our attending the 2008 Gatornationals. All corrupted NHRA related links, which happened with the NHRA's new Feb. 2009 website, have been corrected by FlA & Co. and another new link added. Unfortunately, NHRA corrupted 98% of their archive webpages' links and they still have not fixed them.

Mon. 03.17.08, FlA Says: We had a good time at the 39th annual NHRA Gatornationals. Weather was much more problematic than the three NASCAR races we attended at Daytona International Speedway last month. The first day of qualifying was rained out, the second day was overcast, high humidity, and significant cross track winds. For Sunday’s eliminations the weather was great – sunny, low 80’s, low humidity, and low winds. The track was good but the nitro, and even some of the pro stock cars, had problems getting down the track due to the major changes in weather conditions between Saturday and Sunday. In the first round of eliminations, Tony Pedregon's brother, Cruz, experienced a major explosion and fire after his Funny Car's throttle hung wide-open at the end of his 310+ mph run - Article, Photos, Video. Amazingly he won the race, his crew was able to rebuild the car, and Cruz ran a great second round of eliminations, but lost. Brother Tony, recovered from burn injuries resulting from a huge season opener top-end explosion and serious fire at the Winternationals, won Top Fuel Funny Car. For the first time in 18 years, two time Funny Car champion Frank “The Teacher” Hawley returned to competition. Don "Big Daddy" Garlits was the Gatornationals Grand Marshal. He and Frank dedicated the track's new multi-million dollars three-story tower.

NHRA: Results Article | Detailed Results | Competition Plus Finals Coverage
Video: Honoring Eric Medlen, One Year Later - 5:36 minutes, plays direct in Windows Media Player
2008 Winners (L-R): PSM Matt Guidera ~ FC Tony Pedregon ~ TF Tony Schumacher ~ PS Jeg Coughlin

      (1) On the personal racing subject, all my racing friends are very surprised that I have not learned to drive a grand national stock car because NASCAR racing has been/is a very important part of my racing life, and I've always liked the pre-COT cars. It was my No. 1 "free time" priority when I moved to Florida. But with four NASCAR drivers killed at the track in nine months culminating with the February 18, 2001 loss of Dale Earnhardt, Sr., I walked away from the sport until 2003. I attended the 2001 Daytona 500 when Dale was killed. Without question, it was the toughest racing loss I’ve ever dealt with and for me, was the end of NASCAR's best racing years. However, the only Daytona 500 I’ve missed attending this decade is 2002. But, attending the Daytona NASCAR races is as much for business reasons as it is personal. My/our attendance at the Talladega NASCAR races is mostly personal. By the time I got interested again in learning to drive a grand national stock car I was too busy with work, politics, and later on a deal I couldn't refuse, I joined a team and begin offshore Grand Prix superboat racing. Further, the best school and track to learn to drive is at Talladega Superspeedway, which is not convenient. But, with the recession and the National GOP out of power, I now have more time available to go to Talladega and learning to drive one of those "beast".
      As to our annual February pilgrimage to attend all three 2009 races at Daytona International Speedway, I thought it was interesting that NASCAR's season started out as bad as NHRA's. I rated the Budweiser Shootout an F, Gatorade Duels: A-, and the rain ended Daytona 500: C. Will have to see how it goes when we attend the two April NASCAR races at Talladega, which is the weekend after the SBIP/APBA 19th Annual Miami Super Boat Grand Prix. - FlAttorney's FR Racing - NASCAR Section
47 posted on 03/14/2009 7:56:01 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies ]

To: flattorney

Final Qualifying Results After Four Rounds

  Psn  Driver               Vehicle                          ET   Speed
   1. Larry Dixon          Al-Anabi Racing Dragster        3.886  310.20 
   2. Spencer Massey       US Smokeless Dragster           3.908  307.16 
   3. Cory McClenathan     Fram Dragster                   3.919  309.63 
   4. Brandon Bernstein    Budweiser/Lucas Oil Dragster    3.922  312.64 
   5. Shawn Langdon        Lucas Oil/Dixie Chopper Dragst  3.937  309.63 
   6. Tony Schumacher      U.S. Army Dragster              3.943  307.58 
   7. Antron Brown         Matco Tools Dragster            3.943  305.77 
   8. Joe Hartley          Hartley Racing Dragster         3.965  307.72 
   9. Morgan Lucas         Geico Powersport/ Lucas Oil Dr  3.971  297.42 
  10. Clay Millican        MPE Motorsportd Dragster        3.978  302.69 
  11. Del Cox Jr           LA King's/RG Industries DRA Dr  3.993  304.12 
  12. Terry McMillen       Amalie Oil Dragster             4.014  299.73 
  13. Urs Erbacher         Midland Oil Switzerland Dragst  4.043  286.25 
  14. Michael Gunderson    Under The Gun Racing Dragster   4.082  287.96 
  15. Bobby Lagana Jr.     Tire Kingdom Dragster           4.090  263.67 
  16. Doug Kalitta         Kalitta Motorsports Dragster    4.118  293.98 
          --------- Not Qualified ---------
  17. Tim Boychuk          Tim Hortons Dragster            4.178  273.33 
  18. Chris Karamesines    Strange/Chizler Dragster        6.137  195.85 
  19. Terry Haddock        Dragster                        8.228  176.14 
  Psn  Driver               Vehicle                          ET   Speed
   1. Bob Tasca III        Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang   4.124  301.00 
   2. Ashley Force Hood    Castrol GTX Mustang             4.126  301.00 
   3. Del Worsham          Al-Anabi Racing Solara          4.152  295.08 
   4. John Force           Castrol GTX Mustang             4.153  295.21 
   5. Mike Neff            JFR/Ford Mustang                4.154  300.93 
   6. Ron Capps            NAPA Auto Parts Charger         4.156  293.15 
   7. Matt Hagan           Brakesafe Charger               4.157  299.66 
   8. Tim Wilkerson        Levi, Ray, Shoup Mustang        4.163  302.08 
   9. Jack Beckman         Valvoline/MTS Charger           4.178  294.50 
  10. Robert Hight         AAA of So. Cal Mustang          4.179  299.20 
  11. Tony Pedregon        Quaker State Impala             4.181  296.50 
  12. Jerry Toliver        Canidae Pet Food Monte Carlo    4.184  287.66 
  13. Mike Smith           Diamond Trucking Monte Carlo    4.199  295.21 
  14. Jeff Arend           DHL Solara                      4.222  290.94 
  15. Cruz Pedregon        Advance Auto Parts Solara       4.222  292.90 
  16. Jim Head             Team Strange Apparel Solara     4.233  294.43 
          --------- Not Qualified ---------
  17. Bob Bode             Alard Machine Products Impala   4.352  286.07 
  Psn  Driver                Vehicle                         ET   Speed
   1. Mike Edwards         Young Life/Penhall GXP          6.582  209.95 
   2. Greg Anderson        Summit Racing Equipment GXP     6.596  209.59 
   3. Allen Johnson        Mopar/J - J Racing Stratus      6.600  208.97 
   4. Kurt Johnson         AC Delco Cobalt                 6.603  208.49 
   5. Jason Line           Summit Racing Equipment GXP     6.618  209.14 
   6. Jeg Coughlin Cobalt                 6.623  208.36 
   7. Johnny Gray          Jonny Gray Racing Stratus       6.625  208.46 
   8. Rickie Jones         Quarter-Max/RJ Stratus          6.626  207.94 
   9. Larry Morgan         Lucas Oil Stratus               6.627  208.01 
  10. Greg Stanfield       Attitude Apparel GXP            6.633  208.07 
  11. Justin Humphreys     RaceRedi Motorsports GXP        6.637  207.53 
  12. Jim Yates            Wiley X Eye Wear GXP            6.644  207.75 
  13. Steve Spiess         Spiess Construction Cobalt      6.646  207.69 
  14. Ron Krisher          Valvoline Cobalt                6.647  207.56 
  15. Tom Martino          Humphreys Motorsports Stratus   6.655  207.18 
  16. V. Gaines            Kendall Oil Stratus             6.667  207.05 
          --------- Not Qualified ---------
  17. Dave Northrop        Nitro Fish Wear Stratus         6.672  207.05 
  18. Warren Johnson       K N Filters GXP                 6.675  208.68 
  19. Tom Hammonds         Race For Achievement Cobalt     6.677  207.15 
  20. Jerry Haas           Medina River Ranch Resort GTO   6.708  205.98 
  21. Rodger Brogdon       Kent Services - Trucking GXP    6.715  206.42 
  22. Bob Benza            BNB Racing GXP                  6.738  205.66 
  23. Erica Enders         Dragstar Racing Mustang         6.797  201.94 
  24. John Gaydosh Jr      Gaydosh Performance GTO         6.813  202.97 
  Psn  Rider                Vehicle                          ET   Speed
   1. Matt Smith           Nitrofish Suzuki                6.945  189.44 
   2. Hector Arana         Lucas Oil Buell                 6.957  191.40 
   3. Karen Stoffer        Geico Suzuki                    6.963  190.43 
   4. Angie McBride        NitroFish/MSR/Redline Oil Buel  6.963  189.50 
   5. Andrew Hines         Screamin' Eagle/Vance Hines     6.991  188.62 
   6. Craig Treble         Team Scream Suzuki              7.005  189.26 
   7. Eddie Krawiec        Screamin' Eagle/Vance Hines     7.007  189.71 
   8. Steve Johnson        Steve Johnson Racing Wyotech    7.024  190.30 
   9. Wes Wells            Kendall Suzuki                  7.034  191.65 
  10. Michael Phillips     MPR & Damn Sport Suzuki         7.055  192.71 
  11. Shawn Gann           Mastercam Buell                 7.062  189.23 
  12. Matt Guidera         Rocklin Motorsports Buell       7.069  183.84 
  13. Douglas Horne        Horne Racing                    7.147  184.27 
  14. Redell Harris        Master P/No Limit Record Buell  7.158  180.55 
  15. Junior Pippin        Stone Mtn - Granite Mtn HD Bue  7.166  178.64 
  16. Ryan Schnitz         Team Muzzy Kawasaki             7.232  181.98 
          --------- Not Qualified ---------
  17. Joe DeSantis         Javelina H-D/ Green H-D Suzuk   7.242  184.25 
  18. Darin McCurdy        G M Racing Suzuki               7.307  183.07 
  19. Mike Berry           MB Machining/LAT Racing Oil B   7.338  181.54 
  20. James Surber         South County Cycles Racing Bue  7.371  179.85 
  21. John Sachs Jr        Yate Brothers Racing/SAX Suzuk   NT 
- Credit: NHRA

Wow look at Ashley, Karen and Angie go. Poor Erica 3rd race she didn't qualify. - TAB

54 posted on 03/14/2009 10:07:45 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies ]

To: flattorney

NHRA Gaternationals: Behind the Scenes with ESPN

03.14.09: ESPN Revved up about Gatornationals | ESPN Control Room Video - Behind the Scenes
      Take an in-depth look at what goes into filming NHRA drag racing for ESPN television at the 2009 Gatornationals at Gainesivlle Raceway in Gainesville, Fl. - ESPN trucks rolled into Gainesville on Wednesday to set up for their coverage of the NHRA ACDelco Gatornationals this weekend as part of the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. ESPN took two days to fully set up all of the equipment needed, including 40 microphones and on-board cameras in the racing cars. Andy Hall, manager of media relations for ESPN Communications, said that it is more complicated to cover drag racing than other sports.

57 posted on 03/15/2009 6:49:31 AM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies ]

To: flattorney

Final Results

Top Fuel Larry Dixon, Funny Car Bob Tasca, Pro Stock Jason Line and
Pro Stock Motorcycle Hector Arana Win ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals

Sun. March 15, 2009, Gainesville, FL --

Tasca, Arana, Line and Dixon
Bob Tasca completed a dream weekend Sunday by racing to his first career victory at the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals.

Larry Dixon, Jason Line and Hector Arana also were winners at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at historic Gainesville Raceway.

Tasca, who earned his first No. 1 qualifying position on Saturday, finished the job Sunday by powering his Motorcraft Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang to a final-round performance of 4.200 seconds at 280.72 mph to hold off defending Gatornationals winner Tony Pedregon, whose Q Horsepower Chevy Impala trailed with a 4.536 at 210.90.

"I'm speechless," said Tasca, who defeated Jim Head, Tim Wilkerson and John Force to advance to the final round.

Bob Tasca
"It's one of those weekends where you qualify No. 1 and then have to beat John Force and Tony Pedregon to get your first win," Tasca continued. "Today is a culmination of 27 races and we've had our struggles as a team, including me as a driver. We're just determined to do well, and I can assure you that this won't be our last trophy. We have a championship-caliber program. What a special place this is and there's just a lot of energy here with the huge crowds. If you've got to pick a place to win your first race, I couldn't think of a better place to do it."

Points leader Ron Capps lost in the first round in his bid to win the first three races of the season, but maintained a 38-point lead over Tasca, who moved to second overall with the win.

Dixon raced to his first Top Fuel victory of the season and fourth at this event, posting a 3.898 at 311.05 in his Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing dragster to defeat Cory McClenathan, whose FRAM dragster lost traction early in the run and crossed the finish line in 4.570 at 192.60.

Larry Dixon
"It's hard to win these races, especially with a brand-new team," said Dixon, who beat Doug Kalitta, Morgan Lucas and Brandon Bernstein in earlier rounds. "They can have all the notes they want from last season but you don't have the same parts they had last season. They don't have the same blowers or the same clutch discs, and anyone who runs a fuel car will tell you that each of those parts has its own personality and you have to learn that personality and understand it, and they've been able to do that."

It is Dixon's first win for new team owner Alan Johnson. Dixon's first 43 wins came as driver for Don "The Snake" Prudhomme from 1995-'07.

"I know how hard it is to make these cars go down the track, but they make it look easy," Dixon said. "It's an a amazing group. Alan Johnson is a genius and (crew chief) Jason McCulloch is working right underneath him, and I'm happy for him to get his first win. I'm also happy for sheik [team co-owner Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Thani] and to be able to get his first win the third race out. I'm honored to be driving the car."

Despite a second round upset to part-time racer Bobby Lagana, Antron Brown held on to the series lead in Top Fuel.

Jason Line
Line earned his second win of the season in Pro Stock by outrunning Allen Johnson in the final round. Line used a quicker reaction time to take the win, powering his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to a 6.614 at 209.20 to hold off the quicker but losing J&J Racing/Team Mopar Dodge Stratus of Johnson, which finished in 6.607 at 209.01.

"The engine guy side of me is really upset that I had to win on a holeshot," said Line, who also won the Gatornationals in 2005. "We've really struggled all weekend. We did not run good. (Top qualifier Mike) Edwards made us look bad. Hats off to him, he's driving really good. But it was a great win, and I'm very excited. For me to do this good this early in the year, it hasn't happened before so I'm excited. I've been driving pretty good, and knock on wood, it stays that way."

In the first three rounds, Line outran Jim Yates, Kurt Johnson and Rickie Jones. He says it was a great confidence boost to get the win despite not feeling like he had the best car.

"The guys did a good job because we did not have the best car this weekend," said Line, who extended his series lead with his 17th career win. "I was thinking to myself before the weekend started, the guy who drives the yellow car, Mr. Coughlin (Jeg Coughlin), very seldom does he win having the best car and we need to do the same thing because you're not going to have the best car every weekend and you'll have to step up some other part of it, and for me, it's the driving part. I'm doing the best I can and I thank the guys for working with me at the shop because they really do try to help me."

Hector Arana
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Arana raced to his second career victory with a 6.977 at 191.40 on his Lucas Oil Buell, to hold off final round opponent and event top qualifier Matt Smith, whose Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki slowed to a 7.133 at 185.51. With the win, Arana moved into the series points lead for the first time in his career. He beat Junior Pippin, defending world champ Eddie Krawiec and Shawn Gann to advance to his fourth career final round.

"It's really great to win this event, I've been coming here for a long time," said Arana, who won his first career race last June in Norwalk, Ohio after 18 seasons of trying. "I did it again. The first one wasn't a fluke and I'm going to win some more."

40th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals Final Results
-- Full Throttle Divisions:

Top Fuel: Larry Dixon 3.898 seconds, 311.05 mph defeats Cory McClenathan 4.570, 192.60
Funny Car: Bob Tasca III 4.200, 280.72 defeats Tony Pedregon 4.536, 210.90
Pro Stock: Jason Line 6.614, 209.20 defeats Allen Johnson 6.607, 209.01
PS Motorcycle: Hector Arana 6.977, 191.40 defeats Matt Smith 7.133, 185.51
-- Credit DRC

Sunday Afternoon Weather - Thank you God


60 posted on 03/15/2009 9:36:10 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies ]

To: flattorney; the invisib1e hand
Sunday evening, driving home from Gainesville to Miami we saw the Space Shuttle in the sky after it's 7:43 pm launch. We were just north of Orlando and pulled off on the side of the road with the rest of our group. Here is NASA's STS-119 main webpage and their launch webpage for anyone interested. - fla

2009 Gatornationals: The exchange probably went something like this. . .

Don Garlits(L): "Look Don.... I'm (NHRA) number 1 and always will be".
Don Prudhomme(R): "You may think you're The Don but get a Top Fuel team out here and I'll kick your butt back to Ocala". *puts his other earplug back in and walks off. . . grinning from his "show"* - fla

ESPN Video Note: At the second race at Phoenix, behind the line, John Force was talking to Don Prudhomme about something. The ESPN TV crew came over and Don stopped talking (he's not big on unannounced TV cameras ). Force yaps "this is my 25th year here at Phoenix. . . . I'm older than you are Snake". Don half-grinned and gives John this "righttttt... boy" look and turned away. I got a good laugh out of that. No one gets the better of The Snake - fla.

Don Prudhomme's Cars at the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala

Seventy-seven years young Don Garlits (NHRA No. 1 Greatest) was honored at the '09 Gatornationals for 60 years of drag racing. - fla
01.14.09: Happy Birthday Don Garlits - - The man considered by many as the father of drag racing, Don Garlits, was born on this day in 1932 in Tampa, Fla. Aside from his wins and champions, "Big Daddy" probably made his greatest contribution to the sport by helping perfect the rear-engine top-fuel dragster after losing part of a foot in an accident. He was also one of the first drivers to get behind the idea of racers wearing fire-proof uniforms, socks, and gloves to increase safety. While his safety innovations are recognized and appreciated by both racers and fans alike, it was his ability to wheel a car down a dragstrip with the aid of his Swamp Rat machines that will forever mark him as one of, if not the, greatest drag racer ever. Garlits was the first driver to top 170, 180, 200, 240, 250, 260, and 270 mph down a quarter-mile and the first driver to break the 200 mph barrier on the eighth-mile. During his hall-of-fame career, Garlits earned 144 Nationals wins, along with three NHRA titles (the first driver to do so), and three world championships.

I saw Don race this dragster. - fla

GATORNATIONALS 1986: In the weeks leading up to the 1986 event, Don Garlits had been finishing work on his streamlined Swamp Rat XXX dragster. With its enclosed front end and cockpit, it looked like it could do 270 mph standing still. "Big Daddy" broke the 270-mph mark in the semifinals of that event, beating former NFL quarterback Dan Pastorini with a stunning speed of 272.56 in what was then the quickest side-by-side race in history, 5.40 to 5.49, surpassing the old mark set by Gary Beck and Gary Ormsby (5.39 to 5.54) at the 1983 Golden Gate Nationals. Garlits then beat Dick LaHaie in the final for his last of four Gatornationals wins. The only hitch in Garlits' weekend was the front "tire" setup, which featured generator belts wrapped around aluminum discs. The belts repeatedly exited the "wheels" at the top end of every pass when "Big" pulled the chute, and they were replaced at the next race by small aircraft tires, which became all the rage for a few years before the teams realized that what they gained in aero advantage was lost on less rollout. - Credit NHRA


69 posted on 03/17/2009 7:48:24 AM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies ]

To: SouthTexas; flattorney
03.13.09: Recession is a Drag for Drivers
      With her marketable personality and good looks, and her ability to go fearlessly fast, one could say Angelle Sampey was Danica Patrick before Danica Patrick(1). When she started out in NHRA drag racing in 1996, the sport was male dominated. That has since changed, with Sampey playing a significant role with the success she's had on her Pro Stock Motorcycle. She's not only won races (41 in all), she's won over thousands of fans and is now one of NHRA's most popular and recognizable drivers. But she no longer has a ride. Only 38 and still in her racing prime, Sampey has been sidelined by the sagging economy. Not only is she sitting out Gatornationals this weekend, she's sitting out the entire 2009 NHRA season after failing to find a new owner. "I was hoping and praying something would come through, but the call never came," she said. "It's been hard. I've been competing for 13 years. This is something I'm going to struggle with."
      Sampey isn't alone. Some of the sports other prominent drivers also have been knocked off the track by the recession, including four of the top 10 Top Fuel drivers from a year ago - Rod Fuller, Doug Herbert, Hillary Will and 2006 Gatornationals winner Dave Grubnic. Some drivers in the other classes (Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Bike) also are without rides after failing to secure sponsors, among them, Tommy Johnson Jr. and his wife, Melanie Troxel, in Funny Car. The couple made headlines after racing head-to-head for the first time at last year's Gatornationals.
      "It's a scary thing to think about what's happened to our sport," Sampey said. "It's not the sport of NHRA, it's the economy. It's affecting everybody. "Some fans think that if you're on television, you're rich. They put us on a pedestal. But we're no different than anybody else. It's scary. Every day I'm thinking about what I can do to pay my house note for next month. We're like anyone else who loses their job." Sampey said she and some of the other out-of-work drivers will be at Gainesville Raceway this weekend to do some networking that hopefully might lead to future employment. "I'm hoping to see some of the other drivers and see how they're doing," Sampey said. "It's good for people in the same state to get together. Hopefully, everyone is doing something on the side and doing OK financially. "It will be tough (being a spectator). I'll do my best to have a smile on my face." #SNIP# - Credit GatorSports

(1) 06.21.06: Angelle Sampey No Fan of Danica Patrick
      Please forgive Angelle Sampey if she’s not caught up in the Danica Patrick fanfare. One of her crew members made mention of how much he liked the IRL driver and almost immediately Angelle expressed her dislike of the way the media plays up her gender more than her being a racer. Leave it to a crew member with too much time on his hands to exploit the situation. “There she is in my leathers,” Sampey said, when showing a picture of the good-natured fun with a Danica life size cut-out. “Here’s a picture of her posted in my locker and it says this is my locker now, get your s*** out biatch." “Here’s another picture of her holding a bottle of Cajun whoop ass.”
      The crew member, who shall remain anonymous, is infatuated with Danica. A poster, which has since been defaced [allegedly by Sampey], hangs in the trailer. “They know I hate this whole female racer angle,” Sampey said. “I hate being asked about it and I hate being referred to as a female racer. It’s on my website but not by my doing. I don’t like the whole topic. I like to be noticed for the attributes of my team and not my gender.” Sampey says she made comments in the shop and that set it all off. Angelle’s leathers on the cut-out started it all. The crew even set up a camera for Sampey reaction. It wasn’t pretty. “I went in the restroom and there was a life-sized picture of Danica from the neck up taped to the toilet seat. I had chewed up some M&Ms and smeared them on her mouth. That ended it all.” At least that’s what Sampey thought. Her NHRA POWERade sign outside of her pit area was replaced with Danica’s likeness from the chest up. - Credit CP

I think a veteran racing friend said it best. "Danica couldn't carry Angelle's bra". From AS's lips… "I will be racing". - fla


71 posted on 03/17/2009 4:14:45 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies ]

To: flattorney

"The Wrap"

2009 Gatornationals: NHRA Full Throttle Points Standings After Event | Photos Albums: (1) (2) (3) (4)
Videos: ESPN Recap | Event Montage | Top Fuel Finals | PS Jason Line Press Interview
John Force's blast in Round 2 Eliminations that sent Jerry Toliver packing. He lost to Tasca in Round 3.
John knows Bob's father and was very pleased with III's incredible weekend.

2009 Winners (L-R): Funny Car Bob Tasca III, Pro Stock Motorcycle Hector Arana,
Pro Stock Jason Line, and Top Fuel Larry Dixon

The crowd was largest on Saturday for the final two rounds of qualifying. ~ fla

03.19.09 ESPN: Larry Dixon and Al-Anabi Racing break through at Gatornationals
      Many of Larry Dixon's watershed moments in NHRA drag racing have come at historic Gainesville Raceway. Eighteen years ago he attended Frank Hawley's driving school at the Florida track and first climbed into an alcohol dragster. Three years later, in 1994, he got his Top Fuel license there. The national record at the time was 4.74 seconds at a quarter-mile; his license-earning time was 4.76. Call it a preview of a driving career that would see Dixon go on to score four national wins in a 1995 rookie season, back-to-back series titles in 2002-03 and 43 total wins over 14 years in Don Prudhomme's dragsters.
      This season, Dixon is not with Don Prudhomme Snake Racing but instead is piloting the flagship ride for Alan Johnson's new Al-Anabi Racing team. Most figured the new group wouldn't take long to start a Wally collection, between eight-time champion Johnson and several crewmen from Tony Schumacher's perennial champ team, and sure enough the first win came in the third event of the Full Throttle season -- at Gainesville and the 40th annual Gatornationals.
      Dixon was the fastest through two days of qualifying and, on race day, laid down sub-3.9-second passes at 1,000 feet in three of four runs, including the final, to win his fourth Gatornationals title, tying Joe Amato for the most in Top Fuel history. "To have won four times at this place, at a place that I grew up wanting to compete at, let alone be able to win at, I'm as honored to win at this facility as I am being with this team," Dixon said.
      Al-Anabi Racing didn't have a shop four months ago, but quickly put together cars for Dixon and Funny Car driver Del Worsham (coincidentally, the driver who signed Dixon's Top Fuel license 15 years ago). The dragster failed to qualify at the season opener at Pomona, Calif., although the rain-shortened event allowed for only one qualifying pass, hardly enough to judge any team. The second race date, at Phoenix, was a better sign of what was developing between Dixon, crew chief Jason McCulloch and the team, as Dixon qualified No. 1 and advanced to the semifinals before a $50 cable broke and kept the team from challenging for a spot in the final round.
      At Gainesville, it all came together. With another top qualifying spot and no bad luck in eliminations, the ballyhooed new bunch got its win. "It's obviously just a wonderful experience for us, starting this as late in the year as we did and having this group of the guys do all they did over the winter -- it's a tribute to how well these guys have worked together," Johnson said. It's not as easy as it would appear, Dixon said, putting together a virtual all-star team with plenty of funding and just expecting the wins to be automatic. "It's hard to win these races, especially with a brand-new team," said Dixon, now third in TF points. "They can have all the notes they want from last season, but you don't have the same parts that you had last season, you don't have the same blowers, you don't have the same clutch disks. Anyone who runs a fuel car will tell you, each one of those parts has its own personality; you have to learn it and understand it and kind of find its personality. It finally paid off at Gainesville, a place that continues to reward Dixon.

Larry Dixon Wins 44th Career "Wally"

Many drivers had problems with the left lane with many wins coming in the right lane. However, Larry had no problem winning the Wally from the left lane. Note rear tire sidewall wrinkle from the track bite. ~ fla

Sunday evening launch of Space Shuttle Discovery seen from north of Orlando.


76 posted on 03/19/2009 8:10:19 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies ]

To: flattorney
More from the 2009 Gatornationals file. . . .

2,975 '09 Gatornationals Photos

03.12.09: Hanging on by a string, Pro Stock Motorcycle ace, Craig Treble, calls out NHRA
- - "NHRA has a plethora of marketing people," he said. "They have sponsorship. What they need to do, in my opinion, is support the racers a little more. NASCAR tries to keep their racers out there. They know they need the main teams flowing so they can continue putting on a show and making money. NHRA has a tendency of gathering up money for the NHRA and they don’t worry so much about the racers. They need to support the racer more so they can keep the program running. They say, 'If you get somebody, we’ll send some people out there to try and market our program and tell them what it’s all about.'

NASCAR Could Learn From NHRA's Diversity
Orlando Sentinel by Tania Ganguli
March 12, 2009

      A beat-up old khaki Hummer with no top stopped at a light in downtown Orlando and Tom Hammonds pointed at it. "I'd race that if I could," Hammonds said, laughing, as we sat having lunch and chatting about his roots in drag racing. It all started with the most dangerous kind. Street racing in his hometown of Crestview. He even raced in his mother's station wagon. "Needless to say," Hammonds said, "I lost a lot of races in that car." He was drafted into the NBA with the ninth pick of the 1989 draft and suddenly he had enough money to drag race professionally. He raced throughout his 12-year NBA career, doing eight or nine races through the offseason. He even got a clause removed from his contract that would have prevented him from racing or doing other such dangerous activities. Now Hammonds, eight years removed from his retirement from the NBA, is the only African-American driver-owner in the NHRA's Pro Stock division. But diversity isn't in short supply in the racing series.
      More than any other type of auto racing, the NHRA attracts women and minority drivers. Last season, two high-profile wins went to funny car driver Ashley Force Hood and African-American Antron Brown who drives a top fuel dragster. It's been that way for a long time. One of racing's female pioneers was drag racer Shirley Muldowney who won NHRA Top Fuel championships in 1977, 1980 and 1982. Angelle Sampey is currently the winningness women in NHRA history and has won Pro Stock Motorcycle("PSM") NHRA championships in 2000, 2001, 2002. She currently holds the NHRA record for the quickest PSM elapsed time at 6.871 seconds. It's a tradition and culture of diversity that NASCAR just can't accomplish. Maybe it can, but so far it hasn't. A lot of bright minds in racing are trying to figure out how to bring more diversity into the sport. Some say there needs to be a way to get young minority kids and young girls involved in the sport, so that by the time they're in their late teens, they'll be preparing for stock car racing at its highest level. Others say the good drivers are there, they just aren't getting sponsorship.
      Theories are everywhere. But maybe it's time to stop looking at what doesn't work and start looking at what does. Why does drag racing succeed? "I think all the pieces are in place to have a very diverse group," said Karen Stoffer, who drag races in the NHRA's Pro Stock Motorcycle division. "Many people can do it, everybody understands it and it's very accessible." Stoffer pointed out that people can take their everyday cars to a drag strip and race for a fee. Because of that, it isn't costly to get involved with drag racing at its early stages.
      As drivers go higher up in the series to more professional levels, drag racing starts getting more costly. The only reason Hammonds can afford to run his team without a sponsor is he spent 12 years in the NBA. And he likely will need sponsorship to run the whole season. But at its roots, it's easy to start drag racing. Without millions of dollars. Without big-time sponsorship. Without needing a team owner to take a chance on you. As drag racing grows — and it is growing — that grass-roots feeling will stick around. (Technical edit and added Angelle Sampey info to article - fla)

'09 Gatornationals: Antron Brown & Angelle Sampey, original courtesy Angelle

Still no '09 ride for Wonder Women. - fla


81 posted on 03/24/2009 12:47:54 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies ]

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson