GAINESVILLE, FL – March 18, 2018 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Rickie Smith drove to victory Sunday during the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service portion of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Dragway. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Jerry Bickel Race Cars, is the first of 12 events this season.
Smith ran a 5.794-second pass at 249.76 mph in his Chevrolet Camaro to take down Mike Janis in the final round and earn his first victory since Englishtown in 2017 and the 12th of his career. Smith defeated Bob Rahaim, Jim Whiteley and Mike Castellana on his way to the win.
“To be able to come out here after not having a sponsor all winter and not knowing what we were going to do this season and then end up getting a win in the first race is really special,” Smith said. “I started winning championships in 1976, and to keep winning races at this age is just unreal.”
Janis secured the fifth runner-up finish of his Pro Mod career, as he chases his first victory since the 2015 season.
Smith finished the 2017 season ninth in the standings and leaves the season-opening event as the points leader in pursuit of his fifth championship.
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service continues at the NHRA SpringNationals in Houston, Tex. on April 20-22.
GAINESVILLE, FL — Final finish order (1-16) at the 49th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. The first of 12 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
1. Rickie Smith; 2. Mike Janis; 3. Mike Castellana; 4. Chad Green; 5. Steve Jackson; 6. Todd Tutterow; 7. Doug Winters; 8. Jim Whiteley; 9. Khalid alBalooshi; 10. Jose Gonzalez; 11. Dan Stevenson; 12. Steven Whiteley; 13. Jeremy Ray; 14. Carl Stevens; 15. Shane Molinari; 16. Bob Rahaim.
GAINESVILLE, FL — Sunday’s final results from the 49th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. The first of 12 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
Pro Modified — Rickie Smith, Chevy Camaro, 5.794, 249.76 def. Mike Janis, Camaro, 6.597, 159.91.
GAINESVILLE, FL — Final round-by-round results from the 49th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the first of 12 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
ROUND ONE — Todd Tutterow, Chevy Camaro, 5.833, 248.11 def. Jeremy Ray, Chevy Corvette, 5.939, 244.96; Chad Green, Corvette, 5.788, 248.29 def. Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 5.796, 250.51; Mike Castellana, Camaro, 5.746, 252.90 def. Carl Stevens, Camaro, 6.694, 159.44; Doug Winters, Chevy Chevelle, 6.174, 200.56 def. Shane Molinari, Pontiac Firebird, 7.277, 135.20; Mike Janis, Camaro, 5.765, 248.93 def. Dan Stevenson, Camaro, 5.830, 254.86; Jim Whiteley, Camaro, 5.868, 244.16 def. Steven Whiteley, Cadillac CTS-V, 5.869, 250.88; Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.802, 249.90 def. Bob Rahaim, Camaro, 8.363, 121.78; Steve Jackson, Camaro, 5.818, 248.34 def. Jose Gonzalez, Camaro, 5.807, 254.18;
QUARTERFINALS — Smith, 5.800, 249.90 def. J. Whiteley, Foul – Red Light; Castellana, 5.765, 251.95 def. Tutterow, 5.824, 247.47; Janis, 5.779, 248.11 def. Winters, 5.927, 244.47; Green, 5.783, 248.71 def. Jackson, 5.795, 248.11;
SEMIFINALS — Janis, 5.806, 247.02 def. Green, Foul – Centerline; Smith, 5.808, 249.26 def. Castellana, 6.107, 208.88;
FINAL — Smith, 5.794, 249.76 def. Janis, 6.597, 159.91.
GAINESVILLE, FL — Point standings (top 10) following the 49th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the first of 12 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
1. Rickie Smith, 115; 2. Mike Janis, 94; 3. Mike Castellana, 78; 4. Chad Green, 68; 5. Steve Jackson, 57; 6. Todd Tutterow, 53; 7. Jim Whiteley, 52; 8. Doug Winters, 51; 9. Shane Molinari, 36; 10. Steven Whiteley, 34.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, and E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association