GAINESVILLE, FL -March 13, 2023 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – In a matchup of the last two Funny Car winners at the 54th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, Matt Hagan drove past J.R. Todd in the final round on Sunday to kick off the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, also giving Tony Stewart a second straight victory at Gainesville Raceway.
Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Troy Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won at the first of 21 races during the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Hagan powered to a run of 3.926-seconds at 329.34 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Dodge Direct Connection Charger SRT Hellcat, winning the Gatornationals for the second straight season. Both Hagan and Todd posted identical reaction times on the starting line, but Todd ran into trouble late in the run and Hagan claimed his 44th career win. He also defeated Tim Wilkerson, Bob Tasca III and Alexis DeJoria, making three straight runs in the 3.80s to reach the final round. After going his entire career without winning in Gainesville, Hagan, a three-time world champ, now has back-to-back wins at the historic race.
“For this team, we were just running strong, and to come out and win the first race of the season, it’s just amazing,” said Hagan, who is fourth all-time in Funny Car wins. “I’m just in awe of our team right now.
“I knew it was going to be a good race and honestly J.R. poked out there in front of me, and then something happened over there to him and we drove around him and turn on the win light. This car is just running strong. It’s just it’s an honor to just even be in that caliber of drivers is incredible. it’s a huge honor for me to be able to be fourth all the time.”
Todd, who won in Gainesville to open the 2021 campaign, also impressed on Sunday, beating Blake Alexander, Robert Hight and Chad Green to reach his 42nd career final round.
In Top Fuel, Salinas won for the first time in Gainesville and the eighth time in his career, slipping past Steve Torrence in the final round with a 3.700 at 330.31 in his 11,000-horsepower Valley Services dragster. After winning a career-best four races last year, Salinas was determined to improve upon that in 2023. He impressed throughout eliminations, too, beating Justin Ashley, defending world champ Brittany Force and Leah Pruett to reach the final round, running as quick as 3.669 on raceday.
“I think we’re going to be really good all year long, but we’re fighting with the best in the world,” Salinas said. “The teams out here are no joke. You better bring your ‘A’ game every time, but everyone is beatable. It’s special what we have right now. These guys have taught me how to win and it’s a mindset. You appreciate wins like these because they’re so hard to come by.”
Torrence, the four-time world champ, reached the final round for the 82nd time in his career, knocking off Scott Palmer, Tony Schumacher and Doug Kalitta, who set the track E.T. record with a run of 3.646 earlier in the day.
Coughlin’s magical weekend in Pro Stock ended with his first Gatornationals victory, as he closed out the day with a run of 6.637 at 208.71 in his JEGS.com/White Castle/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to defeat Mason McGaha in the final round. It’s the third career win for Coughlin, who also qualified No. 1 and beat Larry Morgan, Deric Kramer and Dallas Glenn to set up the matchup with McGaha. Coughlin was excellent on the starting line and cemented his strong start to the 2023 campaign.
“I was a little fired up today,” Coughlin said. “At Elite Motorsports, it’s a little newer than the JEGS so-called legacy. It doesn’t date back to 1960, but it’s the same type of honor to me. You look at Erica (Enders), she’s a five-time world champion and you’re driving for a team that wins championships. They have that same demeanor when they drive through the gates. They expect to win and we’re one big family. That’s the coolest thing about it. When one car is out, we all work together.”
McGaha knocked off Fernando Cuadra, Kyle Koretsky and five-time world champ Greg Anderson to reach his second final round.
Herrera finished off a star-making weekend with one last dominant performance in the final round, going 6.706 at 202.15 on his Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Suzuki to beat Angie Smith and earn his first career NHRA victory. It was also Herrera’s first career race with Vance & Hines, and the young standout put together a marvelous performance, qualifying No. 1 and setting the track speed record in the process. He knocked off Ron Tornow, teammate Eddie Krawiec and Jianna Evaristo to reach the final round, making the quickest pass of each session before finishing the job in the finals.
“This is a dream,” Herrera said. “Vance & Hines is such an awesome team to work with. They help so much and it shows. I’m at a loss for words. I’m just out here having fun and I can’t believe I’m holding this Wally. To make this Vance & Hines team happy, it’s just an unbelievable feeling. To win out here and to do it in front of all these fans, it’s just amazing.”
Smith advanced to her second straight final round in Gainesville, going 6.845 at 181.84 in the championship round. She knocked off John Hall, Joey Gladstone and rookie Chase Van Zant earlier in the day.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action with the NHRA Arizona Finals on March 24-26, which is the final race at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix.
GAINESVILLE, FL — Final finish order (1-16) at the 54th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. The race is the first of 21 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.
1. Mike Salinas; 2. Steve Torrence; 3. Leah Pruett; 4. Doug Kalitta; 5. Brittany Force; 6. Tony Schumacher; 7. Antron Brown; 8. Austin Prock; 9. Josh Hart; 10. Shawn Langdon; 11. Clay Millican; 12. Justin Ashley; 13. Doug Foley; 14. Spencer Massey; 15. Scott Palmer; 16. Keith Murt.
1. Matt Hagan; 2. J.R. Todd; 3. Alexis DeJoria; 4. Chad Green; 5. Bob Tasca III; 6. John Force; 7. Ron Capps; 8. Robert Hight; 9. Blake Alexander; 10. Alex Laughlin; 11. Paul Lee; 12. Tim Wilkerson; 13. John Smith; 14. Terry Haddock; 15. Cruz Pedregon; 16. Dave Richards.
1. Troy Coughlin Jr.; 2. Mason McGaha; 3. Dallas Glenn; 4. Greg Anderson; 5. Matt Hartford; 6. Deric Kramer; 7. Kyle Koretsky; 8. Jerry Tucker; 9. Aaron Stanfield; 10. Fernando Cuadra; 11. Bo Butner; 12. Cristian Cuadra; 13. Chris McGaha; 14. Larry Morgan; 15. Camrie Caruso; 16. Erica Enders.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:
1. Gaige Herrera; 2. Angie Smith; 3. Jianna Evaristo; 4. Chase Van Sant; 5. Joey Gladstone; 6. Eddie Krawiec; 7. Matt Smith; 8. Ryan Oehler; 9. Steve Johnson; 10. Kelly Clontz; 11. Hector Arana Jr; 12. John Hall; 13. Marc Ingwersen; 14. Ron Tornow; 15. Chip Ellis; 16. Richard Gadson.
GAINESVILLE, FL — Sunday’s final results from the 54th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. The race is the first of 21 in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel — Mike Salinas, 3.700 seconds, 330.31 mph def. Steve Torrence, 3.754 seconds, 333.82 mph.
Funny Car — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.926, 329.34 def. J.R. Todd, Toyota Supra, 4.141, 239.95.
Pro Stock — Troy Coughlin Jr., Chevy Camaro, 6.637, 208.71 def. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.765, 207.94.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.706, 202.15 def. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.845, 181.84.
Top Alcohol Dragster — Julie Nataas, 5.147, 276.18 def. Cody Krohn, 5.213, 277.77.
Top Alcohol Funny Car — Matt Gill, Chevy Camaro, 5.511, 266.69 def. DJ Cox Jr., Camaro, 7.084, 143.40.
Competition Eliminator — Jim Greenheck, Chevy Camaro, 7.599, 169.51 def. Joseph Arrowsmith, Pontiac GTO, 7.939, 164.79.
Super Stock — Peter D’Agnolo, Chevy Camaro, 9.566, 130.92 def. Kevin Helms, Olds Achieva, 9.332, 143.93.
Stock Eliminator — Jeff Strickland, Chevy Camaro, 9.269, 144.03 def. Brenda Grubbs, Camaro, 9.901, 123.27.
Super Comp — Mike Robilotto, Dragster, 8.880, 178.35 def. Kent Hanley, Dragster, 8.863, 174.44.
Super Gas — John Taylor, Dodge Dakota, 9.923, 162.55 def. Jeffrey Jensen, Chevy Corvette, 9.914, 166.70.
Super Street — Colby Fuller, Chevy Camaro, 10.928, 136.58 def. Dan Fletcher, Chevy Nova, 10.924, 127.53.
Top Sportsman — Doug Crumlich, Chevy Corvette, 6.595, 209.39 def. Mark Buehring, Chevy Cobalt, 6.845, 193.68.
Pro Modified — Justin Bond, Chevy Camaro, 5.732, 250.74 def. JR Gray, Camaro, 7.070, 144.18.
Factory Stock Showdown — Joseph Welch, Dodge Challenger, 7.638, 185.18 def. Aaron Stanfield, Chevy Camaro, 8.309, 134.70.
GAINESVILLE, FL — Final round-by-round results from the 54th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the first of 21 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:
ROUND ONE — Tony Schumacher, 3.722, 332.02 def. Josh Hart, 3.693, 335.40; Austin Prock, 3.706, 331.53 def. Clay Millican, 3.705, 325.85; Brittany Force, 3.692, 333.99 def. Keith Murt, 4.100, 227.46; Leah Pruett, 3.686, 334.15 def. Doug Foley, 3.804, 304.12; Doug Kalitta, 3.646, 333.82 def. Spencer Massey, 3.804, 270.70; Steve Torrence, 3.689, 334.32 def. Scott Palmer, 3.871, 310.48; Antron Brown, 3.706, 326.87 def. Shawn Langdon, 3.704, 333.49; Mike Salinas, 3.669, 334.82 def. Justin Ashley, 3.754, 330.88;
QUARTERFINALS — Torrence, 3.741, 328.22 def. Schumacher, 4.348, 216.38; Pruett, 3.731, 325.92 def. Prock, Broke; Salinas, 3.699, 334.32 def. Force, 3.758, 332.75; Kalitta, 3.716, 334.32 def. Brown, 7.799, 78.90;
SEMIFINALS — Torrence, 3.779, 328.14 def. Kalitta, 5.773, 148.33; Salinas, 3.727, 332.67 def. Pruett, 4.379, 218.27;
FINAL — Salinas, 3.700, 330.31 def. Torrence, 3.754, 333.82.
ROUND ONE — J.R. Todd, Toyota Supra, 3.893, 331.04 def. Blake Alexander, Ford Mustang, 3.953, 323.04; Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.865, 332.84 def. Alex Laughlin, Dodge Charger, 3.993, 320.51; John Force, Chevy Camaro, 6.527, 99.27 def. Dave Richards, Mustang, Broke; Ron Capps, Supra, 3.855, 334.57 def. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 6.478, 90.28; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.843, 334.98 def. John Smith, Charger, 4.477, 201.07; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.879, 335.82 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.233, 221.63; Chad Green, Mustang, 3.943, 327.27 def. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.137, 253.95; Alexis DeJoria, Supra, 3.900, 334.32 def. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 8.424, 89.00;
QUARTERFINALS — Hagan, 3.882, 329.67 def. Tasca III, 3.922, 328.14; DeJoria, 3.931, 330.47 def. Capps, 9.617, 74.27; Todd, 3.913, 329.99 def. Hight, 23.626, 59.96; Green, 3.934, 321.19 def. Force, 3.942, 329.91;
SEMIFINALS — Todd, 3.903, 332.43 def. Green, 3.967, 325.69; Hagan, 3.896, 330.39 def. DeJoria, 3.912, 327.19;
FINAL — Hagan, 3.926, 329.34 def. Todd, 4.141, 239.95.
ROUND ONE — Deric Kramer, Chevy Camaro, 6.559, 208.84 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.577, 210.44; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.575, 209.10 def. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, Foul – Red Light; Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.553, 209.82 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.578, 210.05; Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.529, 210.47 def. Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 8.169, 119.79; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.558, 210.47 def. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.543, 210.90; Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.564, 210.21 def. Fernando Cuadra, Mustang, 6.553, 208.71; Jerry Tucker, Camaro, 8.125, 120.22 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, Broke; Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.560, 211.26 def. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.595, 206.80;
QUARTERFINALS — Anderson, 6.625, 208.65 def. J. Tucker, Foul – Red Light; Coughlin Jr., 6.564, 210.41 def. Kramer, 6.571, 209.14; M. McGaha, 6.595, 209.14 def. Koretsky, Foul – Red Light; Glenn, 6.547, 209.92 def. Hartford, 6.550, 210.67;
SEMIFINALS — M. McGaha, 6.607, 209.72 def. Anderson, 6.610, 208.52; Coughlin Jr., 6.586, 209.43 def. Glenn, 6.579, 209.75;
FINAL — Coughlin Jr., 6.637, 208.71 def. M. McGaha, 6.765, 207.94.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:
ROUND ONE — Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.763, 200.20 def. Hector Arana Jr, 6.858, 198.17; Angie Smith, 6.793, 202.58 def. John Hall, Buell, Foul – Red Light; Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 6.828, 196.50 def. Marc Ingwersen, 6.920, 196.33; Ryan Oehler, 6.870, 194.91 def. Chip Ellis, Broke; Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.704, 201.52 def. Ron Tornow, 7.161, 191.51; Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.813, 196.85 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, Foul – Red Light; Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.809, 198.61 def. Richard Gadson, Suzuki, Broke – No Show; Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.780, 200.29 def. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.844, 196.30;
QUARTERFINALS — A. Smith, 15.908, 47.59 def. Gladstone, Foul – Red Light; Van Sant, 6.795, 198.58 def. Oehler, 6.915, 195.70; Evaristo, 6.846, 196.22 def. M. Smith, 6.864, 199.49; Herrera, 6.708, 201.73 def. Krawiec, 6.814, 199.94;
SEMIFINALS — A. Smith, 6.882, 199.52 def. Van Sant, 6.962, 189.71; Herrera, 6.742, 200.89 def. Evaristo, 6.883, 193.21;
FINAL — Herrera, 6.706, 202.15 def. A. Smith, 6.845, 181.84.
GAINESVILLE, FL — Point standings (top 10) following the 54th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the first of 21 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series –
1. Mike Salinas, 115; 2. Steve Torrence, 99; 3. Doug Kalitta, 79; 4. Leah Pruett, 77; 5. Brittany Force, 67; 6. Antron Brown, 54; 7. (tie) Austin Prock, 52; Tony Schumacher, 52; 9. Clay Millican, 34; 10. Josh Hart, 33.
1. Matt Hagan, 114; 2. J.R. Todd, 90; 3. Chad Green, 73; 4. Alexis DeJoria, 72; 5. John Force, 64; 6. Ron Capps, 62; 7. Bob Tasca III, 60; 8. Robert Hight, 57; 9. Cruz Pedregon, 33; 10. (tie) Blake Alexander, 32. Paul Lee, 32. Tim Wilkerson, 32.
1. Troy Coughlin Jr., 121; 2. Mason McGaha, 97; 3. Dallas Glenn, 77; 4. Greg Anderson, 76; 5. Kyle Koretsky, 54; 6. Deric Kramer, 53; 7. (tie) Matt Hartford, 51; Jerry Tucker, 51; 9. Erica Enders, 42; 10. (tie) Bo Butner, 36. Aaron Stanfield, 36.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
1. Gaige Herrera, 128; 2. Angie Smith, 94; 3. Chase Van Sant, 82; 4. Jianna Evaristo, 74; 5. Matt Smith, 57; 6. (tie) Eddie Krawiec, 52; Ryan Oehler, 52; 8. Joey Gladstone, 51; 9. Steve Johnson, 42; 10. Chip Ellis, 34.
About Camping World Holdings, Inc.
Camping World Holdings, Inc., headquartered in Lincolnshire, IL, (together with its subsidiaries) is America’s largest retailer of RVs and related products and services. Our vision is to build a long-term legacy business that makes RVing fun and easy, and our Camping World and Good Sam brands have been serving RV consumers since 1966. We strive to build long-term value for our customers, employees, and shareholders by combining a unique and comprehensive assortment of RV products and services with a national network of RV dealerships, service centers and customer support centers along with the industry’s most extensive online presence and a highly trained and knowledgeable team of associates serving our customers, the RV lifestyle, and the communities in which we operate. We also believe that our Good Sam organization and family of programs and services uniquely enable us to connect with our customers as stewards of the RV enthusiast community and the RV lifestyle. With RV sales and service locations in 42 states, Camping World has grown to become the prime destinations for everything RV. For more information, visit www.CampingWorld.com
Headquartered in San Dimas, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 21 national events featuring the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series, Flexjet NHRA Factory Stock Showdown™ and Top Fuel Harley Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and NHRA Street Legal™. NHRA also offers the NHRA Jr. Street® program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League® for youth ages 5 to 17. With 120 Member Tracks, NHRA allows racers to compete at a variety of locations nationally and internationally. NHRA’s Youth and Education Services® (YES) Program reaches over 30,000 students annually to ignite their interest in automotive and racing related careers. NHRA’s streaming service, NHRA.tv®, allows fans to view all NHRA national events as well as exclusive features of the sport. In addition, NHRA owns and operates three racing facilities: Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park; and In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip in Southern California. For more information, log on to www.NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Source: National Hot Rod Association