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Gatornationals Roars to Exciting Finish

Big names in racing took home the wins to make for a legendary final in the 48th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.

Sixteen-time NHRA champion John Force won the Funny Car Gatornational title, his first since 2001. A 148th career victory may seem like an arbitrary number in a hall of fame career, but this one will be especially sentimental.

The win marks a decade to the day after one of his drivers, Eric Medlen, crashed during practice at the same raceway in Gainesville. Medlen died four days later.

After the tragedy, Force worked alongside Medlen’s father to make professional drag racing safer. He would also become the winningest driver in NHRA history and claimed his eighth Gatornationals win Sunday.

Force just edged past rookie Jonnie Lindberg in the final, 3.92 to 3.97. The win marks the 2,500th win collected by John Force Racing Funny Car drivers over the years, more than half of which (1,269) were collected by the man himself.

Schumacher Soldifies Seat Among the Greats Top Fuel

Tony Schumaker took home the title in Top Fuel and tacked on his 83rd win. Not only that, but he also became the winningest Gatornationals competitor in the race with five wins in Top Fuel. The win pushed him past Joe Amato, Larry Dixon and Don Garlits. He defeated teammate Antron Brown in the final, 3.70 to 3.76. It was Schumacher’s first Gators crown since he beat Brown in the 2010 final.

Pro Stock Winners

Shane Gray was able to take down four-time champion Greg Anderson for the victory in the Pro Stock race. As the No. 6 qualifier,  Gray drove to a 6.535 for his sixth Pro Stock event win in the 14 final round appearances.

Eddie Krawiec was the winner in the Pro Stock Motocycle with a 6.763 finish over teammate Andrew Hines’ 6.802. This was Krawiec’s 64th appearance in the final rounds and his 37th career victory and the fifth at Gainesville Raceway.

The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 31-April 2.

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