50th Annual NHRA Gatornationals Wrapped up on Sunday
The Wrap Up
GAINESVILLE, Fla.—The 50th Annual National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Amalie Oil Gatornationals wrapped up on Sunday afternoon. Below is a summary from the top fuel, funny car, pro stock, and pro stock motorcycle classes from the first east coast event of the 2019 NHRA season.
Richie Crampton scored his second straight Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals victory, stopping Clay Millican in the final round with a holeshot effort.
Crampton’s DHL machine left first, .042 to 058, and stayed ahead of Millican’s Parts Plus dragster to light the win light first by just .003-second, 3.769 to 3.756. It’s the ninth win of Crampton’s career in 11 final-round appearances.
Robert Hight won for the second time in three races this season to build upon his points lead, defeating Tim Wilkerson, whose mount faltered just off the starting line.
Hight’s win was also his fourth in the past eight years at the Gatornationals, having won previously in 2012, 2014, and 2016. He’s also the third straight Funny Car driver to win the Gatornationals from the No. 1 qualifying position. Wilkerson who won the Gatornationals in 2010 in his only other final-round appearance at Gainesville Raceway.
Bo Butner never really contemplated retiring from drag racing, but he did briefly consider leaving the Pro Stock class. At this point, his rivals would likely support that decision. Butner, the 2017 Mello Yello Pro Stock champion, won for the second time in three races this season. Making the occasion even more special, he shared the winner’s circle with fiancée Randi Lynn Shipp, who won the 50th Gatornationals Stock title on Saturday night.
Butner’s KB Racing prepared Butner Auto Camaro was one of the quickest Pro Stock cars in Gainesville with a string of low 6.5-seocnd runs but he didn’t need one in the final after opponent Alex Laughlin encountered a reported electrical gremlin that prevented him from making the run in his Havoline Camaro. Making a solo run to his 24th career national event title, Butner thrilled the packed house in Gainesville with a 6.505, 212.29.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Going an entire season without a win clearly didn’t sit well with five-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Andrew Hines so he decided to do something about it. In one of the most inspired performances of his career, Hines earned his 49th career win at the 50th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.
Racing teammate and six-time Gainesville winner Eddie Krawiec in the final round, Hines powered to a 6.752 to barley edge Krawiec’s 6.762. Krawiec had won 15-straight rounds at Gainesville Raceway dating back to 2016. Hines also topped 199-mph numerous times over the weekend, including a career-best speed of 199.94 in qualifying.