Pro Stock Classes Season Opener at Gainesville Raceway

The annual Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals provided thrilling action over the weekend to the kickoff the NHRA’s 72nd season. For more than five decades, Gainesville Raceway has served as hallowed grounds for newcomers and veteran drivers who are eager to leave their mark at the NHRA’s storied facility.

Florida’s concrete launch pad has been home to numerous world records and many barrier-breaking passes, including the first 300-mph Top Fuel pass in 1992 and the first 200-mph Pro Stock Motorcycle pass. The tricky 1000-foot patch of pavement got even tricker for the weekend after a late shower on Friday forced officials to scrap the track.

Gainesville Raceway has hosted the Gatornationals, one of the sport’s most prestigious NHRA events, for over five decades. This year, in addition to being the first race of the 2023 NHRA Camping World drag racing season, the traditional east-coast opener set the tone for an incredible weekend with a ring ceremony honoring the 2022 NHRA World Champions.

Troy Coughlin Jr Wins Pro Stock at Gatornationals

Pro Stock qualifying for the 54th annual Gatornationals couldn’t have been much closer with Troy Coughlin Jr and defending NHRA world champion Erica Enders both posting 6.515 elapse times to earn the Number One and Two qualifier positions just .004-seconds ahead of Mason McGaha. Coughlin Jr eliminated Larry Morgan and Deric Kramer before relying on .015 RT to eliminate a quicker and faster Dallas Glenn the semifinals.

Erica Enders, who made the fastest run in Pro Stock history at the Gatornationals in 2022, ended up on the trailer after her car failed to fire. That left the winningest Pro Stock driver in NHRA history, Greg Anderson, and the number three qualifier Mason McGaha to fight it out in bottom bracket. McGaha’s .019 RT advanced him to the Final round. Coughlin Jr nailed the start and never trailed to claim his third Pro Stock Wally.

Gaige Herrera Tops Pro Stock Motorcycle at Gainesville

It was a different day in pro stock motorcycles as Gatornationals race fans saw the usual favorites fall by the wayside. Matt Smith was a no show in round one. Steve Johnson and Joey Gladstone were eliminated by red lights at the tree. But, in his first career race with the legendary Vance & Hines Pro Stock Motorcycle race team, the surprise number one qualifier Gaige Herrera advanced to the final round.

With the quickest ETs in each session, Herrera claimed elimination round victories over Ron Tornow, teammate Eddie Krawiec, and Jianna Evaristo. Smith advanced to her second straight final round at Gainesville Raceway by knocking off John Hall, Joey Gladstone and rookie Chase Van Zant. Herrera finished the day with a dominant performance over Smith aboard his Mission Foods Suzuki posting a 6.706 ET at 202.15 mph.

photo courtesy of National Hot Rod Association


NHRA Arizona Nationals

NHRA’s annual duel in the desert returns to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix on March 24-26. The race will also mark the debut of the #2Fast2Tasty Mission NHRA Challenge, pitting the semifinalists against each other during Saturday qualifying in the pro classes for a chance at bonus money and points.


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