John Force takes his first win of the year in Gainesville

Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) picked up wins Sunday in the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Auto Plus Raceway in Gainesville, Florida.

In Top Fuel, it was an all-Don-Schumacher-Racing final between teammates Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown. While it was Leah Pritchett who had brought home the Wally for DSR at the first two events of the season, she found herself eliminated by Doug Kalitta in Round 2 on Sunday in Gainesville. Instead, it was Tony Schumacher who got the job done for DSR with a narrow win over Brown. Schumacher ran a 3.703 while Brown ran a 3.764.

In Funny Car, the most experienced driver squared off against a new name to the NHRA Funny Car scene as John Force met Jonnie Lindberg in the final. While Force is no stranger to making final, Lindberg had never won a round in Funny Cars ahead of Sunday’s final eliminations, having just joined Head Racing at the start of the year. However, at the end of the day it was Force who picked up his first win of the season and the 148th of his career in the first race since he and John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight switched crews.

“I found the music,” John Force exclaimed after exiting his car. “I’ve lived on music in my old Chevy. I can remember when I was 15 years old driving around without a driver’s license and the music carried me. Every day, the Beach Boys, Merle Haggard. I lived that life and you find yourself.

“I don’t go to a race without believing I can win. The day I don’t believe I can win, then it’s time for me to quit. It’s like a rollercoaster ride and I’m still a kid driving that ’54 Chevy listening to the Beach Boys, and I found the music. They are going to be sorry I found the music, trust me.”

In Pro Stock, it was Greg Anderson carrying the flag for the dominant KB Racing team as both he and teammate Jason Line qualified on the left side of the ladder and so met in the Semis. Anderson advanced to the final against Shane Gray, who had defeated Allen Johnson, Erica Enders and Chris McGaha en route to the final. However, it was Gray who put an end to the KB Racing winning streak with a 6.535 pass.

Meanwhile, Eddie Krawiec took the win in an all-Harley final for the first NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle race of the season after defeating Andrew Hines. It was Krawiec’s fifth win in Gainesville after defeating Mike Berry, Matt Smith and Joey Gladstone en route to the final.

The stars of NHRA will be back in action in two weeks time for the Denso Spark Plus NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas.