2020 Funny Car Gatornationals preview

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

The rumble of the 11,000 horsepower Funny Cars returns to Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida this weekend. They were supposed to compete back in March at this facility.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NHRA national event six months ago was postponed for the professional classes. Now, they return with social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions in place.

Funny Car pilot Robert Hight racing on Sunday at the 2019 Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals
Robert Hight racing on Sunday at the 2019 Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals (Photo by the NHRA)

There are supposed to be at least 1,000 fans in attendance.

AAA of Southern California-sponsored Funny Car pilot Robert Hight won the last event in 2019 for the 50th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals. However, due to the pandemic, John Force Racing has elected not to compete for the rest of the season.

John Force, the founder of John Force Racing, admitted that he could not compete due to a lack of resources. Multiple sponsors reportedly pulled their commitments due to the coronavirus, including his manufacturer.

Related: John Force Racing decision is looming for the rest of 2020

Force was not willing to bring his own money into place to keep his team going for the 2020 season. Instead, they were shut down and plans to return to the sport in 2021.

Jack Beckman was the last Wally winner in Funny Car at the Denso Spark Plugs U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in Brownsburg, Indiana during Labor Day weekend. Beckman won the U.S. Nationals Wally for the second-time.

The Norco, California native will be in Florida with his Don Schumacher Racing teammates Ron Capps, Matt Hagan, and Tommy Johnson Jr. Snap-On sponsored competitor Cruz Pedregon will make the trek with his team to Florida.

Ford Motorcraft and Quick Lane driver Bob Tasca III will be at this event. Levi, Ray, and Shoup Inc. driver Tim Wilkerson will have his full-time team there, as well.

FTI Performance/Global Electronic Technology Funny Car pilot Paul Lee has made his way South with his team. DHL Funny Car pilot J.R. Todd is there with his Kalitta Motorsports team.

Jim Dunn Racing has made the trek from California to Florida to have their driver Jim Campbell qualifying for the event. ROKiT phones and ABK Beer sponsored driver Alexis DeJoria will be there with her independent team.

Related: DeJoria plans to return to Funny Car in 2020

Part-timers Terry Haddock, Dave Richards, John Smith, and Blake Alexander will be competing for the Gatornationals Wally.

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