By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Alex Laughlin knew that he needed a win. He was able to get the win at the 51st annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway on Sunday in Gainesville, Florida.
The Texas native — who is up for renewal with his sponsors in the off-season — defeated his Elite Motorsports teammate Aaron Stanfield in the final round. The Louisiana native had problems with his car almost immediately.
Laughlin went 7.068 at 204.76 mph to claim the Wally. Stanfield went 14.002 at 60.60 mph in the losing effort.
“After the first qualifier, I thought we were going to win the race this weekend,” Laughlin said. “This track has always been really good to me. I was amped (in the finals) and I just went nuts when I saw the win light come on. What a weekend. More than anything, I just needed that this year with how awful a year it’s been.
“We had a completely brand new crew this weekend and we were just trying to find a routine. Everything just paid off.”
Before this final round, Stanfield defeated Laughlin in the previous meeting. This was the first-time that they faced each other in a final round.
Laughlin had the lead off of the starting line, as he had a 0.012 reaction time. Despite the lead, he rattled the tires but was able to hold onto the lead throughout for the win.
Stanfield — who won the U.S. Nationals in Factory Stock Showdown — had an 0.024 light. Shortly after the starting line, he dealt with tire shake and broke.
This is Laughlin’s fourth career Wally. This is Elite Motorsports third straight Wally, as Erica Enders won the U.S. Nationals.
Jeg Coughlin Jr. also won the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil in August.
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