2021 Funny Car Gatornationals preview

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Funny Cars will return to the track this weekend at the historic Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida. These flame-throwing beasts will hit the track for the first time since November.

These teams will have one qualifying session on Friday. The teams will then have two qualifying sessions on Saturday.

Mopar sponsored Funny Car pilot Matt Hagan's chassis sits following a recent test session
Mopar sponsored Funny Car pilot Matt Hagan’s chassis sits following a recent test session (Photo by Matt Hagan/Instagram)

When Funny Cars do return, one historic team will return. John Force Racing shut down its operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

John Force said he did not want to fund his entire operation out of his own pocket. As a result, his racing operation was shut down for several months.

Living legend Force and AAA of Southern California pilot Robert Hight will be competing at this event.

Don Schumacher Racing will only have two Funny Cars on the property. Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. lost their funding at the end of the 2020 season.

Reigning champion Matt Hagan, who will be sponsored by Dodge, will be competing at this event. NAPA Auto Parts pilot Ron Capps will also be competing under the DSR brand.

Capps is the last winner of the Gatornationals. He won the delayed March event that was pushed to September.

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Funny Car pilot Bob Tasca III will be competing at this event with a heavy heart. He recently lost his grandmother.

Snap-On pilot Cruz Pedregon will be competing this weekend. This will be his first race with his new crew that was previously with Johnson Jr. at DSR.

Levi, Ray, and Shoup Inc. pilot Tim Wilkerson will be there. ROKiT Phones and ABK Beer pilot Alexis DeJoria will attempt to qualify.

DiPinto Logistics pilot Jim Campbell will be competing in his Jim Dunn Racing entry. McLeod/FTI pilot Paul Lee, and DHL pilot J.R. Todd will be competing in their full-time entries.

There will also be seven part-timers, who will try to earn a spot in eliminations on Sunday. This includes Terry Haddock, Dave Richards, John Smith, Blake Alexander, Mike McIntire Jr., Chad Green, and Bobby Bode III.

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