By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Three-time Top Fuel Dragster Champion Steve Torrence laid down a number on his first pass of the season. Torrence is the provisional leader on Friday at the 52nd annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida.
Torrence went 3.699 at 324.90 mph in his Capco Contractors entry. The Kilgore, Texas was the final pairing to go down the track.
“We saw the numbers going up on the board and it was trending to look like a one-lane racetrack, so I was a little nervous,” Torrence said. “I saw my dad run the 75 and it looked like down at the end it was moving left on him and my car did the same thing. But I was ready for it.
“It was an awesome way to start. I am glad to be back and just pumped up about this weekend.”
Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster pilot Doug Kalitta — who finished second in points the past two seasons to Torrence — is the provisional No. 2 qualifier. Kalitta was in the final pairing with Torrence.
Monster Energy sponsored Brittany Force had been the provisional leader until the final pairing. The Yorba Linda, California native went 3.747 at 330.47 mph.
Force returned to the track in more than a year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, John Force Racing shut down their racing operations for several months.
The rest of the ladder looks like this:
4) Shawn Langdon at 3.749, 323.89 mph
5) Billy Torrence at 3.758, 296.11 mph
6) Josh Hart (debut) at 3.768, 324.44 mph
7) Clay Millican at 3.787, 317.94 mph
8) Mike Salinas at 3.807, 320.89 mph
9) Arthur Allen at 3.960, 265.64 mph
10) Mike Bucher (debut) at 4.029, 301.00 mph
11) Joe Morrison at 4.294, 224.06 mph
12) Antron Brown at 4.308, 187.18 mph
13) Doug Foley at 4.959, 146.34 mph
14) Krista Baldwin (debut) at 5.343, 125.74 mph
15) Justin Ashley at 5.700, 111.86 mph
16) Scott Palmer at 6.545 at 94.33 mph
Two drivers will have to do some work to qualify. Presently, they are not qualified.
This includes Leah Pruett, who went 6.567 at 94.57 mph in her Mopar sponsored entry. Todd Paton broke in Terry Haddock’s Top Fuel Dragster.
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