Story and Photos: Phil Hutchison

Karen Stalba from Hammonton NJ drove her Dan Page built AA Auto Salvage A/FD to the top spot at the NHRA “Baby” Gators at Gainesville Raceway with a 5.200 @ 274.61 MPH.

Just making the show was tough with one of the largest Top Alcohol Dragster fields in Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series in recent memory. Sixteen drivers made the trek to the North Central Florida track to be part of the “Official” kickoff to the East Coast drag racing season.

Alabama racer Will Smith, driving the Samsel Family Racing dragster, is #2 with a career best 5.202 and Mike Coughlin, fresh off his NHRA Winternationals win in the McPhillips Racing/ dragster is firmly in the #3 position with a 5.214.

The bump spot in the quick field is Canadian Jeff Chatterson from Brantford ON with a 5.361 and will face Stalba in round one on Saturday.

Massachusetts’s racer Matt Gill leads alcohol Funny Car driving the Moduline Aluminum Cabinets Camaro to a 5.455. Right behind Gill is Swedish racer Ulf Leanders in his ’18 Camaro with a 5.55. The bump in Alcohol Funny car is Division 3 racer Ryan Stack from Wingham Ohio with a 6.317 and will be up against Gill first round.

Maryland racer DJ Cox has had nothing but problems all weekend with a uncharacteristic 6.005 best after three attempts.