Courtesy NHRA Communications

Images Phil Hutchison and Mike Gregg

In addition to the Mission Foods Drag Racing Series action at Gainesville Raceway, eight drivers also took some victories in Lucas Oil Series Racing at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.


Joe Maynard, who earlier in the weekend won the Division 2 Lucas Oil Series “Baby Gators” event, followed with his first national event victory, winning in his official Top Alcohol Dragster debut in the Samsel family’s A/Fuel Dragster. Maynard, son of nitro-car owner Joe E. Maynard, defeated Canadian Jeff Veale in the final, 5.27 to 5.31.


Ulf Leanders won the Gatornationals for the second time in his career, taking the Top Alcohol Funny Car title with a 5.35 to 5.44 final-round defeat of Phil Esz. Leanders, whose breakthrough first career win came at the 2015 Gatornationals, also won in Las Vegas in 2017.


David Billingsley collected his seventh career win and sixth in Comp when he drove his D/EA Camaro to a final-round victory against fellow class veteran Robert Bailey and his six-second A/ED. Billingsley ran a (-.56) 8.06 to hold off Bailey’s (-.48) 6.61.


Kenny Horne, who raced in his first national event final in 1974, scored his first win since the 1989 season when he downed Monty Bogan in the Super Stock final. Horne was tough on both ends of the track with a .008 light and a 9.853 on his 9.83 dial.


Jeff Strickland pulled off an amazing feat with his fourth-straight Gatornationals victory (and sixth overall) after Jay Storey fouled in the Stock final. Strickland now has 24 NHRA national event wins to his credit.


Holden Laris scored career win No. 5 and his second in Super Comp at the Gatornationals in a tight 8.92 to 8.93 final-round decision over Brad Plourd. Laris was stellar at the Tree with a .009 reaction time that allowed him to control the race.


Christopher Williams picked up his first career national event victory with his score in Super Gas. Williams wheeled his Corvette to an easy final-round victory after opponent Rick Swank left .008-second too soon and fouled.


After winning a pair of national events last season, Blake Peavler got his 2024 season started on a winning note by claiming the victory in Right Trailers Top Dragster. Peavler got the win after Robert Tehle fouled in the final.


James Hinkle’s first national event win was a big one as he earned a coveted Gatornationals Wally and Gator trophy after defeating world champ Darian Boesch in the final of Right Trailers Top Sportsman. Hinkle put together a great run in the final with a .006 light and a 7.197 on his 7.17 dial.