Courtesy of Dragbike
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES POWERS INTO FLORIDA FOR THE AMALIE MOTOR OIL NHRA GATORNATIONALS

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to the swamps of Gainesville, Fla., March 17-20, for the AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals – the third event of the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello season.

Fans in the Sunshine State will be in for a treat at the circuit’s traditional East Coast opener at Gainesville Raceway as the world’s best drag racers power their 10,000 horsepower, fire-breathing machines down the strip in pursuit of championship points and early-season momentum. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Karen Stoffer (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including live finals coverage at 1 p.m. (ET).

The excitement and energy of NHRA racing on the track will be as adrenaline-pumping as ever, but in 2016, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is shifting gears and venturing boldly into a brand new era. It’s one of the most eagerly anticipated seasons for the NHRA community in many years.

New TV partner FOX Sports will aim its cameras at the exciting side-by-side racing on the dragstrip and showcase the sport with live coverage of Sunday eliminations at 17 events – including the Gainesville race – and provide more than 500 hours of NHRA programming on its family of networks. There are new rules for the Pro Stock category that will help the factory hot rods recapture the 200 mph magic that makes the class a fan-favorite. There are many new rules in place to improve competition in other classes, and there’s even a bold new NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series logo.

In addition, NHRA will ask its legion of fans and highly-skilled drivers what they love about the sport in the new “MY NHRA is…” marketing campaign. NHRA’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Funny Car is sure to be a fan-favorite attraction as well.

While there will be a lot of newness floating around the Gainesville track during the event, one thing fans can count on is the same high-intensity, drama-filled competition that they have become accustomed to.

Gainesville Raceway never fails to disappoint, as it has long been known as one of the fastest tracks on the NHRA circuit. The legendary track is home to the first 260-, 270- and 300-mph Top Fuel runs, while perhaps the most memorable of those was Kenny Bernstein’s historic first 300 mph Top Fuel pass in 1992. With so much history around the track, drivers at this year’s Gatornationals will be inspired to make some history of their own.

The Pro Stock Motorcycle class will make its 2016 season debut at the AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals. The two-wheeled class races at 16 events throughout the season and provides some of the series’ most thrilling action. Pro Stock Motorcycle racers will be looking to start fast, and many will have their crosshairs on reigning world champ, Andrew Hines.

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Hines powered his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to four victories last season en route to his second consecutive world championship and fifth of his career. Hines hasn’t won the Gainesville event in more than a decade, so he’ll have his eyes set on a return to the winner’s circle. Trying to prevent him from getting there will be teammate and three-time event winner Eddie Krawiec, 2015 event winner Stoffer, Louisiana alligator farmer Jerry Savoie, and two-time world champion Matt Smith.

The event also will serve as the season-opening race for the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Series and feature plenty of thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 12:45 and 4:15 p.m. on Friday, March 18 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, March 19, at 12 and 3:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 20.

WHAT: 47th annual AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, the third of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – earn points leading to 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.

WHERE: Gainesville Raceway, Gainesville, Fla. The track is located on 11211 North County Road 225 in Gainesville.

WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, March 17-20

SCHEDULE:
THURSDAY, March 17 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying

FRIDAY, March 18 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at noon and 3:30 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 12:45 and 4:15 p.m.

SATURDAY, March 19 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 2 p.m. Round 1 of eliminations at 5:15 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at noon and 3:15 p.m.

SUNDAY, March 20 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

TELEVISION:
Friday, March 18, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying highlights at 9 p.m. (ET).
Saturday, March 19, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying highlights at 6:30 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, March 20, FS1 will televise three hours of live finals coverage at 1 p.m. (ET).

2015 EVENT WINNERS: Spencer Massey, Top Fuel; Ron Capps, Funny Car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock; Karen Stoffer, Pro Stock Motorcycle.

MOST VICTORIES: Warren Johnson, 9, PS; John Force, 7, FC; Don Prudhomme, 5, FC; Joe Amato, 4, TF; Kenny Bernstein, 4, FC/TF; Larry Dixon, 4, TF; Don Garlits, 4, TF; Jason Line, 4, PS; Ed McCulloch, 4, FC; Tony Schumacher, 4, TF; Dave Schultz, 4, PSM; Terry Vance, 4, PSM.

TRACK RECORDS:
Top Fuel – 3.743 sec. and 326.87 mph by Morgan Lucas, March ’12.
Funny Car – 4.026 seconds by Cruz Pedregon, March ’12; 317.12 mph by Robert Hight, March ’12.
Pro Stock – 6.473 seconds by Mike Edwards, March ’12; 214.31 mph by Edwards, March ’13.
PS Motorcycle – 6.750 seconds by Eddie Krawiec, March ’12; 199.26 mph by Krawiec, March ’11.

NATIONAL RECORDS:
Top Fuel – 3.680 sec. by Antron Brown, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.; 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.
Funny Car – 3.884 sec. by Jack Beckman, Nov. ’15, Pomona, Calif. and 331.45 mph by Matt Hagan, Nov. ’15, Pomona, Calif.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C. and 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ‘14, Englishtown N.J.
PS Motorcycle – 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 199.88 mph by Hector Arana Jr., March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.