One Friday in Gainesville

The Baby Gators divisional race brings the top NHRA sportsman drivers to Gainesville Raceway a week before the Gatornationals.

Living near Jacksonville, Florida, I love this time of year.

It’s the only stage of the NHRA season where I can reasonably go to see the racing and then be back at home in relatively short order.

With a Friday afternoon free, I made the drive to Gainesville Raceway to take a look at the Baby Gators and see some of the NHRA’s best doing their thing on a brand new track surface.

Jacksonville local Cherissa Griffis-Smallwood prepares for the first qualifying session of Top Alcohol Dragster.
Rookie Camrie Caruso impressed in her first outing, qualifying second and reaching the semi finals of Top Alcohol Dragster.
Super Stock racer Monty Campbell's Camaro getting some close attention.

Canadian Tyler Scott was licensing for Top Alcohol Funny Car.
Flip bodies aren't reserved for just Funny Cars! Even Super Gassers take advantage of the convenience.
Artie Allen was completing licensing in Top Fuel.
Georgia's Gerald Thompson had a big moment at the finish line in his Top Dragster.
Larry Roberts looks to have a pretty bad fuel system failure going on as he hurtles down Gainesville's quarter mile.

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Sweden's Stig Olsson qualified seventh in Competition with this gnarly front engine dragster. Powered by a Pro Stock motor, he ran 6.47 - naturally aspirated!
Some trouble in the braking area.
Jasmine Salinas, daughter of Top Fuel driver Mike, gets ready for a round of qualifying.
Tom Pickett puts on his safety gear before a pass in his supercharged Top Alcohol Dragster.
Justin Ashley rolls into the staging lanes ready for another qualifying run.


Camrie Caruso has moved from Top Dragster to Top Alcohol Dragster, a proving ground for future stars of the sport.
Josh Hart would go on to win the Top Alcohol Dragster bracket for the event.
Blown standout Chris Demke at speed.
A/Fuel dragsters use massive volumes of fuel, seen visibly when they launch.
Top Alcohol Funny Car winner Matt Gill making the most of the second qualifying session.
Camrie Caruso has moved from Top Dragster to Top Alcohol Dragster, a proving ground for future stars of the sport.