Gainesville Raceway

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Gainesville Raceway
Business After Hours @ Gainesville Raceway (40146839925).jpg
Gainesville Raceway, March 2018
Location11211 N, N County Road 225, Gainesville, Florida
Time zoneUMT -0800
Coordinates29°45′29.00″N 82°16′29.00″W / 29.7580556°N 82.2747222°W / 29.7580556; -82.2747222Coordinates: 29°45′29.00″N 82°16′29.00″W / 29.7580556°N 82.2747222°W / 29.7580556; -82.2747222
Capacity30,000
OwnerNHRA
OperatorNHRA
Opened1969 [1]
Major events
Drag Strip
SurfaceConcrete
Length0.25 mi (0.402 km)

Gainesville Raceway is a quarter-mile dragstrip just outside Gainesville, Florida. It opened in 1969 and is most famous for hosting the NHRA's prestigious Gatornationals event since 1970.[2] Kenny Bernstein became the first drag racer to break the 300 mile-per-hour barrier at the track on March 20, 1992, during qualifying for that year's Gatornationals.[3]

Overview[edit]

Gainesville Raceway, which has a capacity of 30,000, opened in 1969 and held its first Gatornationals event in 1970. Long considered one of the fastest tracks on the NHRA circuit,[citation needed] it was from this launch point that drivers clocked the first 260-, 270- and 300-mph Top Fuel runs. It also was from this starting line, during the 2000 Mac Tools NHRA Gatornationals, that eight of 10 national records were set in the professional classes.

Gainesville Raceway has a separate road course, which is purpose-built for vehicle testing and driving schools. Completed in 2000, the road course has 1.6 linear miles of asphalt, with a 1-mile-long outer loop. The road course has multiple inter-connecting loops and turns for training exercises. It has been used extensively for law enforcement training, high-performance driving schools, and amateur and professional testing and tuning. The road course is equipped to handle corporate hospitality functions, autocrosses, and other events.[4]

Following the 2003 season, Gainesville Raceway underwent some significant renovations. The concrete launchpad at the starting line of the ultra-quick drag strip was extended to the 675-foot mark and the remainder of the racing surface, the shutdown area, as well as areas in the professional pits was repaved. A new television compound was constructed for the ESPN crew on the north side of the drag strip, which frees up space in the pit area.

The Pavilion at Gainesville Raceway, completed in 2006, is a 15,000 square foot, open-air, multi-purpose facility equipped with roll-down weblon siding to allow for partial to full enclosure. Traditionally used as the main hospitality area for the Top Eliminator Club during the AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, it has also played host to the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Gala Dinner, Gainesville Raceway's Annual Racer Banquet, car shows, and many other events.

The skybox suites were constructed and completed in 2007. The suites were designed to replace the aging VIP suites in the old race control tower with contemporary features consistent with high-end accommodations and viewing angles. The skyboxes are set 50 feet above the ground located over the south-side spectator grandstands. These skybox suites offer both inside and outside seating, closed-circuit TV, air conditioning, and other amenities with a view of the racing.

In 2008, the current race control tower was built. The tower replaced the existing building that previously housed race control, press, media, and VIP suite areas. This facility combines National Event race control, a cutting-edge press and media center, and track business offices into one structure designed to project a unique architectural signature.

Gainesville Raceway saw improvements to the gravel trap and top-end area of the track in 2009. The upgrade to the run-off containment area added many new measures for a vehicle out of control. The gravel trap was extended 400 feet, with the depth of gravel being increased as well. New catch nets had a height twice as tall as before with an additional backup set of catch nets being installed. These are followed by DOT impact barrels of graduated resistance and a catch fence afterwards.

The east ticket building was constructed in 2009, and connects the road course to the sportsman pit area. This addition increased customer convenience by reducing the distance to the drag strip from the road course parking area used during the National Event.

2011 saw the upgrade to the restroom facilities, with new environmentally friendly water-saving fixtures and expanded water service.[5]

Up until 2019, the track’s surface had consisted of 675 feet of concrete that transitioned to asphalt at the top end. Construction crews replaced all the existing concrete from behind the waterbox to 1,500-feet down the track from the starting line, plus the 100 or so feet behind the starting line. Both lanes were poured and are over 30 feet wide, so everything from the center of the track to the wall. Crews also replaced another 1,800-feet of asphalt in the shutdown area from where the concrete ends to the second turnoff at the top end.

Gainesville Raceway also hosts many other special events on an annual basis including a Lucas Oil Division 2 Race, a NHRDA event, Import Face-Off and Grassroots Challenges.[6] All this in addition to weekly racing during the spring, summer, and fall.[7]

Directions[edit]

The track is on County Road 225, eight miles north of Gainesville Regional Airport. If traveling north on I-75, use Exit 382, Williston Road (CR 331), and turn left (east). Williston Road will become Waldo Road (State Route 24) after it crosses U.S. 441. Continue on Waldo Road to NE 53rd Avenue, turn left, then immediately right onto CR 225 and continue 3.5 miles to the track. From I-75 north or south, use Exit 390, 39th Avenue (SR 222), go east to Waldo Road (SR 24), turn left, go to NE 53rd Avenue, turn left, then immediately right onto CR 225 and continue 3.5 miles to the track. [8]

Gatornationals Winners[edit]

Year Top Fuel Funny Car Pro Stock Pro Stock Motorcycle
2019 Richie Crampton Robert Hight Bo Butner Andrew Hines
2018 Richie Crampton Jack Beckman Tanner Gray Eddie Krawiec
2017 Tony Schumacher John Force Shane Gray Eddie Krawiec
2016 Brittany Force Tim Wilkerson Jason Line Eddie Krawiec
2015 Spencer Massey Ron Capps Greg Anderson Karen Stoffner
2014 Doug Kalitta Robert Hight Allen Johnson Steve Johnson
2013 Antron Brown Johnny Gray Allen Johnson Hector Arana Jr
2012 Morgan Lucas Robert Hight Mike Edwards Eddie Krawiec
2011 Del Worsham Mike Neff Jason Line Eddie Krawiec
2010 Tony Schumacher Tim Wilkerson Jason Line Eddie Krawiec
2009 Larry Dixon Bob Tasca III Jason Line Hector Arana Sr
2008 Tony Schumacher[9] Tony Pedregon Jeg Coughlin Matt Guidera
2007 Tony Schumacher[10] Ron Capps Greg Anderson Karen Stoffer
2006 David Grubnic Ron Capps Tom Martino Angelle Sampey
2005 Doug Kalitta Whit Bazemore Jason Line Steve Johnson
2004 Tony Schumacher Del Worsham Greg Anderson Andrew Hines
2003 Brandon Bernstein Gary Densham Kurt Johnson Angelle Sampey
2002 Larry Dixon Tony Pedregon Darrell Alderman Craig Treble
2001 Larry Dixon John Force Jeg Coughlin Matt Hines
2000 Doug Kalitta Jerry Toliver Warren Johnson Dave Schultz
1999 Mike Dunn John Force Warren Johnson Angelle Sampey
1998 Kenny Bernstein Cruz Pedregon Warren Johnson Matt Hines
1997 Joe Amato Al Hoffman Jim Yates Dave Schultz
1996 Blaine Johnson John Force Jim Yates Dave Schultz
1995 Larry Dixon John Force Darrell Alderman John Myers
1994 Connie Kalitta John Force Warren Johnson John Myers
1993 Eddie Hill John Force Warren Johnson John Smith
1992 Eddie Hill John Force Warren Johnson Jim Bernard
1991 Joe Amato Mark Oswald Warren Johnson Dave Schultz
1990 Darrell Gwynn Ed McCulloch Kenny Delco John Myers
1989 Darrell Gwynn Ed McCulloch Darrell Alderman
1988 Eddie Hill Kenny Bernstein Bruce Allen
1987 Joe Amato Don Prudhomme Butch Leal
1986 Don Garlits Ed McCulloch Don Campanello
1985 Dick Lahaie Kenny Bernstein Warren Johnson
1984 Joe Amato Kenny Bernstein Warren Johnson
1983 Gary Beck Frank Hawley Lee Shepherd
1982 Shirley Muldowney Frank Hawley Lee Shepherd
1981 Shirley Muldowney Gordie Bonin Frank Iaconio
1980 Gary Beck Don Prudhomme Lee Shepherd
1979 Kelly Brown Gordie Bonin Bob Glidden
1978 Don Garlits Dale Pulde Frank Iaconio
1977 Don Garlits Gordie Bonin Don Nicholson
1976 James Warren Don Prudhomme Larry Lombardo
1975 Dale Funk Don Prudhomme Bob Glidden
1974 Dave Settles Don Prudhomme Wally Booth
1973 Herm Petersen Pat Foster Don Nicholson
1972 Don Garlits Ed McCulloch Don Carlton
1971 Jimmy King Leroy Goldstein Ronnie Sox
1970 Don Garlits Leonard Hughes Bill Jenkins

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Na-Motorsports Track Entry". NA Motorsports. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Gainesville Raceway: History". www.gainesvilleraceway.com. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  3. ^ Kenny Bernstein Archived March 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Gainesville Raceway: Road Course". 3770046. Gainesville Raceway. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  5. ^ "Gainesville Raceway: Track Info". 3770046. Gainesville Raceway. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Gainesville Raceway: Dragstrip Race Programs". 3770046. Gainesville Raceway. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  7. ^ "Gainesville Raceway: Schedule". 3770046. Gainesville Raceway.
  8. ^ https://www.nhra.com/schedule/2020/nhra-mello-yello-drag-racing-series/amalie-motor-oil-nhra-gatornationals
  9. ^ NHRA ACDelco Gatornationals results; USA Today, March 16, 2008, Retrieved April 6, 2008
  10. ^ Schumacher, Capps team up for Gatornationals win; USA Today, 2007, Retrieved April 6, 2008

External links[edit]