Gatornationals blowing into town


Top Fuel racer Antron Brown will return to Gainesville for the 44th annual Gatornationals. Brown, center, is congratulated by NHRA President Tom Compton after Brown became the first black champion to win a major U.S. auto racing title at the Auto Club NHRA auto race finals last November in Pomona, Calif. (The Associated Press)

Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:42 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:42 p.m.

Residents in northeast Gainesville will hear the roaring sounds of fast cars and motorcycles next weekend when the 2013 Gatornationals speed in and out of town.

Facts

GATORNATIONALS

What: The 44th annual NHRA Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals.
When: March 14-17.
Where: Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville, 11211 N. County Road 225.
Tickets: $10-$71.
Information: Call 352-377-0046.

The 44th annual National Hot Rod Association Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals are scheduled to be held March 14-17 at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville at 11211 N. County Road 225, and as usual, the event will bring lots of traffic and a cash bonanza to area businesses and hotels.

Tickets for children begin at $10, with tickets for adults ranging from $16 to $71 for daily admission and increasing each day of the event. Motorhome parking prices will range from $450 to $675. For more ticket information, call 800-884-6742 or visit www.nhratix.com.

One of the top attractions again this year will be Antron Brown of Pittsboro, Ind., a favorite to win in the top fuel dragster category. Brown, who rides for the MATCO Tools Dragster Top Fuel Team, is the reigning 2012 NHRA Top Fuel champion.

In an article published Monday in the West Palm Beach Examiner, Brown said his top goal for the 2013 season is to win another championship.

"We know it's going to be a lot of hard work, so our expectation is to just keep our head down to the grind, expect nothing, but execute excellence all the way," said Brown. "That's what it's gonna take to get it done."

Besides top fuel, Gatornationals will also feature the following categories: competition eliminator, fuel funny car, pro stock, pro stock motorcycle, pro mod, stock eliminator, super comp, super gas, super stock, top alcohol dragster and top alcohol funny car.

Qualifying rounds will be held March 14-16, with top fuel qualifying taking place at 1:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. March 15 and 12:45 p.m. and 3 p.m. March 16. The finals will be held on March 17, with the top fuel finals beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Fans will also have a chance to get autographs from drag-racing legends at 1:30 p.m. March 15 and March 17. The gates will open at 7:30 a.m. daily.

Attempts to reach officials Tuesday afternoon at the Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville were unsuccessful. However, Joleen Cacciatore, interim executive director of the Gainesville Sports Commission, said it is no doubt Gatornationals has a tremendous economic impact on the local economy.

"The local business community and hotels receive a strong economic boost annually from Gatornationals," said Cacciatore, whose organization is a not-for-profit that strives to promote tourism through sporting events, while creating a positive economic impact on Alachua County.

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