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The PK Carsport powerhouse will be once again among the contenders for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series titles and trophies during the 2018 season. Anthony Kumpen and Stienes Longin will defend the colors of the glorious belgian team in ELITE 1, Guillaume Dumarey and Brazilian Felipe Rabello will start in ELITE 2. 

The 2018 season of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series can not start fast enough for the Hasselt-based team. "Our ambitions are clear", says two-time champion Anthony Kumpen. "We want to compete for the title in each category. To achieve this we have two completely reconstructed cars. We tried small things and tested them in Zolder during the winter. The Details can make a real difference, you know." 

The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series has become increasingly stronger in recent years. This is also the case for 2018. "The level keeps getting higher," Kumpen says. "That's a good thing for the championship and does not change our ambitions. We can count on our experience. I want to get that ELITE 1 title back. Apparently I can only win it in even years, so I'm fine for 2018. (laughs) No, seriously now: the title is incredibly important. This year I attended Daytona as a spectator, but I prefer to be able to drive myself. And to accomplish that, I will have to become champion a third time."
However, Kumpen is not the only PK Carsport driver who starts the ELITE 1 season with high expectations. 

"In the three full seasons of NASCAR I've raced so far, I've always achieved my goals", explains Stienes Longin. "I am well aware that the bar will be even higher this year. I want to score as high as possible, be on the podium as often as possible. We will see how high that will bring me, but I will not rule anything out. The level of the championship is rising again, I think it is an excellent thing. It will also ensure that we ourselves perform better. Last winter I worked hard to prepare myself physically and mentally on this season and that has already produced results. During a test day last week I immediately felt very good at the wheel of the car, I had the right speed to tackle. A good sign, already."
After a first season in ELITE 2 in 2017 in which he became vice-champion, Guillaume Dumarey would not find it uncomfortable to climb one more step of the ladder this year. "I will do everything I can to achieve that", says Dumarey. "But in ELITE 2 too, it will be tough. My new teammate Felipe Rabello ended up third in the championship last year, so he also has high ambitions. And then there are the new names for this season. No idea what those guys are worth, but I suspect that the start of the season will not be insignificant. With our experience we should be able to make the difference on those new drivers."
Dumarey has also focused on a thorough physical preparation in recent months. "I have done a lot of strength training," says the Eastern Fleming. "An excellent addition to the cardio exercises I have done for some time. Although our races last about 40 minutes, you really have to work hard on the wheel of such a car. Then you better be ready for it. I think I succeeded in that. I am already looking forward to the start of the season in Valencia." 

The new addition to the PK Carsport lineup will be Felipe Rabello, who finished third in point in the ELITE 2 Division and won twice in his oval racing debut. “I learned a lot in my first season and I am feeling very confident this year, working with a great team such as PK carsport. I am very happy to be part of it,” said the Belo Horizonte native. “I believe I will be a strong contender for the title in the ELITE 2 division, but i know that it will be a tough battle because of the high level of the competition. Racing is unpredictable, but we will do our best to achieve our goals.
I really enjoy the racing and the organization of Euro NASCAR and I can’t wait to start the season.”

In addition to their ambitions for the ELITE 1, ELITE 2 and team titles, Kumpen & Co also have a side project  they set their sights on. "This year, for the first time, there will be a Nations' Cup in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series", explains the Hasselt-native. "You can count on us to defend Belgian colors with verve!"
In the run-up to the start of the season in Valencia (April 14-15), PK Carsport will take a final test on the Zolder circuit on March 29th. Two days earlier, on March 27, the cars will be presented to the public in the Heinz Performance workshop in Hasselt in combination with the launch of the new webshop, where Heinz Performance and PK Carsport bundle more than 25 years of racing and tuning experience into products for every car enthusiast. The new merchandising of the team will also be available on the webshop before the start of the season.

PK Carsport PR

Officials from MAVTV announced today that NASCAR/ARCA veteran driver Mike Wallace will join the broadcast team to help call the action for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on MAVTV in 2018. Coverage begins Saturday night, April 7 from Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn.  Wallace will serve as the telecast's pit-road reporter, joining booth announcers Bob Dillner and Jim Tretow.

Wallace, who won on some of NASCAR's  biggest stages, has also done his share of TV time over the years with racing broadcast stints on NBC, TNN, the NASCAR Hot Pass show on DirecTV and more.

"When the call came in for this opportunity, I got right on it," said Wallace. "I'm very excited to be ARCA's pit road reporter. The series is incredible. I'm excited to work with Bob (Dillner) and Jim (Tretow). I'm very committed to making great, compelling TV. There are so many great stories in the ARCA Series and I'm excited to cover them, from the back of the field to the front."

"I absolutely love the ARCA Series...I believe in it. I got my first start in the superspeedway world in ARCA. I got my first opportunity in Cup because of my success in ARCA. I'm excited for this opportunity and excited for ARCA. I'm glad to see what I consider better coverage all the way around. Between FOX and MAVTV, this series is going to be well covered in 2018, as it should be."

Wallace, the younger brother of Rusty Wallace and older brother of Kenny Wallace, earned his share of racing accolades over his long career, winning in every major division he's competed in, apart from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Outside of his best Cup finish of 2nd at Phoenix, Wallace has scored 20 wins total among the NASCAR Xfinity, Camping World Truck, Winston West Series, and the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. His best finish in the Daytona 500 was 4th in 2007.

He won 4 times in the Xfinity Series at Dover, Milwaukee, Lucas Oil Raceway and Daytona. His 5 wins in the Camping World Trucks were at Talladega, Daytona, Homestead, Pikes Peak and Mesa Marin. Wallace was also effective on the ARCA side with 6 wins overall, including Daytona in '94. He also won 3 consecutive ARCA races at Pocono '95 - '96, and once at Talladega in '95 and Atlanta in '94.

MAVTV and ARCA jointly announced a multi-year broadcast rights agreement under which ARCA Racing Series events will be televised on MAVTV through the 2019 racing season. MAVTV aired 10 ARCA race events in 2017 and will increase that number to 12 in 2018.

Eleven of the 12 events will air live on MAVTV, including the networks first ever superspeedway telecast from Michigan International Speedway June 8.
MAVTV Motorsports Network is available on DIRECTV, Charter Spectrum, Verizon FiOS, Optimum, Suddenlink, CenturyLink Prism, Mediacom, Buckeye Broadband, fuboTV and many other cable providers across the US and Canada.

Wallace's son Matt Wallace is expected to compete in the North/South Super Late Model Challenge race that precedes the Music City 200 ARCA race at Nashville Saturday, April 7.


The latest member of the famous Gray racing family made his stock car debut on Saturday night at North Carolina’s historic Hickory Motor Speedway.

Taylor Gray, the 12-year-old son of NHRA Pro Stock racer Shane Gray, the brother of Gatornationals Pro Stock winner Tanner Gray and grandson of NHRA Funny Car race winner Johnny Gray, earned a sixth-place finish in the 50-lap limited late model feature Saturday night at Hickory driving for Lee Faulk Racing and Development.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting to finish sixth in my first race with the competition that was there,” said Gray, who had previously only raced Outlaw Karts on dirt. “I am with a great team and they know what they are doing and it really showed on Saturday night.”

After previously testing with Lee Faulk Racing and Development, the youngest Gray was ready to race on Saturday at Hickory. However, things took an unfortunate turn when he spun his No. 15G limited late model during practice early in the day, bending the rear clip in the process.

Despite the damage the team decided to prepare the car for qualifying and the race so Gray could get track time. Gray repaid the hard work by the Faulk team by qualifying sixth in the 19-car field.

Undeterred by the damage to the rear clip, Gray followed up his solid qualifying effort by racing in the top-five throughout the 50-lap limited late model feature. When the checkered flag waved Gray was scored in seventh, but later was advanced to sixth because of a disqualification to initial race winner Tyler Gregory.

“It was amazing how well the car felt even with the rear clip being bent,” said Gray. “The biggest difference between the big car and the Outlaw Karts I’ve driven before is that I need to pay a lot more attention to how the car handles so I can give proper feedback. Once I get the hang of that I think we’ll really be able to show what we can do.”

Lee Faulk Racing and Development’s Michael Faulk couldn’t help but be impressed by Gray’s result on Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway.

“Taylor has shown he is a great talent at such a young age,” said Faulk. “We look forward to a long lasting relationship with Taylor and the Gray family. This is just the beginning.”

With a sixth-place finish in his first race serving as motivation, Gray believes he’ll be finding victory lane much sooner than later.

“With the group of guys I have behind me, I expect to be in victory lane at least once or twice this year,” Gray said. “Winning is always the goal and I know we can do it.”

Lee Faulk Racing and Development PR

Cole Anderson and his ATF/Gunslinger team competed in their first Rattler 250 weekend together this past weekend, finishing tenth in the pro late model on Saturday. On Sunday, a mechanical issue forced them to park the No. 97 prematurely, resulting in a 22nd place finish.
The team led by Dustin and Jamie Skinner prepared Anderson another fast car, proven by practice early in the weekend when the team charted second fastest in both of Friday's practice sessions. Qualifying yielded similar results with Anderson clocking in fifth fastest, setting him up for a solid starting position entering the 125-lap Baby Rattler event.
At the drop of the green, Cole began working his strategy, attempting to position himself for the run to the checkered flag. He kept pace with the leaders until problems began to emerge on the No. 97, causing the car to get tight, making it hard to turn through each end of the speedway. Ultimately, he was able to wrestle the car home with a top ten finish despite the issues which arose mid-race.
"We were top five in practice for the pro and consistently fast, so to have a problem really sucked," Anderson lamented after the race. "Something in the suspension stopped working properly because the tabs on our crossmember weren't even close to where we needed them to be. The left front wasn't staying down which made the car super tight."
Sunday was a new day, however, and Anderson was stoked for a chance to redeem himself after Saturday evening's bad luck. During Saturday's super late model qualifying session, he ranked 19th, placing him inside row ten for the green flag, but he did not stay there for long. Again, Cole began to work his way forward as the race slowly progressed toward halfway. 
Soon after a mid-race pit stop for tires, Cole called back to the crew to inform them the car had picked up a vibration. After discussing the likelihood of various causes, the No. 97 came down pit road under green where the crew discovered a loose wheel. After losing a couple of laps, and not wanting to chance racing with damage to a hub, the decision was made to retire from the 250-lap Southern Super Series contest. 
"We're still learning the super late model and what it wants because it's a new car," Anderson explained after the race. "We started 19th and made our way inside the top ten until the wheel came loose. It wasn't worth risking a wreck to the car. After we had to pit under green, we just pulled it behind the wall. Despite the bad luck, I can't say enough about the cars Dustin and Jamie gave me to work with this weekend. They were fast and we were confident with what we had and I believe we'll continue to get even better as we go."
Anderson’s next asphalt race with ATF/Gunslinger will come on Easter Weekend when he pilots the same pro late model which won the World Series of Asphalt title, this time at Five Flags Speedway. Anderson has plans to compete in at least ten races at Five Flags Speedway this season in pursuit of experience to win year-end accolades at the Snowflake 100 and Snowball Derby. 
For more information and the latest updates about Cole Anderson visit his website at He can also be found on social media such as Facebook (@ColeAndersonRacing), Twitter (@Cole_Anderson97) and Instagram (@Cole_Anderson97).
Cole Anderson PR

Maciek Dreszer will once again participate in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. This young and talented driver has signed a contract with the Italian CAAL Racing team. This way Dreszer has joined the team of the last year's winner of the European Series – Alon Day. The first round will be held in mid-April in Spanish Valencia.

Maciek Dreszer's adventure with the European NASCAR Series has started last year with racing in DF1 Racing team. In his debut season, Dreszer, despite problems with the car, has ranked third in Rookies class and seventh in Elite 2. In season 2018, Maciek will return to the series with experience, a better team, and ambitions for more.

We’ve got it! We’ve signed the contract and again I will race in NASCAR race series! I am very happy because at one hand I really like the character of these races, that is spectacular, and often with lots of contact racing, bumper to bumper. On the other hand I feel largely unsatisfied with the previous season, when not everything would go as we’ve planned, particularly when it comes to car preparation – Says Maciek Dreszer, and adds – I know that with an experienced team, that will provide me the best possible support, I can achieve much more. It's no secret that the goal is to win the European Series, and the next step is to race on American tracks. I believe that this collaboration is the much needed giant step towards accomplishing these objectives.

In Season 2018 Dreszer has signed a contract with Italian CAAL Racing group. It is a very experienced team, with history rich with successes on different racing tracks. Last year's winner of the NASCAR European Series Alon Day also raced with this team, and other drivers have also shown even, high performance throughout the whole season.

We are happy to welcome Maciek in our team, the more that he will be the first Pole to race in our colours. We've started talking about possible collaboration last year, but unfortunately we had a full set of drivers engaged for our cars. However, we have been closely observing his skill and development throughout the season, and that is why we are certain that this year together we can fight for top ranks in each race. We will meet on the track in March, so we can best prepare for first competition in Valencia – announced Luca Canneori, Team Manager CAAL Racing.

Maciek Dreszer is a 21-year-old racing driver who despite his young age has already collected a number of impressive victories. Maciek started competing when he was 16, having his debut in KIA Lotos Race. In 2014 he has won the I place in Toyota GT86 Cup on Nürburgring track, becoming the youngest winner in the history of the race. A year later, he has won BMW M235and Racing Cup and also ranked II during 24H Endurance Series, and the III place during championship in Belgium. Likewise, 2016 was also a year of success: I place on ADAC Zurich 24h Rennen - Nürburgring, II place on European championships GT4 European Series, and III place in 12-hour race in the Dutch Zandvoort. Season 2017 was the season of NASCAR series, which he finished as third in Rookies class.

NASCAR is the first world motor-sport organization established in 1947 in the United States, where it enjoys similar popularity as NBA or NHL. The races engage super-fast and powerful cars, at the same time very raw and not equipped, except for power steering, with any electronic driving assistance. Therefore, driving them is very demanding but provides unforgettable experience.

Since 2009, races are held also in Europe as NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. It is the fastest growing race series that serves competing drivers and teams as a pass for racing on American tracks. Each year, races attract over 150 thousand viewers. The European series engages V8 5.7 litre cars with over 400 horsepower, reaching over 250 km/h.

NASCAR Whelen Euro Series 2018 includes six rounds, of which the first will be held in the Spanish Valencia between April 14 and 15. Next, drivers will compete on tracks in Italy, Great Britain, and France. Semi-finals will be held in German Hockenheim, and the contest will be concluded with October final round in Belgian Zolder.

Maciek Dreszer PR

Raphaël Lessard, a member of the TRD - Toyota driver development program, finished 4th on Sunday afternoon at the Rattler 250, which took place at the South Alabama Speedway in Kinston, Alabama, as part of the Southern Super Series. For the second time at the wheel of his new car, the FRL Express/Mobil 1/Toyota Camry #51, Raphaël Lessard excelled in the practice sessions. Starting in the lead position after having the best times in qualifying, the young driver demonstrated his immense talent throughout the 250 laps of this frenzied race.
Proudly representing the colors of the team Kyle Bush Motorsports (KBM), the wunderkind from Beauce showed his desire to win by making a nice comeback during the race. Indeed, after maintaining a position in the top 5 for more than half of the race, Lessard received a penalty sending him to the back of the pack. After this setback, the young driver overtook the pace car with the goal of entering to the pits. That's when we saw the determination and talent of the 16-year-old as he moved up from 15th to 4th place.
As is often the case with Super Late Model races, many yellow flags punctuated the event. The flags were sometimes to the advantage of Raphael who has a penchant for the outside lane. At the beginning of the race, though, while chasing Jeff Choquette for the lead position, Lessard was forced to start from the inside lane, and was unable to regain the lead, despite never abandoning his efforts to reach the podium.
"I think having the best times all weekend clearly demonstrates my abilities and those of the car. Sure, I'm disappointed to have passed the safety car, it's something I should not have done. However, I must learn from my mistakes and I can guarantee that it will not happen again! In addition, the comeback that I made, from 15th to 4th position, makes me very proud! My car was excellent so I did not have too much trouble making my way to the top group. With so much neutralization, it is easier to join the pack, because the leaders do not have the chance to flee very far," said Raphaël Lessard.
"I would like to sincerely thank the Kyle Busch Motorsports team for their undeniable support and the incredible car they provide for me. My thanks also go to my parents, the investors, FRL Express, Mobil 1, Toyota-TRD, Cody Glick, my team leader and all the members of the team, as well as to Kyle Busch and his valuable advice. I'm really looking forward to the next race in CARS, where I was the champion in 2016, " added Lessard.
Next race on the calendar
The 3rd race of Raphaël Lessard's 2018 calendar will take place on March 24th as part of the CARS Series, a 100-lap race at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina.


Knocking rust from the offseason, hotshoe Devin Dodson wheeled his No. 9 Empire Racing Development Group machine to a respectable 16th place result at Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Dodson, who turned 19 this past week, started the event from the 17th position and remained consistent throughout the 75 lap feature. Despite missing out on the top ten, the developmental driver was able to record valuable notes during his mere third NASCAR-sanctioned late model start.
“It was a modest open to our season,” Dodson said. “I was glad to just log some laps and get some more experience under our belts. I think we grew as a team this weekend. I'm really appreciative of this opportunity with Empire Racing.”
Making an eight hour haul from Bishopville, Md., the former dirt standout Dodson was unable to participate in the event's open test session on Friday at Myrtle Beach, which put his Empire Racing team behind the eight ball in their season-opening race.
Losing that valuable track time, Dodson was forced to work with just 25 minutes of practice time (spread across two sessions) to work out the offseason kinks and further prepare his No. 9 machine before qualifying on Saturday.
“It was unfortunate,” Dodson explained. “We missed out on testing Friday, which I really thought put us behind all weekend. During practice, I had to jump in and we had to fix the brakes, along with other things that cost us a lot of time on the track.”
Once correcting the basic errors, Dodson was out of practice time to critique his machine, relegating him to a 17th place effort in time trials, about four tenths of a second from the lead times.
After meeting with fans during the intermission, Dodson climbed into his office for the first time this season and focused on preserving tires, along with avoiding accidents in the 25-car field.
Unlike the last time Dodson competed at Myrtle Beach in November, where he was involved in a 20-car pileup, this feature remained green until 25 laps to go, something that the team wasn't anticipating.
In the final circuits, Dodson avoided another accident and proceeded to finish in the 16th position, bringing back an unscathed racecar to his Empire Racing team.
“Given all the hoops we had to jump through this weekend, I'm just glad we kept it in one piece,” Dodson expressed. “I appreciate all the support from Empire Racing, Thad Moffitt (teammate), and Grumpy's Performance. I expect to see our No. 9 machine right in the mix to win from here on out.”
Looking forward …
Despite the unfortunate result, Dodson now turns his attention towards jumping back in the seat. At the moment, an exact next race and complete schedule is being formulated.
“I can't wait to get back into the racecar,” he added. “It might be a few weeks here, but I know we're going to come back really, really strong. During this short break, I'm going to push myself harder physically and mentally to prepare for being back in the car.”
Devin Dodson Racing PR

Leicht Motorsports opened the new racing season by collecting a pair of top-five finishes during Saturday’s Hickory Motor Speedway season opener.

The team owned by Eugene and Rebecca Leicht fielded entries for McCallister Precision Marketing clients Brandon Lemke and Mason Ludwig in Saturday’s 50-lap limited late model feature at the historic .333-mile asphalt oval. The race, part Hickory’s Big 10 Limited Late Model Series, saw 19 cars on hand to compete.

Lemke and Ludwig, both of whom tested at Hickory on Friday, were in the hunt throughout the day at Hickory. Lemke qualified seventh for the 50-lap feature while Ludwig, making his debut for Leicht Motorsports, qualified ninth.

The pair didn’t stay in those positions for very long. Lemke broke into the top-five by lap 15 with Ludwig hot on his heels in the sixth position. Lemke soon advanced to fourth and found himself battling Monty Cox for the third position as the laps wound down.

It took the rest of the race for Lemke to dispatch Cox, but he finally did so during a final dash to the finish and took the checkered flag in third. Ludwig was right behind them and gave Cox a run for his money, but crossed the line in fifth.

Those finishing positions were unofficial and for good reason. Track officials soon disqualified initial race winner Tyler Gregory for losing a piece of lead weight during the race. As a result of the disqualification, Lemke was credited with a runner-up finish while Ludwig earned a fourth-place result.

Lemke, who is beginning his second year with the Leicht Motorsports squad, couldn’t help but express his excitement following his strong start to the 2018 season.

“We were running fourth for most of the race just about the whole race after starting off in seventh and we were able to get third there at the end, but that became second after post-race tech,” said Lemke. “Our car was fast all day long. What a great way to start the season. Thanks to the Leicht Motorsports Development Team, MPM Marketing and Champion. It feels great to start off the season in such a positive way.”

Ludwig, who was making his debut for Leicht Motorsports on Saturday night at Hickory, was thrilled with his effort.

“A top-five is a great way to start our season with Leicht Motorsports,” said Ludwig. “We worked hard all day to make sure I had a great car for the race. We started ninth and managed to work our way through the field to finish fifth, but we ended up fourth after the DQ in inspection. We’re one happy team and I’m one happy driver. Thanks to the Leicht Motorsports Development Team, MPM Marketing and Champion for all of their support today and hopefully we can keep this momentum going.”

Team co-owner Eugene Leicht spoke highly of both of his young drivers following their top-five efforts Saturday night.

“Brandon and Mason drove excellent races. They were patient and got everything the track and their cars gave them, so I couldn’t be happier with our results,” Leicht said. “I’ve got a great team working on these cars and a great marketing team at MPM Marketing, not to mention my wife Rebecca, who I couldn’t do this without. Now we just need to go back out there and do this again. With Brandon and Mason at the wheel I don’t see that being a problem.”

Leicht Motorsports PR

The U.S. Army driver trio of Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher, Antron Brown and Leah Pritchett are fourth, third and fifth, respectively, on the provisional ladder after the opening two rounds of qualifying Friday for this weekend’s NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series 49th annual NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway.

Schumacher and his U.S. Army Dragster team for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) started the day with the best run of the opening session posting a lap of 3.785 seconds and a track record speed of 329.67 mph. In the second session, the U.S. Army Racing team was forced to wait out a lengthy delay and “The Sarge” lost traction early in the pass and coasted to a run of 7.873 seconds at 84.21 mph.


“I’d rather make the run we made in Q1 any day over a big run where you are swinging for the fences on Friday night,” said Schumacher, the eight-time Top Fuel world champion who’s vying for a record sixth career Gatornationals event title this weekend.


“Don’t get me wrong. I wish we would have went down the track (that second run) and maintained the top spot, but the run to start the day was impressive in every way. We don’t race in the conditions like we had tonight. We were set up for a run on a track well over 100 degrees and by the time we actually ran it was more like 88 or 89 degrees. It’s hard to make all the changes that you want when the difference in temperature is that drastic. We made a great run today in the heat. It was textbook and that’s what we’ll be dealing with Sunday. We’re good. I’m looking forward to getting this U.S. Army machine even better tomorrow.”


Brown and his Matco Tools/U.S. Army Dragster for DSR started the day with a run of 4.894 seconds at 150.03 mph in today’s opening session. He and his team led by crew chief Mark Oswald came back with a vengeance Friday evening making a run of 3.751 seconds at 327.24 mph that was third-best for the session and third overall.


“We didn’t start the day where we wanted to,” Brown said. “Our first run was a little rough. We spun the tires about 200 feet. It felt like the car was on a good run. We came back and made a nice solid pass down the track that will put us securely in the field. All in all, the Matco Tools/U.S. Army car is in a good place. We feel confident for tomorrow. It’s going to be another day where we can build off that second lap we made today. The name of the game is to just keep on trying to improve and continue getting better. We want to be at our best on Sunday this weekend.”


Pritchett had an up and down day aboard the Papa John’s/FireAde/U.S. Army Dragster for DSR. An opening run of 3.811 seconds at 325.77 mph placed her second overall, but a mechanical failure following the burnout prior to her second run prematurely ended her day.


“Talk about the most prime conditions and something handed to us on a silver platter, but unfortunately we weren’t able to eat off of it,” Pritchett said. “Having a clutch linkage issue during the best conditions was not what we wanted especially when we felt like we had something in there for our competition. I think what impresses me most about this team is that no matter what the issue is we overcome it as a team. Tomorrow is all about overcoming adversity. The silver lining is we made a run to start the day that can help us be better on Sunday. And we are in this for the win Sunday.”

Qualifying concludes Saturday with sessions at 12 noon and 3 p.m. EST. FS1 will air two hours of qualifying coverage at 11 p.m.  Elimination rounds are set for at 11 a.m. Sunday with FS1 providing three hours of delayed coverage beginning at 7 p.m.

Mike Castellana powered to the qualifying lead Friday during the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service portion of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Dragway. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented Jerry Bickel Race Cars, is the first of 12 events this season.
Castellana ran a 5.753-second pass at 251.11 mph in the first of two qualifying sessions in his Al Anabi Racing ’69 Camaro to take the current No. 1 position.
“To come out in the first round of qualifying this season and qualify in the top spot shows the effort that my team put in to have a car we can make some great runs in,” Castellana said. “Our plan is to make sure we make the necessary adjustments to the car to continue being in that top spot tomorrow.”
Steve Jackson is currently qualified second with a 5.754 at 250.60 and Shane Molinari is initially qualified third with a 5.771 at 256.16.
Castellana finished the 2017 season second in the Pro Mod points standings as he chases his first category championship in 2018.
E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service qualifying continues Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Hector Arana Jr. made history Friday evening breaking the 200-mph barrier on his Pro Stock Motorcycle becoming the first rider to enter the DENSO Spark Plugs 200 MPH Club and received a $10,000 prize. The national speed record was set at the 49th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.
His pass during the second qualifying session eclipsed his record of 199.88 set at Charlotte 1 in 2015.
“I would’ve never thought that was a run to go 200 (mph),” Arana Jr. stated. “At the beginning of today, we didn’t have our front fairings, front exhaust pipes and we weren’t ready at all. I don’t even know what the tune-up is on the bike. It’s honestly really incredible we did that.”
In other racing events, Clay Millican (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are provisional qualifying leaders at the third of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Millican’s pass of 3.708 at 324.98 in his Parts Plus / Great Clips dragster during the second round of qualifying put him at the top of the Top Fuel category. He is striving for his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and 11th of his career.
”I was getting giddy because I saw David Grubnic (crew chief) twisting knobs and he was just changing all kinds of things,” Millican stated. “He later came over to tell me that he actually slowed it down. To be up here as the No. 1 qualifier is surprising. I had the mindset we were going to slow the car down.”
Coming off his win at the NHRA Arizona Nationals, Steve Torrence piloted his Capco Contractors dragster to the No. 2 spot and defending Top Fuel champion Brittany Force currently sits 10th.
Beckman powered his way to the top of the Funny Car field during the first qualifying session, but his pass of 3.911 at 332.18 in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T during the second qualifying session secured his spot. He seeks his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and 24th of his career.
“We were just tiptoeing to make sure we didn’t over power the race track,” Beckman said. “I’m frankly just surprised that Funny Cars didn’t run quicker today.”
Phoenix event winner, Courtney Force, is currently in the No. 2 spot with her pass of 3.914 at 327.66 in her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Pro Stock veteran Anderson currently holds the top spot after driving to a 6.552 at 212.29 run in his Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro during his second qualifying pass of the day. He is seeking his fifth career No. 1 qualifier at Gainesville and 94th overall.
“There’s a lot of fast cars out there this year,” Anderson said. “We’ve gone home early the last two Sunday’s and I need to make amends for that. I need to make up some lost ground and I can’t think of a better place to do it than here.”
Reigning Pro Stock world champion Bo Butner is currently seeded fourth overall, as he looks to extend his No. 1 points position over the class.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, defending world champion Krawiec currently sits in the No. 1 qualifier position with a 6.785 pass at 199.67 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.
“It’s good to be back out racing,” Krawiec stated. “We pretty much started right where we left off and that’s our motive heading into these next couple races. We really didn’t change anything from Pomona on our motorcycles so we could come here to be fresh and ready.”
 Qualifying continues at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at 12 p.m. on Saturday.