Drag Illustrated Issue 182, May / June 2023 | Page 20

Got Dirt ? dirt @ dragillustrated . com

Coming Out Swinging

NHRA starts 2023 season with official sellouts at Gainesville and Phoenix By Nate Van Wagnen

Any concerns about starting the 2023 NHRA Camping World Series season in Gainesville , Florida , rather than the traditional opener in Pomona , California , were quickly squashed when fans packed into Gainesville Raceway for the 54th Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals . NHRA announced an official sellout on Saturday , starting a trend that continued at the next stop in Phoenix .

The Gatornationals , which also hosted the Pep Boys NHRA All-Star Callout on Saturday , saw packed grandstands throughout the weekend , including Friday qualifying and Sunday eliminations . Fans witnessed competition in all four
Camping World Series categories , the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Series presented by Type A Motorsports , and sportsman action in the Lucas Oil Series . The winners in the pro classes were Mike Salinas in Top Fuel , Matt Hagan in Funny Car , Troy Coughlin Jr . in Pro Stock , and Gaige Herrera in Pro Stock Motorcycle . Justin Bond won in Pro Mod .
“ What a great way to kick off the 2023 season with a sold-out crowd at Gainesville Raceway ,” said Glen Cromwell , NHRA President . “ It ’ s a tribute to our tremendous NHRA fans to start off the year in this fashion . Our race teams and partners circle this event each season and you could feel
the energy and excitement at the track today .”
The race also had a lot of eyeballs on it from afar , as 1.12 million viewers tuned in to watch Sunday eliminations , marking a new viewership record for race day at the Gatornationals during the NHRA on FOX era . A total of 1.684 million viewers watched the weekend broadcasts across FOX , FS1 , and FS2 .
“ We ’ re thrilled to cap off the incredible display of NHRA fans in attendance at Gainesville with record-setting television viewership for the event ,” said Steve Reintjes , NHRA Vice President of Broadcasting . “ The total viewership for our weekend of shows outpaced any previous season
20 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 182