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JCM Racing Gatornationals Post-Race Recap

NHRA Gatornationals

Event 1 of 21

Gainesville Raceway

Gainesville, Fla.

March 10-12, 2023


Top Fuel:


Schumacher Scores first Win Light of 2023 Season


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 12, 2023) - Eight-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher started the 2023 NHRA Camping World Series season armed with a new team, a new car, and a renewed partnership with SCAG Power Equipment, the principal backer of his 11,000-horsepower machine.


Crew chiefs Mike ‘Zippy’ Neff and Jon Schaffer joined JCM Racing over the off-season and have been hard at work getting the SCAG dragster prepped and ready for the NHRA Gatornationals season-opener.


In front of a sellout crowd, Schumacher made his best run of the weekend during Saturday’s final qualifying session, clocking a 3.774 E.T. to set up a first-round contest with Josh Hart, the No. 7 qualifier. Hart looked unstoppable on Saturday as he clinched the Pep Boys Top Fuel All-Star Call Out race win, but he was no match for Schumacher and the SCAG team come Sunday morning. Schumacher and Hart were the first pair of Camping World Series competitors to hit the track on race day, and Schumacher used his holeshot advantage to capture the first win light of the year, effectively stopping Hart in his tracks as he attempted to go two-for-two at Gainesville Raceway. Round two featured a battle between two Top Fuel titans as Schumacher lined up opposite Steve Torrence. Once again, Schumacher left the starting line first, but his machine lost traction as he approached the 330-foot marker, and Torrence made a clean pass for the win.


“I’m looking forward to getting to Phoenix,” said Schumacher, the category leader at Gainesville Raceway with five Gatornationals victories. “We’ve got a brand new car, brand new team, and the guys just did outstanding. We didn’t have a lot of runs under our belt coming into this weekend. We did a lot of testing, but we didn’t have all of the parts here for the first session, so we just didn’t have as many runs as a lot of our competitors.


“Had a heck of a first round today,” added Schumacher of his DSR Performance-powered SCAG dragster’s strong opening run against Hart. “Second round was a tough one. We didn’t have lane choice. Steve made a decent run but we probably could have won that one. But, in all, I’m proud of our team. We made huge, monumental steps this weekend and we’re looking forward to the next race.


“For SCAG, American Coach, RAC Financial, Okuma, and GearWrench, and all of the people who have helped us out, I just want to say thank you. SCAG brought out a heck of a lot of people this weekend. They had an incredible time and we love having that hospitality full.”


No. 7 ranked Schumacher (tied with Austin Prock) and the SCAG Power Equipment team will compete next at the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, March 24 – 26.


Qualified: No. 10 (3.774 E.T. at 328.62 MPH)


Elimination Round Results:

E1: 3.722 E.T. at 332.02 MPH defeated Josh Hart 3.693 E.T. at 335.40 MPH

E2: 4.348 E.T. at 216.38 MPH defeated by Steve Torrence 3.741 E.T. at 328.22 MPH

Funny Car:


Wilkerson Debuts New SCAG/LRS Ford Funny Car at NHRA Season-Opener


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 12, 2023) - Tim Wilkerson made his professional NHRA debut at Gainesville Raceway during the 1996 Gatornationals, and at the 2023 NHRA Camping World Series season-opener, Wilkerson enjoyed another Gainesville ‘first,’ debuting his new SCAG Power Equipment/Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang Funny Car. The weekend marked the start of a new era in Wilkerson’s career, as he hit the track as a co-owner of his Funny Car team after operating solely as a privateer for more than two decades.


Starting race day from the No. 12 seed, Wilkerson faced tough competition in his first-round opponent, lining up against No. 5 qualifier and three-time world champ Matt Hagan. Wilkerson launched off of the starting line and appeared to be on a good run until he neared 500 feet and his machine started hazing the tires. In the opposite lane, Hagan made a clean pass for the win, ending Wilkerson’s day early.


“We’re going to give ourselves a D-minus for performance, but we’re going to work on that,” said Wilkerson, who serves as both the driver and crew chief of his Maynard Wilkerson Racing entry, which he co-owns with Joe and Cathi Maynard. “These new parts are throwing me a curve, but we’ll get to the next race and figure out what we’re doing wrong. We hope to improve our performance a little bit at a time. Obviously, it was a disappointing weekend performance-wise, but it was great to be able to spend time with all of the SCAG folks, and meet the dealers and distributors.”


Wilkerson and the SCAG/LRS Ford Funny Car depart Gainesville Raceway ranked 10th (tied with Paul Lee and Blake Alexander). The team competes next at the final running of the NHRA Arizona Nationals in suburban Phoenix, March 24 – 26.


Qualified: No. 12 (3.980 E.T. at 327.66 MPH)


Elimination Round Results:

E1: 4.233 E.T. at 221.63 MPH defeated by Matt Hagan 3.879 E.T. at 335.82 MPH


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