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JCM Racing Pre-Race Report: Gainesville

NHRA Gatornationals

Event 1 of 21

Gainesville Raceway

Gainesville, Fla.

March 10-12, 2023

Top Fuel:


Driver of the SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel Dragster

NHRA Gatornationals Event Highlights:

  • Five-time event winner (2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2017)

  • Four-time runner-up (2000, 2011, 2012, 2015)

  • Three-time No. 1 qualifier (2006, 2011, 2017)

2022 NHRA Gatornationals Recap:

Qualified 14th; First round exit (defeated by Steve Torrence in E1)

Last Event (Pomona 2, 2022):

Qualified eighth; First round exit (defeated by Clay Millican in E1)

Career Statistics:

534 races; 86 wins; 88 No. 1 qualifiers


  • An eight-time NHRA Top Fuel world champion, Schumacher will begin his campaign for a ninth series title when the season commences with the Gatornationals

  • Leads the Top Fuel class in number of wins at Gainesville (five)


“What an awesome way to start a new year. Gainesville Fla., where we’ve had so much success, will be the kick off race to our 2023 season. We have a three-year deal with SCAG and a new teammate in Tim Wilkerson. It’s great to have (crew chiefs) Mike Neff and Jon Shaffer along with Phil Shuler. Seriously a power team. Let’s roll.”

Funny Car:


Driver of the SCAG Power Equipment/Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang

NHRA Gatornationals Event Highlights:

  • 2010 event champion

  • Two-time runner-up (2019, 2020)

  • 2004 No. 1 qualifier

2022 NHRA Gatornationals Recap:

Qualified second; First round exit (defeated by John Force in E1)

Last Event (Pomona 2):

Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated J.R. Todd in E1; defeated by Ron Capps in E2)

Career Statistics:

570 races; 22 wins; 20 No. 1 qualifiers


  • Made his professional NHRA debut at the 1996 Gatornationals

  • The 2023 Gainesville race marks a new era in Wilkerson’s career as he will hit the track as a co-owner of his Funny Car operation, Maynard Wilkerson Racing, after competing as the sole owner/operator of his race team for more than two decades

  • Wilkerson starts the season as a 49-time finalist and is looking to reach his 50th championship round at the Gainesville season-opener


“Very excited about a new season, of course. First few runs of testing, the new parts are fighting me a little bit, along with the race track conditions, but by Friday we’ll have this thing turned around and acting like it’s supposed to. It’s not quite acting like the car I had last year just yet. That's why I always say, 'never brag about your kid or your car.' But all jokes aside, we’re very excited about the whole year and hopefully, we can get it figured out by this weekend and get this season started off on the right foot."


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