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Through Charlotte

Pos. Driver Points

1 Tony Schumacher 2170
2 Spencer Massey 2160
3 Shawn Langdon 2151
4 Antron Brown 2142
5 Doug Kalitta 2105
6 Morgan Lucas 2099
7 Brandon Bernstein 2095
8 Steve Torrence 2093
9 Bob Vandergriff Jr. 2053
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11 Clay Millican 718
12 Khalid Albalooshi 698
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15 Cory McClenathan 279
Funny Car
Pos. Driver Points

1 Ron Capps 2230
2 Mike Neff 2157
3 Jack Beckman 2152
4 Robert Hight 2113
5 Cruz Pedregon 2087
6 Johnny Gray 2081
7 Courtney Force 2074
8 John Force 2072
9 Jeff Arend 2064
9 Tim Wilkerson 2064
11 Matt Hagan 885
12 Bob Tasca III 833
13 Alexis De Joria 687
14 Tony Pedregon 524
15 Bob Bode 388
Pro Stock
Pos. Driver Points

1 Allen Johnson 2209
2 Jason Line 2206
3 Vincent Nobile 2138
4 Greg Anderson 2107
5 Mike Edwards 2094
5 Erica Enders 2094
7 Ron Krisher 2063
8 Larry Morgan 2062
9 V. Gaines 2052
10 Jeg Coughlin 2031
11 Shane Gray 684
12 Ronnie Humphrey 625
13 Rodger Brogdon 575
14 Kurt Johnson 544
15 Warren Johnson 491
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Pos. Driver Points

1 Ed Krawiec 2215
2 Andrew Hines 2205
3 Hector Arana Jr 2151
4 Hector Arana 2139
5 Scott Pollacheck 2092
6 Karen Stoffer 2083
7 Paul Ray Jr 2074
8 Shawn Gann 2062
9 Louis Tonglet 2061
10 Matt Smith 2054
Kalitta, Hight, Johnson, Johnson Win Gatornationals

by Pete McCole
Sunday, March 16, 2014

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Robert Height
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
Robert Hight beat out his boss John Force pick up his first Funny Car win of the season and spoil a huge comeback for the reigning Funny Car World Champion in Sunday’s final eliminations of Sunday’s NHRA Mellow Yello Drag Racing Series Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Auto Plus Raceway At Gainesville.

Allen Johnson scored his second win a row in the Pro Stock class, while Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel) and Steven Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) picked up their first wins of the season.

The Funny Car final turned into an all-John-Force-Racing event as Hight and Force faced each other for just the fourth time in their careers as Hight took down team owner and father-in-law John Force after Force lit up the tires just past the start to hand an easy victory to Hight who went 4.074 at 314.46 to earn his 30th-career NHRA victory. 

“This win was huge," said Hight, who bested Tony Pedregon, Bob Tasca III and Ron Capps to reach the final round. ““If you would have told me this morning that John and I would be in the final I don’t know if I would have taken that bet."

The defeat capped a remarkable turnaround for Force this weekend, as the 16-time World Funny Car Champion just barely made the field after four dismal qualifying runs, making the show as the 16th qualifier and taking down top qualifier and longtime rival Cruz Pedregon while looking to become just the fifth driver in NHRA history to win an event from the 16th position.

“That guy (Force) has 16 championships and he is the best out here," said Hight. “To add to that he is driving for my old team. There was some added pressure there and it is hard to go up there and get motivated and do your best job. You just have to focus. I wasn’t as focused in the first round and semis as I should have been. I was alright in the second round. We needed this win for the Auto Club. We got two finals in a row and now a win. This could not be a better start."

Doug Kalitta
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
Doug Kalitta gained a measure of revenge after his defeat at the hands of Antron Brown three weeks ago at Phoenix, beating the defending Gatornationals Top Fuel winner in the final round to collect his third Gainesville victory and 34th of his NHRA career. 

Kalitta made it to the final round at the season-opening event at Pomona and then lost out to Brown in the semis at Phoenix after taking top qualifier at both events.

In their third-career final round meeting on Sunday, Brown was first off the line but his tires went up in smoke at the 300-foot mark and could only watch as Kalitta powered past, pulling a full run of 3.830 at 323.74 mph for his 34th NHRA national event win.

"We've been trying to get a win all year, and we've been right on the cusp," said Kalitta, who took out Brittany Force, David Grubnic and Steve Torrence in early-round wins. "We have great support amongst all four of our teams. It's great that they can all get in there and celebrate on the starting line."

Allen Johnson
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
In Pro Stock, Allen Johnson scored a victory in the debut of the new Dodge Dart to post his second-consecutive Gatornationals victory as well as his second-straight win of the 2014 season, besting Erica Enders-Stevens on a hole-shot in the final round.

Johnson, who came into Sunday’s eliminations as the fourth qualifier, took down the entire Gray Motorsports team on his way to the finals – beating out Jonathan Gray in his Pro Stock debut, then defeating Jonathan’s brother Shane Gray and finally knocking off their teammate and top qualifier Dave Connolly to move onto his second straight final round.

Facing Enders-Stevens for the fifth time in the finals, Johnson was quicker off the line with a .017 light gain a slight edge at the start, and that was all he needed as he defeated Enders-Stevens by .015 seconds, going 6.566 at 211.73 mph over a quicker, but losing 6.551, 211.96. 

“This shows what a great job the Mopar engineers and SRT did when they developed the new Dart," said Johnson. "It's also a testament to our crew. For the last two weeks they've worked non-stop, without a day off to make sure this transition was a success."

Steve Johnson scored his second Gatornationals victory and his first event win since 2008 with a win over Scotty Pollacheck.

Johnson, who hadn’t scored a round win in his last seven events, won out over Katie Sullivan and Matt Smith before taking down defending Gatornationals winner Hector Arana Jr., who beat out Johnson in the finals round of this event last season.

Starting in his first final round since that loss to Arana, Jr., Johnson fell behind right at the start as Pollacheck hit a .009 light, but Pollacheck suffered a shifting problem and Johnson streaked by for the victory, going 6.912 at 191.32 over Pollacheck’s 7.093, 191.32.

Johnson’s win was the sixth of his career and his first since the US Nationals at Indianapolis in 2008.

"Last year, I got to the final here and lost to Hector Arana Jr., and I felt like I should have won it," said Johnson. “We've been close a few times, but we finally broke through. This time, Scotty was next to me, and then I saw him disappear."

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