50 Years of the Gatornationals

Part 8: 2006-2010

Words and photos by Steve Gruenwald

David Grubnic defeated Melanie Troxel to win Top Fuel in 2006

Ron Capps won his first of three Funny Car titles at the Gators in 2006. With help from crew chief Ed "the Ace" McCulloch he would repeat in 2007 and he added another win in 2015.

Matt Hagan drove a Pro Mod in 2006 before his move to Funny Car.

Bob Muravez gets real close to the fans as he cackles the Howard Cam Special in front of the fans at the 2006 Gatornationals.


Eric Medlen in 2006.

I got this 2006 photo of some of the great photographers whom I have had the pleasure to meet and shoot alongside with at the Gators. From left to right: Andy Wilshire, Steve Reyes, the late Jeff Tinsley, Richard Brady, Dave Kommel, Jon Asher, sorry I don't know the next, and the late Les Welch.

This shot was taken at the 2007 Gatornationals of Eric Medlen racing his boss, John Force. Tragically, in testing on Monday Eric would make his last pass.

Greg Anderson won Pro Stock in 2004 then won again here in 2007. He then won back to back in 2015-16.

This shot of Jason Line in the staging lanes at the 2007 Gators shows him impersonating Wild Willie Borsch. Borsch was known to catch a nap in the car while waiting to race.


The first time Pro Stock Bike was contested was in 1983 and Terry Vance was the winner. He repeated the following year with another win then won back to back in 1987 and 1988. The team owner is seen here cheering on one of his riders in 2007.

Randy Meyer showed he can drive as well as tune by winning TAD in his A/Fueler here in 2007 and again in 2015. Justin Ashley also drove Meyer's A/F in his debut to his first win in 2017.


J.R. Todd as he looked competing in Top Fuel in 2007.

Frank Manzo wins his sixth of eight TAFC titles at the Gators in 2008.

Unheralded Joe Baker from Milton, FL, put them all in the trailer to win Pro Mod in 2008.

Brian Forrester used this ‘63 Corvette to win Super Gas in 2008 then turned around and won Super Comp in 2009 with the same car! Oh, by the way, he was a Super Comp champ here way back in 1998.

Sunrise on Sunday at the Gatornationals, 2009.

A capacity crowd just a few hours later.

Bob Tasca found his way to the winners circle for the first time in Funny Car at the Gatornationals by defeating Tony Pedregon in the final in 2009.

Duane Shields was the TAD winner in 2009 at The Gators. Showing it was no fluke, he backed it up in 2010 and again in 2014.

Hector Arana (near lane) stops Matt Smith in the final of Pro Stock Bike at the 2009 Gatornationals.

Eddie Krawiec won his first of three in a row at the Gators in 2010 then won in 2011 and ‘12. He would then skip three years and again win three straight in 2016, ’17 and ’18. His six wins are a class high followed by Terry Vance and David Schultz with four wins each.

Canada's Kenny Lang win the Pro Mod crown in 2010 at the Gators with his colorful Corvette.

Tim Wilkerson was a popular winner in Funny Car at the 2010 Gators after he defeated 2009 champ Bob Tasca in the finals.

Pro Stock winner Jason Line (far lane) stops Mike Edwards in the final 2010. This would be his second straight win at Gainesville after scoring a victory in 2009, and before that in 2005. He would go on to make that a three-peat by winning the following year in 2011. This ties him with boss Greg Anderson with four wins here apiece.  


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