VOLUME XXI, NUMBER 3 - MARCH, 2019
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Editor & Publisher
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ET DRAG RACING
Drew Skillman (near lane) met Stephen Bell in the final in a classic Ford versus Chevrolet match.
At the first Gatornationals in 1970 the premier NHRA doorslammer class was Pro Stock. It was a class added to the NHRA show for the first time that season and factory-aided Bill Jenkins, Ronnie Sox, Dyno Don Nicholson and other former stars of the Super Stock classes raced all-steel factory-built sedans with highly modified Chevy, Chrysler and Ford factory engines under the hood. The stands at that race were filled with diehard fans of those Detroit brands rooting for their favorite driver and brand.
Although NHRA's current Pro Stock class in no way resembles what Pro Stock fans saw at the first Gatornationals, fans of that era who came to the 2019 edition were treated to some old school Pro Stock action from the NHRA's 7.70's, 180-mph, wheel standing Factory Stock Showdown cars and drivers. In this era of drag racing, qualifying in the professional classes is often just a perfunctory exercise since there often a just enough entries to fill the qualified field. That was not the case in the Factory Stock class at the Gators where qualifying was a brutal battle with 32 entries vying for just 16 spots.
1 Bill Skillman, Greenwood IN, '14 Mustang 7.744 172.96
2 Carl Tasca, Cranston RI, '16 Mustang 7.758 178.24
3 Chris Holbrook, Livonia MI, '19 Mustang 7.770 178.05
4 Randy Eakins, Sikeston MO, '19 Mustang 7.782 178.64
5 Drew Skillman, Greenwood IN, '18 Mustang 7.829 175.11
6 Leah Pritchett, Danville IN, '15 Challenger 7.852 173.21
7 Randy Taylor, Artesia NM, '19 Camaro 7.853 174.41
8 Stephen Bell, Shreveport LA, '18 Camaro 7.856 174.87
9 Scott Libersher, Wilmington IL, '19 Camaro 7.862 173.87
10 David Janac, Caldwell TX, '19 Camaro 7.879 174.35
11 David Barton, Reading PA, '19 Camaro 7.879 173.34
12 Arthur Kohn, Richmond TX, '19 Camaro 7.883 177.93
13 Leonard Libersher, Wilmington IL, '15 Camaro 7.885 172.67
14 Kevin Skinner, Grove City OH, '16 Mustang 7.900 173.38
15 Robert Falcone, Pleasant Valley NY, '19 Camaro 7.910 172.56
16 Pete Gasko Jr, Monroe Township NJ, '19 Camaro 7.920 174.35
------------ Not Qualified ------------
17 Ryan Priddy, Chino CA, '19 Camaro 7.934 173.47
18 Paul Roderick, Westernport MD, '16 Mustang 7.965 179.33
19 Terry Munroe, Beaver PA, '19 Camaro 7.967 171.42
20 Bo Butner, Floyds Knobs IN, '16 Mustang 7.971 172.83
21 Kevin Lumsden, Caddo TX, '19 Camaro 7.984 173.61
22 Doug Hamp, York PA, '19 Camaro 7.994 171.40
23 Jesse Alexandra, West Bend WI, '19 Camaro 8.035 170.67
24 Johnny Calvert, Lancaster CA, '19 Mustang 8.043 172.17
25 Chuck Watson, Grosse Ile MI, '19 Mustang 8.069 175.98
26 Allen Johnson, Greeneville IN, '15 Challenger 8.069 169.59
27 Mark Pawuk, Akron OH, '15 Challenger 8.077 170.26
28 Don Fezell, Dubois PA, '08 Mustang 8.123 166.58
29 Waldemar Rodriguez, Cidra PR, '19 Camaro 8.202 172.25
30 Richard Bierie, Acworth GA, '17 Camaro 8.229 165.48
31 Dan Condon, Wilmington IL, '18 Camaro 10.750 81.52
The SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown qualifying saw some fierce competition. COPO Camaros dominated the entry list with 17, followed by Mustang Cobra Jets with 12 and Challenger Drag Paks with a mere three entries. The odds would seem to favor the Camaros for taking the win, but that’s not what happened -- supercharged Mustangs dominated! After qualifying for the 16-car field was done the final count was 10 Camaros, five Mustangs and one lone Challenger, 2018 champion Leah Pritchett. All five Mustangs made it out of the first round, leaving Ryan Priddy (as an alternate for Eakins), Stephen Bell, and Randy Taylor to represent the Bowtie Brigade.
In the first round David Barton had the starting line advantage, but then his Camaro crossed the centerline in front of opponent Chris Holbrook, who maneuvered his Mustang out of Barton’s way. But in doing so he knocked out the half-track cones. Holbrook got the win, but no time.
Leah Pritchett’s 354-inch Hemi-powered “Angry Bee” Challenger could not get her to the finish line in the first round even with her .024 to .043 RT. Kevin Skinner’s Mustang ran 7.799/175.57 to Pritchett’s 7.891 at 172.59 mph.
Carl Tasca, father of Funny Car driver Bob Tasca III, has been a loyal Ford man and Ford dealer for many years. He qualified at No. 2 and got the first-round win over a red-lighting David Janac. His 7.745 at 177.88 got the better of Kevin Skinner’s 7.813/175.84 in the second, but then the veteran went red against Stephen Bell.
Oh no! A crewmember reacts as Carl Tasca turns on the dreaded red light against Stephen Bell in the semifinal. Bell of Shreveport, LA, drove his Chevrolet COPO Camaro to a runner-up finish. He was the winner of the event in 2018 at the track.
Drew Skillman (near lane) met his father, Bill, in the second round. With only .001 separating their Reaction Times, the youngster’s 7.733 at 176.03 mph narrowly beat dad’s 7.736/177.14. Bill qualified his Mustang at the top of the field with a 7.744, more than a tenth of a second quicker than the Drag Pak or COPO Camaro competitors.
Drew Skillman set a class record with a 7.718-second pass in the semifinal. He took the win in his very first Factory Stock Showdown.
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