NHRA

NHRA legends Garlits, Muldowney, Prudhomme, Bernstein, 4 more to race again this weekend

Leave a comment

Two of the most anticipated races of the 2019 NHRA season both take place this weekend in Gainesville, Florida.

The first race is the 50th annual Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the third national event of the 24-race Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

And then there’s the second race – a race within a race, you might say. Called “Unfinished Business,” the race will bring eight of the greatest legends in drag racing history out of retirement and back to the starting line in equally-prepared race cars through the course of the weekend.

Here’s the designs of the cars the drag racing legends will drive in this weekend’s Unfinished Business in Gainesville, Fla.

The single-elimination format kicks off Friday with the following match-ups as determined by a vote of drag racing fans worldwide:

• “Big Daddy” Don Garlits vs. Shirley Muldowney

• “The Professor” Warren Johnson vs. Terry Vance

Kenny Bernstein vs. Joe Amato

Don “The Snake” Prudhomme vs. Ed “The Ace” McCulloch

The winners will advance to the semifinals on Saturday. And the two semifinal winners will race for the championship on Sunday as part of the overall Gatornationals eliminations.

The legends are pumped to be back behind the wheel again. While the only prize will be bragging rights, that’s more than enough incentive for them. Here’s what the competitors have to say about challenging the quarter-mile again:

“Big Daddy” Don Garlits: “The record between Shirley and me is at 5-5. I plan to tip that scale in my favor this weekend. All people look at is the last race you ran so this one has got to count. There’s a lot on the line.”

Shirley Muldowney: “I’m coming to Gainesville just like before, loaded for bear and it’s gonna take every bit of that to take care of business.”

Don “The Snake” Prudhomme: “It’s going to be a real competition. I’m gunning for every one of them out there. It’s gonna be a fun time for the fans.”

Ed “The Ace” McCulloch: “This is going to be fun. Snake’s always been hard to beat but we’re gonna get it done this weekend. He’s so old, he’s gonna have to use binoculars to see the (starting line) tree!”

Kenny Bernstein: “I’m just excited to go down that quarter-mile again. My plan is the same as it’s always been – to do the best I can. If that gets me a win, I’ll be happy. If it doesn’t, then I won’t be happy.”

Joe Amato: “It’s going to be exciting to line up against these drivers again. Bernstein and I may have to have a golf rematch to square the deal depending on who wins!”

Warren Johnson: “We’re all going to be at a bit of a disadvantage. They won’t have their superchargers and nitro; and I won’t have my five-speed! But in reality, this is where I started – match racing like this. So it’s like ‘Back To The Future’ for me.”

Terry Vance: “I’m not gonna get beat on a holeshot, I can tell you that. I’ll red light if I have to, because if I’m late on the tree, that proves I’m an old man. And I’m not ready to prove that to anyone!”

Instead of driving the kind of vehicles that made them famous – either Top Fuel dragsters, Funny Cars, Pro Stock cars or Pro Stock Motorcycles – all eight competitors will square off against each other in identically prepared Toyota Camrys that will carry distinctive wrappings to emulate looks inspired by some of the drivers’ favorite rides of their careers.

NHRA fan favorite Darrell Gwynn will serve as the honorary starter for Unfinished Business.

“It’s going to be interesting to see these old-timers get back on the track,” Gwynn said. “To say they’ve got a lot of mileage on them is an understatement! But they are just as fiery and competitive as ever, so it’s going to get heated out there. The NHRA fans did an awesome job of selecting the first-round match ups. It’s going to be an exciting weekend.”

Follow the hashtag #UnfinishedBusiness on NHRA’s social media pages and NHRA.com for Unfinished Business updates throughout the weekend.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

 

 

IMSA’s Bill Auberlen joins NASCAR America to discuss this weekend’s race at Lime Rock

Leave a comment

Turner Motorsport GTD driver Bill Auberlen joined NBC Sports’ Marty Snyder on NASCAR America Presents the Motorsports Hour Thursday to discuss a variety of topics, including Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship race at Lime Rock Park.

Auberlen, alongside co-driver Robby Foley, enters Lime Rock with a great amount of momentum after finishing on the GTD podium at Watkins Glen and taking the GTD class honors in the most recent IMSA race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

There’s also an extra incentive for the duo to win this weekend as well, as Auberlen is one win away from tying Scott Pruett for the most IMSA victories all-time.

Both drivers will have to be on their A-game this weekend, however, as Auberlen stated that Lime Rock is one of the tougher circuits on the IMSA calendar and compared the 1.5-mile Connecticut road course to a short track.

“It’s what we call the bullring of our season,” Auberlen said. “It is a 54-second lap and we’re going to go around it a million times before the end of the day. It’s going to be a hot one, and I think whoever survives this is going to be on the podium.”

Luckily for the GTD and GTLM teams, with no Protoype and LMP2 entries competing at Lime Rock this weekend, the worry of having to yield to entries from the faster classes is gone.

“These Protoypes are so fast now, that interacting with them, you can’t imagine,” Auberlen said. “We have radars in our car that can alert us when they are coming.

“They get on you so fast that if you’re not always looking or something is not telling you they’re coming, you could have a problem and catch into them. That’s gone. Now it’s going to be focus-forward. You’re going to be focused on everything ahead of you. You got GLTM in there at the same time, but they’re virtually the same speed as us – just a little bit faster.

“It’s going to be nice. When you stand on that podium you might be able to go for an overall victory.”

Live race coverage of IMSA’s Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park begins at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCsports.com and the NBC Sports app with an encore presentation of the race airing later in the evening at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter