Shirley Muldowney defeated "Big Daddy" Don Garlits Friday. All photos courtesy NHRA

NHRA ‘Unfinished Business’ — Muldowney wins; Garlits, Prudhomme and Bernstein upset

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Friday’s first round of NHRA’s “Unfinished Business” – which brought eight of drag racing’s most iconic drivers or riders out of retirement for another pass or more down the quarter-mile – turned out to be a day of upsets.

The crowd at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway came there expecting a great show and that’s what they got, watching as the legendary drivers took on each other in the single-elimination matchup in identically prepared Toyota Camry street cars.

Here’s how things played out, along with the schedule for Saturday’s semifinal matchups:

Shirley Muldowney (left) defeated “Big Daddy” Don Garlits in their first-round ‘Unfinished Business’ matchup Friday in Gainesville, Fla. Photo courtesy NHRA.

* Three-time Top Fuel champion Shirley Muldowney defeated “Big Daddy” Don Garlits in a rematch of their 1982 Top Fuel final at Gainesville. Muldowney now holds a 6-5 all-time record against Garlits.

According to National Dragster’s Phil Burgess, “Garlits surprised many by deep-staging against Muldowney in the battle of former three-time world champs, but her pink Shirley’s Kids Toyota roared away to take a comfortable win, 15.49 (seconds) to 17.41.”

* In another battle between former Top Fuel titans, Joe Amato upset Kenny “The Budweiser King” Bernstein, 16.52 seconds to 17.20.

* Perhaps the biggest upset of the day came when Ed McCulloch narrowly defeated Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, 15.50 to 15.67 seconds.

It was payback of sorts for McCulloch, who came into Friday’s event with a previous career record of 2-14 against Prudhomme during their heated rivalry in the 1970s and 1980s.

* Pro Stock legend Warren “The Professor” Johnson defeated the most successful champion in Pro Stock Motorcycle history, Terry Vance, with a 14.96 (seconds) margin to 17.22.

In Saturday’s semifinals, Muldowney will face Johnson while Amato will square off against McCulloch.

The final and championship round to determine the Unfinished Business overall champion will take place during Sunday’s final elimination rounds of the 50th Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at the Gainesville track.

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Dean Wilson out for rest of Supercross season

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“Such a massive gut punch on Saturday,” Dean Wilson wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye.”

With that post, Wilson announced that he will be out for the remainder of the Supercross season, which includes races at East Rutherford, N.J. and Las Vegas, Nev. An MRI earlier in the week revealed a shoulder injury. He also sustained damage to his kidney in a Lap 8 accident while he was running in the top 10.

Wilson’s injuries will not require surgery.

Wilson’s season began with a lot of promise. Earning the holeshot in the season-opening race at Anaheim, Wilson led for a time before narrowly missing the podium in fourth.

Two weeks later, Wilson finished fifth overall in the Triple Crown event of Anaheim II. Those are his only top-fives of the season.

“The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year,” Wilson continued.

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Such a massive gut punch on Saturday. Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye. Started off Denver topping free practice then went on to qualify P1 in qualifier 1. Qualifier 2 didn’t get the cleanest laps but ended with a 4th. On to the main event I was running around 7th on lap 7 moving forward and as I came around for the rhythm section I tripled in and something freak happened causing the bike to nose dive after I tripled in and pile driving me into the ground. The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year. It’s tough just hoping to have a ride each year. 2nd part is people saying “wilson’s hurt again, big surprise there” when it was something that wasn’t my fault. It’s a tough pill To swallow.. I injured my shoulder and got a contusion on my kidneys. Got MRI and good news is I dodged a bullet on my shoulder and I am just going to give it a few weeks of rest and therapy and see where we are at. Huge disappointment to end my SX season like this. Thanks to my whole team for everything and everybody checking in on me. I really appreciate it. I will be back.

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Next Race: East Rutherford April. 27, on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold

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