NHRA postpones big part of Gatornationals, including pro classes

NHRA
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The National Hot Rod Association on Thursday announced it is postponing a significant portion of this weekend’s 51st annual Gatornationals at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway due to the ongoing global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

The sanctioning body said that all classes listed in the statement below will not compete this weekend and that portion of the Gatornationals will be rescheduled for a later date. However, competitors in the sportsman and competition classes — which began racing this morning — will continue to compete through the weekend but without spectators present, the sanctioning body said.

Here is the statement released by NHRA:

“In consideration of the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic and in accordance with the recommendation of the Florida governor, NHRA officials are postponing a portion of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals. The sportsman categories contested on Thursday will complete competition this weekend without ticketed spectators.

“Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle, Pro Mod, Factory Stock Showdown, Top Fuel Harley, Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car will compete at a later date to be determined. Current tickets will be honored at the rescheduled event or ticketholders may opt to use their tickets as a credit toward the 2021 Gatornationals. NHRA will determine next steps for moving forward as additional information becomes available. We appreciate the patience of our competitors and fans.”

The Gatornationals historically has been among the top-3 most attended races on the 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Sportsman qualifying for the Gatornationals began this morning at 8:30 a.m. ET at the track while the Competition classes have three qualifying sessions today at 11 a.m. ET, 2:30 p.m. ET and 6:15 p.m. ET. Competition is expected to continue through the weekend, but without spectators.

“We’re racing right now,” a track worker told NBC Sports via phone.

This is the second major motorsports event in Florida to be completely or partially postponed due to the virus outbreak. IMSA announced earlier today that it is postponing next weekend’s Twelve Hours of Sebring to mid-November.

IndyCar is slated to have its season-opening race in St. Petersburg this weekend, although general admission seating has been closed by the city’s mayor due to the virus outbreak.

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