11211 N. County Road 225
43rd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals
Tickets: NHRATix.com; 800-884-NHRA (6472)
Radio Frequency: 88.5 FM
The traditional East Coast opener and the season’s first of 16 events for Pro Stock Motorcycle riders and first of 10 for Pro Mod racers, this event is one of the sport’s most revered with a rich tradition of history-making performances. This hallowed dragstrip has entertained spring-break-loving fans for four decades with such notable occasions as the first 260-mph Top Fuel and Funny Car runs in 1984 and the first 270-mph and 300-mph Top Fuel passes, in 1986 and 1992, respectively. Its 675-foot concrete launchpad is one of the longest on the tour.
2011 recap: Top Fuel winner Del Worsham became the 15th driver in NHRA history to win races in Top Fuel and Funny Car. He was joined in victory by Mike Neff (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock), and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle). By the time last year’s event concluded, fans had witnessed 14 of the 15 quickest e.t.s (including the 10 quickest) in Pro Stock, along with the top 14 speeds in that class’ history. The bike class also battered the record books with the three quickest e.t.s (and six of the quickest 10) and the five fastest speeds.
How to Get There: The track is on County Road 225, eight miles north of Gainesville Regional Airport. If traveling north on I-75, use Exit 382, Williston Road (CR 331), and turn left (east). Williston Road will become Waldo Road (State Route 24) after it crosses U.S. 441. Continue on Waldo Road to NE 53rd Avenue, turn left, then immediately right onto CR 225 and continue 3.5 miles to the track. From I-75 north or south, use Exit 390, 39th Avenue (SR 222), go east to Waldo Road (SR 24), turn left, go to NE 53rd Avenue, turn left, then immediately right onto CR 225 and continue 3.5 miles to the track.
Visitor Information: Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau, 352-374-5231 or 866-778-5002; Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, 352-334-7100, gainesvillechamber.com