DRIVERS TALK ABOUT POSTPONEMENT OF GATORNATIONALS
On March 12, when in consideration of the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic and in accordance with the recommendation of the Florida governor, NHRA officials postponed a portion of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, which began Thursday and was scheduled to run from March 13-15.
Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle, Pro Mod, Factory Stock Showdown, Top Alcohol Dragster, and Top Alcohol Funny Car were postponed and will be completed at a later date to be determined.
“It’s kind of hard because we were already here and we were set up and were in the frame all ready to run,” said veteran Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Hector Arana Sr. “We went through the preparation and we went to testing and we were looking forward to going and then suddenly we get this news they postponed it. Then I watched the news (March 11) when the President (Trump) encouraged no large gatherings and then I wasn’t that surprised by the decision (to postpone the race). Everything started escalating.”
Pretty much all sporting events in the United States have been postponed or cancelled.
“I get it, man,” said world champion nitro Funny Car driver Matt Hagan out of the Don Schumacher Racing stable. “Everybody is scared and it’s not great. It is unfortunate because it hurts our economy, but it is better to be safe than sorry. We have to be safe and keep our fans safe, and we don’t want to be the cause of spreading anything.”
Veteran Top Fuel driver/owner Terry McMillen knows this is a difficult situation on every level.
“Certainly, we are there and we want to race, and we were set up to race,” McMillen said. “On the other side of the coin, when you look at what’s happening and other venues that are shutting down maybe it makes sense. I guess I leave this whole thing, and the way I’m looking at it today, is there something more about this than we all know or this wouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction to totally close and shut down everything in our country, schools, colleges, and sporting events. Somebody is not telling us something. I just can’t believe our country would succumb to cancelling all these events at venues where we have been doing things all of our lives. When you look at it, NHRA didn’t call it, the (Florida) Governor called it. He’s the one who said close it down.”
The next scheduled event on the NHRA circuit is the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals April 3-5 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“Now this happened (at the Gatornationals) what are they going to do with Vegas?” McMillen said. “Vegas scares me and has scared me all along. They have already closed the buffets and different things like that there.”