The Nationals turned out to be one of the better races we’ve seen in Nevada – and that covers more 3-31-11ashervegasblogground than you know.  While we didn’t get the 20-degree drop in temperature many were expecting, it cooled off just enough, and the air got just enough better, so that the racing was very good. There was far less tire smoke than was expected, and the number of good, solid side-by-side runs was excellent.  It’s just too bad that so few people turned out to see it in person.

We didn’t reference the spectator turnout prior to Sunday because it was so disappointing. Even track personnel expected a better turnout today, but it didn’t happen. There is a significant difference between the spring and fall races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with the second event far out-performing this one. A statewide holiday on Friday of the fall race certainly helps, but when you have excellent weather as we had on Sunday, well, it’s just a shame more folks didn’t show up.

Way back in 1984 Mark Oswald won both the NHRA and IHRA championships in Funny Car. He was also a standout Top Fuel driver in the Thomas, Oswald & Kattleman machine. Now he’s a superior tuner with partner Brian Corradi. While Antron Brown was the Top Fuel winner, it was Oswald and Corradi who made it happen.



Antron Brown was bubbling over with excitement as he spoke with ESPN’s Gary Gerould (right).
The Nationals turned out to be one of the better races we’ve seen in Nevada – and that covers more ground than you know.  While we didn’t get the 20-degree drop in temperature many were expecting, it cooled off just enough, and the air got just enough better, so that the racing was very good. There was far less tire smoke than was expected, and the number of good, solid side-by-side runs was excellent.  It’s just too bad that so few people turned out to see it in person.

We didn’t reference the spectator turnout prior to Sunday because it was so disappointing. Even track personnel expected a better turnout today, but it didn’t happen. There is a significant difference between the spring and fall races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with the second event far out-performing this one. A statewide holiday on Friday of the fall race certainly helps, but when you have excellent weather as we had on Sunday, well, it’s just a shame more folks didn’t show up.

Way back in 1984 Mark Oswald won both the NHRA and IHRA championships in Funny Car. He was also a standout Top Fuel driver in the Thomas, Oswald & Kattleman machine. Now he’s a superior tuner with partner Brian Corradi. While Antron Brown was the Top Fuel winner, it was Oswald and Corradi who made it happen.

We told you Brandon Bernstein’s guys were headed in the right direction. They didn’t win this time out, but they will. You can bet on it. Oh, wait. You can only do that (legally) in Las Vegas!
With the car sponsored by Aarons, at least temporarily, Brown put them solidly into the winners circle in one of their first
Don Schumacher Racing is trying something different with their Top Fuel cars, and while it’s too early to tell if this is providing an aerodynamic advantage, it’s nevertheless an interesting exercise.  Note the rather simplistic (by comparison) “standard” height windshield and roll cage on one of the Kalitta Motorsports cars.  Now look at the two views of these DSR entries.  Note how the shrouding around the cage on Antron Brown’s car extends back behind the back hoop of the roll cage by about 6-inches.  In the higher view of Tony Schumacher strapped in and ready to go, the exaggerated height of the windshield is plainly evident. The opening between the top of the windshield and the roll cage is now so small that the drivers have some difficulty getting in the cars. Six more inches of windshield and people would be calling them “streamliners.”
outings in the sport. But Antron didn’t just win. He was dominant (and we’ll be using that word to describe again). Tuners may have been a little hesitant in the first round, but after that they got after it as hard as they could, and Oswald and Corradi were no different. The best way of explaining the rocket that Brown was riding is to simply mark down his semifinal round numbers – Low E.T. and Top Speed of the Meet at 3.843/320.58. That was big, and everyone knew it.

We wrote yesterday that Brandon Bernstein’s Copart car was coming alive, and it did so in eliminations in a big way. While so many eyes were on Larry Dixon, Tony Schumacher and Del Worsham, Bernstein almost stole the headlines. There was no doubt about the finale after Brown ripped off a 3.887 and Bernstein trailed with a 3.947, but the fact that he made that final round was big stuff.

Yes, the season is still young, but unlike Funny Car, where John Force Racing is winning everything in sight, the battle in Top Fuel seems to be just beginning. There’s a real “problem” in the class, the kind of “problem” drag racing fans have just got to love, and that is just about every one of the 16 qualifiers is capable of winning races and championships.  It’s not often that you can say that, but it’s the case in 2011. If you think we’re wrong, just look at the list of those who made the field. While there’s little doubt that some operations are clearly stronger than others, there’s not a leaker in the bunch, and that’s good for everyone.

Because of television considerations the teams had just 60 minutes between rounds, but as Jason McCulloch (crew chief for Larry Dixon), told us, “We can turn this car around in 35 minutes – if nothing’s wrong. But if we have a serious problem we could be pushing the deadline.”

Over in Funny Car Cruz Pedregon laughed when he said his relatively new team serviced his car for the first time “in about three hours, but we’re a lot better now.  I think we can make the turnaround time okay, but it all depends on how messed up things are. If it’s really bad, we could be in trouble.”

Ironically, the Pedregon who had the insurmountable problem was brother Tony, who was unable to appear for the semifinal round against Johnny Gray.

If ever there was a track where luck was to play a role, what better place than Las Vegas? Luck didn’t seem to have much to do with the outcome in Top Fuel. Brown and Bernstein simply won the races they had to win. But, in Pro Stock Lady Luck was definitely involved. Not for the dominant (there’s that word again) winner, Mike Edwards, but for some of the others. Vincent Nobile made the finale in the Mountain View Tire ride, and with reaction times of 0.017, 0.014 and 0.019 seconds, this kid is certainly going places.  But, as good as his lights were, he was also lucky. In the first round he had his worst light, a 0.047 – but when Warren Johnson came up 0.090, well, it was all over. In the second go he faced a usually rocket-like Allen Johnson, who was just off his game enough to come up with a 0.032 R.T. Yes, Nobile had a 6.703 under the hood, but still… In the semis the normally icy-cool Greg Stanfield double clutched it and went red.  Yeah, Nobile had an even quicker 6.697 under the hood, but still…

Cruz Pedregon ran a string of four-teens in eliminations, but was ousted in the semifinals.

Mike Edwards dominated as he has at times in the past. That V. Gaines (far lane) was still around for the semis was a shocker.

Mike Edwards, back on top.
Whatever luck he’d had evaporated in the finale against Edwards, where even his 0.019 light and 6.713 second elapsed time wasn’t enough to overcome the former champion’s 0.030 and 6.695.

We said it yesterday and will say it again: Edwards is onto something again, and when he starts rolling like this he’s hard to stop. Other than in the first round he had the best numbers of any competitor.  Considering that these weren’t the most ideal of racing conditions, Edwards still ripped off times of 6.674/206.45, 6.662/206.95 and 6.695/205.98. That second one listed was Low E.T. and Top Speed of the Meet, set in the semifinal round, just as Antron Brown had done in Top Fuel.

In Funny Car John Force had the best elapsed time of 4.136 seconds, but that came during qualifying, as did Robert Hight’s Top Speed of the Meet 309.56.  Not to worry, even though the quickest times may not have come in eliminations, there were a ton of four-teens and a plethora of 300 mile per hour speeds.

If there were any surprises in the class they came from JFR.

Winternationals winner Mike Neff was rudely dismissed in the first round by Johnny Gray (both cars in the ‘twenties), and the boss was sent home in the second on a massive holeshot applied by former team driver, Tony Pedregon. Force carded a 4.259 only to lose to Pedregon’s much slower 4.314. Pedregon was 0.056 quicker off the line. End of story. Maybe. Holeshot losses, particularly big ones like this, are not only tough to swallow; they sometimes fester in a driver’s mind. But if ever there was a master tactician, Force is that guy, so by the time they roll up to run four wide in Charlotte in two weeks, he’ll most likely have forgotten this gaffe, or at least pushed it so far back in his mind it won’t matter.

In all candor, Robert Hight didn’t need teammates. He was so strong on his own (thanks to Jimmy Prock), that his operation looked like the toughest single car team we’ve seen in a long time. But let’s face it, the multi-car teams do appear to have an advantage in some ways, so it’s no surprise when you see JFR and DSR cars matching up in the later rounds of competition.

Hight is thundering, and early season momentum can’t be short-changed. There have been drivers in the past who have 
Vincent Nobile could become the youngest Pro Stock winner in NHRA history, but he’ll have to hurry.
simply been dominant (third usage of that one thus far!) from start to finish. The names Prudhomme and Force come to mind. Robert is an excellent driver with superior car control, and in Prock he has one of the most under-exposed talents in the business. Other tuners may garner more accolades, but make no mistake about it, Prock is among the best ever. 

How Force has managed to stockpile the impressive tuners and mechanics he has under his wing is a mystery. It’s not just through paying top wages.  Money alone won’t keep men working under the absolutely brutal conditions they regularly face in drag racing. There’s got to be more than a paycheck, and whatever it is, Force seems able to deliver it.

There are almost too many races left to count, and it’s certainly possible that Sunday’s winners in Las Vegas could become forgotten men by the time the tour hits Denver in July, but that’s not likely. A season with 10 or even 15 different winners in 23 races could produce the tightest points race in history. Drag racing is a tough business, and while you might not think it, a single victory is an important accomplishment. We don’t pay enough attention to how truly difficult it is to win. Force went to nine final rounds before he won. Del Worsham went years between victories. There are dozens of competitors in the pro ranks who have never won a race – and may never win one.  Antron Brown, Robert Hight and Mike Edwards have all won numerous times. Two of them have championships under their belts.  They’re seasoned veterans. But unless they stay on top of their games, by year’s end the names we may be writing could be Bernstein, Gray and, yes, Nobile.

Yesterday we wrote that John Force was The Leader of the Pack.  Well, he may be that, but Robert Hight is The Leader of the Points!



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Yes, we learned something since Friday.  Gee, this is embarrassing ‘cause the rest of you probably figured this out years

Lee Beard is doing a good job for Johnny Gray thus far in the young season.  Beard admits that as much as he enjoyed being a kind of overseer at Don Schumacher Racing, his own competitive nature made him eager to return to being responsible for a single car.
ago, but we’ve finally learned:  We are not competent when it comes to predicting the weather.  Heck, if the men and women on The Weather Channel get it wrong, what can you expect from the likes of us?

On Friday we talked gloom and doom about 90-degree temperatures and a race track with more grease on it than some kid’s spiked up hair.  Don’t ever listen to us again when we start babbling about stuff like that, because it’s obvious we know nothing.

It wasn’t 90 degrees on Saturday.  The track wasn’t overly slippery.  The sun didn’t heat the track surface hot enough to fry the proverbial egg.  In fact, none of those dire weather predictions came true. 

But – and this is an important but – the air quality remained pretty dismal, almost a repetition of Friday’s conditions, so while some aspects did improve, there was enough of a trade-off to prevent wholesale changes in performances, so at least on that front we were somewhat correct.


We’re always confused by stuff like this.  Is Jack Beckman asking for two hot dogs, or is this a “V” for victory sign?  Would someone explain?
On Friday we heard a litany of complaints from the Pro Stock racers about the NHRA Tech Department.  We’re making no judgments here, no editorializing.  We’re simply reporting what people were saying.  On Saturday afternoon a racer with vast knowledge and experience was standing in the staging lanes, eyeballing the Pro Stocks as they rolled up to the water box.


“What are you looking at?” we asked. 

“I’m just wondering which of these guys is cheating,” he said. 

“Are you serious?  Can you name someone you think is cheating?”

“No, and it’s not that I wouldn’t name someone.  The problem is that some of these guys could be cheating because they all know nobody at NHRA is capable of catching ‘em.  This is a real problem, because when the racers know the people who are supposed to be policing them can’t get the job done, well, that’s pretty tempting for some people.”


Brandon Bernstein’s Copart machine is getting better by the race.  He is long overdue for a win, one that could come as early as Sunday.


We followed up by asking a half dozen people with close ties to the class if they thought they could get away with doing

NobileVincent Nobile has taken over the Mountain View Tire ride, and he’s already fitting in quite nicely.
something illegal, and every one of them suggested that it was more than possible.  It was likely.  As one put it, “Unless you’re doing something really over the top, like running nitrous, the odds are they won’t catch you because (the tech people) don’t know what they’re looking at.”


There was a time during 2009 when Mike Edwards simply dominated Pro Stock.  He hasn’t done that yet this year, but the signs are all there that he’s headed in that direction.  No one knows what Sunday will bring, but Edwards has already picked up the largest possible number of qualifying bonus points with a dozen.  Yes, he could have earned more with a new national record, but that wasn’t even a consideration under these conditions.  The point is -- that while those three little markers one earns for being the quickest in a session add up.  A dozen here, a dozen there and Edwards could find himself taking over the points lead long before the Countdown to 10 comes to a close.

Vincent Nobile looks good behind the wheel of Nick Mitsos’ Mountain View Tire Dodge, and will ultimately prove to be a worthy replacement for Vinnie DeCeglie, who drove the car last year.  Before that DeCeglie did an admirable job in the Mountain View Corvette in Competition eliminator, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be back out here.  Our sources report that he’s managing one of the Mountain View stores and has quickly elevated it into one of the chain’s most proficient and profitable.  “He’s a very happy man right now,” our source reported.

Brandon Bernstein’s car hasn’t performed up to expectations yet this season, but it’s headed in the right direction.  A 3.926 in the morning session earned the second-generation driver three important bonus points, but it’s likely that the points meant little to the team.  Just getting the car down the track clean and dry was important to them from the emotional standpoint.  It’s always god when what you’ve decided to do back at the transporter produces positive results out on the race track.  Two more points earned in the final session (3.949, just behind Tony Schumacher’s 3.939) made the team feel that much better.


Comin’ right at ya is The Racer’s Edge Pontiac of Roger Brogdon.  Take a good look, ‘cause he’ll have a new car by the next race!
John Force is a master motivator – and a smart guy.  He knows that new tuner Guido Antonelli has the skills to help him to a 16th title.  He will not rush things or pressure the young man – and it’s already paying off. [BELOW] Yes, people, (stealing a line from the famous Shangri-la’s tune), he’s The Leader Of The Pack.  Of course that song was about young romance, not drag racing, but however you want to put it, at this moment, John Force is The Leader of the Pack!
Mike Green also has Tony Schumacher headed in the right direction.  Larry Dixon’s the Number 1 qualifier, of course, but no modern era season would be complete without an epic battle between these two for the title.  Come Indy time it’s going to be good because we expect these two to be right there – for both race wins and the championship.  That’s not to say someone else won’t emerge from the crowd, but these guys will be in the thick of it.


Of course, in Funny Car all of the speculation is about John Force’s chances of winning a 16th championship.  Just as it was

Tony Schumacher has had a relatively quiet early season – but that’s nothing new.  He and tuner Mike Green will probably do what this team has done in the past – storm through the last third of the season like Sherman through Georgia.
last year, there have been major changes in the Force operation, so it’s going to take some time for everything to shake out.  It’s easy to talk about this stuff, but it’s far more difficult to walk the walk.  Remember, last year Mike Neff was the tuner of record for Force, this despite the presence of Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly.  They got on a roll and won a championship that few gave them a chance of winning when the Auto Club Finals began.  But that was then, and this is now.  Neff is now driving and tuning the car driven last year by Force.  Guido Antonelli, who tuned for Ashley, is now rtuning Ashley’s car with John driving.  Moving people around is far easier than melding them together in a winning fashion, but Force has done it before and survived.  Heck, he’s thrived.  But, can he do it again?


Uh, yes he can!  Let’s face it, it’s not often someone jumps up to take the Number 1 spot in the last qualifying session, but Force and Antonelli did just that with a 4.136 at 309 mph-plus, some three miles per hour faster than anyone else in the class.  Now, that’s how champions race.

Right at the top we said we’d learned our lessons about weather predictions, so we won’t do that.  But, that cold front is still expected to come rolling through Nevada on Saturday night.  If that happens the conditions for eliminations may still be vastly different than what they were during qualifying.  We could see some eye-popping elapsed times and speeds on Sunday, and wouldn’t that be nice?

Perkinson1Other than a few notable exceptions, most rookies go through some humiliating times as they struggle to become, well, veterans.  Buddy Perkinson from Hopewell, Virginia is apparently no exception, but any way you look at it, being the only guy on the grounds to DNQ in Pro Stock had to hurt.  Perkinson, who had limited experience in a Comp car before taking over Jim Cunningham’s Jerry Haas-built Mustang, failed to make the cut with a best effort of 6.783.  It took a seventy-seven-nine to make it.

Perkinson is going to have a tough season, but in the long run the experience he gains now should help him in the coming years – if he has the mental fortitude to stick it out.  Cunningham’s Ford isn’t as competitive as it should be, so if Perkinson does begin to qualify for the NHRA Full Throttle Series races, he’ll be accomplishing more than many believe likely or even possible.

[Right] Oh, the folly of youth!  Buddy Perkinson was all thumbs up before his fourth and final qualifying shot in Jim Cunningham’s Ford.  He wasn’t quite so perky (groan!) after he became the lone DNQ in Pro Stock.


Melanie Troxel is now 0-for-3 for the season in her Funny Car, but she’s doing considerably better in Pro Mod.


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Greg Anderson may have been beaten by teammate Jason Line in the first two races of the season, but he still has plenty to smile about.  Right now he’s still on top of the Pro Stock world.
The great Irving Berlin penned the lyrics about 60 years from which we took our story title, but it’s certainly applicable for the conditions at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  It is hot – and expected to get hotter on Saturday  - before a predicted 20 degree dip in temperatures for Sunday. That’s going to make a difficult situation even tougher for the tuners, for no matter what they muster before qualifying ends, they could be starting as fresh as can be on Sunday.  We don’t envy them their jobs, not when hooking up a high horsepower machine to a track posting 130-degree surface readings which is what they faced on Friday.

A drag race can be a beautiful thing – but this one isn’t – at least not yet.  It has the potential of being a barn-burner, but everyone’s basically chasing a tune-up that will get them down the track for qualifying, and a completely new one for eliminations. It’s not going to be easy, and whoever wins the Nationals is going to earn it – the hard way. Sure, someone could luck out and face four tire smokers, but that’s unlikely.  It’s going to take exceptional tuning – and driving skills – to win this one.

Today was an eye-opener for this writer, because it’s our first race of the year. You wouldn’t think missing two races was that big a deal, but it’s amazing how far out of touch you get in just a few weeks. Since the last time we checked some teams have changed tuners, and it’s taken a while to catch up on the sponsorship changes, too.  Oh, sure, one can read about these changes, but the impact doesn’t really hit home until you see everything in person.

It’s old news that Del Worsham’s driving a second Al Anabi fueler and heck, the guy’s already won one of the two races that have been contested, but this was the first time we’d seen the personable Californian in one of the “long cars.”  We wondered if he was liking it.


Cruz Pedregon sped to the top spot in Funny Car on Friday – but there’s still a long ways to go.
“How could you not?”, he said.

Years ago, when Hall of Famer Ed “The Ace” McCulloch made the transition to Top Fuel after a brilliant Funny Car career, he notched his first four second run at Bakersfield during a pre-season test session.  Fellow driver Jim Adolph walked over to congratulate Ace on his accomplishment. “Thanks,” he said half-heartedly. “These cars are kinda boring (to drive), aren’t they?”  Dolph just smiled in response.

Now listen to Worsham.  “It’s a lot different. I kept hearing the dragsters were really easy to drive, that I was going to be bored, but so far it’s been anything but that. It’s been very exciting. There’s a lotta things going on (in the car), and I really have to pay attention to what I’m doing. I’m really looking forward to the season.”

As far as things go with teammate Larry Dixon, Worsham couldn’t be happier. “Those guys have been great.  All they’ve done is everything they can to help us out. I can’t thank Jason (McCulloch) and Larry (Dixon) enough for what they’ve done for us so far. Like I said, so far, so good!” 


Gary Densham’s car looks better than ever – and a few of his cohorts should follow his lead.


Larry Dixon’s the champ – and the early qualifying leader in Top Fuel.
For Dixon, Worsham’s switch to a fueler has been enlightening. “I’ve never been on a two car team like this before,” he said. “The communication between the guys is nothing short of amazing. I’ve been on other teams where there was some really weird stuff going on between the teams, but not here. 

“It’s almost to the point that after every run our guys are going over there to tell them what we’re doing, and at the same time those guys are coming over here to do the same thing. It’s all good.”

The kind of open door policy that the two drivers spoke about really is working, particularly if you believe the qualifying results, and who are we to argue with success?  Right now Dixon’s the quickest guy in the field with a 3.904, and Worsham’s second with a 3.938.  Which, as they say, speaks volumes.

The top guy in Funny Car is Cruz Pedregon – which we see as somewhat of a surprise. His 4.145 was impressive considering the conditions, but just as is the case with Dixon in Top Fuel, there’s a heck of a lot that can happen between Friday and Sunday. Who knows, Pedregon could stay atop the heap through Saturday – and then be humiliated in the first round on Sunday. That probably won’t happen, but it could. It’s just that kind of race, one in which having the quickest car might not be enough. What the winners are going to need is a pretty good serving of luck – but that’s a story for Sunday, not Friday.


Mike Edwards may never get a solid explanation for what happened in Florida, but with his car the quickest on the grounds, he may no longer care.
Stacked up behind Pedregon on the list are John Force, Tim Wilkerson and Robert Hight, all in the four-teens. Jack Beckman sits twelfth with a 4.412, and maybe it’s just us, but we wish the announcers would explain exactly why 12 positions are “protected” after the first day of qualifying. The hard core folks may understand the vagaries of track conditions as they’re impacted by weather, but many clearly do not.  It’s one of the most oft-asked questions we get while walking through the pits.

Mom-to-be Ashley Force-Hood is sorely missed by the NHRA, because by promoting this talented young lady they were able to generate massive publicity for the sport. She was an ink magnet not just because she’s Force’s daughter, but because she’s one helluva racer.  We are long past the point where being a woman is enough. There are so many talented women competing in all aspects of drag racing that one must be a winner to emerge above the crowd, and Ashley was definitely that.

Think back a few years to when Erica Enders broke on the scene in Pro Stock. The hype was endless and virtually non-stop. Every time you turned around someone was touting this young woman as the sport’s next big thing. Well, something happened on the way to Headlineville – Ms. Enders not only couldn’t win, she usually couldn’t even qualify.  The media lost interest, and so did some fans. Today’s drag racing fan bears little resemblance to his or her 1980s counterpart. They’ll “listen” to the hype, but if there’s no racing successes to back it up they’ll quickly lose interest.

Erica Enders is running hard and looking good in Victor Cagnazzi’s Chevrolet.  She’s going places – good ones.

Things are decidedly different for Ms. Enders in 2011.  She’s finally in a car (Victor Cagnazzi’s Chevy that was formerly

Mike Neff may never replace Ashley Force-Hood in the eyes of the fans, but he’s done an excellent job for John Force Racing thus far.  All of the Force cars are looking sharp this year, better than they have in some time.
driven by that Jeg Coughlin guy) that’s capable of winning, and she’s getting the most she can out of it. Right now she’s fifth with a 6.738, and there appears to be more coming. We like what we’re seeing because when all of the planets like up correctly, she will win one of these things, and that will not only be good for her, it’ll be good for NHRA Drag Racing.

Can we jump back into Funny Car for just a moment?  For much of last year part-timer Gary Densham’s car looked, well, kinda shabby. No so in ‘eleven. It looks as good as anything out there, and yes, we have a point here. This is supposed to be a professional class, but a few of the entries look like 15 second bracket cars competing on an eighth mile track in the hinterlands. Yes, it costs money to produce a good-looking car, and we know some of these team owners are just scraping by, but at the same time that’s no excuse. If you expect people to shell out fifty bucks to watch you run, you better make darn sure you give them something flashy and sharp to look at. Black primer and homemade lettering doesn’t get it in the modern era.

And lest you think we’re unfairly picking on our friends in Funny Car, the same can be said about some of the entries in Pro Stock.  Refrigerator white race cars may have been acceptable towards the end of the 20th Century, but they don’t get it in the 21st

There are only 17 cars in Pro Stock, and that’s a concern. The costs of traveling is hitting home for some car owners, and we did hear concerns expressed about the national event schedule, which thus far has resulted in a lot of mileage and the consumption of a lot of $4-plus-per-gallon Diesel. Going from Pomona to Gainesville and then virtually all the way back west to Las Vegas has taken a toll on the class. Yes, we realize it costs no more to haul a Pro Stock car than it does a Funny Car, but we also know the sponsorship support for the doorslammers is significantly less than it is for the nitro-burners.

The weather has always played a role in drag racing, of that there can be no doubt. The Winternationals were impacted by adverse conditions, while the Gators benefitted from sunny skies and moderate temperatures. Heat is one thing, and if it stays overly warm through Saturday and Sunday it’ll be just one small aspect of the event. But, if the expected “cold front” arrives and it’s 20 degrees colder for eliminations, this could turn into one of the most interesting – and difficult – races we’ve seen in a long time.

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