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IHRA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE: SCOTTY CANNON

Scotty Cannon is one of the most colorful and successful drivers ever to race in the International Hot Rod Association.

The six-time IHRA Pro Modified champion, famous for his mohawk haircut and fast machines, is the first Pro driver named to the IHRA Hall of Fame. The South Carolina driver, who began his career in 1979, won two races in the Top Sportsman ranks a decade later before scoring his first Pro Mod win at Bristol Dragway at the 1991 Spring Nationals.

LANGDON REVELS IN MENTORING ROLE

 

Shawn Langdon isn’t a dad, but he discovered he has those fatherly instincts. During the longer-than-usual offseason, the driver of Kalitta Motorsports’ DHL Toyota Dragster stayed busy, working on his bracket cars – and prepping his nephew Caden’s Jr. Dragster. So he was able to get away from his colder Indiana house and spend some time back in his Southern California.

“It’s pretty funny . . . I look back throughout all the years, and I always say I wish I knew then what I know now in learning things,” Langdon said. “Along the way, I always had people I could rely on. I think the most gratifying thing in working with Caden is when he comes to me and has questions and I give him my best advice of things I’ve learned throughout the years. He sits there and listens, and you can see it soak in. And then he goes out and applies it on the racetrack. Then you see the benefits on the track and he comes back with a smile on his face, happy that he did a good job. He did it and gets all the credit, but just knowing that I contributed a little bit to that is a very different experience.

THIRD-GEN DRAG RACER MASON MCGAHA FINDING HIS GROOVE

 

 

Young Pro Stock racer Mason McGaha kind of shrugged that nonchalant shrug of a teenager who’s not crazy about talking a lot and answering a bunch of questions.

But the third-generation driver said, “I guess it was just a mental thing,’ this difficulty in mastering reaction times when he was first behind the wheel of his dad’s second race car.

But his dad, Chris McGaha, had plenty to say about it.

“He wouldn’t wait on the Christmas Tree. He was doing the motions right. He knew what he was supposed to do. But he would not wait for the Christmas Tree to come down. So that was a major task for him to overcome,” McGaha the Elder said.

HART PULLS OFF TOP FUEL TRIUMPH IN HIS FIRST PRO RACE AT GATORNATIONALS

Debuting Top Fuel driver Josh Hart likened his Sunday task of facing current and three-time class champion Steve Torrence in the Amalie Oil Gatornationals quarterfinals as “a David and Goliath situation.”

The Biblical David sling-shotted a stunning upset. But David had to face only one Goliath. Hart had to battle four of them at Gainesville, Fla.

DSR FUNNY CAR STREAK SNAPPED AS TODD EARNS FIRST GATORNATIONALS WALLY

It has been 517 days, 56 competitive passes and 14 national events since a driver not associated with Don Schumacher Racing last won an NHRA race in Funny Car.

On Sunday, that streak was snapped by round two.

ANDERSON EARNS BIRTHDAY VICTORY AT GATORNATIONALS

Happy birthday Greg Anderson.

For the first time in his illustrious career, Anderson won a race on his birthday as the veteran racer took the top qualifier award on Saturday and followed it up with four round wins and a Wally on his 60th birthday to earn his 95th career win at the 52nd annual AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.

MATT SMITH FINALLY MAKES STATEMENT HE WANTS WITH SEASON-OPENING VICTORY

When he outran “Flyin’ Ryan” Oehler Sunday in the Pro Stock Motorcycle final round, Matt Smith scored back-to-back victories at the NHRA’s Amalie Oil Gatornationals.

But in Smith’s mind, it was his first “legitimate” triumph in the Gainesville, Fla., spring classic.

TOUGH WELCOME BACK FOR THE SALINAS FAMILY

 

Mike Salinas isn’t kidding around. Even when he was just getting his feet wet in the Top Fuel pool and few knew who he was, the San Jose, Calif., businessman would speak politely and respectfully if he had to talk at all. He’d concentrate on the conversation, but his surface-to-surface missile-like eye contact signaled that he was ready any second to get back to the comfort of and the demands of his dragster. From the beginning, he hired the right tuning consultant, made sure his team knew what to do, and acquired the best parts.

People know who Mike Salinas is now, all right. And he still is intense, still driven to be the best. And as he made his comeback to the sport after more than a year, at preseason testing last weekend at West Palm Beach, Fla., he was just 14-thousandths of a second from being the absolute best among the elite racers on the property at Jupiter, Fla. He surely had that burning desire to grab the No. 1 qualifying position this weekend. But Saturday, all that vanished for him. All that mattered was that his daughter Jasmine was safe.  

Top Alcohol Dragster racer Jasmine Salinas was taken to a Gainesville, Fla., hospital Saturday morning for further evaluation after she took a frightening flight over the left guard wall during her third and final qualifying pass.

HART, TODD, ANDERSON AND M. SMITH PICK UP WINS AT GAINESVILLE TO OPEN 2021 NHRA SEASON

Rookie Josh Hart won in his Top Fuel debut on Sunday, powering to the victory at the season-opening 52nd annual AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in his first career NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series start.

J.R. Todd (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the first race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.

JOSE GONZALEZ SETS E.T. WORLD RECORD, GETS GAINESVILLE WIN AT 2021 PRO MOD SEASON OPENER

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