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Pro Mod Veteran Steve Matusek Set to Debut Turbocharged Mustang with Elite Motorsports at 50th NHRA Gatornationals
The veteran will debut his new turbocharged Mustang at this weekend’s 50th annual NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, but it is not the typical new car debut. Matusek and the impressive brain trust around him, a group that includes tuner Shane Tecklenburg, Justin Elkes and Modern Racing and the Elite Motorsports team, have gone radically different in bringing this new car to life.
From wiring to electronics to technology, everything about Matusek’s 25th anniversary Aeromotive Mustang is outside-the-box and he is excited to bring it to life in Gainesville.
“This group is just unbelievable,” Matusek said. “It’s a very methodical, very neural group. We’re there to learn and we have a methodical approach. We want to figure the car out, what’s different about it and how to manage it.”
The group is still getting to know one another, but everyone has meshed incredibly well already, even as the team worked at a frenetic pace to bring the Mustang to life this week.
GAINESVILLE, FL – If their NHRA national event debuts were going to come at one of the biggest races of the season, Jasmine and Jianna Salinas wanted to make sure they did it together. That will happen at this weekend’s 50th annual NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, and both Salinas sisters can’t wait to take in what will surely be a memorable experience.
Jianna will make her Pro Stock Motorcycle debut, while Jasmine makes her first national event appearance in Top Alcohol Dragster, a week after running in the Baby Gators. But debuting together on the national stage was always part of their plan and now that it is here, the Scrappers Racing teammates and sisters are filled with excitement to tackle the weekend in tandem.
“Our family is very close and that’s something we pride ourselves on,” Jianna said. “It’s a big deal for both of us, but we’re going to be each other’s biggest fan and offer that emotional support. We never thought we would race together, but to see it happen, it’s really amazing. I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else.”
GAINESVILLE, FL – Longtime motorsports broadcaster Joe Castello will be debuting a new podcast dedicated to the wildly popular SAMTECH.EDU Factory Stock Showdown series part of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events in 2019. The inaugural Factory Stock Podcasts are available now on Soundcloud here (Episode 1) and here (Episode 2) as well as on Apple Podcasts in advance of the 50th annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals. Castello will be joined during each podcast by Brian Massingill, SAM Tech’s Vice President of Business Development who is also a successful sportsman racer in the Stock Eliminator class. The series is expanding to eight events in 2019 and Castello will host a pre and post-race podcast around every race featuring racers and industry insiders.
“This is one of the fastest growing NHRA racing series and the interest continues to expand with every race,” said Castello, founder of Castello Media. “The competition is fierce and the support from the manufacturers makes the SAMTECH.EDU Factory Stock Showdown one of the most talked about races on the NHRA tour. There is a massive interest for the Factory Stock Podcast from both the racing and automotive enthusiast audiences.”
Episode one features a series overview with perspective on the upcoming season from each manufacturer including 2018 SAMTECH.EDU Factory Stock Showdown world champion Leah Pritchett, who took the crown driving a Kevin Helms-tuned Drag Pak Challenger, Chris Holbrook who wheels a stellar Cobra Jet Ford and COPO Camaro racer Arthur Kohn, the first Factory Stock Chevrolet COPO in the 7’s. Episode two features Massingill and Joe Castello previewing the first race of the season, the 50th annual Gatornationals, as well as insight from 2017 Factory Stock Showdown champion David Barton, Geoff Turk, and Don Fezell.
On that list this year was a win at the 50th anniversary of the NHRA Gatornationals, a historic race that takes place this weekend at Gainesville Raceway. It would mark Enders’ first victory at the marquee event and winning the 50th annual race in her RJ Race Cars Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro would be an added special touch.
But Enders will also have double the opportunities to win in Gainesville, as she will race in NHRA Pro Mod, which opens its 12-race season this weekend.
“Your success rate is much greater if your goals are written out and I wrote out winning the 50th anniversary Gators on my goal sheet,” Enders said. “I’ve been runner-up three times and it’s always been an important race, so I would love to add it to my list. It’s going to be a tall order and we’ve got a lot going on, but I’m very optimistic and I’m excited to see how it unfolds.”
For the 2017 Top Fuel world champion, the Gatornationals isn’t just another race. In 2016 she made her way to the winner’s circle for the first time in her NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing career after beating Terry McMillen in the final. It was her eighth final round appearance, her first ever at Gainesville Raceway and capped off the weekend as John Force Racing’s first double up with teammate Robert Hight winning in Funny Car. Coming into the 50th anniversary at Gainesville Raceway, Force is looking to relive her 2016 success.
“Gainesville has always been a special race for me. It’s the Gatornationals. The first east coast race of the season,” Force said. “It’s the race track that I’ve always gone to as a kid. I’ve watched my dad, watched Ashley, and it’s where I had my first win. That is definitely a big one, a very special one. To do it at a track that is so prestigious. I’m looking forward to getting there and to repeat a little bit of history.”
ENNIS, TX – Consistency and an oh-so-close result in the semi-finals left Tulsa-based Pro Mod star Keith Haney feeling very positive about the season-opening Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Pro Mod Series event Mar. 9, at the Texas Motorplex, near Dallas.
“Seventeen-thousandths at the stripe, that’s all that separated us,” Haney said of his race against young gun Justin Jones, who won with a 3.69 over Haney’s 3.73 at more than 201 mph. “I treed him with a .002 light to his .023 and I even had him at half track, but my car started shooting sparks out the right header and laid over a little and he was able to just sneak on by me at the finish.”
Beyond reaching the semis, Haney left the Motorplex feeling impressed with his team’s overall performance and encouraged by their strong start to the 2019 MWPMS season.