A pair of blown alcohol racers endured weekends they’d just as soon forget at what was an otherwise unforgettable 50th annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Florida as they wadded their machines up in separate incident on the Gainesville Raceway 1/4-mile.
During Saturday’s third session of Pro Modified qualifying, New York’s Mike Castellana launched his Al Anabi Performance Camaro into severe tire shake, which appeared to have sheared the wheel studs off the right rear wheel, sending him spinning around and into the opposing guardrail. Fortunately for Castellana, the low-speed point at which the incident occurred minimized the damage to the car as it side-slapped the wall and chucked the rear wheel out of the wheel-well. Castellana, as you might expect, bowed out of competition for the remainder of the weekend. He was, at the time, unqualified with a 9.62-second best, good for only 28th on the sheet after two sessions.
Later that afternoon, Top Alcohol Funny Car racer DJ Cox, Jr. got into the marbles and lost control of his Dixie Construction Chevrolet Camaro racing alongside of Nick Januik in the opening round of eliminations. Cox slapped the pedal to try regaining traction, but the car made an abrupt turn and slammed into the left lane guardrail with enough force to launch the sleek body off and buckle the front of the brand new McKinney chassis. Only that very morning, Cox and his team had been awarded Best Appearing Car honors for the new machine.
Cox, you may recall, was involved in a violent accident last July when his Funny Car climbed over the wall and crashed at more than 200 mph at the Lebanon Valley Dragway. He returned to action at the Maple Grove national event last fall.