GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 14, 2015) – NHRA Pro Stock driver Chris McGaha is coming into his own at the 46th annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville. McGaha, driver of the streaking silver Harlow Sammons Racing Chevrolet Camaro, scored the third No. 1 qualifier award of his career with four brilliant passes, one right after another, and in doing so was awarded maximum points in each round. McGaha exited qualifying with 12 bonus points as the quickest driver in each of the four sessions.
On the first day in Gainesville, McGaha clocked a 6.507 at 212.73 mph in the early session and returned with a 6.509, 212.76 that was two-hundredths quicker than the field.
Day two was just more of the same, with McGaha piloting his "Silver Bullet" Camaro to a 6.518, 212.56 and finally a 6.513, 212.39. As there are just 15 cars in the field, McGaha will get a bye run for first round.
"It's one of those deals – we didn't really expect to sweep qualifying like that," admitted McGaha. "Even if it wasn't me that did it, it would still be pretty impressive. I know I wasn't the first guy to do it, but it isn't something that happens all the time. It feels pretty good, and we didn't really expect to come here and have that much on everybody. It's getting exciting.
"Those little points [bonus qualifying points] do get addicting. You can make up a round here or there. But the championship? That still isn't a word in my vocabulary. We need to win a race. We can't lose focus here; we have to win a race. You do that one round at a time. I just have to keep from folding like a lawn chair because it's all left up to me."
McGaha shares his excitement with his team, including crew chief Brian 'Lump' Self, who was previously associated with the team for a short while but returned full time mid-season in 2014.
"Lump and I raced each other in Comp, and he's my crew chief now. It's a pretty neat deal," said McGaha of his many days as an NHRA sportsman racer going after trophies in the tough Competition Eliminator category. "I've had a couple other No. 1 qualifier awards, but I wanted to get one for him. He's never had one, and I wanted to do it for Lump. Today was a good day."
McGaha is still in the running for the fan vote in the K&N Horsepower Challenge, a bonus event that pits the best of the best against one another for bragging rights and a $50,000 payout. Although he is the No. 1 qualifier in Gainesville, he isn't in the top seven drivers who are awarded a position in the bonus shootout event based on qualifying over the past year. The eighth position is decided by the fan vote.
Log your vote for Chris McGaha in the K&N Horsepower Challenge at
The K&N Horsepower Challenge is a special race-within-a-race bonus program for the top Pro Stock drivers in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The 2015 K&N Horsepower Challenge will be conducted at the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motors Speedway in the spring. The race features a special elimination pairing with eight Pro Stock drivers in the field, including seven who accumulate the most points in qualifying during the 24-race Challenge series and one driver who is selected to the starting lineup for the event via a special fan vote. The winner of the K&N Horsepower Challenge will earn $50,000, and the runner-up will earn $10,000. The two semifinalists will earn $3,000 each, while the four first-round finishers will receive $2,500 each.