47th annual Gatornationals preview
Published March 16th, 2016
GAINESVILLE, Fla.--It's almost time for drivers to rev their engines. The 47th annual Gatornationals start tomorrow and run through Sunday.
Top Fuel dragster Terry McMillen and his crew geared up for Gatornationals by giving fans a show at Piesano's Stone Fired Pizza on West University Avenue.
McMillen drives the xtermigator top fuel car and takes the gator mascot literally.
"We went to Gatorland one day and had a session where we shoot some stuff for TV and I got to feed the alligators and certainly with Amalie being in Tampa, the gator on the side of the car was our representation or our mascot. Over time, we've kind of merged the two programs and now Gatorland comes out and they bring live gators out so people can hold the gator, get their picture taken with the gator," says McMillen.
The live gators weren't the only hit today. Fans were treated to a demonstration of what goes on in the pits in between runs.
"We intentionally came out to eat, but when we seen the car, it kind of drew our attention out to the car," says Josh Resto, a drag racing fan.
McMillen's crew rebuilt the motor and re-fired the engine all within about 30 minutes.
"We work on cars ourselves and it takes one day to another just to take the engine apart and to put it back together so for them guys to do it in what like 20-25 minutes, that's amazing," says Resto.
"That whole process is like a sequence of events that have to happen just exactly at the right time. Everything has to be in place. Everything has to have a place to go. Everyone has a job a particular job that no one can not do," explains crew chief Rob Wendland.
McMillen and his crew are hoping for their first win.
"You are going to win," proclaims McMillen's two-year-old son, Cameron.
Daddy's biggest fan will be cheering him on and it's clear the future of drag racing looks promising.
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