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Mopars get bit by the Gators

It was a frustrating event for the Mopars at the ACDelco Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida, with no wins in the professional or sportsman classes.

Team Mopar and Don Schumacher Racing driver "Fast" Jack Beckman, driver of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T, is just six points out of the Funny Car lead in the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing series after three events so far, following his quarterfinals finish at the Gatornationals.

Beckman defeated his former teacher, Frank Hawley, owner of the Frank Hawley Drag Racing School, in a Mopar vs. Mopar HEMI-powered duel in the first round, with a very close 4.866-second pass at 320.66 mph to Hawley's 4.898/321.04, then fell to Tim Wilkerson in the second round.

Gary Scelzi failed to qualify his Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for the event. A four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion, Scelzi has 37 career national-event victories but has never won the Gatornationals.

"We got bit," said Scelzi of his weekend. "It's going to happen to everybody this year. I have a feeling this year is going to be a lot like last year." (In 2007 every Funny Car top contender failed to qualify at least once during the season.) "This is one that got away from me this year."