BROWN, TASCA, ANDERSON AND POLLACHECK EARN HISTORIC LUCAS OIL NHRA SOUTHERN NATIONALS WINS IN FINAL RACE AT ATLANTA DRAGWAY
COMMERCE, GA – Antron Brown couldn’t have dreamed of a better way to close out the famed Atlanta Dragway on Sunday, becoming the winningest Top Fuel driver at the historic facility with his fifth victory at the 40th and final Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals.
Bob Tasca III (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Scotty Pollacheck (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the third race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season as the NHRA held the last race at the historic track.
Brown defeated three-time reigning world champ Steve Torrence in a thrilling final round, going 3.752-seconds at 323.81 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools dragster to beat Torrence’s 3.794 at 323.81. Brown, a three-time world champ, beat Doug Kalitta, No. 1 qualifier Billy Torrence and Brittany Force to advance to the final round, making his best run of the weekend when it counted. Brown leaves Atlanta Dragway with seven overall victories, including two that came in Pro Stock Motorcycle, while Sunday’s triumph also gave him 68 carer wins. It was a meaningful victory for Brown, who beat his close friend Torrence in the final pair of NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors to go down Atlanta Dragway.
COMMERCE, GA – John Force and his PEAK / BlueDEF PLATINUM Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car made their 257th final round appearance at the Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals, the final NHRA Camping World Series event to be held at Atlanta Dragway. Brittany Force and her Monster Energy dragster made their way to the semifinals and Robert Hight and the Automobile Club of Southern California Chevy Camaro had a first round exit on Sunday.
Coming into race day in the No. 11 position, Force faced off with Cruz Pedregon in the first round. For the 74th time Force would defeat Pedregon with a 4.049-second pass at 319.14 mph to Pedregon’s 4.126 at 306.53. In the second round, it was Ron Capps in the lane next to Force. Both would make a solid pass for an exciting side-by-side duel. Force would be the victor with a 4.028-secoond run at 315.19 mph that took out Capps’ 4.042 at 313.44.
The win would match Force against J.R. Todd in the semifinals. The PEAK / BlueDEF PLATINUM Camaro continued its dominance racing to a 3.984-second pass at 325.22 mph to defeat Todd’s 4.038 at 318.54 and send Force to the final at Atlanta Dragway for the first time since his daughter Ashley Force-Hood defeated him for her first win, and the first Funny Car win for a female, in 2008.
COMMERCE, GA – In the final NHRA event at Atlanta Dragway, it was only fitting that the series all-time Top Fuel win leader at the track would close it out with a victory and that’s exactly what Antron Brown did in defeating Steve Torrence in the final round to earn his fifth Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals Top Fuel victory Sunday. In the process, Brown tied Joe Amato for third all-time in career NHRA Top Fuel wins with 52.
The victory is the second for Brown in the last four races as he also defeated Torrence in the 2020 season finale at Las Vegas.
The Matco Tools/Toyota/Sirius XM driver opened his day with a victory over fellow Toyota driver Doug Kalitta. Brown had a slight advantage on the tree, then opened up a lead through the 600’ mark before Kalitta started to close back up, but it wasn’t enough as Brown won 3.793-3.800 with a margin of victory of .017 seconds. In round two against pole-sitter Billy Torrence, Brown had a sizable lead in reaction time (.038 seconds) and then out-ran him the rest of the way, winning by .047 seconds.
ATLANTA, GA – The final NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway featured Tim Wilkerson and the Levi, Ray & Shoup Summit Racing Shelby Mustang team showing why they will be a tough competitor on race day throughout the 2021 season. With only one day of qualifying and tough track conditions race day became a situation where crew chief decisions and experience could not be discounted. On the strength of consistent runs on Saturday the Levi, Ray & Shoup Summit Racing Mustang started the race from the No. 6 position.
In the opening round Wilkerson took on Terry Haddock as the track conditions had improved over Saturday but remained very much in flux as the cloud cover began to burn off over Atlanta Dragway. Wikerson’s Mustang was the first car to hit the track in the Funny Car session and his tune-up set the tone for the rest of the class behind him when he thundered to victory with a stout 3.963 second run at over 320 mph. It was the quickest Funny Car run of the event and gave the veteran lane choice heading into the quarterfinal round.
ATLANTA, GA – During the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season a handful of national events will be contested with only two rounds of qualifying on Saturday prior to Sunday’s eliminations. The reduction in qualifying sessions adds pressure on all the teams and puts a premium on each team’s lone two qualifying runs. The ROKiT Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota Camry Funny Car team and driver Alexis DeJoria were victims to the truncated qualifying sessions during the 40th NHRA Southern Nationals this weekend at Atlanta Dragway. The team was looking for performance consistency and opted to run their back-up race car which upon further inspection was the root of their qualifying and race day issues.
On Saturday in the first session DeJoria and her ROKiT Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota dropped a cylinder right off the starting line and had to click their runoff early. The tricky track had a number of teams aborting runs throughout the day. Coming back for the second session DeJoria and her team were prepared to move up the ladder from their provisional No. 12 spot. In the second session running beside Jim Campbell, DeJoria rolled in to stage and the staging bulb began to flicker. As DeJoria continued to attempt to stage she was timed out and did not get a second qualifying time. Her qualifying effort from the first session placed the ROKiT Bandero Premium Tequila Funny Car in the field as the No. 14 qualifier.
ATLANTA, GA – Justin Ashley and the Strutmasters.com Auto Shocker Top Fuel dragster team made the most of their appearance at the final edition of the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. A strong qualifying effort in a tough first session on Saturday earned the second year team a qualifying bonus point. Tricky track conditions made the one day qualifying sessions incredibly important and crucial for the team’s race day success.
Ashley and his championship contending team advanced into race day as the No. 7 qualifier with a first round match-up against veteran Clay Millican. As he was executing his burnout Millican felt the clutch let go on his 11,000 horsepower race car, dooming it for any chance of a successful run. The experienced driver immediately pulled to the side of the track and exited his race car allowing Ashley to make a single run in the safest manner possible. With no one on the track Ashley flew down his lane with a 3.746 second pass, which was quickest of not just the session but of the entire event for Top Fuel. The run advanced him to the quarterfinals and gave him lane choice over No. 2 qualifier Steve Torrence.
Commerce, GA – Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools were seeking their fourth NHRA Southern Nationals Top Fuel victory this weekend at Atlanta Dragway. Two weeks ago the team raced to a runner-up finish at the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals and following a successful day of testing earlier in the week the team had a strong feeling about their chances for success in the Peach State. With only one day of qualifying that consisted of two rounds the Mac Tools team battled a tricky track and established themselves as the No. 9 qualifier going into race day. A number of teams had issues getting the maximum benefit from their 11,000 horsepower race cars throughout the day.
On Sunday morning Kalitta and the Mac Tools dragster were half of the first pair of Top Fuel dragsters hoping to take advantage of the coolest track temperatures for optimal results. The strategy worked to their advantage as Kalitta’s team stepped up dramatically on the performance side running a solid 3.800 second elapsed time run at 322.19 mph. Unfortunately, Kalitta was second to the finish line stripe by 11 thousandths of a second. His run was the second quickest pass of the weekend but came up six feet short to advance to the second round.