Antron Brown Back in the Winners Circle at Atlanta
Antron Brown, Bob Tasca III, Greg Anderson and Scotty Pollacheck claim historic Lucas Oil Southern Nationals wins at the final NHRA race to be run at Atlanta Dragway. The National Hot Rod Association, who owns the quarter mile strip located outside Commerce, GA, had announced the racing facility would host its final season in 2021. With over 40 years of drag racing history, the quarter mile slab of pavement will continue to host weekly NHRA-sanctioned events through the NHRA Summit ET Racing Series Finals on September 30 thru October 2. Due to the pandemic, the NHRA Southern Nationals were cancelled at the “House of Speed” in 2020. Conversely, this year’s event was billed as the 40th annual NHRA Southern Nationals; as well as the last.
Fifth Top Fuel Win at Southern Nationals for Antron
NHRA officials say the reason for selling the property is due to growth in the Commerce area and the city’s push to redevelop the property for a mixed use of industrial, residential, and commercial development. Originally cleared and graded as a Georgia red clay airport runway, the track made history in 2008 when Ashley Force Hood became the first female driver to win in NHRA Funny Car. On Sunday, Antron Brown got his fifth career win in Top Fuel at the quarter-mile facility, beating reigning champion Steve Torrence in the final round with his 3.752 ET at 325.22 mph to Torrence’s 3.794 elapsed time at 323.81 mph. Brown, who also won at Atlanta twice on pro stock motorcycles, tied Joe Amato for third on the all-time NHRA Top Fuel wins list with 52 victories. Brown defeated Doug Kalitta, number one qualifier Billy Torrence, and former world champions Brittany Force and Steve Torrence. The driver of the 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools/Toyota Top Fuel machine is now one victory away from becoming the sixth driver in history with 750 elimination round wins. Torrence had advanced to his 64th final round with wins against Buddy Hull, Justin Ashley. and Shawn Langdon, and maintains the points lead in Top Fuel by finishing second.
Tasca III Claims Second Straight NHRA Funny Car Victory
Bob Tasca III picked up his second straight 2021 victory in Funny Car, with a win over the legendary John Force in Sunday’s final round at the 40th annual Southern Nationals. Tasca posted a 4.004 elapsed time at 326.48 mph in his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang to beat Force’s 4.015 ET at 321.81 mph, and claim his eighth career Wally. With back-to-back class wins, Tasca maintains his points lead following his first ever win at Atlanta Dragway. Tasca eliminated Paul Lee, Blake Alexander, and defending world champ Matt Hagan to reach the final round. John Force reached his 257th final round with impressive wins against Cruz Pedregon, Ron Capps, and J.R. Todd. It was the first trip back to the final round at Atlanta Dragway for the 151-time winner (and 16-time Funny Car World Champion) since Papa Force lost to his daughter Ashley Force-Hood in 2008; her initial win Nitro Funny Car.
Anderson Records 96th Victory; One Behind Warren Johnson
Four-time Pro Stock World Champion, Greg Anderson, added a second win to his 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series on Sunday. Moreover, Anderson moved to within one victory of tying the legendary Warren Johnson at 97 Pro Stock national wins. Anderson posted a 6.568 ET at 209.04 mph against Vincent Nobile’s 6.598-second elapsed time at 208.78 mph. With the final round victory, Anderson is just two victories away from becoming the most successful pro driver after Funny Car ace John Force; and four wins away from becoming the only other pro driver besides Force to reach 100 victories. Anderson beat Fernando Cuadra Sr., Matt Hartford and defending world champ Erica Enders to reach his 160th final round. Making his first appearance since 2018, Nobile beat Troy Coughlin Jr., Aaron Stanfield, and Deric Kramer to advance to his 26th final. Sunday’s victory was Anderson’s fifth victory at Atlanta Dragway, which ties him with Johnson.
All Matt Smith Racing Final Goes to Scotty Pollacheck
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, teammates Scotty Pollacheck and Matt Smith raced their way through opposites sides of the ladder on Sunday for a heads-up shot at winning the 40th annual Southern Nationals. Smith reached his 60th career final round and his second of the 2021 NHRA Camping World season. When his team boss left the tree a fraction of a second early, Pollacheck earned his second career victory and first of this year aboard his DENSO/Strutmaster/Matt Smith Racing EBR. Pollacheck, who was the number one qualifier at Atlanta Dragway, went 6.921 at 198.35 mph to claim his second Wally. He reached his ninth final round by eliminating Jerry Savoie, Ryan Oehler, and Angelle Sampey. Smith made it to the final round with elimination round wins against Steve Johnson, Joey Gladstone, and Eddie Krawiec. The teammates are only separated by three points for 2021 World Championship with Smith at 276 points and Pollacheck at 273 points following the Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals.
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NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action May 14-16 with the NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte.