Saturday's Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals photo gallery
Saturday, May 11, 2013

News and views from the Summit Racing
Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals
Last update: 7 p.m.
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Georgia fans came in droves to see the conclusion of the 2013 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.

From left, Bill Black, Theo Duckett, and Anne Ballentine, got to get up close and personal with drivers of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series for autographs, photos, and a meet and greet as part of National Dragster’s Backstage Pass perk. NHRA Members can register for a chance to win at future events by sending an email to

Khalid alBalooshi was the only Top Fuel driver to win from the bottom half of the field. The Al-Anabi driver ran a 3.84 to defeat David Grubnic in round one.

Ron Capps gave a hint of the performance potential today when he powered to a 4.096 in the Funny Car opening round against Blake Alexander. Unfortunately for Capps, he couldn’t duplicate it round two and lost to teammate and eventual winner Johnny Gray.

Kurt Johnson picked up his first round-win since the Norwalk race last July when he got around Rickie Jones in the Pro Stock opener. Jones was ahead of Johnson until about 1,000 feet when his parachutes deployed early.

Doug Kalitta set the Top Fuel track speed record at 325.61 mph while defeating rival Tony Schumacher in the second round in a 3.78 to 3.81 contest.

Drivers who compete in the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League at Atlanta Dragway made exhibition passes in front of the race-day crowd.

Cruz Pedregon had a solid day, posting times of 4.10, 4.12, and 4.09 en route to a semifinal finish. The outing allowed him to maintain his hold of the Funny Car points lead by 13 points over Matt Hagan.

Testing between the two weekends in Atlanta paid off for Greg Anderson, who posted steady 6.6s on his way to the Pro Stock semi’s. In his semifinal match, Anderson nearly matched pacesetter Mike Edwards, coming up short in a tight 6.607 to 6.609 battle.

Brandon Bernstein battled through back pain all day but felt a little better after his Protect the Harvest/MavTV dragster reeled off low e.t. of the event with a 3.76 in the Top Fuel semifinal round.

After dodging a bullet in the first round when his tire-smoking 4.66 got him around Tony Pedregon, Funny Car No. 1 qualifier Matt Hagan ran back-to-back 4.10s to earn a spot in the final round.

Shane Gray continued to impress in Pro Stock, advancing to his third straight final round. Gray himself played a major role in his success today, cutting three straight .00 lights, including a .001 in the final against Mike Edwards.

Shane Gray, near lane, had the advantage off the starting line, .001 to .027, but Mike Edwards was able to drive around him and win the Pro Stock title. Edwards ran low e.t. of eliminations, 6.595 en route to victory.

Matt Hagan, near lane, left the starting line first in the Funny Car final, but Johnny Gray made up the difference early and pulled away, running a low-of-eliminations 4.07 to handily beat Hagan’s 4.16. It was Gray’s second win of the season and fifth of his career.

Antron Brown scored his fifth win at this event when the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster, far lane, ran 3.80 at 321 mph in the final next to Bernstein’s tire-smoking 7.10.

From left, Mike Edwards, Antron Brown, and Johnny Gray each celebrated their second wins of the season on the seventh stop of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.