Friday's Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals photo gallery
Friday, May 10, 2013

News and views from the Summit Racing
Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals
Last update: 3:25 p.m.
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The 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returned to Atlanta Dragway today after being postponed for one week due to rain.

Reigning Top Fuel champion Antron Brown helped promote the new NHRA-branded, 16-ounce Mello Yello can that will be in retail stores nationwide. Fans who bring the can to events will receive an $8 discount on tickets.

After much speculation, Lee Beard was formally announced as the new crew chief for defending Top Fuel event champion Steve Torrence. Beard resigned from the Rapisarda Autosport team earlier this week to fill the position that was vacant after Torrence released Richard Hogan.

With tuning assistance from Donnie Bender, Pat Dakin made his best run of the season thus far while fighting his Commercial Metal Fabricators Top Fuel dragster off the centerline with a 3.94 in the first qualifying session.

Brandon Bernstein hit the nail on the head in the first Top Fuel qualifying session. His Protect the Harvest/MavTV team led all drivers with a 3.84-second elapsed time.

Courtney Force led the John Force Racing performance barrage in the first Funny Car qualifying session, earning the provisional top spot with a 4.100 at 314.61 mph, which temporarily gave her the track speed record.

Robert Hight was the first of three drivers to reset the Funny Car track speed record today, running a 313.66 on his first pass of the event. The previous track record was 312.13 mph, set by Ashley Force Hood in 2009.

After struggling on his first two attempts, local favorite Warren Johnson powered to a 6.656 in the final session to earn a spot in the 16-car Pro Stock field. Johnson faces Mike Edwards in the opening round.

Greg Anderson’s decision to test between the Atlanta weekends appeared to pay off because the former world champ made a pair of solid 6.6 runs. His 6.600 in the final session earned him the No. 4 spot on the Pro Stock ladder.

After entering the weekend as the Pro Stock No. 1 qualifier thanks to his 6.596 in last week’s abbreviated session, Rickie Jones remained near the top of the order, ultimately finishing third on the strength of that run. Though he didn’t improve that time, Jones did make two solid runs today, posting times of 6.62 and 6.60.

Mike Edwards’ qualifying dominance continued in Atlanta, where he was the quickest driver of the two Pro Stock sessions today. Edwards opened with a 6.590, then improved to a 6.583 to earn his sixth No. 1 start of the season.

Doug Kalitta went from the No. 16 spot to the top spot by recording a 3.82 at 320 mph in the second Top Fuel session. The Mac Tools driver was later bumped to the No. 3 spot that earned him a bonus point.

Shawn Langdon earned his second No. 1 Top Fuel qualifying position in the last three races. The Al-Anabi dragster unloaded a track record 3.79. His 324-mph speed is also a track record at Atlanta Dragway.

Funny Car rookie Chad Head continues to impress, earning another top-half start with the 4.110 he posted in the final session. Head’s speed on the run was 314.90 mph, giving him the track speed record.

Matt Hagan earned his first No. 1 start since the final race of the 2011 season when he clocked a track record 4.067 in the final Funny Car session. Hagan will race Tony Pedregon in the first round tomorrow.

Lucas Oil racers completed eliminations tonight. Jeff Strickland highlighted the action by winning in Stock with a perfect light and nearly doubling with a runner-up in Top Dragster.