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Tricky Tipster tabs Torrence, Todd, Anderson, and Savoie for Atlanta glory

According to Tricky Tipster, NHRA National Dragster magazine's resident oddsmaker, Steve Torrence, J.R. Todd, Greg Anderson, and Jerry Savoie are the best hopes for victory at this weekend's NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway .
03 May 2018
NHRA National Dragster staff
News
Tricky Tipster

Last week, Tricky Tipster correctly picked Top Fuel winner Steve Torrence but whiffed on his other picks in Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle, and Pro Mod. This time, things will be different. Here are your best bets in Atlanta.

TOP FUEL

Funny Car  | Pro Stock | Pro Stock Motorcycle

S_Torrence.JPGSteve Torrence
Capco Contractors

He’s proven his mastery of the Four-Wide events by winning the last three but the Capco team also happens to be pretty good at winning traditional two-wide races. He also happens to be the defending event champ here and a two-time Atlanta winner. Need another reason to make him the favorite?
Odds: 5-2

D_Kalitta.JPGDoug Kalitta
Mac Tools

He’s hardly been dominant this year but the Mac Tools team is doing something it had difficulty doing last year, which is winning rounds. A runner-up at last weekend’s Four-Wide race kept him well within striking distance of the current leaders.
Odds: 4-1

B_Force.JPGBrittany Force
Monster Energy

Overall, the Charlotte race was good for the Force team but not great for Brittany’s Monster crew. That being said, she did qualify No. 1 which was not an easy feat. A round one loss notwithstanding, this team is back in a big way. Expect a big summer.
Odds: 6-1

T_Schumacher.JPGTony Schumacher
U.S. Army

Stop us if you’ve heard this before. The Army dragster has never won in Atlanta. We’re sure the Sarge is tired of hearing it as well and the best way to stop the questions is to finally go out and win in the Peach State.
Odds: 7-1

T_McMillen.jpgTerry McMillen
Amalie Motor Oil

You go to back-to-back finals and Tipster takes notice. Our only concern is the effect that back-to-back-to-back events might have on their parts inventory. Regardless, this is a solid team that is no longer an underdog to the multi-car teams.
Odds: 8-1

C_Millican.JPGClay Millican  
Parts Plus/Great Clips

They’ve had their ups and downs this season but in the grand scheme of things, all is well in the Parts Plus camp. They’re ranked fourth in the Mello Yello standings and are just one lucky break away from another victory.
Odds: 10-1

L_Pritchett.JPGLeah Pritchett
Papa John’s Pizza/Dodge

Can’t say much good about Charlotte after an 11th best qualifying effort and a first-round loss. The good news for the Papa John’s team is that they only have to wait a week for another shot. Better days are surely ahead.
Odds: 11-1

A_Brown.JPGAntron Brown
Matco Tools

He probably should be ranked much higher after four Atlanta wins in the last decade but clearly all is not right with the Matco Tools team. After qualifying No. 3, they were set-up for a long race-day run in Charlotte but tire smoke resulted in another early loss.
Odds: 14-1


FUNNY CAR

J_Todd.JPGJ.R. Todd 
DHL Toyota

Lost in the semi’s at the Four-Wide but we’re not going to ding them too hard for that. Lots of cars smoked the tires. The bottom line is that the DHL crew is a championship caliber team and they happen to have a driver who gets high marks from his peers. 
Odds: 3-1

R_Capps.JPGRon Capps
NAPA Dodge

Two wins here and a bunch of final rounds. Hard to argue he doesn’t like this track. And, after winning the 2016 championship, he doesn’t need to dress like a waiter in order to get into the Coca-Cola Champions dinner.
Odds: 5-1

Robert Hight  R_Hight.JPG
Auto Club Camaro

Cashed here in 2007, 2011, and 2014 so by our calculations, he should be just about ready to win again. When it comes to big numbers, this car is as good as any on the tour. Winning in Atlanta is likely to require a bit of finesse but Jimmy Prock and Co. are capable of that as well.
Odds: 6-1

C_Force.JPGCourtney Force 
Advance Auto Parts Chevy

Historically, the Force team has done a lot of damage in Atlanta and Courtney is coming off a final round in Charlotte. She was also the low qualifier, which says something given the quality of the Funny Car fields these days.
Odds: 8-1

J_Beckman.JPGJack Beckman  
Infinite Hero Dodge

Whoever finishes the regular season as the points leader will clearly have earned it since there are about 13-15 really strong Funny Cars chasing the championship this year. So far, it’s been the Infinite Hero team that has been the most consistent. They smoked the tires in Charlotte but then again, who didn’t?
Odds: 9-1

C_Pedregon.JPGCruz Pedregon
Snap-on Toyota

Say what you want about his Charlotte win but don’t dare call it a fluke. The Snap-on team has made steady progress this season and the addition of crew chief Aaron Brooks and assistant Glen Husar is paying big dividends. The many who now famously uttered the words, ‘Stop crying and go fix your clutch.’ Has done just that.
Odds: 10-1

T_Wilkerson.JPGTim Wilkerson
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford

Certain drivers have certain tracks where they really enjoy racing and this guy loves Atlanta Dragway especially after a win in 2015 and a runner-up last year. When it comes to tuning, he also prefers the warmth and humidity of a spring evening in the deep South.
Odds: 12-1

M_Hagan.JPGMatt Hagan 
Mopar Express Lane Dodge

Naturally, the Mopar car is fully capable of running the table this weekend but lately, they haven’t shown it. They’ve also had two big boomers since Gainesville which tends to make for a stressful atmosphere. Sometimes a driver needs to blow off a little steam and the best way to do it is with a convincing victory.
Odds: 14-1


PRO STOCK

G_Anderson.JPGGreg Anderson
Summit Camaro

He’s been No. 1 here for the last couple of races and hasn’t delivered so Tipster is very temped to relegate him but we’re going to hold steady for one more week just because his record in Atlanta is so strong with four wins in 11 final rounds. Not a sure bet, but a darn good one here.
Odds: 3-1

E_Enders.JPGErica Enders
Melling/Elite Camaro

There’s an old saying in baseball that speed never goes into a slump. Well in Pro Stock, a quick left foot doesn’t slump either. For all the struggles of the Elite team she still gets it done on the starting line, and now that they have power again, look out.
Odds: 4-1

B_Butner.JPGBo Butner
Butner Auto Camaro

Defending event winner. KB car. Winning attitude. Reigning Mello Yello Pro Stock champ. That’s about all you need to know about his chances.
Odds: 5-1

V_Nobile.JPGVincent Nobile
Mountain View Camaro

A touch on the inconsistent side to challenge for the top spot but based on his recent results, including a win in Las Vegas and a runner-up last week, he’s clearly worth mentioning as a favorite. He’s also eager to put that nasty .095 light in his rearview mirror.
Odds: 6-1

C_McGaha.JPGChris McGaha  
Harlow Sammons Camaro

Five-years into his Pro Stock career and is there anyone who still thinks he wasn’t smart to do things his own way? Not fair to say he’s the second-coming of Bob Glidden or Warren Johnson, but from driving to tuning to engine building there sure are some glaring similarities. 
Odds: 8-1

J_Coughlin.JPGJeg Coughlin Jr.
JEGS.com Camaro

This stopped being funny a while ago. What you’ve got here is arguable the best driver in the history of the class and he’s got a car that makes as much power as anyone in the field. Sooner or later, it has to fall into place for him. There’s just too much potential to ignore.
Odds: 9-1

D_Skillman.JPGDrew Skillman
Skillman Auto Camaro

Low qualifier in Charlotte and went to the final. If he doesn’t shake the tires there’s a good chance that he gives Enders, Nobile, and McGaha all they could handle. Also has great memories from Atlanta in 2010 from his Super Stock/Stock double
Odds: 11-1

T_Gray.JPGTanner Gray
Gray Manufacturing Technologies Camaro

Knowing how competitive he is, a .086 light in Charlotte had to be devastating, especially in a winnable quad. He’s better than this and he knows it. A return to two-wide racing will likely be a welcome change.
Odds: 13-1

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE

J_Savoie.jpgJerry Savoie
White Alligator Suzuki

Nobody else ran 6.7s in Charlotte except the White Alligator bike. If he can maintain that sort of an edge over the field, it will be a long hot summer in Pro Stock Bike land. Oh yeah, he’s also been to the final here for the last two years.
Odds: 3-1

E_Krawiec.jpgEddie Krawiec
Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson

His record of five-straight finals at zMax Dragway went by the wayside last weekend but it’s on to Atlanta, where he has four wins including his first-career victory in 2009.
Odds: 4-1

L_Tonglet.jpgLE Tonglet
Nitro Fish Suzuki

His return to the WAR team was mixed. He qualified in the No. 1 spot for just the sixth time in his career but was ousted in the semifinals by Savoie and Hines. It normally doesn’t take long for him to shake off losses so he’ll be back to normal in no time.
Odds: 5-1

A_Hines.jpgAndrew Hines
Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson

Seems strange that he’s only won this event twice but there’s not reason to think he can’t add to that. He looked pretty solid at the Four-Wide race with a runner-up finish. Now two-for-two in finals this year.
Odds: 5-1

S_Pollacheck.jpgScotty Pollacheck
Suzuki Extended Protection Suzuki

Probably didn’t have much for Savoie in the final round last week but his bike was plenty competitive, and he actually won his first two quads. That should provide a nice confidence boost.
Odds: 7-1

C_Reed.jpgCory Reed
Liberty Racing Buell

His performance at zMax was not a fluke. This team has come a long way in a short time and the round wins are sure to follow. Maybe too early to predict a victory, but that’s not far off.
Odds: 8-1

M_Smith.jpgMatt Smith
Smith Racing Victory

Plenty of drama in the Smith camp and not all of it is good. Regardless, he’s an extremely resourceful racer who happens to have a very quick motorcycle. A win here would go a long way towards saving his season.
Odds: 10-1

H_Arana_Jr.jpgHector Arana Jr.
Lucas Oil EBR

Almost everyone in Charlotte thought we’d see another 200-mph pass out of the Lucas bike. It didn’t happen although Hector Jr. and Sr. both topped 199. Unfortunately, neither rider made it down the track on Sunday.
Odds: 14-1