NHRA gets rain-delayed Southern Nationals in a day late
But the NHRA will have to wait at least another week for the 100th win by a female driver
Day-long showers dampened the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway Sunday, clearing only enough for five Top Fuel rounds of eliminations late in the day before track conditions were judged too unstable, and the call was made to come back Monday morning after the crew took the night to prepare the track.
The NHRA was hoping the event would produce the 100th female Pro race win, especially since all four top Pro classes had female drivers, and Alexis DeJoria and Erica Anders-Stevens qualified at the top of the Funny Car and Pro Stock categories, respectively. But at the end of the day, it was an all-male trophy presentation.
Spencer Massey (in the photo) took Top Fuel honors over fast qualifier Doug Kalitta. Massey was one of the 10 cars to make a first-round appearance Sunday, when the track was beyond predictale. Shortly after Massey won a pedal-fest against opening round opponent J.R. Todd, NHRA officials called the event due to challenging track conditions.
Phil Shuler, Todd Okuhara and the Battery Extender Top Fuel team had to sleep on it before getting another shot at the track on Monday. "That was wild," Massey said. "You win first round and you go back and the guys typically start thrashing getting ready for second round but we didn't have that here. They got to rest between first and second rounds which typically isn't the case."
The 10,000-horsepower Top Fuel machine took to the track on Monday against Clay Millican and DSR teammate Antron Brown before facing Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta in the final round.
"That is not an easy day of racing," Massey said. "When you race a DSR teammate in the semifinals and Antron had such a great race car we knew it was going to be tough. It was tricky out there for sure but these guys pulled together and we got the win.
"Don Schumacher Racing had a tough weekend out here, for sure. The pressure was on. You don't want to disappoint the boss man and I don't think we did today."
In Funny Car, Robert Hight took out teammate Courtney Force in the all-John Force Racing final round. “It would have been a big win for Courtney, but, you know what, we’ve got some momentum,” said Hight, who stretched his points lead to 206 points over teammate John Force. “We want to make some history here. This is six straight final rounds. Man, I’ve never done this. Six out of seven, I never would have guessed this. I’ve won three in a row a few times. I want to win four, five. I want to see where we can go.”
In Pro Stock, Jeg Coughlin, Jr. won a close one over Greg Anderson -- Coughlin took out Enders-Stevens in round two. “We’ve been hit and miss a little this year with both cars [his and Allen Johnson’s], and both cars were a little sluggish here at the start,” said Coughlin. “We worked on them real hard going into Saturday, but the E.T’s weren’t there, so we changed engines going into race day. Our teams did one heck of a job on a rebound this weekend. We made some good calls, and it was great to get our first win of the season. Last year, we didn’t get our first win until Topeka, and this year we’ve been through some pitfalls and have been wanting to pull our hair out, but we’ve been patient, double-checking each other, and doing as good a job as we can to make this car efficient.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Eddie Krawiec, Jr, the fast qualifier, defeated teammate Andrew Hines in the last round. And in Pro Modified, it was Rickie Smith over Von Smith, who shook his tires off the line.
Next weekend, the NHRA is at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kansas.
Monday's final results from the 34th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, the seventh of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel -- Spencer Massey, 4.269 seconds, 245.85 mph def. Doug Kalitta, 4.413 seconds, 218.48 mph.
Funny Car -- Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.049, 315.05 def. Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.117, 316.01.
Pro Stock -- Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.558, 211.63 def. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.588, 212.13.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.806, 197.45 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.860, 194.66.
Pro Modified -- Rickie Smith, Chevy Camaro, 5.828, 249.21 def. Von Smith, Camaro, 15.228, 54.74.
Super Stock -- Ryan Richardson, Chevy Camaro, 10.228, 120.52 def. Chad Taylor, Pontiac, foul.
Stock Eliminator -- Greg Rowe, Pontiac Firebird, 12.828, 73.75 def. Jimmy Hidalgo, Chevy Corvette, foul.
Super Comp -- Edmond Richardson, Dragster, 9.567, 118.12 def. Jerry Sosebee, Dragster, 20.442, 46.21.
Super Gas -- John Taylor, Dodge Dakota, 9.902, 167.51 def. Alan Kenny, Chevy Corvette, 9.913, 157.78.
Super Street -- Ed Pauley, Chevy Camaro, 10.945, 131.92 def. Brad Plourd, Camaro, 10.932, 120.83.
Top Dragster -- Jeff Strickland, Dragster, 7.443, 179.18 def. Steve Furr, Dragster, 6.984, 182.87.
Top Sportsman -- Tommy Turner, Pontiac GXP, 7.579, 173.41 def. Jeffrey Barker, Chevy Cobalt, broke.
UPDATE FIVE: NHRA gives up on Sunday, coming back at 10 a.m. Monday
Enders-Stevens extends Pro Stock points lead at Atlanta