Antron Brown, Jason Line and Hector Arana also victorious at Atlanta.
Tim Wilkerson raced to his first Funny Car victory since 2011 Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners at the seventh of 24 events in the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season.
Wilkerson, who had not won since 2011 in Seattle, ran a 4.318-second pass at 260.31 mph in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang to better Ron Capps, who trailed with a 5.781 at 125.90 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T. This is Wilkerson’s 18th career win and first ever at Atlanta.
“That 4.03 in the first round was pretty impressive,” said Wilkerson. “I was happy with that. As the track got hotter, I did a good job until the finals. I’m really unhappy about what it did in the final. I was trying to go about a .14, and the thing broke the tires loose.”
En route to the winner’s circle, Wilkerson raced past Del Worsham, Jack Beckman and John Force in the earlier rounds. Wilkerson, who qualified sixth, is now No. 8 in points standing.
Capps, the Gainesville and Houston winner, beat Alexis DeJoria, No. 1 qualifier Cruz Pedregon and defending world champ Matt Hagan on his way to the final round. Capps retained the points lead in Funny Car.
Brown beats Pritchett
In Top Fuel, Brown pushed his Matco Tools dragster to a final-round performance of 3.887 at 310.48 mph to defeat Leah Pritchett’s 4.202 at 260.41 in her Dote Racing/Gumout dragster. Brown has 49 career wins and four at Atlanta Dragway, tying Larry Dixon for most in the category. His last win at this event was in 2013. Brown, the Four-Wide Nationals at Charlotte winner, is the only Top Fuel driver to have won multiple races this season.
“It wasn’t just a good day, but a good weekend,” Brown said. “We’ve been aiming to start off with a good qualifying run. The first run out of the box on Sunday set the tone for the whole weekend. We started getting data in hot, cool, and middle track temperatures when we tested in Indy. You have to make some swings with the combination we run now. (Crew chiefs) Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald, and all the Matco boys have been putting the work in together. It definitely showed this weekend.”
Brown, the Top Fuel points leader, qualified first and defeated Shawn Langdon, Doug Kalitta and Terry McMillen before meeting Pritchett in the final.
Pritchett sprinted to her first career final round appearance by racing past Chris Karamesines, J.R. Todd and Larry Dixon. The third-year Top Fuel driver qualified third and currently sits 12th in the points standing.
Line takes number 37
In Pro Stock, Line raced his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro to a 6.606 at 211.33 performance to defeat teammate Greg Anderson’s 8.628 at 114.39 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro. It was Line’s 37th career victory and second at Atlanta.
"Today was a great day for Summit and KB Racing for sure," said Line. "This is the way that you normally dream about it, but it usually doesn't work out that way. Today, it did. I really thought the final was going to go the other way. I got a bit of luck. I wasn't fast today. I was maybe mediocre. Greg had the car to beat. He was driving better than everyone else, and he should have won it. He wants to win more than anyone I've ever met, and that's what makes him the best."
Line earned his third consecutive No. 1 qualification this weekend and beat Alan Prusiensky, Larry Morgan and Rodger Brogdon in the early rounds. Line leads the Pro Stock category points standing.
Line and Anderson met in a final round earlier this year at Gainesville, where Anderson was the victor. This was the 24th time the two Summit teammates have gone head-to-head in the final round and Anderson holds a 14-10 advantage.
Arana's first win since 2009
Arana earned his first win in Pro Stock Motorcycle since 2009 and seventh overall with a 7.236 at 196.30 on his Lucas Oil Buell to beat 2014 event winner Eddie Krawiec, whose Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson slowed near mid-track.
"I knew I could keep winning, but I had to believe in myself," Arana said. "In the final, the bike jumped like a bronco," Arana said. "It pulled to the right, but I was not giving up unless he was way in front of me. As long as I had control of the bike, I was staying with it."
Arana defeated defending world champ Andrew Hines, Jim Underdahl and son Hector Arana Jr. to make it to the final round. Arana was the seventh qualifier and holds the No. 3 spot in the points standing.
The 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series continues with the NHRA Kansas Nationals on May 22-24 in Topeka, Kan.
COMMERCE, Ga. -- Final finish order (1-16) at the 35th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. The race is the seventh of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
1. Antron Brown; 2. Leah Pritchett; 3. Larry Dixon; 4. Terry McMillen; 5. Doug Kalitta; 6. Richie Crampton; 7. Clay Millican; 8. J.R. Todd; 9. Tony Schumacher; 10. Spencer Massey; 11. Brittany Force; 12. Shawn Langdon; 13. Dave Connolly; 14. Chris Karamesines; 15. Morgan Lucas; 16. Steve Torrence.
1. Tim Wilkerson; 2. Ron Capps; 3. John Force; 4. Matt Hagan; 5. Jack Beckman; 6. Courtney Force; 7. Cruz Pedregon; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 9. Alexis DeJoria; 10. Del Worsham; 11. Dave Richards; 12. Chad Head; 13. Robert Hight; 14. John Hale; 15. Jeff Diehl; 16. Tony Pedregon.
1. Jason Line; 2. Greg Anderson; 3. Erica Enders; 4. Rodger Brogdon; 5. Larry Morgan; 6. Shane Gray; 7. Drew Skillman; 8. Allen Johnson; 9. V. Gaines; 10. Bo Butner; 11. Vincent Nobile; 12. John Gaydosh Jr; 13. Jonathan Gray; 14. Kenny Delco; 15. Chris McGaha; 16. Alan Prusiensky.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:
1. Hector Arana; 2. Eddie Krawiec; 3. Scotty Pollacheck; 4. Hector Arana Jr; 5. Angelle Sampey; 6. Jim Underdahl; 7. Angie Smith; 8. Shawn Gann; 9. Karen Stoffer; 10. Chip Ellis; 11. Freddie Camarena; 12. Andrew Hines; 13. Jerry Savoie; 14. Matt Smith; 15. Steve Johnson; 16. LE Tonglet.
Brown, Pedregon, Line and Stoffer top seeds in Sunday eliminations
Tommy Johnson, Jr. looking for first shot at a final round