The last weekend at Atlanta Dragway has arrived and that means all the stars of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series will be looking for the historic final victory in the 40th and final Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals Final.
It’s also the first race in Atlanta since 2019 for most classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while Pro Stock will be making its first appearance at Georgia’s House of Speed since 2018. Almost all drivers have some sort. memory at Atlanta Dragway, whether it’s a remarkable victory or a part of a weekend to remember. But everyone who runs this weekend will have a takeaway as they compete in the final event on the track. Only four, however, will leave with the Wallys in their last appearance in Atlanta, a moment that will go down in history. To get there, teams will need to be on their game immediately, as there will only be two qualifying sessions before the eliminations. Both Saturdays, reminiscent of most of last year, when the race during the pandemic led to two-day events.
The Atlanta stop is the first – and one of the few – two-day events in 2021, meaning there’s little room for error before eliminations. The good news is that teams should hit their stride. After Gainesville, they had a month off before Las Vegas, but it’s only been two weeks since, putting each team in a much better pace as the 2021 season continues to gain momentum.
In Top Fuel, the favorite must certainly be Steve Torrence, three-time reigning Camping World Top Fuel champion, who comes after a victory in Vegas and won Atlanta in 2019. The track is also the spectacle of Torrence’s very first victory, so he will be looking to crown his team in Georgia with one final triumph. After sitting down in Vegas, we’ll also see the return of Josh Hart, who sent shockwaves into the world of drag racing when he won Gainesville in his first-ever Top Fuel race of his career. Can he stay perfect in his first – and last – race in Atlanta?
Antron Brown was very successful in Atlanta and is tied with Larry Dixon for most wins in class history on the track with four. A fifth win would make him the most successful driver in the class at the longtime site, but a longtime nemesis to Doug Kalitta has a chance to match Brown with a win. Both have done well in Vegas, progressing to the final quad, and each is certainly capable of being in the last pair on the track – forever – on Sunday. For Kalitta, it would also be his 50th career victory.
Leah Pruett is the only other active rider to secure a victory in Atlanta, taking the victory in 2018. Meanwhile, others to watch include Clay Millican, who also qualified for the final quad in Vegas, Brittany Force, who qualified well to open 2021, Shawn Langdon, Billy Torrence and Justin Ashley.
Bob Tasca of Funny Car won for the first time in almost two years in Las Vegas, and now he wants to win for the first time in Atlanta. To do this, he will have to stop the chain of domination on the track of Don Schumacher Racing and John Force Racing. Tim wilkerson The 2015 win is the only track win by anyone outside of those two camps since Tony Pedregon’s victory in 2006. Of course, John Force has seven wins in Atlanta – all before 2005 – so Tasca could have one. monumental task before him. .
He certainly impressed in Vegas, as did Wilkerson, who ran the fastest time on the last quad there and was at the top of his game to open the year. The only thing missing is a victory. Reigning world champion Matt Hagan came close to claiming victory in Vegas as well and will try to win for the second time in Atlanta, while Ron Capps has been the most impressive driver in recent times at the House of Speed. From Georgia.
He is the most recent winner and also claimed victory in 2017, and his program has not been interrupted since the retirement of longtime team leader Rahn Tobler. Gainesville winner JR Todd is looking for his first victory at the venue, as is Alexis DeJoria, who qualified in the top three in the first two races of the year.
Surprisingly, Greg Anderson is the only active Pro Stock rider with a win in Atlanta, having done so four times. The most recent of these came in 2012, while a fifth victory would equal Warren Johnson’s total for most of the class.
The rest of the peloton will be looking for their first victory on the track and a remarkable start to go with it. It’s a group that includes star driver and back-to-back world champion Erica Enders, who won her Pro Stock career for the 30th time in the final race. None of those 30 wins came in Georgia, which she will be looking to change this weekend. Top challengers include a group of hungry rising stars including Troy Coughlin Jr., Mason McGaha, Aaron Stanfield, Cristian and Fernando Cuadra Jr., Deric Kramer, Kyle Koretsky and Dallas Glenn.
Ryan oehler is booming at Pro Stock Motorcycle after its victory in Las Vegas, but nothing will be easy for anyone in the two-wheel category with a massive participation of bikes in the last race in Atlanta.
This means that the qualifying places will be in high demand, especially with only two qualifying sessions on Saturday. Among that group of runners are Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec, who will each make their debut in 2021 in Atlanta. This makes a strong peloton even better as the duo missed the first two races of the year while preparing their new bikes. They have eight wins in Atlanta, including two and three of the last four.
Matt Smith will be looking to keep them at bay, just like he did a year ago in his title season, and he’s also looking for his first career win on the track. Angelle Sampey has four wins in Atlanta and started the season showing glimpses she is capable of adding another this weekend.
You can catch the action all weekend long on FOX Sports 1 and NHRA.tv.
Sunday, May 2, FS1 will air qualifying coverage from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, May 2, FS will broadcast the final eliminations from 11:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. (ET)