Post-Race Report Event 07: NHRA Southern Nationals Atlanta Dragway Commerce, Ga.

Doug Kalitta Atlanta

Doug Kalitta Atlanta 

Kalitta earns milestone round win

Race Recap: Doug Kalitta came back to the site of one of his most exciting wins, last season’s near tie with his teammate J.R. Todd, which was the closest finish in NHRA history. The Mac Tools team were looking for a repeat.

Kalitta and the Mac Tools team were solid again in qualifying earning another top five start with their 3.764 second effort in the afternoon qualifying session on Saturday. That gave them the fifth starting spot and a first round pairing with Chris Karamesines.

The next-to-last Top Fuel pair to see the track, Kalitta was prepared as he left first and steadily extended his advantage down Atlanta Dragway, clinching the round win with a 3.760 second effort. 

The second round saw Kalitta come up to the line with lane choice over Clay Millican. Kalitta again moved first, and drove straight down the track to a milestone: his 600th career round win. He is just the ninth driver in NHRA history to hit such a mark, and first since Antron Brown one season ago. 

Unfortunately, a repeat win was not in the cards. Kalitta left on his semi-final opponent, Tony Schumacher, and was pulling away before encountering issues giving up the round win to Schumacher.

Qualified: No. 5 (3.764 sec., 324.67 mph) 

E1: Kalitta defeated Karamesines – 3.760 sec., 325.45 mph to 4.073 sec., 263.00 mph 

E2: Kalitta defeated Millican – 3.779 sec., 321.81 mph to 4.744 sec., 158.63 mph

E3: Kalitta defeated by Schumacher – 4.089 sec., 251.67 mph to 3.758 sec., 320.13 mph

Quotable: “Very cool to hit such a big number of round wins with this Mac Tools team. I would have loved to take the win today, but it was not meant to be. We are running strong and I look forward to Topeka in a couple weeks.” 

Point Standings: Fifth (-155); trails Antron Brown by 74 points for fourth; leads Clay Millican by 101 points for sixth

Shawn Langdon Atlanta

Langdon claims first Kalitta round win

Race Recap: Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team came into Atlanta Dragway planning on securing more success than the first two events of Langdon’s season achieved. 

After finding the source of a problem that had plagued them after their first qualifying effort, Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team stepped up in into the top half of the field with their final qualifying pass. 

Shawn Langdon’s first opponent was Pat Dakin. The Global Electronic Technology dragster made a solid pass. Despite issues before the finish line, Langdon was easily able to take the round win over Dakin and further close the gap to on the top ten in the point standings. The day ended in the second round as the team put in a strong setup against eventual race winner Steve Torrence, but the Global Electronic Technology machine suffered tire smoke. 

Qualified: No. 7 (3.764 sec., 321.19 mph) 

E1: Langdon defeated Dakin – 3.754 sec., 320.74 mph to 3.939 sec., 243.99 mph

E2: Langdon defeated by Torrence – 4.236 sec., 209.82 mph to 3.746 sec., 324.59 mph

Quotable: “We did have a good weekend. We made huge gains in the the tuneup department, so everything is positive heading into Topeka. Made a good qualifying run in the last session and made a good run in the first session. In the matchup with Torrence, we were pushing it and it smoked the tires. Nothing to hang our heads about. The car is responding to what we want it to. We will just head to Topeka and hopefully keep making up the rounds and get in the top ten.”

Point Standings: 14th; trails Troy Buff by five points for 13th 

Troy Coughlin Atlanta

Coughlin Jr. makes best pass of the weekend in opening round Atlanta defeat

Race Recap: The last race of three straight, the SealMaster team and driver Troy Coughlin Jr., were looking to continue to learn and gain knowledge for the upcoming summer swing of races.

Unfortunately, after losing both Friday passes due to weather, Coughlin Jr. only got two laps at Atlanta Dragway and both of them failed to produce the results that the SealMaster team were looking for. A 4.083 second pass in the second Saturday session slotted the SealMaster team in 14th overall heading into Sunday.

The draw was defending Top Fuel champion Antron Brown. The SealMaster team had a clean 3.788 second pass, but Brown ran the second-best pass in Atlanta Dragway history cutting Coughlin Jr.’s day short. 

Qualified: No. 14 (4.083 sec., 199.58 mph) 

E1: Coughlin Jr. defeated by Brown – 3.788 sec., 304.67 mph to 3.702 sec., 328.78 mph

Quotable: “Well our weekend in Atlanta was cut short. We are making progress with this SealMaster Toyota; just making laps in the car and making notes on what I want to work on with myself. We will move along to Topeka and continue the progress there.”

Point Standings: Ninth (-346); trails Terry McMillen by six points for eighth, leads Scott Palmer by 51 points for tenth

JR Todd Atlanta 

Todd dealt tough Atlanta event

Race Recap: After earning their first final round appearance of the season in Charlotte, Todd and the DHL team were hoping to continue that run of success into Atlanta, where Todd had been a Top Fuel finalist just one season ago.

However, the DHL team were dealt a tough weekend. After losing both Friday passes due to weather, the two runs on Saturday were both met with trouble. Seeded 13th overall going into Sunday, Todd drew eventual race winner Ron Capps. Todd was stellar on the tree, recording a top three reaction time for the class, but the DHL Toyota fell to near immediate tire smoke ending their weekend. 

Qualified: No. 13 (5.052 sec., 149.22 mph) 

E1: Todd defeated by Capps – 9.859 sec., 73.50 mph to 3.901 sec., 326.79 mph 

Quotable: “Not the weekend we were looking for with this DHL Toyota Camry team. We will pack up and head to the shop and work hard to improve our performance for our next race in Topeka.”

Point Standings: Ninth (-307); trails Tim Wilkerson by three points for eighth; leads Jonnie Lindberg by eighth points for 10th

Chad Head Atlanta

Head loses to track record pass in the first round

Race Recap: Interim driver Chad Head competed in his second straight event in the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car filling in for Alexis DeJoria. The team was solid in both qualifying passes. They achieved lane choice with their 4.024 second pass in the final qualifying session on Saturday. 

Head drew Robert Hight in the first round. Head recorded his best run of the weekend, but it was not enough as Hight reset the track record with his 3.882 second run. 

Qualified: No. 8 (4.024 sec., 312.57 mph)

E1: Head defeated by Hight – 4.004 sec., 319.29 mph to 3.882 sec., 328.06 mph

Point Standings: (DeJoria) 14th (-405 or 425); trails Cruz Pedregon by 17 points for 13th, leads Jeff Diehl by 75 points for 15th