Funny Car driver Robert Hight earned his fourth win of the season and third win in a row on Monday after rain delayed the eliminations of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also took home Wallys from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.
Hight, the Funny Car points leader, defeated his John Force Racing teammate Courtney Force in the finals after earning round wins over Bob Bode, Tim Wilkerson and Ron Capps.
"We’ve just got to take it one run at a time," said Hight. "It’s a total team effort. First round I was able to save it and pedal the car. Second round my team definitely saved me. My brain got a mental overload. Luckily my team gave me a 4.05 that run. After that we got in sync, we were back as a team again. ”
“It would have been a big win for Courtney, but, you know what, we’ve got some momentum,” said Hight of Force’s loss, as the NHRA seeks win No. 100 by a female competitor. “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.”
Massey beat Doug Kalitta in the Top Fuel final for his first win of the season and 15th of his career. Massey earned early-round victories over JR Todd, Clay Millican and Antron Brown to reach the finals.
“In the final round, we tried standing on it again. With Kalitta running those awesome numbers in qualifying, we knew we couldn’t take them lightly,” said Massey. “We spun the tire, got out there, and I tried grabbing a little brake again, got back on it, and got to the finish line first. It wasn’t pretty. There was a lot of smoke, a lot of fire, a lot of oil, but it is what it is.”
“I wish I could tell you [why I do well at Atlanta Dragway], but I do love racing here in Commerce, Georgia,” continued Massey. “My first Alcohol Dragster win was here in 2007, again in 2008. My first Top Fuel final round with Don Prudhomme was in 2009. I love racing at this track. It’s usually hot. It’s usually kind of muggy, but there again, I’m from the South. I like it hot. I like it muggy. I can still race in it and have fun.”
Coughlin Jr. picked up round wins against Allen Johnson, Erica Enders-Stevens and Jason Line to reach the final-round Pro Stock matchup against Greg Anderson. The win was Coughlin Jr.’s first of the season and third at Atlanta.
“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 Jr. “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.”
Krawiec earned round wins against Jerry Savoie, Adam Arana and Michael Ray before reaching the PSM finals against his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley Davidson teammate Andrew Hines. It was Krawiec’s first win of the season and third at Atlanta.
"We’re happy to be back and winning,” said Krawiec. “Going into the first year of the race, we were respectable but missed the tune-up on Sunday. We went to Charlotte and ran to what we were expecting but still hadn’t finished our R&D process and all of the new components we’d been working on all winter long. We weren’t totally happy and felt we needed more performance because we thought we’d have to be spot-on the tune-up to run with everybody. We went back to the shop and really put forth the effort.”
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to the track Friday through Sunday, May 23rd through 25th with the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas. Keep up with the action at www.nhra.com.
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