News

DSR Atlanta Pre-Race Report

Arby's NHRA Southern Nationals
Event 7 of 24 (Atlanta)
Atlanta Dragway
Commerce, Ga. 
May 3-5, 2019

Noteworthy:

  • Leah Pritchett returns as the defending NHRA Southern Nationals Top Fuel champion
  • Matt Hagan raced his Funny Car to a runner-up finish during the 2018 event 
  • Pritchett and Hagan visited the final elimination round at the previous event 
  • Pritchett recorded her first professional final round appearance at the 2015 event
  • Antron Brown has raced to victory in both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle at Atlanta Dragway 


DSR-Owned Track Records:
Top Fuel, E.T.: 3.699-seconds, Leah Pritchett (2017)
Funny Car, speed: 329.02-mph, Matt Hagan (2016)

DSR Driver Information:
 
Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of Matco's Tools for the Cause Top Fuel Dragster
Matco's Tools for the Cause to benefit the Fisher House Foundation

Atlanta Event Highlights: 
  • Six-time event champion
    • Top Fuel (2008, 2011, 2013, 2015) 
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle (2001, 2006) 
  • 2003 Pro Stock Motorcycle runner-up 
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier
    • Top Fuel (2015) 
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle (2006) 
2018 Atlanta Recap:
Qualified seventh; First round exit (defeated by Blake Alexander in E1)

Last Event (Charlotte I):
Qualified second; First round exit (defeated by Scott Palmer, Dom Lagana in E1)

2019 Season Statistics:
Five round wins; Ranked seventh in points

Career Statistics:
412 races; 66 wins (16 Pro Stock Motorcycle); 49 No. 1 qualifiers (11 PSM)

Noteworthy:
  • In a two-way tie for winningest Top Fuel driver at Atlanta Dragway with four Southern Nationals event wins:
    • 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015  
  • Has wins in both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle at Atlanta Dragway  
  • Has qualified No. 1 in both categories at Atlanta Dragway  
  • Driving a special Matco's Tools for the Cause livery to benefit the Fisher House Foundation
    • Starting May 1, Matco will donate 15% of net sales of Tools for the Cause items to the Fisher House Foundation through the end of 2019
    • For nearly 30 years, the Fisher House program has provided “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. These homes offer free, temporary lodging to military and veterans’ families, allowing them to be close to their loved one during a medical crisis and focus on what’s important—the healing process
    • Families served by Fisher House Foundation: More than 368,000 families since inception in 1990
Quotable:
“I’ve got some great memories from Atlanta, and I’m looking forward to getting back there. I’ve done well at that track, from Pro Stock Motorcycle to my first year competing in Top Fuel when I beat ‘The Sarge’ there in the final in 2008. Atlanta Dragway always sticks out in my mind because it’s one of those old school tracks where the grandstands are right next to the race track and the fans get a great view. Atlanta fans are like no other. They come out of the woodwork when we race there.
 
“I’m amped up, pumped up. We had a great test session on Monday after Charlotte. We found some things that I think will give us a leg up where we can go out and compete at the high level we’ve been working so hard to reach. I feel like we’re turning the corner and really think Atlanta could be a great breakout race for us.”


 
LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the John Schnatter Top Fuel Dragster 
Atlanta Event Highlights:
  • 2018 event champion 
  • 2015 runner-up 
2018 Atlanta Recap:
Qualified fourth; Event champion (defeated Pat Dakin in E1, Bill Litton in E2, Mike Salinas in E3, Blake Alexander in E4)
 
Last Event (Charlotte I):
Qualified fifth; Semifinal finish (defeated Richie Crampton, Lex Joon in E1, Doug Kalitta, Mike Salinas in E2; defeated by Steve Torrence, Clay Millican in E3)

2019 Season Statistics:
Eight round wins; Ranked sixth in points 

Career Statistics:
124 races; seven wins; 11 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • 2018 event champion 
  • Raced to the final quad at the previous event (NHRA Four-Wide Nationals)  
  • Made her first professional final round appearance at the 2015 event 
  • Reset the Atlanta Dragway Top Fuel, E.T. record in 2017: 3.699 seconds 

Quotable: 
“Atlanta! Back-to-back races are my favorite and being in the South holds a special spot as I once called Atlanta home. Work ethic, parts inventory, and vibes are high coming into this race, especially as defending champ and with a stout running hotrod.
 
“John Schnatter is a strong supporter of this team and our potential to bring home a Wally. With the challenging circumstance we had to complete funding for this event, he personally stepped up to ensure we would not miss it, and we thank him for the chance to defend our Atlanta title. I have stayed on the road as planned with the guys as in years past between races and look forward to seeing our dedicated fans in Atlanta.”



Funny Car:

JACK BECKMAN
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Atlanta Event Highlights: 
  • Two-time event champion (2009, 2011) 
  • 2016 runner-up 
  • 2016 No. 1 qualifier 
2018 Atlanta Recap:
Qualified 10th; Semifinal finish (defeated J.R. Todd in E1, Bob Tasca III in E2; defeated by Matt Hagan in E3)

Last Event (Charlotte I):
Qualified 2nd; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Dave Richards, Ron Capps in E1; defeated by John Force, Matt Hagan in E2)

2019 Season Statistics:
Nine round wins; ranked fourth (tied) in points 
 
Career Statistics:
306 races; 28 wins; 24 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
“We’re hanging tough in the points and we have a great race car, but we’re also frustrated after a first-round loss at Houston and then a dropped cylinder right at the start of the second round in Charlotte. We know that we’re better than what we’re showing on the race track. We have a car that’s capable of qualifying in the top of the field and we’ve shown that. And we know we have a car capable of winning the race on Sunday, but we haven’t shown that. We got so close at the season-opener in Pomona. We need to make a statement. We’re coming to a point where it’s going to be imperative we put our Infinite Hero Dodge Hellcat into the winner’s circle. If we can do that going into the hot months and stabilize that tune-up, we’ll go right back up to the top of the point standings.”


 
RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Atlanta Event Highlights: 
  • Two-time event champion (2011, 2017) 
  • Four-time runner-up (1995, 2000, 2001, 2015) 
2018 Atlanta Recap:
Qualified 12th; Quarterfinal finish (defeated John Force in E1; defeated by Cruz Pedregon in E2)

Last Event (Charlotte I):
Qualified tenth; First round exit (defeated by Jack Beckman, Tim Wilkerson in E1)

2019 Season Statistics:
Five round wins; ranked ninth in points 

Career Statistics:
537 races; 61 wins (one Top Fuel); 22 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Driving a special one-race-only NAPA Brakes livery to support the NAPA Brakes program
    • From May 1 – May 31, customers can get a $75 Prepaid Visa Card with qualifying NAPA Brake parts purchase of $250 or more at participating NAPA AUTO PARTS stores and NAPA AutoCare Centers

Quotable:
“Atlanta is a big, big race. It’s the home of NAPA AUTO PARTS and our series sponsor, Mello Yello and Coca-Cola. We were very fortunate to win the championship a few years ago and we get to attend the Coke partners dinner on Thursday night. If you can win in your sponsor’s backyard, that’s the ultimate in racing. We have some NAPA executives coming out who have never been to an NHRA race and we’re excited to introduce them to the sport. This team isn’t far from the winner’s circle and I have the utmost confidence in my team. The way this journey has been this year, that first win will be very rewarding.”


 
MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Dayco Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Atlanta Event Highlights: 
  • 2016 event champion 
  • Two-time event runner-up (2013, 2018) 
  • 2013 No. 1 qualifier 
2018 Atlanta Recap:
Qualified 11th; Event runner-up (defeated Jonnie Lindberg in E1, Tommy Johnson Jr. in E2, Jack Beckman in E3; defeated by Courtney Force in E4)

Last Event (Charlotte I):
Qualified sixth; Semifinal finish (defeated Cruz Pedregon, Jonnie Lindberg in E1, Tim Wilkerson, Jack Beckman in E2; defeated by Shawn Langdon, Robert Hight in E3)

2019 Season Statistics:
11 round wins; ranked second in points 

Career Statistics:
246 races; 30 wins; 34 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • 2018 event runner-up 
  • Raced to the final quad at the previous event (NHRA Four-Wide Nationals)  
  • Holds the Atlanta Dragway Funny Car speed record (329.02-mph), set during the 2016 event

Quotable:
“Headed into Atlanta, I’m really excited coming off of two finals. The car is running really well. We’re moving forward and I have so much confidence in our team, confidence in our race car and confidence in my lights. I think this car is going to turn on a lot of win lights this year and win some races. We’ve been to three out of the six finals and won one race. We’re still fine-tuning, but it’s all coming together. We’re going to do big things.”


 
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat 
2018 Atlanta Recap:
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Jim Campbell in E1; defeated by Matt Hagan in E2)

Last Event (Charlotte I):
Qualified fourth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Jeff Diehl, Terry Haddock in E1; defeated by Robert Hight, Shawn Langdon in E2)

2019 Season Statistics:
Eight round wins; ranked sixth in points 
 
Career Statistics:
452 races; 17 wins (two Top Fuel); 18 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Noteworthy:
  • 1985 Super Comp runner-up 

Quotable:
“It’s no secret, Atlanta’s probably not my favorite track. I’ve had a lot of really bad things happen over the years at that track. I actually was runner-up there back in 1985 (competing in Super Gas) and it’s been downhill since then, but one of these days I’m going to beat that track.
 
“We’re starting to run better; it’s getting hot and we’re learning in the hot conditions. I think our car is going to perform well from here on out. We learned a lot last weekend and this might be the year that I finally overcome all of the Atlanta problems I’ve had in the past.”

Our Sponsors

Join Shoe's News

Thank You!

Thank you for signing up to receive Shoe’s News.