DSR Atlanta Qualifying Report

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

DSR Atlanta Saturday Highlights:

  • Defending Top Fuel event champion Leah Pritchett leads DSR qualifying and will start race day from the No. 4 position
  • Antron Brown piloted his machine to the second-quickest pass of Top Fuel Q3, collecting two more bonus points
  • Tommy Johnson Jr. will start race day from the top-half of the Funny Car field and will have lane choice over teammate Matt Hagan
Note: Saturday's second qualifying session (Q4) was cancelled due to persistent rain

Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

Driver of Matco's Tools for the Cause Top Fuel Dragster
Matco's Tools for the Cause to benefit the Fisher House Foundation
Qualified: No. 9

The Competition: No. 8 Clay Millican

The Results: 
Q1: 3.832 E.T. at 306.74 MPH (Two points for second quickest run of the session)
Q2: 6.427 E.T. at 108.00 MPH
Q3: 3.821 E.T. at 323.19 MPH (Two points for second quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: Four

“I’m feeling good going into race day. We’re going to go out there and keep doing what we’re doing. We’re definitely gaining ground. We got four qualifying bonus points so that’s definitely a plus, we just didn’t nail it on the night run. We were second-quickest the first run out, and second-quickest the last run out so we’re definitely headed in the right direction. Looking forward to race day tomorrow. Atlanta has always been good to us and hopefully it can be good to us tomorrow.”

Driver of the John Schnatter Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 4 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 13 Audrey Worm

The Results:
Q1: 4.044 E.T. at 244.96 MPH
Q2: 3.764 E.T. at 325.14 MPH
Q3: No Time

“This car, she’s primed and ready, just as we left her on Friday. We made significant moves and we’re happy about our smooth, consistent run. We’ve got a hot rod. It’s good to come into this race as defending champions. We know that the competition is stiff. The fans have been absolutely amazing sticking it out through this rain, but we’re going to put Saturday behind us like a ponytail and move on. Looking forward to four great, sunny, fast, competitive MOPAR moments tomorrow.”

Funny Car:

Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 14

The Competition: No. 3 John Force

The Results:
Q1: 5.126 E.T. at 149.12 MPH
Q2: 6.076 E.T. at 100.30 MPH
Q3: 10.823 E.T. at 62.49 MPH

“I think when you qualify 14th and you haven’t made it to the finish line once, you really, really would’ve liked to have gotten that last qualifying session. Nobody got to run it so it’s an equal playing field, but we’re a little bit puzzled. Our car has thrown us a little bit of a curve ball. It is running quicker than it should with the settings in it, and now without the benefit of Q4, we won’t be able to back it off like we wanted to get it down the track. I guess the good news is, this race track is eating up tune-ups. It was difficult for everybody. There weren’t any standout cars. Nobody made it down the track on all of their runs. It’s going to be a tuner's nightmare come Sunday, and it might be a driver's one, too, when that sun comes out. I’ve been in this position so many times before where you’re thinking, ‘man, we’re enormous underdogs going into race day,’ and Guido (crew chief Dean Antonelli) and (co-crew chief) John (Medlen) figure out what’s going on and we come out roaring.”

Driver of the NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 11

The Competition: No. 6 Shawn Langdon

The Results:
Q1: 5.730 E.T. at 120.31 MPH
Q2: 8.845 E.T. at 77.45 MPH
Q3: 4.149 E.T. at 290.94 MPH

“We certainly didn’t qualify where we wanted to. It’s another ‘rain shortened’ qualifying weekend and those put a lot of pressure on everybody. We just haven’t found our sweet spot, but its been great to represent NAPA Brakes this weekend. We have new uniforms, new firesuit and a special livery in NAPA headquarters’ backyard. For our standards, we have not had the start we wanted, but you always hear me talk about the NAPA Know How, and no matter where we qualify, we have a great chance of winning on any given Sunday.
“We went down the track that last run. It did put a cylinder out down there, but I think we learned enough early on that (crew chief) Rahn Tobler has gotten a good feel for it. We have last weekend’s winner, Shawn Langdon, first round and he’s going to be tough. He’s a great driver, but you’re going to have to race everybody eventually so you might as well get it out of the way early if you can.”

Driver of the Dayco Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 10

The Competition: No. 7 Tommy Johnson Jr.

The Results: 
Q1: 4.483 E.T. at 196.53 MPH
Q2: 4.129 E.T. at 263.98 MPH
Q3: 10.186 E.T. at 72.31 MPH

“The track conditions obviously have been a little bit tricky this weekend but I think we’ve proven time and time again that (crew chief) Dickie Venables does a great job with coming out and swinging hard on Sunday, diving into the race track and doing what we need to do. The weather played a part of this (qualifying position). Yesterday with the rain coming in and everything getting cool, and then today missing out on Q4 and having to run up there really quick on Q3 after it rained. Looking ahead to tomorrow, race day conditions, we’ll go back to what we’ve been running the last couple of races. We feel like we have a pretty good tune-up. Lane choice is going to be huge tomorrow. Obviously, we’re not going to have lane choice with TJ and that right lane has been tricky. We’ll have to take that into consideration and pull it back a little bit but it is what it is, that’s how the cards fell this weekend. They’ll have lane choice and we’ll see what we can do with that right lane.”

Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 7 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 10 Matt Hagan

The Results: 
Q1: 4.040 E.T. at 316.30 MPH (One point for third quickest run of the session)
Q2: 12.477 E.T. at 66.06 MPH
Q3: 4.031 E.T. at 313.66 MPH

Bonus Points: One

“I think lane choice will play a bigger factor tomorrow than it has all year. Thankfully, we’re top-half of the field so we’ll have lane choice for first round. Weather conditions should be similar to what we encountered today and the car performed well in both of the qualifying runs in the heat. Looks like we’ve got a good bracket car for the heat and we’ll see what we can do with it.”

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