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NHRA: Southern Nationals – Kalitta wins with .0000-sec margin

Doug Kalitta raced to his second consecutive Top Fuel victory of the season Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock), and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also victorious at the seventh event of 24 on the 2016 NHRA schedule.

Kalitta powered his dragster to a 3.801-sec pass at 323.19 mph to defeat Kalitta Motorsports teammate J.R. Todd’s 3.780 at 320.66 on a holeshot in the final round. Kalitta tallied his 40th career victory and third at Atlanta Dragway. The margin of victory between Kalitta and Todd was .0000, making it the closest Top Fuel race in NHRA history. It was the first time since 2006 that two Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel cars decided a final. Kalitta sprinted past Terry Haddock, eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher, and reigning world champ Antron Brown in the earlier rounds.

 “I really didn’t think I had won,” said Kalitta, the Top Fuel points leader. “The last couple of rounds, I didn’t see the win light on the wall. J.R. went blowing by me at the end there, and I got around the corner and I was very relieved, to say the least.”

In Funny Car, Hagan sprinted to his first victory of 2016 with a 3.965 at 314.90, beating Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman in the final. Hagan ended a 19-race winless streak and notched his 19th career victory. Hagan outlasted Chad Head, reigning world champ Del Worsham, and points leader Courtney Force in the earlier rounds to win his first NHRA Southern Nationals title.

“We’ve been trying to dig our way out of a hole we dug for ourselves in the beginning of the season with a new chassis and some new parts and different things like that,” said Hagan, who currently sits ninth in the points standings. “We went back to what we know and pulled our old car back out. We won a championship with it. We all knew it was just a matter of time before we figured it out. We’re really happy to get that monkey off our back.”

 In Pro Stock, Jason Line drove his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro to a 6.611 at 209.75 in the final round to better teammate Greg Anderson on a holeshot. This is Line’s fourth victory of 2016 and 41st in his career. Line has advanced to the final round in all seven races this season. This is Line’s second consecutive win at this event and third overall. The victory extends his series points lead. As the No. 2 qualifier, Line beat John Gaydosh Jr., five-time world champ Jeg Coughlin Jr., and Allen Johnson in the earlier rounds.

“We kind of whined and complained about the rules change, but I never would’ve thought that this would be the result of that,” said Line, who has only lost to Anderson this year. “It’s a great day anytime you can win in front of your sponsor. This is a very tricky racetrack. I haven’t been on an Atlanta track like this ever. We struggled hard with it, but again, I’m a little bit in awe that I’ve been able to race in all the final rounds this year.”

Anderson raced past V. Gaines in the first round, then had a second-round bye before beating Kenny Delco in the third round to meet Line in the final. Anderson is second in the points standings.

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues in Topeka, May 20-22, with the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

 

Related stories
Friday: Kalitta, Beckman, Anderson, Sampey lead after opening day in Atlanta
Saturday:  Kalitta, Beckman, Anderson, Sampey remain on top in Atlanta

 

2016 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS

Updated 5/15/2016 (Following the seventh of 24 events; Season victories in parentheses)

 

TOP FUEL

Place

Driver

Points

1.

Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Mac Tools dragster (2)

586

2.

Antron Brown, Indianapolis, Matco Tools dragster (1)

522

3.

Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Monster Energy dragster (2)

518

4.

Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contactors dragster (1)

474

5.

J.R. Todd, Indianapolis, SealMaster dragster

418

6.

Clay Millican, Drummonds, Tenn., Denso/Great Clips dragster

387

7.

Tony Schumacher, Austin, Texas, U.S. Army dragster

349

8.

Richie Crampton, Indianapolis, Lucas Oil dragster

337

9.

Leah Pritchett, Danville, Ind., FireAide dragster (1)

308

10.

Terry McMillen, Elkhart, Ind., Amalie Motor Oil dragster

293

 

FUNNY CAR

1.

Courtney Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Traxxas Chevy Camaro (1)

522

2.

Jack Beckman, Norco, Calif., Infinite Hero Dodge Charger

482

3.

Tim Wilkerson, Springfield, Ill., Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang (2)

476

4.

Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger (1)

471

5.

Robert Hight, Yorba Linda, Calif., Auto Club Chevy Camaro (1)

458

6.

Del Worsham, Villa Park, Calif., DHL Toyota Camry

429

7.

John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Advance Auto Chevy Camaro

416

8.

Alexis DeJoria, Austin, Texas, Tequila Patron Toyota Camry (1)

394

9.

Matt Hagan, Christiansburg, Va., Pennzoil Dodge Charger (1)

390

10.

Tommy Johnson Jr., Avon, Ind., Make A Wish Dodge Charger

351

 

PRO STOCK

1.

Jason Line, Mooresville, N.C., Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro (4)

812

2.

Greg Anderson, Mooresville, N.C., Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro (3)

716

3.

Bo Butner, Floyd Knobs, Ind., Jim Butner Auto Chevy Camaro

553

4.

Drew Skillman, Bargersville, Ind., Ray Skillman Chevy Chevy Camaro

432

5.

Chris McGaha, Odessa, Texas, Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevy Camaro

393

6.

Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Marathon Petroleum Dodge Dart

392

7.

Jeg Coughlin Jr., Delaware, Ohio, Magnetimarelli/JEGS Dodge Dart

308

8.

Vincent Nobile, Dix Hills, N.Y., Mountain View Tire Chevy Camaro

294

9.

Erica Enders, New Orleans, Elite Motorsports Dodge Dart

289

10.

Alex Laughlin, Granbury, Texas, Gas Monkey Garage/360 Wraps Chevy Camaro

272

 

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE (following the third of 16 events)

1.

Eddie Krawiec, Brownsburg, Ind., Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson (2)

353

2.

Andrew Hines, Brownsburg, Ind., Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson (1)

233

3.

Hector Arana Sr., Milltown, Ind., Lucas Oil Buell

207

4.

Jerry Savoie, Cut Off, La., Savoie's Alligator Farm Suzuki

204

5.

Chip Ellis, Brownsburg, Ind., PiranaZ Buell

193

6.

Angelle Sampey, Mathews, La., Precision Service Equipment Buell

179

7.

LE Tonglet, Metairie, La., Nitro Fish Suzuki

143

8.

Matt Smith, King, N.C., Nitro Fish Victory

124

9.

Karen Stoffer, Gardnerville, Nev., Big St Charles Motorsports/SEP Suzuki

118

10.

Scotty Pollacheck, Central Point, Ore., Petrolhead Apparel Buell

117

 

 

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