The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series gets back on track Friday through Sunday, May 16 through 18 with the 34th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. The strip plays host to all four Mello Yello Series categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – as well as the NHRA Pro Mod Series and the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
Pro Stock Motorcycles were absent from last year’s event at Atlanta, but the category has a long history there – Dave Schultz is the all-time victories leader at the track with eight, and Angelle Sampey is also among the leaders with four wins. Vance & Hines Screamin’ Eagle Harley Davidson riders Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines have won four of the last five races at the track (Krawiec in 2012 and 2009, Hines in 2008 and 2010).
After Erica Enders- Stevens took home the Pro Stock Wally from Houston’s Royal Purple Raceway a couple weeks ago, the watch is now on which woman will take home win No. 100 by a female in the NHRA. Enders-Stevens, with two wins so far in 2014, is a top contender at any track and currently leads the Pro Stock points standings, but Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria also has two wins this season and sits third in points. Another Funny Car driver, Courtney Force, and her Top Fuel dragster-driving sister Brittany would like to pick up that 100th win as well, as their sister Ashley became the first female Funny Car winner when she took home the Wally from the track in 2008.
The patriarch of the Force family, 16-time Funny Car champ John, is a seven-time winner at Atlanta, but hasn’t visited the winner’s circle in nine years. Another John Force Racing Funny Car driver, Robert Hight, is leading the points standings and has reached the final round in the last four races, winning twice; Hight has two wins at Atlanta.
Antron Brown, the only winner from last year returning to defend his win – Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Johnny Gray (Funny Car) are not competing this season – has three wins at Atlanta going into the Southern Nationals, and leads the Top Fuel points on the strength of three wins in four final-round appearances this year. Second-place driver Doug Kalitta has two wins at Atlanta dating back to 2005 and 2006; he’s made it to three final rounds this season, winning once.
Qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals gets underway Friday at 4:15 and 6:30 p.m. ET, concluding on Saturday with sessions at 12:30 and 3:15 p.m. ET. Pro eliminations get underway Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.
Source: “The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Rolls into the Deep South for Intense Nitro Action,” NHRA Media