Kalitta, Beckman, Anderson and Sampey Race to Qualifying Leads Friday at Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals

COMMERCE, GA – May 13, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –  Doug Kalitta raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel on Friday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.

Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the seventh event of 24 on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Kalitta, riding the momentum from his victory in Houston two weeks ago, powered his Mac Tools dragster to a 3.731-second pass at 328.70 mph to take the qualifying lead. Kalitta, whose time and speed were both Atlanta Dragway track records, has one No. 1 qualifier this season and 44 in his career. He was the No. 1 qualifier at this event in 2014.

“That was a great run,” said Kalitta, who moved into the Top Fuel points lead with his Friday qualifying effort. “(Crew chief) Jim (Oberhofer) and my whole team were really serious about making a good run tonight. That thing left really hard. I was glad there were only two cars left after I made my run because the conditions were really good. They let the sun go down and let everything cool off a little bit more. We’re all hungry to do good out here. We’ll see what tomorrow brings but it’s definitely a good start for us today.”

Richie Crampton sprinted to the provisional No. 2 spot with a 3.761 at 321.50 in his Lucas Oil dragster. J.R. Todd is third and Steve Torrence, who won at the season-opener in Southern California, is fourth.

Brittany Force, who has two wins so far this season, entered the event ahead of Kalitta in the Top Fuel points standings by one point. She now trails Kalitta by two. Force is currently qualified fifth.

Two-time Atlanta winner Beckman took the qualifying lead in Funny Car with a track record performance of 3.939 at 326.32 in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T. Beckman has three No. 1 qualifiers already this season but is still chasing his first victory of the year. He has 18 No. 1 qualifiers in his career, but none in Atlanta.

“This year we have not had the same performances as we did last year,” said Beckman, who raced to a career-high seven victories in 2015. “We are fine when the track conditions are cool, but we’re struggling when it’s warm. There’s still some more performance in this car. At the end of the day, end of the weekend, end of the race, really the only thing that matters is holding up that trophy with your group in the winner’s circle. We haven’t even been to a final yet, and I’m hoping this Sunday is our first one.”

Beckman’s Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan is second with a 3.943 at 326.08 in his Rocky Boots/Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T.

Recent Houston winner and points leader Courtney Force is third. With her qualifying effort today, Force moved two points ahead of Tim Wilkerson, who is currently qualified seventh, for the Funny Car points lead. Las Vegas winner Alexis DeJoria is fourth and Gatornationals winner Robert Hight is fifth.

In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson posted a 6.610 at 210.14 at the controls of his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro to take the qualifying lead. Anderson, a four-time Atlanta event winner, has three No. 1 qualifiers so far this season and has also won three of the first six races of the year.  He has 83 top qualifiers in his career, including six at the NHRA Southern Nationals.

“It was a good day,” Anderson said. “I’ve always loved this racetrack. I’ve got a lot of history here. Ever since I started this driving gig of my own, I’ve had a lot of success here. I’ve had a lot of laps both outside of the car and inside of the car, so I love coming here. We’ve had a great year and we’re looking to keep it going. We know the competition is going to close the gap on us, but we’re just trying to keep this string going as long as we can.”

Anderson’s Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro teammate, Jason Line, posted a 6.615 at 209.36 to sit second through the first two qualifying sessions. Line, who has raced to the final round of every race this season and won three times, is a two-time NHRA Southern Nationals winner and currently has control of the Pro Stock points lead.

Shane Gray is currently qualified third in his Gray Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Bo Butner, a teammate of Anderson and Line, is fourth and is trailed by the rising star from Texas, Chris McGaha, in fifth.

Three-time world champ Sampey rode her Precision Service Equipment/Star Racing Buell to the provisional top qualifying position in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a 6.865 at 193.32. Sampey, who hasn’t qualified No. 1 since 2008, has earned six top qualifiers and four victories at Atlanta Dragway in her career. She will hope to secure the 47th No. 1 qualifier of her career on Saturday.

“I’ve only been back for a handful of races and I struggled with the bike when I first returned, so the excitement of getting the No. 1 qualifier, even it’s just for Friday, is so exciting for the whole team,” Sampey said. “We are working really, really hard. It’s a lot of work for me to stay in shape, stay mentally and physically fit to do this and I want to do it so bad.”

Five-time and reigning world champion Andrew Hines currently sits second with a 6.898 at 192.22 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson. Hines, who won the most recent Pro Stock Motorcycle event in Charlotte, N.C., has two career victories at Atlanta Dragway.

Karen Stoffer sits third through two sessions and is followed by LE Tonglet and points leader Eddie Krawiec in fourth and fifth, respectively.

The final two qualifying sessions of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals will be held Saturday, May 14, at 1:30 and 4 p.m. and will set the field for Sunday’s eliminations, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

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COMMERCE, Ga. — Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 36th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, seventh of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.  Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel
1. Doug Kalitta, 3.731 seconds, 328.70 mph; 2. Richie Crampton, 3.761, 321.50; 3. J.R. Todd, 3.762, 323.81; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.771, 324.12; 5. Brittany Force, 3.777, 320.51; 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.783, 319.52; 7. Antron Brown, 3.789, 321.27; 8. Tony Schumacher, 3.811, 319.82; 9. Leah Pritchett, 3.822, 303.50; 10. Clay Millican, 3.868, 312.64; 11. Pat Dakin, 3.878, 295.34; 12. Scott Palmer, 4.008, 295.08.  Not Qualified: 13. Chris Karamesines, 4.532, 199.67; 14. Kyle Wurtzel, 4.571, 167.51; 15. Terry McMillen, 5.421, 129.29.

Funny Car
1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.939, 326.32; 2. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.943, 326.08; 3. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.946, 324.67; 4. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.949, 318.69; 5. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.980, 323.58; 6. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.011, 322.04; 7. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.016, 311.41; 8. John Force, Camaro, 4.019, 321.73; 9. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.022, 311.05; 10. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.042, 306.95; 11. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.057, 312.35; 12. Dave Richards, Mustang, 4.192, 288.27.  Not Qualified: 13. John Hale, 4.210, 288.89; 14. Jeff Diehl, 4.216, 285.95; 15. Chad Head, 5.335, 136.88; 16. Jim Campbell, 7.944, 82.16.

Pro Stock
1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.610, 210.14; 2. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.615, 209.36; 3. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.620, 207.75; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.624, 209.04; 5. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.648, 208.39; 6. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.649, 208.46; 7. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.666, 207.37; 8. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.686, 206.86; 9. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.688, 206.70; 10. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.708, 207.05; 11. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.714, 205.85; 12. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.738, 206.54.  Not Qualified: 13. John Gaydosh Jr, 6.876, 199.67; 14. V. Gaines, 8.859, 107.22.

Pro Stock Motorcycle
1. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.865, 193.32; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.898, 192.22; 3. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.907, 194.04; 4. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.910, 193.63; 5. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.911, 194.80; 6. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.932, 192.17; 7. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.933, 192.69; 8. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.940, 192.49; 9. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.949, 191.62; 10. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.950, 193.05; 11. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.952, 190.38; 12. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 6.959, 194.13.  Not Qualified: 13. Michael Ray, 6.964, 192.38; 14. Steve Johnson, 6.969, 190.70; 15. Matt Smith, 6.972, 191.05; 16. Scotty Pollacheck, 6.977, 191.10; 17. Mike Berry, 7.001, 190.70; 18. Hector Arana Jr, 7.011, 192.00; 19. Angie Smith, 7.020, 187.52; 20. Joe DeSantis, 7.046, 188.38; 21. David Hope, 7.048, 188.41; 22. Jim Underdahl, 7.196, 161.87; 23. Lance Bonham, 7.229, 183.64; 24. Brian Pretzel, 11.003, 73.60.

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