COMMERCE, GA – May 2, 2021 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – Former world champ J.R. Todd rolled to his first No. 1 qualifier in nearly two years on Saturday, taking the top spot in Funny Car at the 40th and final Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
Billy Torrence (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Scotty Pollacheck (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also qualified No. 1 in their respective categories at the third race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season as the NHRA celebrates the long and storied history of Atlanta Dragway at its final Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals race.
Todd’s last No. 1 qualifier came in 2019, but he powered to the top on Saturday, going 3.982-seconds at 325.69 mph in his 11,000-horsepower DHL Toyota Camry. Todd will race Alexis DeJoria to start the final raceday at Atlanta Dragway on Sunday after earning his 13th career No. 1 qualifier. After winning in Gainesville to open the year, a second victory this early in the season would put Todd on a good early-season path.
“It shows that (crew chiefs) Todd Smith, Jon (Oberhofer) and the team have their act together. It benefitted us being the last pair,” Todd said. “Todd made some tuneup changes to slow the car down and it put up a good number. This place has always been tricky and it’s nice to be starting from No. 1. We’ll see what the conditions bring tomorrow, but it could be a good points day for us.”
Bob Tasca III, who won the most recent event in Las Vegas, was the only other Funny Car driver to make a 3-second run, going 3.999 at 320.81. Matt Hagan moved to third with a pass of 4.001 at 314.02.
Torrence Racing dominated Top Fuel qualifying in Atlanta, with B. Torrence taking the top spot in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster and his son, Steve, following closely behind. B. Torrence earned his fourth career No. 1 qualifier by going 3.815 at 323.43, while S. Torrence, the three-time reigning champ in the class, was right behind with a 3.817 at 323.66. He is the most recent race winner and will be looking to be the last Top Fuel winner at Atlanta Dragway, which is also the site of his first career win in the class. Mike Salinas qualified in the third position by going 3.841 at 317.05.
“These yellow (No. 1 qualifier) hats are easier to come by than those winner hats, but I’ll take this one,” said B. Torrence, who has six career wins.
It was again Anderson on top of Pro Stock qualifying, taking No. 1 honors for the third straight race in his DENSO Chevrolet Camaro. Anderson, who has four career wins at Atlanta Dragway, impressed with a run of 6.548 at 210.41 to take the top spot for the 109th time in his standout career. He’ll face off with Fernando Cuadra Sr. in the first round of eliminations as Anderson seeks his second victory in 2021. Deric Kramer qualified second after going 6.554 at 210.21 in the opening round of eliminations, while Aaron Stanfield bumped up to third thanks to his final qualifying pass of 6.555 at 209.56.
“We’re out here having fun in the beautiful weather here today at Atlanta Dragway,” Anderson said. “Everyone is happy and it’s working out great. Three in a row, you can’t complain about that at all. This is one of my favorite tracks and a lot of history here, and I’d like to make some more tomorrow. This DENSO Chevy is running great and hopefully, we can find a way to four rounds tomorrow and have a little glory at the end of the day.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Pollacheck continued the strong start to his 2021 season, picking up his first No. 1 qualifier on his DENSO/Strutmasters/Matt Smith Racing EBR with a run of 6.779 at 199.20. It also gives Pollacheck his third career No. 1 qualifier and comes on the heels of his final round appearance in Las Vegas. Pollacheck will meet Jerry Savoie in the opening round of eliminations. Joey Gladstone narrowly qualified second thanks to his career-best run of 6.780 at 198.20, while Andrew Hines jumped to third in the final session with a run of 6.809 and a career-best speed of 200.11.
“We do have an awesome bike,” Pollacheck said. “Matt and Angie (Smith) are making this program work so well and all four bikes are running (well). The bike is awesome and running great, as long as I don’t screw it up.”
In the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, Khalid Al-Balooshi qualified No. 1 in his Bahrain 1 Racing Camaro, going 5.713 at 250.37. The Pro Mod race is presented by Alsum Farms/Wisconsin Potato this weekend in Atlanta.
Eliminations at the Lucas Oil NHRA Southern National begin at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday.
COMMERCE, GA — Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 40th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, the third of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel — 1. Billy Torrence, 3.815 seconds, 323.43 mph vs. Bye; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.817, 323.66 vs. 15. Buddy Hull, broke; 3. Mike Salinas, 3.841, 317.05 vs. 14. Joe Morrison, 30.957, 38.56; 4. Josh Hart, 3.844, 319.98 vs. 13. Arthur Allen, 5.690, 116.81; 5. Brittany Force, 3.856, 314.90 vs. 12. Doug Foley, 4.842, 151.63; 6. Leah Pruett, 3.957, 304.94 vs. 11. Shawn Langdon, 4.783, 154.79; 7. Justin Ashley, 4.104, 231.28 vs. 10. Clay Millican, 4.584, 164.27; 8. Antron Brown, 4.331, 191.76 vs. 9. Doug Kalitta, 4.389, 195.08.
Funny Car — 1. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.982, 325.69 vs. 14. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 8.386, 82.21; 2. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.999, 320.81 vs. 13. Paul Lee, Dodge Charger, 6.534, 98.12; 3. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.001, 314.02 vs. 12. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 5.024, 152.73; 4. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.005, 319.60 vs. 11. John Force, Camaro, 4.995, 159.31; 5. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.006, 313.73 vs. 10. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.161, 307.09; 6. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.026, 316.30 vs. 9. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.141, 302.96; 7. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 4.047, 276.35 vs. 8. Dave Richards, Mustang, 4.062, 300.26.
Pro Stock — 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.548, 210.41 vs. 16. Fernando Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.658, 208.75; 2. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.554, 210.21 vs. 15. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, 6.652, 208.71; 3. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.555, 209.56 vs. 14. Cristian Cuadra, Mustang, 6.634, 209.39; 4. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.560, 211.06 vs. 13. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.612, 207.27; 5. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.563, 210.24 vs. 12. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.603, 209.23; 6. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.563, 209.39 vs. 11. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.600, 208.62; 7. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.581, 209.56 vs. 10. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.598, 208.71; 8. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.581, 208.26 vs. 9. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.584, 209.07.
Did Not Qualify: 17. John Gaydosh Jr, 6.685, 207.66; 18. Richie Stevens, 6.689, 207.66; 19. Alan Prusiensky, 6.689, 206.57; 20. John Callahan, 7.297, 184.25.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.779, 199.20 vs. 16. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.948, 189.34; 2. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.780, 198.20 vs. 15. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 6.936, 193.74; 3. Andrew Hines, Buell, 6.809, 200.11 vs. 14. John Hall, Buell, 6.912, 192.30; 4. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.812, 197.62 vs. 13. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.897, 194.86; 5. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.815, 191.65 vs. 12. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.876, 195.00; 6. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.829, 197.16 vs. 11. Eddie Krawiec, Buell, 6.874, 201.70; 7. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.830, 200.53 vs. 10. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.858, 195.05; 8. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.839, 196.67 vs. 9. Cory Reed, Suzuki, 6.842, 196.85.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Jianna Salinas, 6.949, 191.48; 18. Chris Bostick, 6.987, 192.85; 19. David Barron, 7.016, 181.28; 20. Marc Ingwersen, 7.049, 195.70; 21. Pablo Gonzalez, 7.093, 185.05; 22. Charles Poskey, 7.284, 185.61.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 22 national events featuring the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, Factory Stock Showdown and Top Fuel Harley Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style. NHRA also offers the NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. With over 120 Member Tracks, NHRA allows racers to compete at a variety of locations nationally and internationally. NHRA’s Youth and Education Services (YES) Program reaches over 30,000 students annually to ignite their interest in automotive and racing related careers. NHRA’s streaming service, NHRA.tv, allows fans to view all NHRA national events as well as exclusive features of the sport. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to www.NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. and YouTube.
Source: National Hot Rod Association