After hosting NHRA national events for 40 years – Atlanta Dragway’s chapter closes…

Antron Brown couldn’t have dreamed of a better way to close out the famed Atlanta Dragway on Sunday, becoming the winningest Top Fuel driver at the historic facility with his fifth victory at the 40th and final Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals. 

Bob Tasca III (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Scotty Pollacheck (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the third race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season as the NHRA held the last race at the historic track.

Brown defeated three-time reigning world champ Steve Torrence in a thrilling final round, going 3.752-seconds at 323.81 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools dragster to beat Torrence’s 3.794 at 323.81. Brown, a three-time world champ, beat Doug Kalitta, No. 1 qualifier Billy Torrence and Brittany Force to advance to the final round, making his best run of the weekend when it counted. Brown leaves Atlanta Dragway with seven overall victories, including two that came in Pro Stock Motorcycle, while Sunday’s triumph also gave him 68 carer wins. It was a meaningful victory for Brown, who beat his close friend Torrence in the final pair of NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors to go down Atlanta Dragway.

Antron Brown racked up his 68th NHRA national event title when he won in Top Fuel at Atlanta’s “final fling”.

“That’s Rocky Balboa right there (referencing Torrence) and I’m Apollo,” Brown said. “To get this win, it was truly remarkable. We just built on it every lap. Any time you can do this and get one of these (Wally trophies), it’s just so special. Atlanta has just been so special to all of us.” 

S. Torrence advanced to his 64th Top Fuel final round on the strength of wins against Buddy Hull, Justin Ashley and Shawn Langdon, staying in the points lead.

Tasca III picked up his second straight victory in Funny Car, with Sunday’s triumph against John Force one he will always remember. He went 4.004 at 326.48 in his 11,000-horsepower Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang in the final round, beating Force’s 4.015 at 321.81, claiming his eighth career victory. Tasca maintained his points lead in the class, cemented himself as a certain championship contender and won for the first time in Atlanta. He picked the perfect time, adding a historic win at the final race at Atlanta Dragway to his growing resume.

Bob Tasca III roared to his 2nd win of the season in fuel FC with his Motorcraft Ford Mustang.

“There’s nobody who has done it better than Force over the years and it’s an honor to roll up next to him, but there’s nobody I get up for more and to beat him in the final, it’s great,” Tasca said. “I want to thank all the Atlanta fans. It’s so special to be here and see this place sold out. There’s so many great memories and it’s so great to leave with the trophy. For all those Ford fans and all the Ford family members that called me (after the last race) after winning Vegas, we did it again.”

Tasca beat Paul Lee, Blake Alexander and defending world champ Matt Hagan to reach the final round. Force reached his 257th final round with victories against Cruz Pedregon, Ron Capps and J.R. Todd, producing a series of entertaining runs for the huge crowd at Atlanta Dragway on Sunday.

There was no stopping points leader Anderson on Sunday in Atlanta, as the four-time Pro Stock world champion furthered his dominant start to the 2021 season with a superb performance on Sunday. He took out Vincent Nobile in the final round in his DENSO Chevrolet Camaro, going 6.568 at 209.04 against Nobile’s 6.598 at 208.78. It handed Anderson his second victory this year and 96th in his career, putting him one away from tying Warren Johnson for the most in Pro Stock history. It also gave the longtime standout his fifth victory at Atlanta Dragway in the final race, which ties him with Johnson and gave Anderson a memorable send-off at the facility.

Greg Anderson won for the second time in 2021 in Pro Stock

“It was an absolute dream weekend. My DENSO Chevy, it was absolutely flawless all weekend long,” Anderson said. “I’ve never made four smoother, nicer runs on raceday than this. It’s just been an awesome day and a storybook deal. There’s a lot of history here and I love racing here. To tie Warren and to go out with five each, it’s great. It’s been a dream, it’s been wonderful and I want to thank everyone who has helped us.”

Anderson beat Fernando Cuadra Sr., Matt Hartford and defending world champ Erica Enders to reach his 160th final round. Making his first appearance since 2018, Nobile beat Troy Coughlin Jr., Aaron Stanfield and Deric Kramer to advance to his 26th final.

In an all-Matt Smith Racing final round, Scotty Pollacheck claimed the victory over his teammate, as Matt Smith went red by a mere .001, handing the victory to Pollacheck on his DENSO/Strutmaster/Matt Smith Racing EBR. Pollacheck, who was the No. 1 qualifier, went 6.921 at 198.35 to claim his second career victory, with the first one also coming after he qualified No. 1. He was solid throughout eliminations, beating Jerry Savoie, Ryan Oehler and Angelle Sampey to reach his ninth career final round.

Scotty Pollacheck won in Pro Stock Bike

“This whole team did so well with two bikes in the final round, and Matt is the man,” said Pollacheck, who jumped to second in points, just three behind Smith. “He gave me one there because mine bogged down in the finals, but it’s going to be a big celebration tonight. This was awesome and it’s just a great team.”

Smith reached his 60th career final round and second in 2021 thanks to round wins against Steve Johnson, Joey Gladstone and Eddie Krawiec.

Canadian Champ!

After finishing as the runner-up at the opening race of the 2021 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season (at Gainesville), Canada’s Justin Bond (from Mission BC) finished the job at Atlanta, beating back-to-back world champ Stevie “Fast” Jackson on a holeshot in the final round of the final race at Atlanta Dragway.

The race, which was presented by Alsum Farms/Wisconsin Potato, is the second event of the 2021 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service season, and Bond picked up his second career victory.

Bond went 5.738-seconds at 249.49 mph in his ProCharger-powered Bahrain 1 Racing Camaro to beat Jackson, who went a quicker 5.724 at 252.43 at his home track. After qualifying third, Bond, whose first win in the class came a year ago in Houston, beat Alex Laughlin, Dwayne Wolfe and Brandon Snider to reach his fourth final round. He posted a .038 reaction time in the championship round against Jackson to hold off the standout driver and grab the victory.

Justin Bond (near lane) used a hole shot to defeat Steve Jackson in the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod final round.

Note: For more details and highlights on Pro Mod racing from Atlanta – link to our Pro Mod Portal coverage.

The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service returns to action May 14-16 as part of the NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte.

The Lucas Oil Lowdown

Multiple first time national event winners highlighted action during the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series portion of the Lucas Oil Southern Nationals.

The Top Alcohol racing category produced two inaugural circuit wins with Rick McPhillips Jr. and Matt Gill both breaking though.

TAD winner – Rick McPhillips Jr.

McPhillips, who is a second generation racer based from Pennsylvannia, saved his best run of the weekend for the final round when his 5.183 secs at 280.14 mph gave him the Top Alcohol Dragster title over Jackie Fricke (who succumbed to tire smoke). Rick, son to class veteran racer Rich McPhillips, had defeated Robin Samsel, Julie Nataas and Karen Stalba in earlier competition.

Matt Gill won the TAFC title in his Chevy Camaro

Matt Gill’s first national event title came in the TAFC class racing his Moduline-sponsored Chevy Camaro. He beat Bob McCosh in a close final round 5.522 secs to 5.542 secs – after qualifying #1 at 5.481 secs.

First time NHRA winners were also produced in Super Comp and Super Street index classes.

Racing his Ford Thunderbird, Chuck Trotter scored a very rare win in the dragster dominated S/C class – the first win by a “door car” there in 10 years. Tony Jones was the S/ST 10.90 winner – taking that eliminator with his ’67 Camaro – that win coming in what was his first ever final round.

Super Street (10.90) produced a first time winner – Tony Jones
Chuck Trotter won in Super Comp (8.90) in a door car!

“Cool Hand” Luke Bogacki rounded out the index winners – taking his 15th NHRA national event title with his S/G (9.90) ’63 Corvette.

For the 15X in his career – Luke Bogacki was a NHRA national event winner

The hard fought Stock and Super Stock titles went to Gary Rowe with his K/SA Camaro (his 5th win) and to Kent Hanley in a Chevy Cavalier GT/EA (his 4th win).

Stock eliminator winner – Gary Rowe
Super Stock winner – Kent Hanley

Dylan Stott (from NC) was a popular winner in the event’s Top Sportsman class (presented by Vortech Superchargers) racing his cool 2020 model Mustang to victory, to also become a first time winner.

Dylan Stott was the TS winner

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action May 14-16 with the NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte.

To view the LMLCMedia event photo gallery from Atlanta – click: HERE

Posted with files by NHRA Communications and Bruce Biegler
Photos by Dave DeAngelis and Phil Hutchison.
(Bob Tasca victory photo courtesy of Ron Lewis)