Force Hood Picks up Where She Left Off at Atlanta Dragway; Lucas Leads Way in Top Fuel; Both ends of track records set in Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle COMMERCE, Ga. -- Funny Car driver Ashley Force Hood returned to Atlanta Dragway for...
Force Hood Picks up Where She Left Off at Atlanta Dragway; Lucas Leads Way in Top Fuel; Both ends of track records set in Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle
COMMERCE, Ga. -- Funny Car driver Ashley Force Hood returned to Atlanta Dragway for the first time since her historic win here a year ago and she picked up right where she left off, earning the provisional No. 1 qualifying position at the 29th annual Summit Racing NHRA Southern Nationals.
The other provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the sixth of 24 races in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series were Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
A year ago in Atlanta, Force Hood became the first female in the history of the NHRA Funny Car category to win a race when she defeated her father, John Force, in the final round. Fast forward a year and Force Hood is again best in class, posting a performance of 4.073 seconds at 310.05 mph in her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to assume the overnight lead. If her time holds through Saturday's two rounds of qualifying, it will be her first No. 1 of 2009 and fourth of her career.
"There might be something to (drivers fitting certain race tracks)," Force Hood said. "There are just certain (tracks) that people do great at so maybe this is our track. Hopefully it will be."
In Top Fuel, Morgan Lucas delivered a stunning 3.844 at 308.21 in his GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster for what would be his first No. 1 qualifier since the 2005 season.
"It's been a long time since we ran this good ..." said Lucas, who qualified No. 1 at Atlanta and Las Vegas 2 during that 2005 season for the only previous No. 1s in his career. "This gave us a little shot in the arm and gave my dad (Forrest) a shot in the arm. I just got off the phone with him and he's about as happy as they get right now."
Anderson's Summit Racing Pontiac GXP was the best car in both rounds of qualifying as he set the track record for time and speed with his 6.574 at 210.93 on his first pass and then he improved the track record time on the second pass (6.568 at 210.77).
"We knew today was going to be a special day," Anderson said. "When we got here this morning, we looked at the weather meters and we thought they were broken. It's never been this dry and the barometer this high and the weather this cool."
The conditions were just as beneficial for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class and Hines was simply the one who took greatest advantage, setting the track e.t record on his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson with a performance of 6.877 at 195.03.
"The weather conditions were like Candyland out there," Hines said. "It was really nice for Atlanta -- it was 70-80 percent humidity last year on Sunday when we were going rounds and this year, the air is dry and there's a tailwind which our Harleys like. It makes it really fun to come out here and race."
The track record for speed in Pro Stock Motorcycle (195.08) was set by Michael Phillips.