Commerce: Post race notes

Post Race Notes: 23rd Annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals May 1-4, Atlanta Dragway, Commerce, Ga. TOP FUEL * Larry Dixon, from Indianapolis, earned his third victory of the season and the 28th of his career. Dixon made three...

Post Race Notes:
23rd Annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals
May 1-4, Atlanta Dragway, Commerce, Ga.

TOP FUEL

* Larry Dixon, from Indianapolis, earned his third victory of the season and the 28th of his career. Dixon made three of his four elimination passes in the 4.50-second range in his Miller Lite dragster, including his final pass of 4.569 seconds at 323.89 mph to defeat Darrell Russell, who lost traction early in the Bilstein Engine Flush dragster and rolled through the clocks in 9.884 at 107.52. The victory also moved Dixon into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time win list for Top Fuel drivers.

* Rookie Brandon Bernstein, from Lake Forest, Calif., earned his second straight No. 1 qualifying position in the Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster. Bernstein established track records for both time and speed when he shut the clocks off at 4.505 seconds at 327.98 mph.

* NHRA legend "Big Daddy" Don Garlits competed in his second NHRA event of the 2003 season. The 71-year-old from Ocala, Fla., qualified for the 16-car field when he drove his Summit Racing Equipment dragster down the track in 4.788 seconds at 319.98 mph for the No. 16 spot. Garlits was eliminated in the first round by Bernstein.

* Dixon moved back into the POWERade points lead, 35 points ahead of Bernstein, who was eliminated in the second round by Clay Millican.

FUNNY CAR

* Tony Pedregon, from Chino Hills, Calif., captured his fourth win of the season and the 23rd of his career at the track where he won his first national event in 1996. Pedregon blasted the Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang to the finish line in 4.874 seconds at 323.89 mph, defeating Johnny Gray, who recorded a final round pass of 5.009 at 304.60 in the Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird. It was Gray's second career final round, both coming this season.

* Pedregon's 23rd career victory moves him into fourth place on the all-time Funny Car win list.

* John Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., earned his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season and the 113th of his career when his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang covered the distance in a track record time of 4.768 seconds at 320.13 mph. It was Force's first top qualifying spot since the 2002 season-finale at Pomona, Calif. Force also advanced to the semifinals for the first time this year, falling to eventual runner-up Gray.

* Pedregon continued to lead the POWERade Funny Car standings. He leads Whit Bazemore, who he eliminated in the semifinals, by 108 points.

PRO STOCK

* Hometown favorite Warren Johnson used a holeshot to earn his 90th career victory and his second of the season. Johnson's GM Performance Parts Pontiac Grand Am made it to the finish line in 6.853 seconds at 201.46 mph, just ahead of the quicker Greg Anderson who recorded a run of 6.839 at 202.94 in his Vegas General Construction Grand Am. It was Johnson's fifth win in eight final round appearances at Atlanta Dragway.

* Anderson earned his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season and the fifth of his career with a time of 6.821 seconds at 203.00 mph in his Vegas General Construction Grand Am.

* Kurt Johnson established a track record for speed when his ACDelco Chevy Cavalier reached 203.12 mph during his second round loss to his father Warren.

* W. Johnson earned a $1,000 bonus by taking the Motel 6 'Who Got the Light' award when he defeated his son K. Johnson by 0.0022 of-a-second margin of victory in the second round of Pro Stock eliminations.

* K. Johnson now leads Anderson by 53 points and W. Johnson by 55 points in the POWERade standings.

* Ron Krisher failed to qualify in his Valvoline Chevy Cavalier ending the longest qualifying streak among Pro Stock drivers at 76 consecutive events, dating back to the final race of the 1999 season. Jeg Coughlin now has the longest qualifying streak in the category with 20, dating back to the first Chicago race of 2002.

* Notable DNQ's: Troy Coughlin, V Gaines, George Marnell, Larry Morgan and Gene Wilson.

PRO STOCK BIKE

* Geno Scali, from Chicago, earned his second career victory on his Team Trim-Tex Suzuki when final round opponent Antron Brown left the starting line early atop his Team 23 Suzuki giving Scali the win.

* Scali earned his second No. 1 qualifying position of his career and of the season when covered the distance in 7.181 seconds at 186.92 mph.

* All four of Scali's opponents in eliminations left the starting line early and fouled out. Scali became the second rider in the two-wheel category to win in this fashion. Antron Brown was victorious in 1999 at Dallas with four red-light round wins.

* Andrew Hines continued to improve atop his Vance & Hines Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson V-Rod. He rode the V-Rod to a run of 7.214 seconds at 185.89 mph during qualifying. The run marked the quickest Harley-Davidson pass in NHRA history and earned Hines the No. 5 qualifying spot. Teammate GT Tonglet also qualified his V-Rod for eliminations, securing the No. 8 spot with his qualifying run of 7.234 at 183.24.

* Shawn Gann established a track record for speed when he reached 190.73 mph during qualifying atop his Mac Tools/Gann Speed Suzuki.

* With the win, Scali moved into the points lead for the first time in his career, four points ahead of three-time NHRA champion Angelle Savoie. Savoie fouled out in her first round matchup with Matt Smith.

* Scali is the 12th rider to hold the points lead in the history of the category (1988) and only the eighth rider to lead the standings in the past decade.

-nhra-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Clay Millican , Antron Brown , Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Larry Morgan , Shawn Gann , Gene Wilson , Don Garlits , Geno Scali , Brandon Bernstein , George Marnell , Johnny Gray , Andrew Hines , Matthew Smith , GT Tonglet