COMMERCE, Ga. – The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to Georgia’s Atlanta Dragway on May 3-5 for the 39th annual Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals.
It is the seventh of 24 events this season, and the annual stop just outside of Atlanta has been home to an array of memorable moments and incredible action for nearly four decades. The ground-shaking intensity of the 300-mph, 10,000-horsepower nitro-breathing machines in NHRA racing has been a staple at Atlanta Dragway, and that excitement will continue.
Teams in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock Motorcycle will again battle for race victories and critical world championship points as the season heats up. Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including finals coverage starting at 6 p.m. (ET) on May 5.
Competition in the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series Presented by J&A Service will also take place at Atlanta Dragway.
Pritchett grabbed her first victory at Atlanta Dragway in Top Fuel a year ago, and she will look to add another and get her first win of 2019 in the process. But it won’t be easy for Pritchett, as she’ll face off against a talented host of star drivers, including defending world champion Steve Torrence, a two-time Atlanta winner, points leader Doug Kalitta, who has three Atlanta wins, Clay Millican, Terry McMillen, 2017 world champion Brittany Force, Gainesville winner Richie Crampton, Antron Brown, a six-time Atlanta winner, Mike Salinas and Scott Palmer.
Force may not be racing this year, but her former John Force Racing Funny Car teammate Robert Hight has been impressive in 2019 thus far. Hight, a two-time world champion, has wins in two of the first three events, also qualifying No. 1 at the first three races. But success is difficult to come by in Funny Car, and Hight, who has three career Atlanta wins, will have his work cut out for him going against Phoenix winner Matt Hagan, seven-time track winner John Force, defending world champion and most recent winner J.R. Todd, 2016 world champ Ron Capps, Cruz Pedregon, Shawn Langdon, Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman, Tim Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon and Bob Tasca.
The Pro Stock Motorcycle class makes its fourth of 16 appearances in 2019 at the event, with everyone chasing Andrew Hines, who won the season-opening race in Gainesville. Hines will look to build on that as he seeks his sixth world championship, but he’ll have to go up against the likes of teammate and defending event winner Eddie Krawiec, a four-time winner at the track. Others to watch include defending world champion Matt Smith, three-time world champ Angelle Sampey, Las Vegas winner Hector Arana Jr., Angie Smith, and previous event winners Hector Arana Sr. and Karen Stoffer.
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service has its fourth of 12 races in the 2019 season. Todd Tutterow won the first race of the season over Stevie Jackson, while the class also includes popular drivers Erica Enders, Alex Laughlin, defending world champ Mike Janis and three-time champ Rickie Smith. The event also features exciting competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing the future stars of the sport.
Before the NHRA hits the track at Atlanta Dragway, they’ll first be in action at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., April 26-28 during the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.