(Photos/videos courtesy of NHRA)

Kalitta, Todd race to closest Top Fuel finish in NHRA history in Southern Nationals

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Veteran Top Fuel drag racer Doug Kalitta roared to his second consecutive race win in the final round of Sunday’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia.

But this win, the 40th of Kalitta’s career – moving him into sole possession of fourth place on the NHRA all-time Top Fuel wins list – was more than just big, it was record setting.

And in a big way.

Kalitta squared off with teammate J.R. Todd in the finals, the first time two Team Kalitta dragsters have faced each other in the final round since 2006.

And when their respective runs were over, Kalitta beat Todd in the closest margin of victory in NHRA Top Fuel history: 0.000 seconds.

In fact, NHRA scorekeepers had to break out their calculators for this one, as no one initially knew who won the race. Finally, after reviewing data, Kalitta (3.801 seconds at 323.19 mph) was scored the race winner over Todd (3.780 seconds 320.66 mph) by less than one ten-thousandth of a second.

Kalitta won the race by having a better reaction time at the starting line.

“What an incredible race,” Kalitta said in a team media release. “It just shows how much effort and time goes into these race cars at Kalitta Motorsports. I could not be more proud to a part of this team and part of what the Mac Tools guys are doing. To win two in a row is stellar and I could not be more excited.”

Added Todd: “You never want to come that close and not get it done. However, it is great to see both Team Kalitta cars in the final and the SealMaster team knows we can definitely get the job done in Topeka.”

Kalitta is now fourth on the Top Fuel wins list, passing Kenny Bernstein and Antron Brown, who drop to a tie for fifth place with 39 career wins apiece in a dragster.

Kalitta is now 12 wins behind third-ranked Joe Amato (52 wins), preceded by Larry Dixon (62) and Tony Schumacher, who not only has the most career Top Fuel wins (80), he also has the most career Top Fuel championships (eight).

Also, it’s the first time Kalitta has earned back-to-back wins since 2006. In addition to it being his second career win in three years at Atlanta, Kalitta also took over first place in the NHRA Top Fuel standings, leading Antron Brown by 64 points.

In Funny Car, 2014 season champ Matt Hagan (3.965 seconds at 314.90 mph) earned his first win of the season and 19th of his career. Hagan also snapped a 19-race winless streak dating back to last season, defeating Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman (smoked the tires).

“We’ve been trying to dig our way out of a hole we dug for ourselves in the beginning of the season with a new chassis and some new parts and different things like that,” Hagan said. “We went back to what we know and pulled our old car back out. We won a championship with it. We all knew it was just a matter of time before we figured it out. We’re really happy to get that monkey off our back.”

Also getting the monkey off his back was Beckman, who qualified No. 1 and reached the final round for the first time this season. And even with his runner-up showing, Beckman still improved to second place in the Funny Car points standings.

In Pro Stock, Jason Line (6.611 seconds at 209.75 mph) just keeps rolling along. With a great jump at the starting line, Line earned his fourth win in seven races thus far this season (and 41st of his career), defeating teammate Greg Anderson (6.593 seconds at 210.50 mph).

In addition, Line extends his streak of reaching the final round in every race thus far this season – meaning he has an outstanding four wins and three runner-up finishes (all to Anderson).

He also has won the last two races at Atlanta and three overall in his career.

“It’s a great day anytime you can win in front of your sponsor,” said Line, who is sponsored by Summit Racing Equipment. “This is a very tricky racetrack. I haven’t been on an Atlanta track like this ever. We struggled hard with it, but again, I’m a little bit in awe that I’ve been able to race in all the final rounds this year.”

Lastly, in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Eddie Krawiec (6.824 seconds at 196.66 mph) earned his second win of the season, defeating Jerry Savoie (6.851 seconds at 195.79 mph).

The win was Krawiec’s fourth at Atlanta and the 33rd triumph of his two-wheel career. Krawiec, who remains atop the PSM points standings, has also reached the finals of all three of this season’s events thus far.

“Atlanta has treated me well,” said Krawiec, a three-time world champ. “I got my first win here and it’s one of those things where if you just feel comfortable and you’re in a groove, you’ll have confidence.

“For me, I think all of that has fallen into place. The track was a little tricky for us but we were able to figure out our chassis set up and as we made more laps throughout the weekend it got better and better. It was definitely a good, exciting, fun weekend for me.”

The next NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event is the NHRA Kansas Nationals, May 20-22 at Heartland Park Topeka (Kansas).

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FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Doug Kalitta; 2.  J.R. Todd; 3.  Shawn Langdon; 4.  Antron Brown; 5.  Steve Torrence; 6. Brittany Force; 7.  Tony Schumacher; 8.  Richie Crampton; 9.  Clay Millican; 10.  Pat Dakin; 11. Kyle Wurtzel; 12.  Leah Pritchett; 13.  Scott Palmer; 14.  Terry McMillen; 15.  Chris Karamesines; 16.  Terry Haddock.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Matt Hagan; 2.  Jack Beckman; 3.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 4.  Courtney Force; 5.  Alexis DeJoria; 6. Del Worsham; 7.  Ron Capps; 8.  Robert Hight; 9.  Tim Wilkerson; 10.  Chad Head; 11.  Dave Richards; 12.  John Hale; 13.  Cruz Pedregon; 14.  John Force; 15.  Jeff Diehl; 16.  Jim Campbell.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Jason Line; 2.  Greg Anderson; 3.  Allen Johnson; 4.  Kenny Delco; 5.  Jeg Coughlin; 6.  Alex Laughlin; 7.  Chris McGaha; 8.  Vincent Nobile; 9.  Erica Enders; 10.  V. Gaines; 11.  Bo Butner; 12.  Drew Skillman; 13.  John Gaydosh Jr; 14.  Shane Gray.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Eddie Krawiec; 2.  Jerry Savoie; 3.  Angelle Sampey; 4.  Karen Stoffer; 5.  Chip Ellis; 6. Hector Arana; 7.  Melissa Surber; 8.  Scotty Pollacheck; 9.  LE Tonglet; 10.  Matt Smith; 11. Michael Phillips; 12.  Andrew Hines; 13.  Steve Johnson; 14.  Hector Arana Jr; 15.  Cory Reed; 16. Shawn Gann.

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FINAL RESULTS:

Top Fuel — Doug Kalitta, 3.801 seconds, 323.19 mph  def. J.R. Todd, 3.780 seconds, 320.66 mph.
Funny Car — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.965, 314.90  def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 8.073, 79.59.
Pro Stock — Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.611, 209.75  def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.593, 210.50.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.824, 196.56  def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.851, 195.79.

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FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL:
ROUND ONE — Tony Schumacher, 3.743, 320.28 def. Leah Pritchett, 3.950, 303.23; Brittany Force, 3.765, 319.29 def. Clay Millican, 3.785, 320.74; Richie Crampton, 3.749, 325.92 def. Chris Karamesines, 6.383, 98.26; Doug Kalitta, 3.737, 328.22 def. Terry Haddock, Broke; J.R. Todd, 3.759, 326.00 def. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.853, 309.84; Steve Torrence, 3.766, 325.69 def. Scott Palmer, 4.029, 288.33; Antron Brown, 3.749, 317.57 def. Pat Dakin, 3.820, 303.50; Shawn Langdon, 3.749, 326.48 def. Terry McMillen, Foul – Red Light; QUARTERFINALS — Todd, 3.757, 324.36 def. Force, 3.784, 320.97; Brown, 3.772, 318.02 def. Torrence, 3.772, 324.90; Langdon, 3.781, 324.44 def. Crampton, 3.822, 287.90; Kalitta, 3.782, 326.24 def. Schumacher, 3.789, 325.06; SEMIFINALS — Kalitta, 3.779, 324.20 def. Brown, 9.833, 72.21; Todd, 3.782, 322.96 def. Langdon, 3.817, 318.77; FINAL — Kalitta, 3.801, 323.19 def. Todd, 3.780, 320.66.

FUNNY CAR:
ROUND ONE — Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.953, 327.43 def. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.833, 167.49; Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.911, 328.86 def. Jim Campbell, Camry, 8.382, 80.36; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.906, 329.02 def. Chad Head, Camry, 4.349, 271.30; Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.915, 327.74 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 5.617, 106.68; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.950, 324.05 def. Dave Richards, Ford Mustang, 4.355, 213.57; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.960, 319.45 def. John Hale, Charger, 4.736, 150.61; Del Worsham, Camry, 3.975, 287.11 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.064, 310.48; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.938, 324.83 def. John Force, Camaro, 5.564, 130.22; QUARTERFINALS — Johnson Jr., 7.146, 97.74 def. DeJoria, Foul – Red Light; C. Force, 3.950, 327.35 def. Hight, 8.205, 88.55; Hagan, 3.926, 327.19 def. Worsham, 3.972, 325.45; Beckman, 3.989, 323.81 def. Capps, 3.992, 320.81; SEMIFINALS — Beckman, 3.967, 323.58 def. Johnson Jr., 3.992, 317.79; Hagan, 3.939, 325.06 def. C. Force, 5.845, 115.75; FINAL — Hagan, 3.965, 314.90 def. Beckman, 8.073, 79.59.

PRO STOCK:
ROUND ONE — Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.648, 208.17 def. Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 8.920, 105.96; Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.600, 209.79 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.602, 208.78; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.624, 208.33 def. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.644, 207.91; Kenny Delco, Camaro, 7.299, 148.38 def. Shane Gray, Camaro, 11.690, 76.83; Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.664, 205.57 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 7.227, 135.95; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.559, 211.06 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 9.016, 104.59; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.584, 211.06 def. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.685, 207.82; QUARTERFINALS — Delco, 7.856, 171.34 def. McGaha, 9.635, 155.72; Johnson, 6.680, 209.33 def. Laughlin, 6.838, 207.34; Anderson, 6.574, 210.80 was unopposed; Line, 6.585, 211.03 def. Coughlin, 6.669, 208.36; SEMIFINALS — Line, 6.603, 210.24 def. Johnson, 6.656, 208.20; Anderson, 6.582, 210.83 def. Delco, Foul – Red Light; FINAL — Line, 6.611, 209.75 def. Anderson, 6.593, 210.50.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:
ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.853, 192.77 def. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, Foul – Red Light; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.860, 193.77 def. Shawn Gann, Buell, Foul – Red Light; Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.889, 190.81 def. Cory Reed, Buell, 8.262, 105.09; Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.865, 193.79 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.932, 193.79; Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.799, 195.59 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.952, 192.11; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.850, 194.13 def. Matt Smith, 6.877, 193.05; Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.863, 193.27 def. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.843, 194.88; Hector Arana, Buell, 6.934, 174.75 def. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 7.227, 148.54; QUARTERFINALS — Savoie, 6.843, 196.73 def. Pollacheck, 10.299, 80.08; Stoffer, 6.904, 195.39 def. Ellis, 6.935, 192.17; Krawiec, 6.874, 196.47 def. Surber, 7.134, 189.42; Sampey, 6.870, 195.39 def. Arana, 6.941, 191.76; SEMIFINALS — Savoie, 6.871, 195.00 def. Sampey, 6.901, 193.74; Krawiec, 6.847, 196.42 def. Stoffer, 6.904, 195.17; FINAL — Krawiec, 6.824, 196.56 def. Savoie, 6.851, 195.79.

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UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

Top Fuel: 1.  Doug Kalitta, 586; 2.  Antron Brown, 522; 3.  Brittany Force, 518; 4.  Steve Torrence, 474; 5. J.R. Todd, 418; 6.  Clay Millican, 387; 7.  Tony Schumacher, 349; 8.  Richie Crampton, 337; 9.Leah Pritchett, 308; 10.  Terry McMillen, 293.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Courtney Force, 522; 2.  Jack Beckman, 482; 3.  Tim Wilkerson, 476; 4.  Ron Capps, 471; 5. Robert Hight, 458; 6.  Del Worsham, 429; 7.  John Force, 416; 8.  Alexis DeJoria, 394; 9.  Matt Hagan, 390; 10.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 351.

Pro Stock: 1.  Jason Line, 812; 2.  Greg Anderson, 716; 3.  Bo Butner, 553; 4.  Drew Skillman, 432; 5.  Chris McGaha, 393; 6.  Allen Johnson, 392; 7.  Jeg Coughlin, 308; 8.  Vincent Nobile, 294; 9.  Erica Enders, 289; 10.  Alex Laughlin, 272.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1.  Eddie Krawiec, 353; 2.  Andrew Hines, 233; 3.  Hector Arana, 207; 4.  Jerry Savoie, 204; 5. Chip Ellis, 193; 6.  Angelle Sampey, 179; 7.  LE Tonglet, 143; 8.  Matt Smith, 124; 9.  Karen Stoffer, 118; 10.  Scotty Pollacheck, 117.

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Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”