NHRA Atlanta winners: Pritchett (TF), C. Force (FC), Nobile (PS), Krawiec (PSM)

Photo and videos courtesy NHRA

It was Ladies Day at Atlanta Dragway, as two of the four pro winners of the NHRA Southern Nationals were nitro drivers Leah Pritchett in Top Fuel and Courtney Force in Funny Car.

Force earned her second win of the season (and her first ever at Atlanta Dragway), while Pritchett earned her first win of the season.

Also emerging victorious with “Wally” winner trophies were Vincent Nobile in Pro Stock and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Here’s how the day played out:

In Funny Car: Force built upon her No. 1 qualifying position to earn her second win of the year, defeating Matt Hagan in the final round. It was also her first career win in Atlanta.

Force roared to victory with a run of 4.046 seconds at 313.73 mph. It was the 29-year-old’s 10th career Funny Car win, making her the most victorious female Funny Car driver in NHRA history.

“We had a great race car all day long,” said Force, who takes over the points lead in the Funny Car standings. “Every single guy on my crew has done just a phenomenal job all day long.

“From getting the No. 1 qualifying spot yesterday in our final qualifying run and to go out there and have some consistent runs. It’s great to be able to get a win at the track my sister [Ashley Force-Hood] got her first win at. It’s a pretty good day and we’re excited.”

In Top Fuel: Pritchett made a pass of 3.874 seconds at 322.42 mph, defeating Blake Alexander in the final round of eliminations.

It was Pritchett’s first win since last August in Brainerd, Minnesota, her first career win at Atlanta, and her sixth career win in Top Fuel.

Pritchett becomes the first of Don Schumacher Racing’s Top Fuel drivers – herself, Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown – to notch a win this season in the first seven national events.

“We were racing one round at a time,” Prichett said. “The conditions out there were varying all weekend long and that’s why my hats and kudos go off to Todd Okuhara [crew chief] for finding what was right and wrong and adjusting to it.

“Yeah, you want to win every race, but this one was very special in a lot of ways.”

Alexander, who raced to his first career final round, started from the No. 10 position and defeated Antron Brown, defending world champion Brittany Force, and points leader Steve Torrence before the final round.

Also of note, Schumacher, who qualified for a milestone 350th consecutive race, once again failed to win at Atlanta Dragway, the only track on the NHRA circuit that he has never reached the winner’s circle. He’s now winless in 21 starts at Atlanta Dragway.

In Pro Stock: Nobile earned his second win of the season (and first win at Atlanta), driving his Chevrolet Camaro to victory (6.599 seconds at 209.72 mph) over Tanner Gray.

Nobile also takes over the lead in the Pro Stock point standings.

“I had the car to beat this weekend,” Nobile stated. “I know we didn’t qualify No. 1 but going back after each run and looking at the computer we know we could’ve been the fastest car each session. On race day we got it together and was the fastest car every session. All in all, it was a great day.”

In Pro Stock Motorcycle: Krawiec, the defending NHRA PSM world champ, earned his fourth career win at Atlanta Dragway and the 45th triumph of his career.

Krawiec ran a pass of 6.922 seconds at 194.91 mph, defeating Scotty Pollacheck.

“This track has been very challenging for us this weekend,” Krawiec said. “I really had a better bike than what I showed Friday and Saturday because I was not making the proper chassis adjustments to get the bike down the track.

“We’re going to learn and continue to get better. That’s what we need to do.”

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season takes next weekend off and resumes with the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals at Heartland Motorsports Park May 18-20 in Topeka, Kansas.



TOP FUEL: 1. Leah Pritchett; 2. Blake Alexander; 3. Mike Salinas; 4. Steve Torrence; 5. Doug Kalitta; 6. Clay Millican; 7. Brittany Force; 8. Bill Litton; 9. Scott Palmer; 10. Tony Schumacher; 11. Terry Haddock; 12. Richie Crampton; 13. Audrey Worm; 14. Antron Brown; 15. Pat Dakin; 16. Terry McMillen.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Courtney Force; 2. Matt Hagan; 3. Jack Beckman; 4. Cruz Pedregon; 5. Bob Tasca III; 6. Tim Wilkerson; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 8. Ron Capps; 9. Jonnie Lindberg; 10. John Force; 11. Robert Hight; 12. Shawn Langdon; 13. Jeff Diehl; 14. Jim Campbell; 15. J.R. Todd; 16. John Smith.

PRO STOCK: 1. Vincent Nobile; 2. Tanner Gray; 3. Drew Skillman; 4. Greg Anderson; 5. Jeg Coughlin; 6. Bo Butner; 7. Chris McGaha; 8. Deric Kramer; 9. Erica Enders; 10. Alex Laughlin; 11. Kenny Delco; 12. John Gaydosh Jr.; 13. Wally Stroupe; 14. Alan Prusiensky; 15. Jason Line; 16. Val Smeland.

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



TOP FUEL: Leah Pritchett, 3.874 seconds, 322.42 mph def. Blake Alexander, Foul – Red Light.

FUNNY CAR: Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.046, 313.73 def. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.148, 291.13.

PRO STOCK: Vincent Nobile, Chevy Camaro, 6.599, 209.72 def. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.614, 209.52.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.922, 194.91 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.958, 193.18.



TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Blake Alexander, 3.827, 323.97 def. Antron Brown, 4.634, 149.33; Bill Litton, 3.915, 315.56 def. Tony Schumacher, 3.925, 311.27; Brittany Force, 3.779, 321.73 def. Terry McMillen, 7.140, 93.56; Clay Millican, 3.832, 323.43 def. Audrey Worm, 4.632, 172.83; Steve Torrence, 3.802, 326.40 def. Terry Haddock, 4.153, 259.56; Leah Pritchett, 3.903, 293.73 def. Pat Dakin, 6.389, 100.55; Doug Kalitta, 3.845, 323.58 def. Richie Crampton, 4.470, 186.56; Mike Salinas, 3.787, 322.50 def. Scott Palmer, 3.792, 326.40; QUARTERFINALS — Pritchett, 3.841, 322.50 def. Litton, 11.552, 82.25; Torrence, 3.841, 322.34 def. Kalitta, 3.862, 318.17; Salinas, 4.128, 288.15 def. Millican, 4.148, 256.36; Alexander, 4.120, 238.30 def. Force, 7.130, 80.40; SEMIFINALS — Alexander, 3.972, 308.14 def. Torrence, 4.271, 254.28; Pritchett, 3.907, 312.42 def. Salinas, 4.212, 211.66; FINAL — Pritchett, 3.874, 322.42 def. Alexander, Foul – Red Light.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.005, 310.84 def. John Smith, Chevy Monte Carlo, Foul – Outer Boundary; Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.547, 261.22 def. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 4.567, 246.35; Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.581, 221.05 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 5.882, 119.23; Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.169, 247.11 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 6.098, 111.29; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.397, 259.11 def. John Force, Camaro, 4.403, 238.68; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.106, 299.46 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.192, 253.04; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.410, 215.27 def. J.R. Todd, Camry, 9.681, 79.05; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.185, 259.01 def. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.939, 167.38; QUARTERFINALS — Beckman, 4.146, 304.74 def. Tasca III, 4.181, 296.11; Hagan, 4.200, 290.26 def. Johnson Jr., 4.794, 178.99; Pedregon, 4.117, 298.34 def. Capps, 5.792, 119.76; C. Force, 4.144, 297.35 def. Wilkerson, 4.410, 257.92; SEMIFINALS — Hagan, 4.111, 309.70 def. Beckman, 4.224, 293.41; C. Force, 4.038, 313.22 def. Pedregon, 4.255, 293.54; FINAL — C. Force, 4.046, 313.73 def. Hagan, 4.148, 291.13.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Deric Kramer, Chevy Camaro, 6.614, 209.23 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 12.595, 69.30; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.617, 209.56 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.615, 208.49; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.593, 208.23 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.611, 209.56; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.586, 210.05 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 8.433, 115.36; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.620, 208.78 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.587, 209.33 def. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 6.796, 203.80; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 7.795, 128.60 def. Val Smeland, Camaro, Broke – No Show; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.591, 209.72 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.742, 206.57; QUARTERFINALS — Anderson, 6.632, 209.01 def. Kramer, 22.631, 34.07; Gray, 6.635, 209.07 def. Coughlin, 6.632, 208.30; Skillman, 6.625, 208.84 def. Butner, 6.632, 209.20; Nobile, 6.617, 209.36 def. McGaha, 7.151, 154.39; SEMIFINALS — Gray, 6.622, 208.52 def. Skillman, 6.613, 209.56; Nobile, 6.610, 209.14 def. Anderson, 6.631, 209.85; FINAL — Nobile, 6.599, 209.72 def. Gray, 6.614, 209.52.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.936, 189.84 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.987, 190.62; Hector Arana, 6.975, 195.05 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.004, 189.26; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.904, 190.83 def. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.971, 191.89; Hector Arana Jr, 6.819, 195.90 def. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 7.089, 185.74; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.870, 194.74 def. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.935, 190.75; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.917, 191.78 def. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 7.338, 154.49; Angelle Sampey, Buell, 7.176, 179.83 def. Matt Smith, Foul – Red Light; Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.933, 192.36 def. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.978, 190.32; QUARTERFINALS — Pollacheck, 6.896, 191.73 def. Arana, 6.923, 194.69; Sampey, 6.939, 193.18 def. Hines, 6.916, 193.16; Krawiec, 6.875, 194.35 def. Tonglet, 6.878, 193.96; Arana Jr, 6.865, 197.10 def. Savoie, 6.890, 193.88; SEMIFINALS — Pollacheck, 6.960, 191.16 def. Sampey, 6.978, 191.40; Krawiec, 6.871, 194.86 def. Arana Jr, 6.942, 193.88; FINAL — Krawiec, 6.922, 194.91 def. Pollacheck, 6.958, 193.18.



TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 581; 2. Tony Schumacher, 461; 3. Doug Kalitta, 458; 4. Clay Millican, 448; 5. Leah Pritchett, 435; 6. Antron Brown, 390; 7. Brittany Force, 375; 8. Terry McMillen, 336; 9. Richie Crampton, 280; 10. Mike Salinas, 275.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Courtney Force, 546; 2. Jack Beckman, 538; 3. Matt Hagan, 487; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., 436; 5. J.R. Todd, 428; 6. Robert Hight, 421; 7. Ron Capps, 404; 8. Cruz Pedregon, 357; 9. Shawn Langdon, 301; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 293.

PRO STOCK: 1. Vincent Nobile, 534; 2. Bo Butner, 486; 3. Greg Anderson, 463; 4. Chris McGaha, 460; 5. Drew Skillman, 444; 6. Tanner Gray, 439; 7. Erica Enders, 438; 8. Deric Kramer, 414; 9. Jason Line, 368; 10. Alex Laughlin, 349.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec, 286; 2. Andrew Hines, 261; 3. Scotty Pollacheck, 246; 4. Jerry Savoie, 203; 5. Angelle Sampey, 177; 6. Hector Arana, 159; 7. LE Tonglet, 154; 8. Hector Arana Jr, 153; 9. Cory Reed, 142; 10. Steve Johnson, 121.

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Jenson Button joins NASCAR Garage 56 at Le Mans with Jimmie Johnson, Rockenfeller

Jenson Button NASCAR Le Mans
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR Garage 56 entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be driven by champions of three major-league series — Jenson Button, Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The lineup of the Hendrick Motorsports-prepared Next Gen Camaro was announced Saturday before the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

NASCAR’s Garage 56 project was announced in March 2022 as a joint effort by NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear. It marks the return of a NASCAR team to Le Mans for the first time in nearly 50 years with Hendrick fielding a Camaro ZL1 as the “Garage 56” entry in the 100th edition of the sports car classic.

It’s long been expected the car would include Johnson, the seven-time Cup Series champion who is returning to NASCAR’s premier series as a driver-owner in 2023. Rockenfeller, the 2013 DTM champion and 2010 Le Mans overall winner, has attended every NASCAR Garage 56 test since last year while racking up simulator testing hours.

The surprise was Button, the 2009 Formula One champion who has become a popular commentator. Rick Hendrick initially said wanted four-time Cup champion and current Hendrick Motorsports COO Jeff Gordon to drive the car, and Gordon had raced a sports car at Indianapolis last year to test his race shape.

GARAGE 56 ANSWERS, ANALYSISMore on the NASCAR-Hendrick entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans

“Since the beginning of the Garage 56 project, it has been our goal to partner with the top racers in the world to represent us in Le Mans,” NASCAR chairman and CEO Jim France said in a release. “The lineup of Jimmie, ‘Rocky’ and Jenson is everything we could have dreamed of – three elite drivers who have won at the highest levels of motorsports worldwide. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of NASCAR, we are honored to have these world-class champions help bring the sights and sounds of a NASCAR race car to fans in Le Mans, and across the world.”

Button had one of the most prolific careers in F1 history finishing with 15 wins and 50 podiums on top of his 2009 World Championship and is widely considered one of the top British drivers of all time.

“As a lifelong racing fan, I have always dreamed of racing certain cars, with and against certain drivers and competing in certain events,” Button said in a release. “In June, a number of those dreams will come true in one event when I get to bring NASCAR to the world stage alongside my pals Jimmie and ‘Rocky’ for the 100th anniversary of the most prestigious race in the world. I’m really looking forward to sharing this journey with NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, and current and future NASCAR fans from around the world.”

Johnson will make his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut a year after starting his first Indy 500. He has 83 victories in the Cup Series, where he will return for the Daytona 500 next month with his Legacy Motor Club team.

He also has been involved with testing the Garage 56 Camaro.

“I’m super thrilled – it’s been at the top of my bucket list to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans someday,” Johnson said. “To have this opportunity come – and to partner with everybody and this driver lineup – is truly an incredible opportunity and one that I am thankful to be a part of.”

Rockenfeller teamed with Johnson on the No. 48 Ally Cadillac in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2021-22. The German driver has been the lead test driver for Garage 56 and has driven during every on-track test.

“It has been a great journey so far with the whole team and project,” Rockenfeller said. “To be involved as a driver from day one until now was already a great honor, and to now have Jimmie and Jenson alongside me as teammates in Le Mans is unbelievable.”

The car will continue testing with all three drivers next week at the Daytona International Speedway road course. Rolex 24 and four-time IMSA champion Jordan Taylor, who drives for Corvette Racing, will be the team’s backup driver and coach. Taylor also won the GTE Pro class in 2015 at Le Mans, where he has four podium finishes.

The project also is being supported by IMSA GTP team Action Express, whose general manager is former NASCAR executive and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Gary Nelson. Action Express built the first test car for the Garage 56 but since has handed off the project to Hendrick, where it’s being over seen by vice president of competition Chad Knaus (the crew chief for Johnson’s seven championships).

“Action Express got it going and built the mule car, and then Hendrick joined the program, took it from where we had it, and they’re doing a major percentage of the work,” Nelson told NBC Sports. “We just did a test a couple months ago on a wet track. We’ve done a couple of other tests as they were ramping their program up. Now their car is good, tested and running. We’re still involved and here to help. The Hendrick guys have taken the reins, and Rick Hendrick and Chad Knaus are a thrill to work with and doing a much better job. It’s more NASCAR than prototype racing.”