COMMERCE, Ga. – Defending Funny Car world champion J.R. Todd raced to the provisional qualifying lead on Friday at the 39th annual Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway,
Brittany Force (Top Fuel) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the seventh of 24 events during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Todd raced his DHL Toyota Camry to the top spot in Funny Car with his pass of 3.944-seconds at 323.50 mph on Friday. After picking up his first win of the 2019 season in Houston, Todd is now going for his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and 11th in his career. If it holds up, Todd would also give Kalitta Motorsports its 100th career No. 1 qualifier.
“This gives me a lot of confidence, but I know going into a race that I have a great team behind me and they can adapt to any condition,” Todd said. “It was tricky and I had my hands full down track. We were lucky to hang on and I think we just hit it right.”
Force, who already has two No. 1 qualifiers this season in her Advance Auto Parts dragster, currently sits atop the Top Fuel field after going 3.720 at 319.52. She is seeking her 13th career No. 1 qualifier this weekend, as well as her first career win at Atlanta Dragway.
“That was a killer pass,” Force said. “(Crew chief David) Grubnic said, ‘It’s going to do one of two things: It’s either not going to make it or it’s gonna fly,’ and we grabbed that No. 1 spot. It moved around a little bit right at 800 feet, but we hung onto the thing and it stayed No. 1.
“I love working with Grubnic. He wants to come out here and he wants to dominate. He came over before the run and he said he was going to push really hard on it. I knew it was going to be a good one if it got past the Christmas tree.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, points leader Hines went 6.856 at 195.82 to go to the No. 1 spot on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson. Hines, who picked up his 50th career win last weekend, is after his second No. 1 qualifier of the year and 44th in his career.
Qualifying action continues on Saturday at the Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals at 12 and 3 p.m. ET.