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Tue, 18 Apr 2017, 10:44 AM

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Heads to Atlanta Dragway for 37th Annual NHRA
Courtesy of NHRA Communications
Photo copyright 2017 NHRA/National Dragster





COMMERCE, Ga. -- Southern Nationals

Eddie Krawiec, Jason Line, Matt Hagan and Doug Kalitta
celebrate Southern Nationals win las year.
Georgia's House of Speed, Atlanta Dragway, will once again come alive with nitro-burning, 300-mph excitement when the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns in 2017 for the 37th annual NHRA Southern Nationals, May 5-7.

It is the seventh of 24 events during the 2017 season as the NHRA powers back to Georgia for one of its long-established events. Nitro will fill the air as fans are treated to the spectacular thrills of the ground-shaking 10,000-horsepower machines.

Teams in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will again battle for race victories and critical world championship points as the season crosses the quarter-mark. Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) 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 6:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, May 7.

Kalitta's fourth win in Atlanta last year tied him with Antron Brown and Larry Dixon for the most in Top Fuel history at the track. Kalitta has won twice in three years in his Mac Tools dragster, while Brown, the back-to-back world champion, has three wins since 2011 at the track in his Matco Tools dragster, setting up what will be another fascinating duel between the two standouts. Others to watch include points leader Tony Schumacher, who has posted victories at every NHRA track but Atlanta, two-time 2017 winner Leah Pritchett, 2012 winner Steve Torrence and Brittany Force.


Matt Hagan celebrates his win last season.
Hagan posted his first career Funny Car victory at the NHRA Southern Nationals a year ago. The two-time world champ finished third overall in 2016, but has been impressive to open 2017, winning the first two events and grabbing the points lead. His Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. sits in second after winning the most recent event in Las Vegas, while other DSR challengers include two-time event winner Jack Beckman and defending world champion Ron Capps. Other marquee talents in the class are seven-time Atlanta winner John Force, Robert Hight, 2015 winner Tim Wilkerson, Courtney Force and rookie Jonnie Lindberg.

Line won for the second straight year in Pro Stock in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro a year ago, finishing his stellar 2016 campaign with eight victories and a third world championship. Line won the season-opening race this season, but a different winner has followed since. Teammate Greg Anderson, rookie Tanner Gray and his father, Shane, have all posted wins in 2017, while other standouts who look to contend for an Atlanta victory include three-time race winner Jeg Coughlin, two-time world champ Erica Enders, Bo Butner and Chris McGaha.

The Pro Stock Motorcycle class makes its third appearance of 2017 at the event, with defending winner Krawiec striking the first blow with his season-opening victory in Gainesville. It was Krawiec's second win in three years at Atlanta and host of challengers will look to stop that hot streak, including defending world champion Jerry Savoie, 2015 winner Hector Arana, Andrew Hines and Angelle Sampey, whose four wins at the race are the most among active riders.


Eddie Krawiec celebrates his win last season.
The NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series makes its fourth of 12 stops in 2017 at Atlanta Dragway. Steven Whiteley sprinted to the victory at the season-opener at Gainesville. The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing the future stars of the sport.

After Nitro qualifying Friday, fans can watch the spectacular Larsen Motorsports jet dragsters sponsored by Florida Tech and Matrix System, and Douthit Motorsports Black Pearl Nostalgia Jet Funny Car. Jet cars are thrust driven propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.

Along with the exciting on-track action, the NHRA Southern Nationals will honor first responders with NHRA's "Salute to First Responders" celebration.

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they're granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

Fans also will want to visit NHRA's popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:15 and 6:45 p.m. on Friday, May 5 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, May 6, at 1:15 and 3:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 7.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate.





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