COMMERCE, Ga. --
Atlanta Dragway is one of eight tracks on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series circuit where the four-time world champ has scored four or more wins. In addition to his four victories as a driver at the storied venue (2004, 2005, 2007, 2012), he has had many opportunities to learn the nuances of the track.
"I have a lot of experience at that racetrack," Anderson said. "I worked for 12 years with (six-time world champ) Warren Johnson, and that's where we tested all the time. He may have been inside the car, but I was right outside" said the Summit Racing driver. I think that's one of the main reasons we've been able to run well there ever since we first formed this KB Racing team. Even though it's not our home track, it was mine for 12 years. It's another one of our favorites, and another one with Summit Racing on the billboards."
Along with Anderson, Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Ron Capps (Funny Car) will be looking to defend their 2012 victories at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, the seventh of 24 events in the 2013 season. The event, which will feature competition in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock, will be televised on ESPN2HD.
If Anderson adds a fifth Atlanta Dragway victory to his resume, he will tie Johnson for the most Pro Stock wins at the track. Putting his name next to Johnson's in the record books would be an honor, but it isn't what drives him to succeed.
"When I finally can't get in one of these things anymore and I no longer have a chance to win, then I guess I'll probably look at stats and records here and there," Anderson said. "But right now, I'm too deep into it. I'm living in the moment and trying to win every race I go to. I'll worry about the stats and records down the road, but someday to be able to tell people that you won the most races there, more than an icon in our sport like Warren Johnson, that would be pretty doggone cool."
"There is a little extra incentive, a little bit more pressure, but that's what we like," Anderson continued. "We like it when there is more on the line. That's when we seem to be able to give that extra 10 percent and get the job done."
To win the event, Anderson will have to hold off a stout field of competitors. Mike Edwards leads the points on the strength of his win in Charlotte, where he also set the national record for elapsed time at 6.471 seconds. Defending world champ Allen Johnson, Jeg Coughlin, Vincent Nobile and Erica Enders-Stevens are also among the pre-race favorites for a victory during the weekend.
In Top Fuel, Tony Schumacher is again a championship contender early in the season after securing two wins, in Phoenix and Las Vegas, at the controls of his U.S. Army dragster. Antron Brown and Spencer Massey have had success this year as well and will be aiming to top their Don Schumacher Racing teammate in the standings. Al-Anabi Racing's Shawn Langdon, Doug Kalitta, Clay Millican and Morgan Lucas will challenge for the win as well.
The Funny Car category has excited fans with the resurgence of 2011 world champion Matt Hagan, who is leading the points for the first time since the end of his championship season. Courtney Force also will be tough on the strength of two final-round appearances and one win in Pomona. Others to watch in the 8,000-horsepower category are Cruz Pedregon, 15-time world champ John Force, Ron Capps and defending world champion Jack Beckman.
The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series also will thrill the crowds during the weekend with intense side-by-side competition.
As always, fans can interact with their favorite drivers because every ticket is an exclusive pit pass, allowing them to see firsthand the highly skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds. Spectators also won't want to miss the popular interactive NHRA Nitro Alley and the NHRA Manufacturers Midway.
• SCHEDULE: NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying sessions are scheduled for 2 and 4 p.m. Friday, May 10. Final eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 11.
• TICKETS: For tickets, log on to www.NHRATix.com or call the NHRA Ticket Sales Center at (800) 884-NHRA (6472).
• TELEVISION: ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 10 a.m. (ET) on Saturday, May 11, and three hours of eliminations coverage at 8 p.m. (ET), also on Saturday, May 11.
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