NHRA Southern Nationals powered by Mello Yello: Burning Questions

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter

Images via NHRA

Heads up: this article picks up after the first two rounds of eliminations today. If you want a spoiler-free experience, tune in to FS1 at 6PM ET/3PM PT!

Three consecutive weeks of NHRA action wraps up today at Atlanta Dragway with the Southern Nationals presented by Mello Yello. All four major classes are in action, with Pro Stock Motorcycle once again joining Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock among the headliners for this weekend’s event.

Clay Millican (TF), Courtney Force (FC), Greg Anderson (PS), and Hector Arana Jr. (PSM) grabbed the poles, but will we see anyone win today from the top spot on the elimination ladder? Here are the stories to watch for as we look forward to today’s final rounds:

Does anybody have what it takes to repeat in Atlanta?

Steve Torrence (TF), Ron Capps (FC), Bo Butner (PS), and LE Tonglet (PSM) were the four winners here last year, but of the four, only Torrence was able to advance to even the semifinals. Capps fell to Cruz Pedregon, Drew Skillman dispatched Butner, and Tonglet dropped to Eddie Krawiec, all in the second round of racing action. That leaves only Torrence, facing Blake Alexander in the semifinals, able to challenge for a back-to-back Atlanta victory.

Who’s going to grab the Pro Stock Motorcycle victory?

Because the PSM season doesn’t include all 24 rounds of NHRA action, early-season winners can be slightly harder to predict, even when the vision becomes clearer in the other three classes. Jerry Savoie won last weekend’s four-wide showdown in Charlotte, but fell to polesitter Hector Arana Jr. in the second round of action. Arana will face Eddie Krawiec, winner of the PSM season-opening Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, for a shot to face Scotty Pollacheck or Angelle Sampey in the finals.

Are we at the beginning of a Cruz Pedregon renaissance?

One of the most familiar faces in Funny Car, Pedregon took his first win in his last 92 races (dating back to Englishtown in 2014) with a victory at the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte last week. He ran a 4.005 in the first round of eliminations, defeated Ron Capps in the second round, and faces Courtney Force in the semifinals for the chance to battle either Jack Beckman or Matt Hagan in the final round. Could he go back-to-back?


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