Doug Kalitta wins NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway
COMMERCE, Ga. (AP) Doug Kalitta beat J.R. Todd in a near dead-heat Sunday in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway for his second consecutive Top Fuel victory of the season
The margin of victory between the Kalitta Motorsports teammates was .0000, becoming the closest Top Fuel race in NHRA history. Kalitta powered his dragster to a 3.801-second pass at 323.19 mph to beat Todd's 3.780 at 320.66 on a holeshot.
Kalitta has 40 career victories, three at Dragway. It was the first time since 2006 that two Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel cars decided a final. Kalitta sprinted past Terry Haddock, eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher and reigning world champ Antron Brown in the earlier rounds.
''I really didn't think I had won,'' said Kalitta, the points leader. ''The last couple of rounds I didn't see the win light on the wall. J.R. went blowing by me at the end there and I got around the corner and I was very relieved, to say the least. Jim (Oberhofer) and my Mac Tools guys have been busting their butts all day long and we were hungry to do well in front of the sellout crowd here in Atlanta.''
Matt Hagan won in Funny Car, Jason Line in Pro Stock and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Hagan raced to his first victory of the year with a 3.965 at 314.90 in a Dodge Charger R/T. He beat Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman in the final. Hagan ended a 19-race winless streak and earned his 19th career victory. Hagan outlasted Chad Head, reigning world champ Del Worsham and points leader Courtney Force in the earlier rounds.
Jason Line drove his Chevy Camaro to a 6.611 at 209.75 to better teammate Greg Anderson. Line has four victories this year and 41 overall. The points leader also won the event last year and has three Atlanta victories.