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2014 NHRA: Mopar Motorsports - NHRA Southern Nationals Provisional Qualifying
Posted by: newsla on May 17, 2014 - 11:15 AM
2014 NHRA: Mopar Motorsports - NHRA Southern Nationals Provisional Qualifying

Following a two week break from National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) drag racing action, Mopar teams are back on track at the 34th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals near Atlanta, Georgia. Coming off final elimination appearances at the SpringNationals in both Pro Stock, with Allen Johnson, and Funny Car, with Jack Beckman, Mopar teams and drivers are now looking to get on a roll starting this weekend at Atlanta Dragway for the first of three national events in as many weeks.


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For Friday’s two qualifying sessions, the track that normally boasts a “Hot-lanta” moniker saw cool temperatures in the 60 degree Fahrenheit range set up the opportunity for quicker lap times, but instead the Mopar contingent saw mixed results in both categories.

Aboard the “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart Pro Stock, Johnson, who has one win at this event earned in 2002, improved his time with his second qualifying run to move into the provisional fifth spot with a 6.541 second pass (211.83 mph).

V. Gaines also had a good second pass aboard his new Pro Stock Dodge Dart, which he premiered at the last event in Houston, to move up the ladder into eighth place with a 6.555 second (211.96 mph) run.
Jeg Coughlin Jr., who has won twice at Atlanta (2000 and 2010), saw his JEGS.com Mopar make a sudden move toward the wall on his second run and sits in the 10th spot based on his first attempt with a 6.560 second (210.83 mph) elapsed time. Competitor Erica Enders-Stevens holds the provisional pole with her first pass after setting a track record 6.506-second (212.53 mph) low elapsed time run.
Last year’s Southern Nationals saw an all-Mopar Funny Car final elimination between Don Schumacher Racing teammates with No.1 qualifier Matt Hagan finishing runner-up to Johnny Gray. After finishing second in the 2013 Funny Car championship and starting the year with a runner-up finish in his Mopar Dodger Charger R/T, Hagan is still on the hunt for his first win of the season and looking to get back on track after four first-round losses in six events. He began the weekend with a solid 4.204-second / 291.63 mph pass in the first session and then struck the tires on his second pass to put him 11th.

The highest Mopar on the provisional ladder at the end of the day was Ron Capps, a winner at Atlanta in 2012, who posted the third quickest time in the first session to earn a single bonus point, but after traction problems in the evening session, ended up fifth on the merit of his 4.095 sec./ 309.20 mph run.

DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr., put the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T seventh on the score sheets with a solid 4.145 second (304.39 mph) run in the first session after striking the tires on his second qualifying attempt.

Coming off his runner-up finish in Houston, Beckman, who has two wins at the Southern Nationals (2009 and 2011), wasn’t able to get cleanly down the race track in either qualifying attempt without hazing the tires and sits 14th heading into the final two sessions scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
Competitor Alexis DeJoria holds the provisional No.1 qualifier position after running a track record low e.t. of 4.012-seconds (313.95 mph) in the evening session.

ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will provide television coverage for the 34th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, the seventh of 24 events on the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season schedule, with two hours of qualifying highlights airing Saturday, May 17 at 5:30 p.m. (ET) and three hours of eliminations coverage on Sunday, May 18, beginning at 7 p.m. (ET).

2014 NHRA Points Standings
(Following Houston NHRA SpringNationals Race FINAL)

PRO STOCK (season wins in parentheses)
1. Erica Enders Stevens – 554 (2)
2t. Allen Johnson – Dodge Dart – 477 (2)
2t. Jason Line – 437 (1)
4. Vincent Nobile – 414
5. Shane Gray – 390
6. Dave Connolly – 366
7. Jeg Coughlin Jr. – Dodge Dart – 344
8. V. Gaines – Dodge Dart – 340
9. Chris McGaha – 290
10.. Jimmy Alund – 282 (1)

FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)
1. Robert Hight – 609 (3)
2. John Force – 487 (1)
3. Alexis DeJoria – 431 (2)
4. Del Worsham – 361
5. Ron Capps – Dodge Charger R/T – 356
6. Jack Beckman – Dodge Charger R/T– 336
7. Tommy Johnson Jr. – Dodge Charger R/T – 323
8. Matt Hagan – Dodge Charger R/T – 289
9. Tim Wilkerson – 277
10. Courtney Force – 275

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