Despite the rain, the 29th annual Southern Nationals at the Atlanta Dragway in Commerce gave fans an exciting show on Sunday, not to mention an exciting finish.
When the smoke cleared after finals in Top Fuel Dragster, Morgan Lucas emerged as a first time victor.
Although both Lucas and his opponent, rookie Spencer Massey, are both younger drivers, Lucas’ wealth of experience played the winning hand after both cars lost traction immediately after launching from the starting line.
Lucas was on and off the throttle four times, smoking the tires violently, as the car never really did regain traction. However, even though his 8000 horsepower supercharged engine pitched the supercharger drive belt off about 75 feet before the finish line, his Geico sponsored dragster took the win stripe first with a 5.231 second, 162.86mph pass.
“That was the longest 75 feet of my life,” Lucas exclaimed in the winner’s circle. Massey’s machine slewed sideways in one direction and then another before he was able to reel it in, and he crossed the finish line with a slower 5.418-second, 145.25mph effort.
Jack Beckman earned his Top Fuel Funny Car win the hard way, taking on three members of the Force Racing team with his ’09 Charger, and defeating four different 45th Anniversary Mustangs en route to his victory. Beckman downplayed the Mustang angle, but added it was good for the sport to have a rivalry going.
“I’m going to call Dodge and see if they have a double bonus,” he added with a smile.
Beckman defeated Force racer Robert Hight in round one, John Force himself in round two, Mustang racer Tim Wilkerson in round three, and faced defending Southern Nationals champ Ashley Force-Hood in the finals.
Defending Southern Nationals Pro Stock champ Mike Edwards had to wait until Monday morning to defend his title thanks to Sunday’s rain showers. He sealed the win against Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s ’09 Cobalt with a stellar .019 reaction time, coupled with a 6.645 second, 208.17mph-winning pass.
“It wasn’t too good of a run, but it turned on the win light,” Edwards said. “It doesn’t matter if you win on Sunday or Monday, it still feels good.”
For more on this story, see Wednesday's edition of The Jackson Herald, The Commerce News, The Banks County News or The Braselton News.