Competing in its fourth event of 2021, Bongiovanni Racing headed to Atlanta Dragway for the NHRA Southern Nationals. This was a special event, as the track is closing after a storied 40-plus-year history.
Atlanta Dragway, which is located in Commerce about 90 miles north of Atlanta, earned its NHRA sanction in 1980 and underwent major reconstruction in 1987 to put in aluminum grandstand seating, permanent restrooms and upgraded concession buildings. NHRA purchased the track in 1993 and the recently held 40th Annual Southern Nationals marked a four-decade history of NHRA professional drag racing.
“This year’s NHRA Southern Nationals is the capstone on four decades of racing at this track,” said Kasey Coler, NHRA Vice President of Track Management & Operations. “We know that our 40th will be a celebration of the track’s renowned drag racing history and will be an event fans won’t want to miss.”
Running in FSS/C, Anthony Bongiovanni ran 8.92 to qualify 25th in his 2014 Super Stock Ford Mustang. This set up the first-round match up with the ever-tough Anthony Bertozzi. Bertozzi was quicker on the tree, but Bongiovanni chased him down, running 8.987 on his 8.97 dial-in. Bertozzi was close to his 8.93 prediction, but drove under, going 8.925 to break out, handing Bongiovanni the round win.
Bongiovanni faced Don Shuford in round two, and again he came from behind to take the win. Shuford was over his 10.29 dial, while Bongiovanni was dead on his 8.86 prediction. Round three was not so kind to Bongiovanni, who raced fellow Division 1 racer Kent Hanley. Hanley had the better light, and this time it was Bongiovanni who broke out trying to get past the red 9-second Chevy Cavalier.
“We had a fun time racing this weekend, but it was bitter-sweet knowing this track is going away,” said Bongiovanni. “Our Mustang was running strong, but I was a little late on the tree and we lost a close one to Kent. I want to congratulate him as he went the distance and won the race.”
The team will return to action in two weeks at the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, North Carolina.