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Antron Brown Is The Big Man At The ‘Big Go’

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Monday, September 5 2011

Antron Brown on Monday won his first Mac Tools U.S. Nationals "Wally" as a Top Fuel driver. (Photo courtesy of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series)

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Antron Brown beat Del Worsham in the final round to win his first Mac Tools U.S. Nationals championship on Monday at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis.

The victory in drag racing’s biggest event is a first for the Don Schumacher Racing driver in Top Fuel, though he had won before in Pro Stock Motorcycles.

Also winning Monday were Mike Neff in Funny Car, Greg Anderson in Pro Stock and Hector Arana Jr. in Pro Stock Motorcycles.

Neff beat Bob Tasca III in the finals.

Anderson won his sixth “Wally” at the “Big Go”. He beat his Summit Racing teammate, Jason Line, in the finals to get the victory.

Arana, son of the former Nationals winner and an engineering student at nearby Purdue University, won as a rookie.

Also decided at Indy were the fields for the six-race playoff known as the Countdown. On that front:

Johnny Gray’s loss in round one of Funny Car Oil sealed the Funny Car field. Gray’s day ended early when his parachutes came out shortly after his car left the starting line against Dan Wilkerson. Among those benefiting from Gray’s misfortune are Wilkerson’s father, Tim, Jeff Arend, and Bob Tasca III, all of whom have now rounded out the 10-car field in Funny Car.

Nine of 10 spots were filled in Top Fuel, and following 10th-place Dave Grubnic’s first-round loss, Terry McMillen and Bob Vandergriff Jr. — both winners in round one — had the chance to pass him with a win in round two, but neither could advance, locking Grubnic into the 10th and final spot.

“Well, we scraped through,” Grubnic, a 48-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., said. “I’m really happy for Connie (Kalitta, his team owner) and all my guys on the Candlewood Suites team. It’s tough when you have to just sit back and watch and play defense. We would’ve much rather been on the offensive, but it didn’t turn out that way. Either way, we got in the Countdown and now we’ve got a shot at the championship so all-in-all a great day for me and our entire Kalitta Motorsports operation.”

Pro Stock finally was settled in round two in favor of Ron Krisher after V. Gaines lost in round one and Ronnie Humphrey fell in the second round. Greg Anderson locked up the top seed by reaching the final round.

Two spots are open in Pro Stock Motorcycle, and both Jerry Savoie and Jim Underdahl, ninth and 10th in points, respectively, won their first-round races, as did 11th-place Chip Ellis. Savoie’s win clinched his spot in the playoffs, so Ellis needed to go two rounds further than Underdahl to pass him but fell in the semifinals to give Underdahl the final position. Opening-round losses by David Hope, Steve Johnson, and Angie Smith ended their slim chances.

The six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs begin at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Charlotte Sept. 15-18.

Brown became the first driver to win the historic event in both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle when he powered his Matco Tools dragster to a 3.813-second run at 321.73 mph. The final round performance was enough to get past Del Worsham and secure his fifth win of the season and 30th of his career.

“Words cannot describe how this feels,” said Brown. “To come here and win at Indy, the biggest stage in drag racing, means so much. It just goes back to my childhood dream and sitting under those grandstands as a kid and saying ‘I want to do that one day.’ It’s the greatest feeling I’ve ever had.”

With the final regular season race complete, the Top Fuel field is set for the NHRA Countdown to the Championship. Worsham secured his No. 1 spot in the point standings during qualifying, while Kalitta Racing driver David Grubnic locked down the 10th and final spot after both Terry McMillen and Bob Vandergriff lost in the second round.

In Funny Car, Neff drove his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang past Tasca to secure his first Mac Tools U.S. Nationals win. Neff posted a run of 4.068 at 314.61 in the final round to take his fifth win of the season and sixth of his career. It was also John Force Racing’s fifth Mac Tools U.S. Nationals win in the past six seasons.

“This is the big one, the one you dream about,” said Neff. “It’s huge to win here. I’ve never won here as a driver or a crew chief so to be able to do it here as both was great. It probably hasn’t even sunk in yet.”

Neff secured his top spot in the Funny Car standings for the Countdown to the Championship during qualifying, while runner-up Tasca clinched the 10th and final spot after Johnny Gray lost in the first round to Daniel Wilkerson.

Pro Stock points leader Anderson continued his domination at Lucas Oil Raceway when he held off teammate Jason Line to earn his sixth Mac Tools U.S. Nationals win. Anderson and his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP posted a final-round run of 6.552 at 210.50 to get his fifth win of the season and 70th of his career. It was also his fourth win in the past six races.

“I feel like it’s my first and biggest win ever,” said Anderson. “Every time it happens up here it’s just special; it’s just magic. I love this place. I think some of the other racers might miss out on how important it is and what it means to race here. There’s so much history here. It’s just everything about drag racing.”

While Anderson locked up his No. 1 spot in the Countdown to the Championship, Ron Krisher secured the 10th and final spot when 11th-place driver Ronnie Humphrey lost to Allen Johnson in the second round.

Arana Jr. raced to his first career win in Pro Stock Motorcycle when he held off Jerry Savoie in the final round. Arana Jr. rode his Lucas Oil Buell to a 6.867 at 192.60 to take the win in his second consecutive final round appearance for the season.

“It has not sunk in on me yet,” said Arana Jr. “This is the biggest race of the year and I won it in my rookie year. For all my family, this is a hometown event and it just doesn’t get any better than this.”

Eddie Krawiec locked up the No. 1 spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle for the Countdown to the Championship while Jim Underdahl secured the final spot with his semifinal round finish.

The NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship begins at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Sept. 15-18 at zMAX Dragway.

Final finish order (1-16) for professional categories at the 57th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.  The race is the 16th of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:

1.  Antron Brown; 2.  Del Worsham; 3.  Brandon Bernstein; 4.  Larry Dixon; 5.  Bob Vandergriff; 6. Spencer Massey; 7.  Terry McMillen; 8.  Doug Kalitta; 9.  T.J. Zizzo; 10.  David Grubnic; 11. Shawn Langdon; 12.  Troy Buff; 13.  Brady Kalivoda; 14.  Morgan Lucas; 15.  Tony Schumacher; 16. Rod Fuller.

FUNNY CAR:

1.  Mike Neff; 2.  Bob Tasca III; 3.  Ron Capps; 4.  Matt Hagan; 5.  Jack Beckman; 6.  Jeff Arend; 7.  Melanie Troxel; 8.  Daniel Wilkerson; 9.  Cruz Pedregon; 10.  Paul Lee; 11.  Robert Hight; 12. Jim Head; 13.  Bob Bode; 14.  Johnny Gray; 15.  Tim Wilkerson; 16.  John Force.

PRO STOCK:

1.  Greg Anderson; 2.  Jason Line; 3.  Mike Edwards; 4.  Allen Johnson; 5.  Ronnie Humphrey; 6. Erica Enders; 7.  Vincent Nobile; 8.  Rodger Brogdon; 9.  Kurt Johnson; 10.  Mark Martino; 11.  V. Gaines; 12.  Greg Stanfield; 13.  Shane Gray; 14.  Ron Krisher; 15.  Chris McGaha; 16.  Buddy Perkinson.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

1.  Hector Arana Jr; 2.  Jerry Savoie; 3.  Chip Ellis; 4.  Jim Underdahl; 5.  Eddie Krawiec; 6.  LE Tonglet; 7.  Hector Arana; 8.  Shawn Gann; 9.  Karen Stoffer; 10.  Michael Phillips; 11.  Angie Smith; 12.  David Hope; 13.  Steve Johnson; 14.  Matt Smith; 15.  Mike Berry; 16.  Andrew Hines.

CLERMONT, Ind. — Monday’s final results from the 57th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. The race is the 16th of 22 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Antron Brown, 3.813 seconds, 321.73 mph  def. Del Worsham, 3.830 seconds, 320.43 mph.

Funny Car — Mike Neff, Ford Mustang, 4.068, 314.61  def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.147, 278.00.

Pro Stock — Greg Anderson, Pontiac GXP, 6.552, 210.50  def. Jason Line, GXP, 6.538, 210.83.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.867, 192.60  def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.005, 189.36.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Bill Reichert, 5.322, 266.53  def. Duane Shields, 5.364, 271.95.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Frank Manzo, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.494, 264.55  def. Fred Tigges, Dodge Avenger, 5.595, 256.21.

Competition Eliminator — Jirka Kaplan, ‘23-T Ford, 6.951, 211.63  def. Brian Browell, Dragster, 7.846, 125.46.

Super Stock — Shane Carr, Chevy Cobalt, 8.542, 155.29  def. Gary Richard, Ford Mustang, 9.347, 143.87.

Stock Eliminator — Jeff Teuton, Dodge Challenger, 11.055, 107.71  def. Sam Pourciau, Chevy Camaro, broke.

Super Comp — Brian Folk, Dragster, 8.945, 161.40  def. Britt Cummings, Dragster, 8.911, 164.89.

Super Gas — Ryan Herem, Chevy Corvette, 9.902, 149.03  def. Kevin Kleineweber, Chevy Lumina, 9.850, 159.49.

CLERMONT, Ind. — Final round-by-round results from the 57th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, the 16th of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Doug Kalitta, 3.929, 304.25 def. Morgan Lucas, 3.957, 296.18; Terry McMillen, DQ def. Rod Fuller, no time; Bob Vandergriff, 3.896, 314.90 def. Tony Schumacher, 6.684, 73.85; Larry Dixon, 3.850, 316.01 def. David Grubnic, 3.896, 311.70; Antron Brown, 3.829, 317.42 def. Shawn Langdon, 3.896, 312.86; Del Worsham, 3.825, 320.58 def. Troy Buff, 3.896, 303.57; Brandon Bernstein, 3.860, 314.39 def. T.J. Zizzo, 3.880, 313.22; Spencer Massey, 3.852, 318.39 def. Brady Kalivoda, 3.951, 307.51; QUARTERFINALS — Bernstein, 3.846, 317.49 def. Vandergriff, 3.841, 322.73; Dixon, 3.813, 322.27 def. Massey, 3.841, 321.12; Brown, 3.842, 318.99 def. Kalitta, DQ; Worsham, 3.813, 322.58 def. McMillen, 4.107, 228.42;

SEMIFINALS — Brown, 3.819, 322.65 def. Dixon, 10.651, 67.94; Worsham, 3.813, 323.04 def. Bernstein, 3.831, 318.77;

FINAL — Brown, 3.813, 321.73 def. Worsham, 3.830, 320.43.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.066, 308.14 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 7.944, 106.43; Daniel Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.124, 303.03 def. Johnny Gray, Charger, 7.782, 78.53; Melanie Troxel, Toyota Solara, 4.428, 215.17 def. Bob Bode, Solara, 7.225, 105.23; Jeff Arend, Solara, 4.139, 309.63 def. Cruz Pedregon, Solara, 4.127, 291.13; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.118, 309.20 def. Jim Head, Solara, 4.227, 300.80; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.066, 315.19 def. Paul Lee, Chevy Impala SS, 4.164, 293.60; Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.162, 302.75 def. John Force, Mustang, 11.698, 46.40; Mike Neff, Mustang, 4.086, 312.78 def. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.210, 295.85; QUARTERFINALS — R. Capps, 4.095, 309.91 def. D. Wilkerson, 11.342, 77.47; Hagan, 4.066, 315.05 def. Beckman, 4.112, 314.31; Neff, 4.062, 310.91 def. Arend, 4.503, 196.79; Tasca III, 4.181, 302.35 def. Troxel, 9.086, 43.19;

SEMIFINALS — Tasca III, 4.143, 308.14 def. R. Capps, 5.000, 162.53; Neff, 4.060, 313.66 def. Hagan, 9.778, 72.81;

FINAL — Neff, 4.068, 314.61 def. Tasca III, 4.147, 278.00.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Erica Enders, Chevy Cobalt, 6.596, 209.26 def. Kurt Johnson, Pontiac GXP, 6.581, 209.04; Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 6.572, 208.23 def. V. Gaines, Dodge Avenger, 6.598, 209.23; Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.692, 191.13 def. Ron Krisher, GXP, 7.071, 160.06; Allen Johnson, Avenger, 6.589, 209.39 def. Greg Stanfield, GXP, 6.623, 208.39; Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.547, 211.03 def. Mark Martino, GXP, 6.595, 207.78; Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.555, 210.37 def. Shane Gray, GXP, 6.635, 207.78; Jason Line, GXP, 6.558, 210.73 def. Buddy Perkinson, Ford Mustang, foul; Vincent Nobile, Avenger, 6.583, 209.85 def. Chris McGaha, GXP, 13.099, 64.81; QUARTERFINALS — A. Johnson, 6.582, 209.79 def. Humphrey, 6.570, 210.70; Line, 6.583, 209.59 def. Enders, foul; Edwards, 6.568, 210.57 def. Nobile, foul; Anderson, 6.544, 210.93 def. Brogdon, 6.614, 209.30; SEMIFINALS — Line, 6.550, 210.08 def. A. Johnson, 6.612, 209.43; Anderson, 6.551, 210.24 def.

Edwards, 6.576, 210.47;

FINAL — Anderson, 6.552, 210.50 def. Line, 6.538, 210.83.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

ROUND ONE — Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.962, 190.24 def. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 6.959, 192.55; Hector Arana, Buell, 6.985, 188.46 def. Mike Berry, Buell, broke; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.974, 190.14 def. David Hope, Buell, 7.031, 182.33; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.929, 190.35 def. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.967, 189.18; Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.984, 189.12 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, broke; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.925, 189.44 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.252, 162.90; Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.940, 187.36 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.914, 192.66; Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.004, 188.15 def. Matt Smith, Buell, 7.346, 160.61; QUARTERFINALS — Underdahl, 6.962, 188.96 def. Arana, 6.982, 187.81; Ellis, 7.085, 169.53 def. Gann, foul; Arana Jr, 6.912, 191.10 def. L. Tonglet, 6.936, 189.42; Savoie, 6.931, 190.16 def. Krawiec, 6.912, 192.19;

SEMIFINALS — Savoie, 7.005, 188.23 def. Underdahl, 7.034, 191.05; Arana Jr, 6.929, 192.82 def. Ellis, 6.981, 189.68;

FINAL — Arana Jr, 6.867, 192.60 def. Savoie, 7.005, 189.36.

CLERMONT, Ind. — Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the 57th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, the 16th of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series -

Top Fuel

1.  Del Worsham, 1,432; 2.  Antron Brown, 1,322; 3.  Spencer Massey, 1,232; 4.  Larry Dixon, 1,191; 5.  Tony Schumacher, 1,187; 6.  Doug Kalitta, 827; 7.  Brandon Bernstein, 825; 8.  Shawn Langdon, 725; 9.  Morgan Lucas, 704; 10.  David Grubnic, 615.

Funny Car

1.  Mike Neff, 1,297; 2.  Jack Beckman, 1,082; 3.  Robert Hight, 1,076; 4.  Cruz Pedregon, 1,017; 5.  (tie) Ron Capps, 1,009; Matt Hagan, 1,009; 7.  John Force, 891; 8.  Bob Tasca III, 827; 9. Jeff Arend, 812; 10.  Tim Wilkerson, 802.

Pro Stock

1.  Greg Anderson, 1,339; 2.  Jason Line, 1,286; 3.  Mike Edwards, 1,200; 4.  Vincent Nobile, 1,033; 5.  Erica Enders, 1,021; 6.  Allen Johnson, 1,001; 7.  Rodger Brogdon, 973; 8.  Greg Stanfield, 923; 9.  Shane Gray, 699; 10.  Ron Krisher, 659.

Pro Stock Motorcycle

1.  Eddie Krawiec, 789; 2.  LE Tonglet, 741; 3.  Karen Stoffer, 721; 4.  Andrew Hines, 624; 5. Hector Arana Jr, 579; 6.  Matt Smith, 568; 7.  Hector Arana, 564; 8.  Jerry Savoie, 537; 9. Michael Phillips, 512; 10.  Jim Underdahl, 476.

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Monday, September 5 2011
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