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Record Book Takes A Beating At zMAX Dragway

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, September 18 2011

Matt Hagan got his name on the wall for his record-setting run at zMAX Dragway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

CONCORD, N.C. – A record-breaking weekend at zMAX Dragway quickly transformed the self-described Bellagio of drag strips into the NHRA’s fastest facility as the NHRA began its six-race Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship with numerous upsets and a change in two of the top four categories point standings Sunday.

Three national and seven track records tumbled under cloudy skies and cool temperatures during the weekend with the Pro Stock Motorcycle top speed mark the only one remaining intact.

In the point standings, Antron Brown moved into first in Top Fuel, while Del Worsham, the standings leader entering the event, dropped to third after being upset in Sunday’s first round by Bob Vandergriff.

Jason Line displaced Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson at the top of the Pro Stock standings due to Anderson being upset by Shane Gray in Sunday’s first round and Line making it to the finals.

Funny Car driver Mike Neff and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Eddie Krawiec, who both led their respective categories from start to finish, maintained their positions at the top of their point standings heading into next weekend’s AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Dallas.

One of the season’s biggest upsets Sunday occurred when Pro Stock driver Kurt Johnson, who hadn’t won since 2008 at Brainerd, Minn., and hadn’t reached the final round since 2009 at Pomona, Calif.,

The crew of Antron Brown celebrates their Top Fuel victory on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

emerged the victor when Line fouled out.

Tony Schumacher, who entered the event fifth in the Top Fuel standings, broke his own top speed national record of 327.03 mph set in February at Pomona, Calif., with a 327.90 mph run. His speed also broke the track record of 326.71 mph he set in April. Schumacher broke Worsham’s elapsed time track record of 3.780 seconds set in April with a pass of 3.771 seconds.

However, in Sunday’s finals Schumacher lost by four-thousandths of a second to Brown in the semifinal round. Brown went on to defeat Don Schumacher Racing teammate Spencer Massey and take a 16-point lead over Massey in the standings.

Brown’s sixth victory of the season in eight final rounds has established the 35-year-old driver as Top Fuel’s hottest driver. It was his 35th national event win in 62 final rounds. It was his 15th in Top Fuel, which moves him into 14th in the class’ history. It also marked the second time in his career he’s won three consecutive races.

“This track just sucked the life out of our race car this weekend,” Brown said. “No matter what we did to it, it wouldn’t go a .70.”

It did, however, when it counted as Brown defeated Massey with an E.T. of 3.784 seconds.

“It was a hard fought weekend,” Brown commented.

Two national records were established in Funny Car. Matt Hagan, who defeated standings leader Mike Neff for the Wally on Sunday, became the fastest ever Funny Car driver with a track record 322.27 mph. That destroyed Ashley Force Hood’s 316.38-mph track record set in March 2010. However, Jack Beckman corralled the national speed record with a 318.99-mph run. In elapsed time, however, Hagan captured the record, becoming the first Funny Car driver to ever break the 3-second barrier with a 3.995-second pass. That also shattered Robert Hight’s track record of 4.024 seconds set in March 2010.

“It’s truly a fairy tale deal to set the record, win the race,” said Hagan, who scored 147 points, the most ever by a Funny Car driver in a single event, en route to his first victory this season. “This is the third national record we’ve set with that car and we’ve broken our own record every time. That’s phenomenal to me.

“We’ve been trying so hard for so long to get this first win out of our way and we finally did it. This is the most humbling sport I’ve ever been involved in, in my life. I’ve played a lot of stick-and-ball sports along the way and this deal out here … some days you can’t do anything wrong and other days the car will take your heart and rip it out and run it right over top of it. This deal is just so humbling. Every time you think you’ve got it figured out it turns you over and kicks you right in the rear end.”

In Pro Stock, Line established an E.T. track record of 6.510 seconds, breaking Jeg Coughlin’s of 6.520 seconds set in March 2010. Anderson, who entered the event in the points lead, broke his speed record of 212.46 mph set in March 2010 with 212.69 mph. Gray upset Anderson by nine-thousandths of a second in Sunday’s first round, but lost to Vincent Nobile in the second. Line made it to the final round, but then lost to Johnson.

Krawiec led from start to finish in Pro Stock Motorcycle, setting the E.T. track record with a 6.810-second run. That broke the 6.875 mark set by Matt Smith in March 2010. He also was the top qualifier and won the final round when the No. 3 qualifier Karen Stoffer fouled out.

Krawiec’s victory was his third this season and his 10th in 22 final rounds.

– Deb Williams can be reached at dwilliams@racintoday.com

Sunday’s final results from the Fourth annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway @ Concord. The race is the 17th of 22 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Antron Brown, 3.784 seconds, 325.14 mph def. Spencer Massey, 4.533 seconds, 155.08 mph.

Funny Car — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.130, 301.07 def. Mike Neff, Ford Mustang, 4.431, 202.79.

Pro Stock — Kurt Johnson, Pontiac GXP, 6.545, 210.97 def. Jason Line, GXP, foul.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.870, 196.42 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, foul.

Pro Modified — Leah Pruett, Ford Mustang, 5.843, 253.52 def. Melanie Troxel, Chevy Corvette, 5.915, 247.57.

Competition Eliminator — Van Puckett, Chevy Cavalier, 8.705, 126.10 def. Glen Treadwell, ‘23-T Ford, broke.

Super Stock — Joe Tysinger, Pontiac Firebird, 10.681, 123.06 def. Ronnie Courtney, Chevy Cavalier, 9.435, 139.52.

Stock Eliminator — Victor Guilmino, Ford Mustang, 10.515, 124.48 def. Brian Rowe, Chevy Camaro, 11.266, 117.75.

Super Comp — Michelle Furr, Dragster, 8.904, 172.45 def. Shane Carr, Dragster, 8.919, 169.19.

Super Gas — Jason Kenny, Chevy Corvette, 9.925, 148.85 def. Sherman Adcock, Pontiac Firebird, 9.955, 158.32.

Super Street — Dennis Hill, Chevy Nova, 10.901, 136.43 def. Michelle Furr, Chevy Camaro, 10.890, 141.56.

Final round-by-round results from the Fourth annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway @ Concord, the 17th of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Rod Fuller, 3.815, 324.67 def. Terry McMillen, 3.889, 315.86; Doug Kalitta, 3.868, 312.13 def. David Grubnic, 5.644, 114.19; Antron Brown, 3.824, 319.29 def. T.J. Zizzo, 3.908, 315.34; Larry Dixon, 3.790, 323.97 def. Shawn Langdon, 3.876, 318.62; Tony Schumacher, 3.775, 327.90 def. Morgan Lucas, 3.869, 314.90; Spencer Massey, 3.779, 327.74 def. Dom Lagana, 3.926, 309.13; Bob Vandergriff, 3.853, 320.28 def. Del Worsham, 4.231, 225.37; Brandon Bernstein, 3.815, 322.65 def. Clay Millican, 5.845, 108.63; QUARTERFINALS — Brown, 3.830, 320.66 def. Vandergriff, 3.862, 316.45; Dixon, 3.816, 322.96 def. Bernstein, 3.827, 322.65; Massey, 3.815, 316.60 def. Kalitta, 3.865, 315.93; Schumacher, 3.798, 323.43 def. Fuller, 4.238, 203.92;

SEMIFINALS — Massey, 3.786, 324.05 def. Dixon, 3.816, 317.57; Brown, 3.795, 322.73 def. Schumacher, 3.802, 320.05;

FINAL — Brown, 3.784, 325.14 def. Massey, 4.533, 155.08.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.092, 316.01 def. Paul Lee, Chevy Impala SS, 8.312, 79.30; Jim Head, Toyota Solara, 4.154, 295.46 def. Melanie Troxel, Solara, 5.877, 124.68; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.018, 322.27 def. John Smith, Chevy Monte Carlo, 6.564, 103.85; Mike Neff, Ford Mustang, 4.490, 255.92 def. Tony Pedregon, Impala SS, 4.973, 224.58; Jeff Arend, Solara, 4.103, 311.77 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.999, 179.85; Johnny Gray, Charger, 4.354, 238.43 def. John Force, Mustang, 5.751, 122.49; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.121, 306.88 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 5.171, 152.42; Cruz Pedregon, Solara, 4.329, 265.69 def. Robert Hight, Mustang, 6.431, 104.66; QUARTERFINALS — Gray, 5.055, 255.82 def. Head, 5.238, 272.83; Hagan, 4.054, 316.38 def. C. Pedregon, 4.108, 305.98; Neff, 4.076, 312.35 def. Wilkerson, 4.133, 306.95; Beckman, 4.083, 318.99 def. Arend, 5.223, 146.54; SEMIFINALS — Neff, 4.080, 309.91 def. Gray, 4.118, 311.20; Hagan, 4.032, 318.69 def. Beckman, 4.090, 317.79; FINAL — Hagan, 4.130, 301.07 def. Neff, 4.431, 202.79.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Erica Enders, Chevy Cobalt, 6.568, 210.80 def. Warren Johnson, Pontiac GXP, 6.617, 209.43; Vincent Nobile, Dodge Avenger, 6.558, 211.20 def. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.748, 180.65; Kurt Johnson, GXP, 6.561, 210.21 def. Buddy Perkinson, Mustang, 6.608, 209.46; Shane Gray, GXP, 6.607, 209.01 def. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.571, 205.47; Jason Line, GXP, 6.524, 212.43 def. V. Gaines, Avenger, 11.339, 78.87; Greg Stanfield, GXP, 6.592, 209.39 def. Allen Johnson, Avenger, 14.132, 61.39; Steve Kent, GXP, 6.569, 210.11 def. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.586, 210.67; Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.585, 210.60 def. Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 6.669, 209.75; QUARTERFINALS — Kent, 6.556, 210.14 def. Edwards, 6.895, 163.77; K. Johnson, 6.579, 209.82 def. Stanfield, 6.597, 209.01; Nobile, 6.575, 210.57 def. Gray, 6.594, 209.20; Line, 6.525, 212.09 def. Enders, foul;

SEMIFINALS — K. Johnson, 6.550, 209.82 def. Nobile, 6.586, 210.87; Line, 6.521, 211.63 def. Kent, 6.559, 210.08; FINAL — K. Johnson, 6.545, 210.97 def. Line, foul.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

ROUND ONE — Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.902, 192.25 def. Angie Smith, Buell, foul; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.911, 193.65 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.937, 188.60; Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.945, 193.07 def. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 7.094, 193.35; Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.918, 192.19 def. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.942, 191.65; Michael Ray, Buell, 6.922, 191.02 def. Hector Arana, Buell, broke; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.836, 196.33 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.983, 191.00; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.825, 195.79 def. Justin Finley, Suzuki, 6.911, 192.55; Matt Smith, Buell, 6.837, 193.05 def. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.953, 186.56; QUARTERFINALS — Ray, 6.974, 183.94 def. Gann, foul; M. Smith, 6.864, 191.89 def. Hines, foul; Krawiec, 6.810, 196.79 def. Arana Jr, broke; Stoffer, 6.830, 195.82 def. Underdahl, 6.924, 193.90; SEMIFINALS — Stoffer, 6.857, 194.83 def. M. Smith, 6.911, 189.52; Krawiec, 6.813, 196.76 def. Ray, 6.944, 189.95; FINAL — Krawiec, 6.870, 196.42 def. Stoffer, foul.

Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the Fourth annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway @ Concord, the 17th of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series -

Top Fuel

1. Antron Brown, 2,187; 2. Spencer Massey, 2,171; 3. Del Worsham, 2,149; 4. Larry Dixon, 2,142; 5. Tony Schumacher, 2,132; 6. Doug Kalitta, 2,095; 7. Brandon Bernstein, 2,084; 8. Shawn Langdon, 2,051; 9. Morgan Lucas, 2,036; 10. David Grubnic, 2,032.

Funny Car

1. Mike Neff, 2,209; 2. Matt Hagan, 2,187; 3. Jack Beckman, 2,156; 4. Cruz Pedregon, 2,113; 5. Robert Hight, 2,103; 6. Ron Capps, 2,082; 7. Jeff Arend, 2,064; 8. John Force, 2,063; 9. Bob Tasca III, 2,055; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 2,052.

Pro Stock

1. Jason Line, 2,186; 2. Greg Anderson, 2,155; 3. Vincent Nobile, 2,132; 4. Mike Edwards, 2,125; 5. Erica Enders, 2,103; 6. Allen Johnson, 2,080; 7. Greg Stanfield, 2,071; 8. Rodger Brogdon, 2,062; 9. Shane Gray, 2,061; 10. Ron Krisher, 2,010.

Pro Stock Motorcycle

1. Eddie Krawiec, 2,237; 2. Karen Stoffer, 2,174; 3. Matt Smith, 2,121; 4. Andrew Hines, 2,113; 5. LE Tonglet, 2,111; 6. Hector Arana Jr, 2,103; 7. Hector Arana, 2,066; 8. Jim Underdahl, 2,055; 9. Jerry Savoie, 2,052; 10. Michael Phillips, 2,042.

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, September 18 2011
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