Brown makes NHRA history in Houston

Brown makes NHRA history in Houston

Antron Brown is the first NHRA driver to hoist Wallys for both a Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle victory after scoring his first Top Fuel win today at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. Del Worsham, Greg Anderson and...

Antron Brown is the first NHRA driver to hoist Wallys for both a Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle victory after scoring his first Top Fuel win today at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. Del Worsham, Greg Anderson and Matt Smith also captured victories in Houston.

Antron Brown (near) Larry Dixon (far).
Photo by Ted Rossino.

It only took Brown four races as a Top Fuel driver to earn his first victory in the class. Brown reached victory lane after a narrow win over Top Fuel veteran Larry Dixon in the final round. Dixon led the side-by-side race until the 1000-foot mark where Brown was able to nose ahead, winning by a slight .004 second margin of victory. Brown's winning run reached a top speed of 320.28 MPH with a 4.605 seconds E.T.

The winner took out Doug Foley, Cory McClenathan and Doug Kalitta on the way to his final round versus Dixon, who eliminated Morgan Lucas, Bruce Litton and Doug Herbert in earlier rounds.

"Being able to live this dream is unreal," shared Brown. "I was a kid going to the Summernationals watching guys like Garlits, Kenny Bernstein, John Force, and Don Prudhomme. Now I have to stop and ask myself, 'Am I really here?'

"This team has been plagued in the second round this year, but we knew we were capable of winning. We had some really close races today. The margins of victory were so tight it felt like a Pro Stock Motorcycle race at a faster speed."

Dixon's strong showing pulled him within eight points of Top Fuel championship leader Tony Schumacher.

Ashley Force came very close to adding her own name to the history books as the first female Funny Car winner, but Del Worsham had another plan. Worsham and Force met in the Funny Car final round and Force may have been day-dreaming a little, getting a .142 light. Worsham took the lead and never looked back. His 4.933 seconds E.T. with a top speed of 316.6 MPH earned him the victory.

Worsham claimed wins over Jerry Toliver, Tim Wilkerson and Ashley's father John Force to reach the final round, while Ashley eliminated Bob Gilbertson, Tony Pedregon and Tony Bartone.

Ashley Force (left) Del Worsham (right).
Photo by Ted Rossino.

"We had a great day," said Worsham. "We had a lot of problems that tried to bite us, but we kept up with them. We had problems in the pits, on a warm-up, and with a timer box, but we got them handled. And my dad made great calls on the starting line.

"Even after not qualifying at the first two races this year, I knew we had a car that could run well." Worsham continued, "It's been a long time since our last win, and here it finally is. We have a bunch of young kids [on the crew] who are hungry and really excited."

Ashley moved up to fifth in the Funny Car points standings. Cruz Pedregon leads the highly competitive class.

Three-time Pro Stock Champion Greg Anderson scored his second win of the season. Anderson beat Greg Stanfield, Matt Hartford and Allen Johnson on his way to the final round. That's where he met Kurt Johnson who eliminated John Nobile, Warren Johnson and V Gaines in earlier rounds.

Anderson's 6.692 seconds run with a 207.37 MPH top speed claimed an easy victory after KJ shook the tires early on. This is Anderson's 53rd career win, placing him solely in fifth place on the NHRA all-time win list and bumping Joe Amato to sixth.

"We made some big changes last night and made some gains," Anderson shared. "But all hell broke loose again after that. It's a special feeling to win a race this way, but it's sure hard on the heart. I'm proud of my guys who fought and fought to get this thing figured out."

Anderson holds a three-point lead over Jeg Coughlin in the Pro Stock championship standings.

Defending Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Matt Smith took home his first Wally trophy of the year after his final round victory over Matt Guidera. An extra 10 pounds were added to the PSM Buells before this race, but that didn't seem to slow down Smith. He defeated Junior Pippin, Angelle Sampey and Andrew Hines before meeting Guidera in the finals. Guidera eliminated Craig Treble, Eddie Krawiec and Chip Ellis to reach his second straight final round.

Smith won a close race with his 7.060 seconds run over Guidera's 7.140.

"We wanted to prove a point," Smith shared. "The extra weight slows us down, so we worked hard to speed back up without griping about the rules. The Buells, Harleys, and Suzukis were all pretty close."

"I was embarrassed by the way we got dominated in Gainesville," Smith continued. "We found more power and it shows. This has been an awesome experience. It was great to win for Kenny Koretsky on his 50th birthday. He helped us out and we want to give him a championship in return."

Guidera maintains a slim 17 point lead over Smith in the PSM points race.

Teams will travel west to the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at the The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to be held April 10-13.

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